Monday, 4 January 2016

Happy New Year!...

Happy New Year! Hello 2016

I hope it's a very happy, healthy and peaceful year for all!

All in all, 2015 was a productive, happy and enlightening year for me.  
It was a year filled with interesting and inspiring opportunities to try new things, meet new people, step out of my comfort zone a bit more to learn and discover new skills...

It was a year where I went with the flow a little more and stressed a little less.
This approach worked well throughout the year and helped me get something off the ground that I have been dreaming of doing for ages...this was the year I launched my first collection of FABRICS over on Spoonflower (US based) and Print Me Pretty (UK based)

I've always enjoyed pattern making, but had felt like I had so much to learn before I could properly get a fabric range together.  This year I finally began to get to grips with it all...and yes, there is absolutely loads I need to learn, but I feel like this is just the beginning and I am really enjoying learning and discovering how to do it, what works and what doesn't.  This is definitely something I will be continuing to do this coming year, I'm loving it!...

Throughout 2015 I designed lots and lots of new greetings card designs for license to my friends at publishers Art Eco Designs and The Heart of a Garden.  They handle pretty much all of the wholesale of my greetings cards and gift wrap products as that's what they do best. They have a lovely big shiny warehouse in Redruth, Cornwall and a very friendly team of people to take care of wholesale orders...I, on the other hand, have a couple of cupboards in my house to store a small stock of cards, a trusty computer, a graphics tablet and a vivid I work closely with them on designs as that's the bit I love doing most of all.  It's a beautiful thing, I hope to be doing lots more work with them again this year.

Last year I filled in lots of the gaps in my occasions card range.  I created designs for many milestone birthday cards for all ages.  The most challenging of these designs was a range of cards for men.  My natural style is very floral and feminine so it was a real step out of my comfort zone to come up with designs which would appeal to men.  However, I learnt that I am capable of creating designs for that market, which made me very proud and happy...

I also designed two new wholesale collections of greetings cards and have some new mug designs in the pipeline for The Heart of a Garden  for this year, which are ready to be launched later this month at the Giving and Living trade fair in Exeter from 17th to 20th January.

Giving and Living is a South West home and gift trade show aimed at the coast and tourism sector.  Lots of my designs will be found there on The Heart of a Garden's stand number B332...

One of the most exhilarating things I did last year, which also proved to be a revelation to me, is that I had the chance to be a guest speaker at a west country, Creative Women in Business meet up.  
I'd not done any public speaking for at least nine years when my lovely friend Helen, who runs the creative women groups, asked me to come along and share some tips about online selling with this fantastic group of women.

I was very nervous, but oh my goodness I enjoyed my day there so much!  
It made me realize how I need to get out more and meet up, face to face with other creative people.  Doing what I do is very solitary work.  I am lucky to have a wonderful group of creative friends I've met through social media and their support and company is utterly wonderful.  That said, chatting via a smart phone or computer is no substitute for being in the same room as other like minded humans.  It wasn't until I did the talk that I realized how much I needed to do this!  Getting out and meeting other creatives is definitely something I aim to do plenty more of in the coming year...

In the summer I rose to another challenge I was lucky to have the opportunity to take up.  I had been invited by my former secondary school to come in and run an 'Art Award' workshop with a group of students aged between 12-13.  This was a whole day of doing art together, with me leading the project for the day.  Although I was initially terrified at the idea of teaching (not something I naturally saw myself as), once I got there all those fears melted away and I had a really great day with some wonderful young adults.  I was blown away by their attitude to the work and their enthusiasm for art.  It reminded me of when I was at school discovering my passion for art and design. I have always felt at home in the art department!...

There were plenty of chances to get out and about and find inspiration last year and I seized every one I could.  In the spring I visited the Outlaw Fair in Bristol and met up with a few of the lovely creative women I had met at the talk I gave. In the summer I had a wonderful, sunny weekend in great company at the Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey.

The highlight of all those days out had to be visiting Banky's Dismaland  in Weston Super Mare, with my husband and few of my very good friends.  It was utterly mind blowing to see so much great art close to where we live.  Nothing like that ever usually happens in our neck of the woods!  I did a blog post about it after our visit, you can catch up on that here if you fancy a virtual trip to Dismaland:

So it's back to business as usual with a whole new shiny year ahead.

Before I get properly stuck into 2016, I want to say some big heartfelt thank you's to those who supported me in 2015....

First and most importantly, thank you to my husband John, he's always there to lend a hand when needed and supports me in all I do.

Thank you to my friends at The Heart of a Garden, who've I been working with for a few years now and have always been great champions of my work. I look forward to lots more fun working with them all this year. 

I'd also like to thank all my lovely design clients, it has been a pleasure to work with you all this past year and I look forward to continuing with projects and starting new ones this year.

Thank you to everyone who has ordered prints and products from me this past year, either from my online shops or from my stockist's shops.  I really appreciate every single purchase as it enables me to continue to do what I love most for my job.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has supported my social networking efforts, your feedback, likes and encouragement keep me going and spur me on - it is truly wonderful to feel part of a very supportive and inspiring online community.


 Here's to a very happy new year for all!

Best wishes