Sunday, 8 September 2013

Design & life lately & the things to come

I have been meaning to write more of an informative blog post for a long time now, I don't like doing blog posts that are too personal, but this one is just as an update on what I have been up to & what I will be up to for the rest of 2013...

Over the summer I was working on the 'Sightings' collection, which was showcased & exhibited with Reena Makwana at Craft Central in August, see previous blog post HERE about the project and previous blog post HERE to view the Sightings Collection.

I then had a lovely and well needed break, to finalise some things in my mind and to relax!

So to now.... I have 2 wonderful jobs! The first, which I have been doing for 7 months, where I am the studio assistant for the wonderful Zoe Bateman of Ladybird Likes. I was so thrilled to get the job in March & it was perfect timing! It's been a great few months, time has flown by and Zoe and her business are so inspiring and positive. I get to be creative & crafty, making products and be organised, as well as help the day to day tasks of the business. Plus we always have biscuits, Jasper the dog to laugh at & the radio to sing along to.
The second job, I got in July, is a studio assistant role for the amazing paper artist Su Blackwell, I have been such an admirer of Su's Book Sculptures for years and years, so it really it such an honor to work for her, and an inspiring and joyful job, I get to paper cut all day!

In terms of my design journey so far...I have been designing, working on freelance jobs and commissions, as well as balancing a range of internships and job roles since leaving university in 2010. (I like to keep busy & experience & learn as much as possible & now my CV is pretty jam packed with some wonderful things!)
But at the end of 2012, after a year of designing and launching a some product ranges, I was desperate for a ‘day job’ (I'm a hard worker and I enjoy working for other people, not to mention needing to earn money to fund life).
I was also aware I had not pushed my design and business as much as I could, in terms of marketing, and selling in shops and at shows. Due to various factors, such as time, money and confidence, but also I think part of me didn't want to, not yet anyway. So I very consciously decided it was to be a ‘part-time’ venture for a while, part-time designing and part-time day jobs.

As all self-employed freelancers know, it's always a nerve wracking path, never knowing if things are for certain and all the other things that come along with being self-employed - self-doubt, having no money, no weekends or evenings, trying and failing at things, making it all up as you go and working all on your own. (There are lots of positives too of course, like giving a go of creating a career out of your passion!)

Making the decision to have a bit of a break from my own designs and collections has been a great relief and weight of my shoulders, well, in terms of a break, I will still be creating a Christmas range and making Paper cut works, so not a complete break, but just in more of a relaxed and enjoyable manner.

Another reason for wanting to slow down design, is that I want to have more of a life, I've spent years working all week and all weekend, so I have decided, (except for the odd occasion, when I have a commission, deadline or new creative idea), to have weekends off, to work on my 'day jobs' in the week and my design when I can.

Then for 2014... I will have a further think about my design and business and where it is headed, whether I have a further break or give it another boost, I’m not sure yet. Things can change so easily.
But I’d love to look for a great design studio manager role, something I think I'd be really good at and something steady & secure that enables me to stay within a creative career, earn enough to save and move into my own home (not my parents). - That brings up another factor, that as a 25 year old freelancer, I still live at home with my parents, who are the loveliest people and have the lovliest home, but my studio is my bedroom, so everything can get on top of me, physically and mentally.

My design and craft is something I will always do, it's the first and last thing I think about every day, but it is important to keep it as something that makes me happy, in terms of the ideas I have and the enjoyment of the process of creating things.
Perhaps I will potentially give my design and business a boost and relaunch in a few years time when I am more experienced, more knowledgeable and confident. Or carry on at the pace I am going.

And so for the rest of 2013... It may be a little quieter and it will be more relaxed, although I would like to revamp my branding, website & blog over Christmas and  I will be doing that Christmas collection, (watch out for updates). But it is a big pressure off my mind to accept that my pace is OK.

It is now September and London is turning Autumny, my favorite season, I can't wait for the golden leaves, the crisp walks in the park, big hot meals with friends & family after a good day at work.

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