Downtime

What is a maker/crafter/designer to do on the lead to Xmas?

Well, as shop started to sparkle I took part in some Xmas fairs or fayres as some spell them. I visited some to check venues and events out for next year. I made things and am still planning a couple of things a s presents.

This time of the year is always a bit manic, between the things I feel I have do (not all necessary but there you go) and the more earthy, chilled side of me this year. Because I have made quite a lot of things I stayed away from the high street store which all get the same generic stuff and have very little good service added to it. I always wanted to make more things but this was more a wish than a reality… until this year.

I have taken part in some regular workshop which have given me the chance to have a go at many things like wet and needle felting, soap making, mono printing… so I have taken a few pictures. These workshops have given me some well deserved time out that me and my little one both enjoyed, learnt new skills and in some case confirmed I don’t want to do something ever again!

So I hope you enjoy the following pictures and they may inspire you in making things for yourself, as a present or even just for the pleasure of discovering a new craft.

Chocolate goodies

Chocolate goodies

Handmade soap

Handmade soap

Wet felting and free motion embroidery

Wet felting and free motion embroidery

Hand painted clay decorations

Hand painted clay decorations

Fizzy bath balls

Fizzy bath balls

Foliage decorations

Foliage decorations

Merry Xmas.

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Breathing again

This was a beautiful summer, bright and dry days, lots of sunshine and despite this it has been one of the hardest I have been through. After the previous year with the end of renovation and a stressful move, I did not think we could top this but I was wrong. Cancer killing slowly my dad (or quickly whichever way you want to look at it), being ill myself for most of the last 3 months, It has only been 3 days since my mind has started to become clear again, my body functioning as it should and my brain being to handle times ahead. No doubt the next few weeks will be challenging but this is not the story tonight.

I am behind in my work and in less than 3 weeks, I will be part of the Launch 2014, a black-tie event launching about 16 companies locally to where I live in Truro, Cornwall. I am part of the organizing team and this event that seemed so far for so long is now so close. I need to sort out my display, start pulling my weight about the promotion and help to iron concerns and questions that participants may have.

So what is this event I hear you asking? Well, earlier this year, Abbi my friend suggesting renting a village hall and showcase our work with  a glass of wine and a few biscuits. Our mentor Spencer shook this plan and told us to add sparkle and pazzazz! So here we are, a few months later, just about to have a first for the region in the stunning location of the Alverton Manor great hall.

I am getting nervous and the next few days I will have to decide how to best showcase what I do. What do I show? I have designed, created and dreamed new crafts and artworks. All I need is a bit of magic to make them materialize themselves. I am using more materials and techniques than before and that it itself is exciting.

So leave it with me and give me a few days to craft lovingly made artworks filled with emotion. You may catch a glimpse of new work but this is a launch after all so a touch of mystery is required…

So catch up with this blog and the following links www.thelaunch2014.co.uk, www.facebook.com/pages/The-Launch-2014/494030527375900?ref=hl and follow us on #thelaunch2014. Cheers everybody!

The Launch 2014 logo

The Launch 2014 logo

Diary of a photo shoot

Wednesday 20th of August

So after what seem along time, I agreed a time with Simone of Unleashed Photography and today is the day.

I slept badly last time, it was a little bit like Christmas day and waiting to open the presents!

7 am.  Getting up. This is a beautiful day, blue sky and tiny cloud.  All good. Time for breakfast  and getting little Please ready for summer school.

7.29am. Text from Simon.  Forecast says rain for this morning. Frantic search of online forecasts and most say it is ok.

8.31am. Texting Simone back. Going anyway. Will do work at the Blue Cafe and worse case scenario, I can do some work with a sea view.

9.00am. School drop off. Bags in the car. I’m off. It is getting very cloudy. Rain has started in Newquay where Simone is. Damn!

9.39am. Driving along. 10 minutes in. Phone rings.  Can’t pick up. I park safely as soon as I can and I call back Simone.  Agree to move photo shoot to this afternoon.  Call to my friend Sara who steps in and will look after my little one. Driving back home!

Planning a photo shoot on the beach is very weather dependent.  I know that after all, I live in Cornwall. So in a few hours, we will attempt the session again. Where would we go without mobiles and texts?

1.34pm. The weather has been terrible this morning but by lunchtime, it is brightening up and everything is going ahead. Finalising the time and setting off. I am now getting excited. My outfits are in the car and basic things I think I will need like make-up bag, money for the car park and drink.

2.25pm. This is it. We head toward the rocks on Porthtowan beach and drop bags, only taking the camera with us. The sun is blinding and Simone has to check angles so that I don’t squint too much. I take different poses. We talk about what I want the pictures to project and how I will use them. Before the shoot, I made a board on Pinterest about pictures and effects I liked so she already knows what I am hoping for.

4.30pm. It is in the box. Now I have to be patient to see the pictures. Being a photographer myself, the suspense is killing!

9.08pm. Simone has just texted me telling me there are beautiful pictures, some good enough to be on the mantelpiece.

9.13pm. One picture has come through. I like it but I’m not sure what to think of it. Gosh we can be so critical when we see pictures about ourselves (you won’t get a “selfie” from me!)

darkrock2

but this shoot is important for me. Not only I am planning to use it on my blog, my whole marketing documents and also for The Launch 2014, a black tie event happening on the 23rd of October (more on that later).

 

Thursday 21st of August

7.30pm. Another photo comes through. The excitement is increasing, This picture is even better than the one I got yesterday. I can’t wait to see the rest!

bigsmile

 

 

Sunday 24th of August

3.12pm. All pictures are available through Simone’s website. She gives me all the indications to download them via a secure access. I can see the whole selection of pictures she has chosen and edited. I breathe… happy! This is what I was looking for. She got it, she got me and it shows. I can now start “playing with” the images in postcards and see how I can use them.

Tips for people having a photo shoot

1. Think about what you stand for and what your brand represents. Collect some images and show them to your photographer. It will help him or her to take shots that you will be happy with.

2. If you are doing the shoot outdoors, be ready, like me in this blog, to clear another slot in your diary with no guarantees. Take your laptop to a nearby cafe if you have to wait for the weather to clear. At least you won’t feel you are wasting your time. Agree the meeting place beforehand so that you know what to do if the location has no phone signal.

3. Take the time to choose your outfit or selection of outfits. There is only one first impression and your choice will impact how you project.. Pack a change, you never know. Take what you need for hair and make up touch-ups.

4. Relax. Easy to say but be yourself. If you are struggling, tell your photographer and she/he can tell you one or two funny stories to make you smile. I did that and we both ended up smiling.

5. Clear beforehand how much is included and whether another session is included if you are unhappy with the results the first time.

6. Mention the photographer anywhere you can. All pictures are protected by copyright but it is nice to mention who took them and other people might want to use this photographer for a future photo shoot.

7. Last but not least, enjoy!

8. The details of Simone are available on www.unleashedphotography.co.uk

flawed education

I always felt that important lessons were missed out of general education and mine in particular. In between other things life skills,… and a few other things that help us go through life and be happy. (This is in no way a complete list you understand!)

photo credit: Mixtribe Photo via photopin cc

photo credit: Mixtribe Photo via photopin cc

Today I came across something about Japanese design. It was not so much about the aesthetics but more about the meaning behind design. It puts into words simple concepts that I am going to share here.

wabi-sabi

Wabi stands for a kind of freshness and quietness. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of an object is evidenced in its patina and wear, or in visible repairs. The Japanese word for rust is also pronounced as sabi, and the two words surely share some connotations, when it comes to the impermanence of things. Wabi-sabi then is the art of balancing those two, which is neverending process in itself. In short: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect and that is a good thing.

iki

It means original, calm, exquisite and sophisticated but without being perfect or complicated. A bit like the French word “chic”, but as the English would say: understated chic.

Kanso:
keep things plain and simple. Reducing designs to their essence is seen as strength of character.

Read more: http://www.tonyadavidson.com/musings_and_mullings/2012/07/5-concepts-to-improve-your-design-the-japanese-way.html#ixzz2qOfJ61ZW

(this is mainly an extract of an article called 5 japanese design concepts. click here if you want to read more http://www.batikk.be/post/47622466669/5-japanese-design-concepts)

photo credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen via photopin cc

photo credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen via photopin cc

One thing is for sure. The wording above meant more to me than many things I have read in the past and the reason is simple. Of course education puts a lot of design styles and movements into descriptions and set of artists. But here’s the thing, none of them talked to me. Putting the essence of design decisions and style like iki or wabi-sabi is not common knowledge. I am not surprised though but I feel very strongly that if it was, it would do a lot for many artists and designers. It would simplify their communication and most importantly build their confidence no end.

This post may not be for everyone but if it makes a difference for one person, then it was worth writing. And if this person is you, drop me a line and tell me how.

Busy bee

Gosh it has been a while since my last post! I said I did not want to post for the sake of it and recently I found it hard to write. Saying that I think I am now back behind the keyboard.

Where to start? First the last few weeks have been creative. I have finished the Outset course and I have had more time to create, make artwork and plan for the business even though I miss the interaction with the other people there. We are planning to all catch up for a drink once a month so we stay in touch and support each other.

I may have mentioned before that that I regularly meet with two of my friends. We are on the same boat and pretty much at the same stage. But what I find amazing is to be able to offload, share concerns, experiences and great moments too. We have created a pool of books to keep costs down. The other advantage is that we can compare notes and help each other when we get stuck. So around a cup of tea, we also make sure that we are still on track.

ripped paper gaelle by the sea coming soon

So apart from sorting our packaging, transport and materials, I have also experimented with different printing techniques. I have had some “panic moments” and some “eureka moments” too. I am getting closer to launch and then I will be able to share more with you. Just another week or so before I can. One of the artwork I have created is a present and I have to give it before I share photos of it. I would not want to ruin the surprise!