On September 28th, I took part in the Autumn edition of Clutter City, a local craft market held at Norwich Arts Centre. It was a fab day, and I met some lovely people, Including the super-talented Kellee Rich, and Deerly Beloved Bakery, with their tasty cakes.
I took along a fair bit of new stock: a good few of my new little notebooks, – Mushrooms designs and Norwich themed ones – as well as a new, improved stand setup.
For a couple of weeks beforehand, I’d been preparing some screenprints of my Norwich Illustrated map down at the Stew gallery and print rooms. It’s the first time in about 7 years I’ve done any proper screen printing. I had a brilliant time, and learned a lot. I’m definitely going to go back and do some more work down at Stew. It’s a brilliant resource for local artists and printmakers.
I’ve also been accepted for several local craft markets in the run up to christmas.
• Sat 26th Oct – Pottergate Crafts – Rackheath Holy Trinity
• Sun 17th Nov – Pottergate Crafts – Costessey Centre
• Sat 23th Nov – Thorpe Christmas Fair
• Fri 6th Dec – Castle craft fair
• Sat 7th Dec – Norwich Makers
• Sun 15th Dec – Pottergate Crafts – Costessey Centre
Just over a year ago, I finally took the plunge and ventured out into the big, scary world of the freelancer.
Despite it being something I’d been considering for a while, the security of having a full-time job kept me from taking that initial leap. In spring 2012 however, the recession finally took its toll and I was made redundant from the little company I’d been working at. This was the push that I’d been waiting for. Rather than rush out to the job centre, I set about preparing myself for a life of freelancing. This was a fantastic opportunity and I was determined to make the most of it. Like they say, when one door closes, another opens.
Luckily, I’d been taking on the odd freelance project in my spare time to satisfy the urge to do my own thing. So already had a taste of what to expect.
Although I had a couple of clients already set up, one of my major fears now was that they would stop giving me work for whatever reason. I was a tad worried about keeping all my eggs in the same basket. So I set about planning how to get some more. It started off gradually, but as the year has progressed, I’ve been gaining more clients. Mostly my enquiries have come through social media, chance meetings, and on the back of personal projects that I’ve undertaken. I feel pretty lucky that I’m yet to implement my plan… though it’s there, waiting, for when I need it.
Working from home was something that I’ve had to get used to. I already had my studio set up in the spare room, so taking on a rented studio space seemed like an unnecessary cost. Although It would be nice to have a space where I could see and talk to other people, working from home has its benefits. You can drink as much tea as humanly possible, wear what you want, and listen to whatever music you feel like. Which is nice. I also got myself a little assistant too, a small parrot, (green cheek conure) who is a welcome distraction when things get a tad stressful.
Another thing that I’ve had to get used to is the lack of routine. There’s no-one to be annoyed if you’re late into work, and no-one to tell you to go home at the end of the day. It’s something I’ve admittedly struggled with to a certain extent, but am hoping I’m finally getting on top of. I’m still working longer hours than before, getting up earlier, and working later too. I still have to learn to put work down.
My skill set has grown with every new project, in order to accomplish the wide variety of projects being sent my way. I’ve learned a lot more about photography, 3D illustration and much more about working in Adobe Illustrator. I’ve also picked up a lot of new crafting techniques, crochet, needle felting and embroidery, as well as doing a bit of woodworking too for various books I’ve worked on. A fair few of these are now things I now want to carry on with in my spare time.
I’ve really enjoyed the journey so far, I’ve done some work I’m dead proud of and projects that I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved in. There’s been times of frustration, sleepless nights and stress, but they’re by far outweighed by the good. The best thing is that I’m now responsible for the work that I do, and that means doing every job to the best of my ability.
I’m incredibly grateful for the people who have given me a break, involved me in their fantastic projects, commissioned maps, illustrations and who have given me the chance to be my own boss.
At the beginning of the year, I set out to get involved in a few craft fairs.
It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for several years, but although I’ve had bits up on Etsy for a while now, I’ve not got around to taking the plunge into the world of craft markets. It seemed like a bit of a daunting prospect, to begin with.
A few months on, and I’ve now had my stand at around four local events, with varying degrees of success. Some have gone better than others, I think that will always happen though, depending on the day, the location, and the weather. My stand has grown each time, and I’m happier with it each at every new event.
Each event has been a bit of a learning curve for me. Seeing how people react to my products, seeing what people are buying, and what they’re not. It’s really very interesting.
I’m constantly coming up with ideas for new things to sell, and am gearing it all up to centre around my Illustration, maybe with the odd crafty bit creeping in, but mainly Illustration. I’m looking forward to expanding it, with some larger pieces.
It’s an exciting project, and I’ve met some lovely fellow stallholders, and some fab customers. There’s still a lot to learn though, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Well, It’s really been far too long since I posted in here. So, quick roundup. After a busy end to 2012, working on a craft book, we had a nice, chilled out Christmas. Then January came around, and I got thrown into lots of exciting projects. Maps, Activity books and layout projects, never-ending snow, weddings and a holiday have come and gone since, and i’ve finally got a little time to post here.
I’ve also been gearing up to have a bash at some craft fairs this year. It’s something i’ve been wanting to do for a while now. There have been a couple of Pop up shops in the Jubilee pub I’ve used as trial runs, which went pretty well.
Despite being fairly busy with projects lined up, I’ve got lots of Ideas for self-initiated projects that I can’t wait to start. I think 2013 is going to be a good year.
A little November update, and a little peek at some of the stuff i’ve been up to in November (and some of October… I’ve been a bit slack at keeping track!)
Well.. November seems to have shot by. It’s now the first day of December, and i’m wondering where all the time has gone.
Looking back, I’ve done a fair bit this month. We went for a lovely autumn walk in the sun, with the leaves just turning beautiful reds and yellows. It was a well needed break from the book i’m working on at the mo.
I’ve been doing my fair share of crafty stuff too, mostly for work, but I’ve really enjoyed some of it, especially the crochet, and surprisingly, the embroidery. I reckon I’ll be carrying some of it on, maybe make some blankets, or cushions or something. But mainly as a bit of a hobby. It’s always fun to try new things. I even learned to crochet a hexagon!
There have been a lot of photoshoots this month too, for the book I’m working on. I’ve learned a lot, and have really enjoyed it, despite it being frustrating at times. Local cafes (Franks bar, Biddy’s tea room and House cafe – thanks guys!) have been a saviour, and have been really helpful in letting me go and photograph them while they’ve been closed.
David Attenbourgh came to Norwich! He did a book signing at Jarrolds and I met him! Eeep! He’s a legend.
There has been more drawing going on in November too, and it’s been lovely. I finally managed to get myself to life drawing, and have been illustrating some new christmas cards, and designing a friends ‘save the date’ cards for her up-coming wedding!
Busy times ahead. I just need to find some time to make everyones christmas presents now! I promised myself last year that i’d try not to buy any gifts, unless they were handmade… it’s tougher than it seems! And it’s getting colder, and I still need to make a door curtain! (and find a rug)