(Hopefully) Earning A Living as a Maker

As you know by now from previous posts, I have my first craft fair – the Whetstone Baptist Church Christmas Fayre – next Saturday. Here are some more makes: etched copper candlestick, beaded candles on individually etched glass plates, a resin encased watch-parts pendant and faux-enamelled jewellery pieces.

It’s been a tricky thing to price up all these items. I can easily work out the material costs. I know how much time each has taken to make. It’s a little harder to work out the time taken in research, and even more tricky to know exactly how much time and energy has gone into the development, trials and failures that are inevitable in making items. Throw into the mix what you think people are likely to be prepared to pay, what they might be able to afford, and what else might be on sale around you… Suffice to say that the marked prices for all the items on the stand will not reflect my time and skill set.

Trouble is, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the making process, designing the packaging, and setting up the stand. But will it pay off? Or the bills? I’ll let you know.

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Art Journal Page: What’s in a word?

IMG_6274For those that don’t know, I have recurrent depression, with relatively frequent episodes of lows and pretty good recovery in between. You may correctly guess I’m struggling at the moment, based on my art journal reflections today (which are based on my ruminations in the shower this morning). Now, I don’t normally share autobiographical stuff, but the topic of depression is being discussed elsewhere in the crafting world and I felt moved to share my own experiences of this mental (absence of) health issue – the more we talk about mental illness, the less threatening it might be for someone else.

What’s in a word? Recurrent – it’s a cruel word. You don’t hear of people being recurrently happy. Or recurrent joy. Those too can be ‘unending’ but recurrent has it’s root in the Latin to ‘turn back’. And with recurrent depression, it’s like that – only a passive result of chemicals misbehaving rather than a conscious turning from ‘health’. It’s especially cruel, I think, as recovery between makes the downs even more difficult to deal with. Though medication is helping, and next week I’m going to be discussing throwing a mood stabiliser into the mix as well, there’s not a lot I can do to stop an episode occurring. Or recurring. Resilience disappears out of the window in the middle of an episode, and everything is an effort. I am lucky enough to be aware enough not to curl up in a ball, and capable enough to at least do some of my normal activities – even if they take up twice as much time and energy as they otherwise would. I am lucky enough to still have hope – I know at some point the bleakness will lift. It’s the not knowing exactly when, or how long for that’s the killer. And on that topic, I’m also blessed not to have suicidal thoughts or ideas that often accompany depression – but I so understand where they come from. I am supported by an extremely understanding wife and a close group of church friends, and indeed customers, who cope with me whatever state I happen to be in – and that’s worth keeping going for.

Back to business: background is acrylic paints in teal/brown/black – I think they were part brayered on, part swiped. Main word is stamped in Hickory Smoke Distress Paint. Rest of text in Sharpies.

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500,000 views and still growing

Dear loyal blog followers,

Thank you so much for taking my view count to just a smidge over 500,000 views in just five years. I know from your comments, purchases and much needed ad revenue that you still find my corner of the internet interesting enough to visit regularly. To each one of you, thank you 🙂

Can’t wait to get to the million mark!

Neil

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Missing an end of term deadline…

I’m normally one to meet deadlines with time to spare… for instance, all my Craftwork Card samples are always delivered in time for the shows on Create & Craft.

This project was started in my final term at college, some two years ago now. It was part of my geometric constructions for lanterns (featured here), and I made a wireframe cage based on the same shape. The idea was to then grow salt crystals over the wire frame and photograph it as part of my final major project. As anyone who has tried growing crystals knows, it takes time – and in this case, the piece didn’t finish ‘growing’ until 6 months later, well after I’d finished my extended diploma. Since then, it’s languished in its protective bucket on a shelf in my studio waiting to be photographed. Prompted by a need for more space, I got the camera out late last night and took the photos. I think it was worth the wait…

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Altered Art Samples

Aside from feverishly making samples for Craftwork Cards latest collection (details on their blog as well), I have been preparing for my next demonstration day at Coleman’s Craft Warehouse on Saturday 6th December. I’ve been given the (rather broad) title of ‘Altered Art Tips & Tricks’, so I’ve been busy gathering together ideas and samples to share.

Brand new, especially created for the day, are these altered paper mache letters featuring embossed card, inka gold and tarmac technique; napkin decoupage; Tim Holtz/Ideaology/Distress techniques; acrylic crackle and beads.

IMG_5472_wThis is a Tando Creative mini-print tray decorated with the Christmas Post set from Craftwork Cards – I’ve a quick trick to share with you for colouring in the frame. Embellishments by Mark Richards via Woodware stockists.

I’ll also be revealing my ‘Artist’s Palette’ assemblage for its very first public viewing, as well as bringing along my ‘Sewing Room’ assemblage for your inspiration and sharing ideas. Hope to see you there 🙂

 


It might seem quiet…

It might seem quiet, since I have neglected to post on this ‘ere blog in a little while. For regular readers, you know this is probably due to me being silly busy and not finding a moment to update! Well, you’re not wrong…

I’ve been prepping and delivering staff training at Coleman’s Craft Warehouse on Viva Decor products (yesterday) and I’ll be there demo’ing there again for their Big Demo Day on Saturday between 10-4. There’s also two workshops (bookable via their website) on 25th October, when you’ll be able to get your hands all inky with the same products.

I’ve also launched an Art Journaling Session here at the Studio, meeting on the first Monday of the month – and it’s already full! The homework this month was to choose and journal a favourite quote… here’s mine:

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Simple background to emphasise the extravagance of the colour in the word, and a bit of sparkle added with Stickles. Oh, and I didn’t hand draw the text in case you were wondering. I designed it on the computer, printed and then traced it out.

I’ve also been designing this year’s Christmas cards… Spoiler alert – if you don’t want to see what you might get through the door in a couple of months’ time, look away now 😉

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Stamp is an oldie from Stampendous, embossed with WOW! Metallic Bronze onto watercolour paper. The dove is masked, the paper spritzed with water and then Purple Brusho sprinkled, teased and dried to get the nebular appearance. Oh, it didn’t quite look right in blue.

I also had the fastest sample turnaround ever yesterday afternoon – I got back in from teaching at 2:15pm, opened a package from Craftwork Cards that had arrived not an hour before, and was crafting by 2:30pm. Five samples in 90 minutes, labelled and packed and to the post office by 4:45pm for 9am special delivery (how much!?!?) for today’s Create & Craft TV shows with the lovely Julie Hickey. Phew!

And talking of Craftwork Cards, I’ve been helping out with graphics and the inaugural Project of the Month over at the official Craftwork Cards Fan Page over on Facebook. For details of how to make this ‘Christmas Kisses’ card, pop over to the page, ask to join if you haven’t already and look for the POTM header 🙂

Christmas Kisses