I really am hopeless with keeping this blog more up to date!
Since my last post I have started the exhibition and craft fair season, starting with The Big Arts Show, Shrewsbury and The Contemporary Craft and Heritage Festival, Salisbury. I had fun at both shows and was fortunate to meet some really talented makers and lovely visitors.
I'm now in the process of getting ready for my next show at Farnham Maltings for Festival of Craft. If you're interested visit my upcoming events page for more info!
A short post, but I'll try to update again soon, perhaps while at Festival of Craft!
Whoops! It's been nearly 5 months since I last write a post!! I guess my preparations for the last show really took over my life more than I thought....
Over the weekend I was lucky enough to exhibit at the fantastic Contemporary Textiles Fair 2016, in Teddington, London. I was showing my work along with some very talented textiles artists and crafters. It was brilliant to meet so many like minded people who have the same passions for textiles as I do and to swap stories and ideas.
My new version of Knitting with Nancy collection was well received and of course the little blue budgie that hides on all of my stands got lots of attention and comments!
Now I'm having a little break over the easter period so that I can then jump straight back into making for the next exhibition! The last two months have heavily involved making my felt and knitted pieces, it'll be quite nice to get back at the jewellers bench and make some silver and gold pieces again!
As ever, I'll try and make a post a little more regularly!
All the best,
The Wool has been purchased and the rudimentary knitting mill has been made. I am about to spend the festive season knitting in circles and updating my 'Knitting Nancy' collection for my next big craft fair, 'The Contemporary Textiles Fair', Teddington.
Knitted neck pieces have always been a firm favourite of mine and I'm really pleased that I get to make some more again to take with me to exhibitions and shows!
The process is somewhat slow, but once I get into the swing of things I can find myself loosing the entire day to knitting these pieces. The only thing I struggle with is when to stop making them....when is there enough knitted necklaces? Never, in my opinion!
My next stop is my powder coaters, to explore the idea of colourful tube clasps....how exciting!
On another, slightly unrelated topic, my time hop app showed me what my fair display looked like a year ago, just as I was getting started with Busy Budgie. The image below shows how different my display is and how far Busy Budgie has developed in a year! It's crazy how quickly time flies when you're having fun....
My weekend spent in Nottingham at Lustre 2015 was a brilliant one. Such a great fair and an excellent place to show my work to possibly the biggest crowd so far this year.
Busy Budgie did well and because of this I am able to apply for other large scale fairs and shows in 2016! Hurray!
It was great to see so many people visiting to support designer makers and given the weather was appauling we had some true dedicated visitors stop by.
As always, doing these larger shows sets me off thinking about my own business and ways in which I can improve from seeing how others work and taking on board the feedback from other exhibitors as well as customers.
With this in mind, I've been spending some time re-working my logo since getting back. In-between re-filling stock for future shows I've been tweaking the logo, aiming for a more sophisticated, simplified look.
In the end I went with a simple ring design, swapping the diamond/gem for a bird cage with little Budgie inside. As much as I love the little Blue Budgie fella I started with, I think this is going to be more successful and easier to work with in the future. Not to worry though! The blue Budgie will still make a regular appearance!
This last weekend I was showing and selling my work at Farnham Maltings for the Festival of Craft that they host every year. I'd been experimenting with a few different ideas for my display before getting there and overall I've been really pleased.
I got lots of feedback and ideas from other people showing and also the public and generally I think people agree that I need some sort of large scale image that I can hang behind my stall and perhaps one day have collapsable sides and back so that my stall is a little more self contained. Having a back wall to my stall would also help me to hang work and images behind my table and show a larger range of my work.
Farnham Maltings was a brilliant setting for the Festival of Crafts and I'd love to visit or exhibit again in the future! Spending time in a beautiful part of the country and time with a close friend of mine while down there made the whole weekend much more enjoyable and memorable.
When the urge takes you, you have to design draw!! Even if it is 1.00AM. You might end up designing something that looks like the result of a fever dream, but then again you might stumble across an idea you want to take a bit further.... I think last night I experienced the latter.
I decided to get out some old cabochon stones that I've been harbouring for about 5 years, waiting for the right time to make something which includes them. I've never been happy enough with an idea to use these stones, hence the reason why I've been holding on to them for such a stupid amount of time. It's not like the stones are particularly precious or unusually breath taking, but I've found myself getting them out and instantly putting them away again more times than I care to remember, because 'thats not nice enough for these stones!'
The only thing I can think of to help explain how I feel about these really quite ordinary stones is.... You know when you come across a particularly nice packet of biscuits and you don't want to eat them all at once, and you sure as hell don't want anyone else to eat them before you get the chance, so you hide them in a secret place.... Then you just end up looking at the biscuits because there's never an appropriate time to eat them or a event worthy of the nice biscuits to make an appearance? So in the end you probably just throw the biscuits away because they've gone off?? This stone situation feels pretty similar to me.
Well! I've decided that I'm going to crack out these biscuits once and for all and binge eat them in one go! The design drawing last night has really spurred me on to actually make something which includes these stones for perhaps the first time! It's also inspired me to buy some more stones in varying shapes, sizes and colours to then, if I'm lucky, create a new collection. My Jewellery making friend won't be happy with me.... starting yet another collection, but when the inspiration gets you, you have to run with it and see what you end up with.... Right? I don't currently have a collection that is really time consuming, intricate and includes stones, and I think I'd really enjoy creating something like that. My new workshop set up gives me the flexibility to leave things lying around to then pick up a day or two later and carry on with the same piece of work. I'm hoping this means that not just this idea, but other ideas and existing collections will develop over time.
Is it just me or does anyone else fancy a biscuit right about now??
So I've been working hard the last few weeks getting my new workshop up and running after the move a couple of weekends ago. I've left my pretty green shed in the garden behind and moved indoors. Although I won't miss the hundreds of spiders and other creepy crawlies, It was definietly an emotional moment when I closed the door for the last time on an empty shed. A lot of time has been spent in that good old shed and I'm going to miss it, but it's time to move on and let my dad keep his lawn mower in there I guess.
I'm hoping that now my workshop is indoors, that I'll be able to work a little more without fear of spider attack and also with more dedication. The cold and wet weather is no doubt approaching, if not already upon us, and having a space in doors will help me keep making when its miserable outside. I'm also hoping that having it near by will help me to start creating and developing some new ranges of work that are more detailed and time consuming.
On another note, look how pretty the sky was last night.
Sorry for the incredibly LATE post....I'm not turning out to be very good at this blogging malarkey! So I'll make this one quick.
The Big Art Show, what a useful and interesting weekend! I was able to meet some really great artists and designers also exhibiting at the show and share some tips and advice with each other. As always the public were very complementary of my work and Busy Budgie made a few sales along the way.
The show is in its infancy, so I just hope it can continue to grow, develop and achieve great things. Perhaps even have me back next year!
I had a really enjoyable time at sock fair in March. Although it wasn't as busy as I had anticipated, I still got to meet lots of brilliant makers and the organisers as well as the public. I'd definitely like to go back next year! A very tiring weekend that I think I'm still recovering from! If that's the case I'm dreading what some of the summer shows I have lined up are going to do to me!
Jo is a jewellery designer maker, based in Birmingham. She creates mostly Silver and Gold pieces, along with the odd bit of Felt and colourful jewellery when the fancy takes her