Monday, 23 May 2011

There's Room!

WARNING! Proud mother moment coming up!

The third issue of Ffion's zine is out now and it's a particularly lovely one. This one is called 'There's Room' and features photographs loosely based around the theme of structures and the places we live taken by 20 photographers.

It's a limited edition of 75 and is available here.

Creative Enterprise at the Do What You Love Retreat

(photo NavyBlur)

Despite being a little nervous beforehand, my creative enterprise session at the Do What You Love Retreat was a real treat. This is me (having a larf) on the sofa next to Matt Stinchcomb (Mr Etsy man) being interviewed by the lovely Beth. The sofas placed on either side of the lamp lit coffee table inspired a mock TV chat show and we were greeted like celebrities with a 'mwa' on each cheek to an applauding audience. Haha it was fun!

(photo NavyBlur)

Etsy Matt could talk for England, or should I say Germany (he is now head of Etsy for Europe and is based in Berlin) and entertained us with the story of Etsy and it's remarkable growth since it was but an idea in his room mates head only six years ago. What an inspiring story. Two guys who didn't really know what they were doing who had an idea and set about making it happen. Rob didn't know anything about building a website but bought an HTML book and had a go, and Matt who knew nothing of marketing but was given this new role. Between them (and a few others) they made Etsy happen. WOW! It was a real tale of 'starting before you're ready' and learning as you go along! There were lots of fascinating Etsy related tales and tips and I wish I had been in the audience with a notebook so I could have a hope of remembering them all.

(photo NavyBlur)
And I guess my story was one of learning as I went along too. Beth introduced me and Radiance in such a sweet and endearing way, inspired by visiting last year and being served by my Dad. My story emphasised that I started small and worked in tiny baby steps gently growing my business at the same time as growing my kids! I started with nothing, no business knowledge really, no money to speak of but a little spark of an idea, which eventually sparked another idea, which ignited another...and so on.

(photo NavyBlur)
I guess when you take small steps like this it doesn't seem like you're moving very far and when opportunities arise like this invitation to share my personal story to a group of amazing people from all around the world it invited me to look back and acknowledge how far I've come. I'm grateful to Beth for that opportunity. (oooh I'm making myself weep here).

But someone in the audience, (brilliant photographer Kat Sloma) wasn't really concentrating ;). She was entranced by the checkerboard shape created by the lamps and this glass of wine and wishing she could run over and capture it on camera! Glad I hadn't drunk it all by the time the talk was over!

'Fresh', an exhibition at The New Leaf Gallery

I am pleased to be part of the 'Fresh' exhibition at The New Leaf Gallery in Monmouth. Isn't this a pretty flyer. It's nice to be alongside these two talented artist. I am loving the work of Clare Mahoney. Such beautiful pebbles. And the Jane Ormes prints are gorgeous. The exhibition starts on the 28th May and runs until the 9th July so if you're in the area to go and have a look. I wish I was closer as I'd very much like to see!

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Do What You Love Retreat!

The last few days at the Do What You Love Retreat have been AMAZING. I was right in my last post when I said something special was about to happen. It absolutely did! Where to start...

The accommodation was spectacular. This was our classroom (check out the tipi on top of the hill). The workshops were so much fun. I did the workshop with Priscilla Jones.

Here are Rachael Taylor and Etsy Matt at work. The first day we made tools to paint with and painted onto tissue with dyes (playing like kids). Then in the afternoon we did mono printing on top of our pictures.

Then we made a framework out of wire and then covered it in silk and wax (Priscilla's special technique). Ellie here is making a cup cake.

(photo by NavyBlur)

I had to make something that lit up so I made a wonky standard lamp! You'll see the finished result later.

We had hours of chatting and getting to know each other. It was soooo nice.

(photo by NavyBlur)

The details were to cry for. Beth had made everyone a welcome pack full of beautiful goodies.

We ate home cooked food in a tipi adorned with garlands and lanterns.

The creative enterprise sessions were inspiring. We had Q&A sessions with painter Flora Bowley, artist Priscilla Jones, Rachel Hazell the book maker, surface pattern designer Rachael Tayler and there was the session with myself and Matt Stinchcomb from Etsy. What a guy he was. I was more nervous than i thought but it was such a cosy session. Beth had set it up like a TV chat show with sofas and a coffee table lit by the light of my lamps. I haven't got a picture (really honestly it did happen) but the official photographers took lots of pictures (they were an amazing young couple full of energy and life, Navyblur and they photographed EVERYTHING) and the whole thing was filmed so I will maybe be able to see it and share it sometime soon. I might tell you more about that another time. It was a great honour to be there though I can tell you!

We did Kundalini yoga with the lovely Devi Kirin every morning (except one, i was knackered). It was lovely! Tried it outside but it was a bit windy!

We had gallery night where we shared our work.

This was Devi Krins.

This was Floras painting.

The books made with Rachel Hazel made me cry. They were like treasures.

I have decided I'm going to go and do one of her courses in the Summer Isles next year.

This is my crazy standard lamp. Someone said it looked like the Borrowers had made it. hahaha

I have put more images on Flickr.

But, I will save the best until last. The absolute best thing that happened were all the personal connections made. Creative souls coming together with one common goal. To Do What We Love! There was such a special buzz around the place, everyone learning from one another and inspiring each other on our creative journeys.

(photo by NavyBlur)

I have brought back so much - a renewed energy, new friends, new plans, a quiet confidence in what I'm doing, some new dreams to explore but the best thing I have brought back is the spirit of the place. It is still with me. This spirit can now carry on shining in the real world!

Thanks Beth. So wonderful to be a part of your dream coming true! Well done you!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Something special is about to happen!

The Do What You Love Retreat starts tomorrow! The course is fully books and lots of creative souls are journeying from all over the world to a peaceful and beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales to take part. It's very exciting. I'm quite nervous...I'm always stupidly nervous about what to pack. Hahaha. I'm an anxious packer but on a deeper level than 'what the heck am I going to wear' there is the feeling that something really special is about to happen...

This is a retreat about people finding the inspiration and tools to 'do what they love' with their lives and as I am lucky enough to be doing just that I have been asked to come along as a guest speaker and share my story, insights and experience and really there isn't anything I would rather do in life other than to have the chance to inspire others on their creative journeys.
To top it off I'm going to be doing my Q&A session with Matt Stinchcomb who is the head of Etsy for Europe. Goodness me! This guy has been around Etsy since the beginning and was one of Etsys first employees. He has helped it grow it to become the huge and wonderful business that it is today. Can't wait to meet him. It's going to be an interesting conversation that's for sure. Beth Nicholls the founder of Do What You Love (click on her link and read about her, she's amazing) will be interviewing us. Beth has just been featured in this month Marie Claire UK magazine as part of their inspire and mentor campaign where they paired some of Britain’s ‘most exciting young female entrepreneurs’ with leading successful businesswomen. Beth was mentored by Kanya King of the MOBO awards who is also coming to speak on the retreat! Wowee.

So, I've sent off a box of lamps for gallery night, I've got some supplies together for my class with Priscilla Jones (still have to buy some decent scissors), I have written a hundred notes for everyone who will be looking after the shop (Matt,
Dad, Cathy AND Fiona), I have done alot of washing and today I'm going to pack (arg). Then I am ready for the adventure! Three relaxing days of creating and sharing and being inspired with lovely creative people, yoga outside in the mornings, bunnies hopping about, nice food, gorgeous accomodation (sharing a cabin with the lovely Rachel Taylor, apparently voted the happiest person in Britain haha). I think we'll all be very happy indeed!

So I will report back next week and let you know how it all went. Bye for now!x

Sunday, 8 May 2011

day one and two!

I have been digging around in boxes of old CD's which back in the day before Dropbox I used to back up my work (do you know Dropbox, it's a marvellous invention). Some of the photos (the ones made with cheap lining paper) were marked 'day one and two' and these are the first experiments I ever did in making lamps all those years ago.

LinkAt first I lit them with a lamp holder that sat in a milk bottle (I talked about this in my Do What You Love interview). I had this milk bottle with a bulb in it sitting at the side of my desk and I would hold different things over the light to see what they looked like. It must have been on constantly for the first week or two and I actually slightly damaged my retina doing this. My vision in my left eye has never been the same since. I have a little blind spot (so don't try this at home!).

Anyway it's always great to look back on these things, like old sketchbooks and photographs, as it reminds you of different routes that you could have taken but didn't at the time. I love the houses and I plan to re-visit them. At the time that was way too much hand cutting to do for one lamp but now with laser cutting I have a chance! I also love the double layering idea. I bought some plastic spacers to play with this years ago but never carried it through. Something to play with for later.

I'm enjoying writing my book. I'm being quite disciplined about it as I have such a definite deadline. If I was to spend as much time as I am with the book on experimenting with my own work I think I could develop lots of new ideas....ones that fly around but I haven't quite pinned down yet. When the book is done this is what I want to do. To play.....a lot! To play like it's 'day one and two' again and like I have no idea where it is going to take me!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Oui Decor, new stockist in France

It was lovely to get these photographs through from my new (and first) stockist in France, 'Oui Decor'. They have only been open a couple of weeks but Jenny says the lamps are going down well so far!

Oui Decor, 32 Grand Rue, Sauze-Vaussais, 79190 FRANCE
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