Monthly Archives: July 2012

Honest update

OK, so here goes, am going to be as open and honest as I can………

So, yes, I have set up this business, selling my work. What is it like to do this? Well here are the questions I ask myself all the time…..

Why exactly are you doing this?

I want to be able to make enough money to pay for one half decent holiday a year, cover the cost of having a cleaner (which we don’t yet have!) and allow me to always be there for my children – sports days (when they are not cancelled due to inclement weather) parents evenings, assembly, friends round for tea after school etc.

What makes your work so special – loads of people try to do arty-farty crafty stuff, and a lot of them are way better than you….

Well…. All my work is original, I never copy anyone else’s designs. I like to think my lampshades in particular are more than just an average lampshade as they each contain an original work of art. I think my style is unique – at least, I haven’t come across anyone doing exactly the same thing. And people do seem to be buying my work – and not just people I know either, which is amazing!

So what happens to the rest of life whilst you are busy sorting out this business?

Erm….. well, I have to admit, we really do need a cleaner as it is hard to fit everything in, and something has to give – the main thing that ‘gives’ is the house – I am not the best at cleaning and tidying anyway, and neither are the rest of my little family, so it’s not good really. Enough said. I know I am not spending as much time with my children, husband, family and friends as I could/should/want to but I really hope they all understand why, and that hopefully it isn’t in vain and in a couple of years I might be making a healthier profit, be a bit more organised, and be able to fit it all in a bit better.

And what about your health and sanity?

Yes, yes, I know…. I spend most evenings working on the computer or cutting new work until way past my old standard bedtime of 10pm (now more like midnight before I turn the light out). And every spare moment, and many more moments that aren’t really spare at all, are spent trying to work out social networking stuff, and finding possible retailers, and coming up with new ideas, and pricing structures, and craft fairs, and advertising, and finding other people like me who might be able to help and advise, and working out what my customer wants, and editing images, and updating stock lists, and…… ad infinitum. I am trying to remember to eat and drink appropriate things at appropriate intervals, and trying to read a little before bed each night to switch off.

And is it all worth it, is it actually making you happy?

YESSSSS!!!!! Of course it is!! No point in doing it otherwise, is there?!
Have you got any questions you want me to answer? Let me know, and I will try to be as open and honest as I can (to tell the truth, I am a terrible liar!) Don’t forget though, I am away at the moment with limited access, so don’t be dismayed if I don’t answer immediately!

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Thursday Showcase No. 2 Rebecca Louise Wilson

Welcome to the second Thursday Showcase blog. Today I want to share my friend Rebecca Wilson with you! Rebecca and I both sell work through the fantastic website Made By Hands Of Britain. This website specialises in promoting the work of talented UK Designer Makers, and there are some ever so interesting people to be found. Rebecca and I signed to the company around the same time, and it was useful to have another newbie to chat to. I have never seen anything like her work before. It is lots of fun, very individual, and totally unique.

1. Whatsyer name and where d’ya come from?!

Hi, my name is Rebecca and I trade under the name ‘Rebecca Louise Wilson Designs’


2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it?

I studied art and design to A’level but then travel, marriage, home and family took over!  So when my kids were about 8 and 10 I decided to go back to college and did a part-time Art Foundation Course. This was a great way to get back into drawing and making and I felt confident enough to pursue things further, moving onto a full time degree course 4 years ago. I graduated from York College last summer(2011) with a First Class Honours degree in Contemporary Craft and have slowly been working on my business since then. I discovered enamelling in my second year of the degree course and have been hooked ever since!


3. What is the hardest part of your work?

Working from home it can be quite difficult to stay focused, there always seems to be something else to do! Having a dedicated workspace is definitely a bonus, and it’s really important to get feedback from friends/family/twitter etc as working on your own is a bit daunting at times!


4. And what is the most rewarding?

It’s great to hear that someone loves what you have created for them! I’ve done a few commissions which is a bit scary but it’s lovely to make something extra special for your customer.


5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative?

I would say I am a designer-maker.


6. Who from the creative world do you admire?

Anyone who takes pride in their work and makes beautiful things!  There is so much fantastic talent out there! I love colour, pattern and design inspired by nature…OrlaKiely, Rob Ryan, TordBoontje are some of my favourites. Probably my absolute favourite artist is Henri Matisse and I’m always inspired by his bright cut-outs. I love a bit of cutting and sticking!

7. Where does your inspiration come from?

My designs start with naive line drawings and doodles which often find their way onto the finished enamel piece. Simple everyday scenes, trips to the seaside, the countryside near my home all inspire me and I hope my work prompts happy memories!

8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what?

I’ve always got the radio on,  I’m a Radio 1 girl!


9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I’d like to continue to build my business so that ‘Rebecca Louise Wilson Designs’ become an instantly recognisable brand available across the UK and beyond…

Oh, and a little place in the Seychelles would be nice….


10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?!

Ooh, there are too many to name!

Probably ‘time’. It was pretty tricky managing two teenagers, husband and a dog whilst studying for my degree! But that’s where multi-tasking comes in, and if I can survive that, I can survive anything!!

And there you have it – an introduction and insight to Rebecca and her work. If you are a Facebook user, why not check out her new page? If you prefer Twitter, you can find Rebecca here.

I hope you are enjoying my new little series – I certainly am – so interesting to learn  more about interesting people!

And can I just add very quickly, I am very sorry that this is so late in reaching you today – I am in deepest darkest Devon and tinternet is not so reliable in these parts!

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Oh help, it’s the summer!

OK, so it isn’t really much of a summer, but being British I am going to hold my head up high, maintain a stiff upper lip, and jolly well enjoy myself – hear that you rain clouds? You can’t bring me down!

I have been looking forward to the summer holidays with mixed feelings. Firstly, it will be lovely to have some time away with my little family, will be great to catch up with friends and extended family, amazing to have days out, fab that I won’t have to do the school run for six weeks and will have my lovely little girl by my side.

But…… how on earth am I going to get any work done? I don’t make enough money from my business to pay for any holiday clubs or childcare, and also I am not sure I would want to take up that opportunity if I did, so I have to find a way to work whilst the children are here. I am lucky that grandparents will help out a little bit (Grannie currently in the garden with the boy picking the goosegogs which enables me to write this!) and also that we have fab neighbours and friends. Also that my children are just about at the age where I can leave them to play together for short bursts of time.

Not sure how to get round the going away thing though. First off we have a week in Devon with Felicity & Andrew on their amazing farm – brilliant fun for all of us, good food, lovely house, a pool, apple orchards to wander round and many farm animals to feed. There is internet connection there, but I can;t really keep nipping into the kitchen to faff about on Twitter etc – would be most rude!!

It will all look something like this….

Then we have our Olympic week – we are lucky enough to have tickets to two events – Womens basketball and Mens hockey, a week apart, and even more lucky that Grannie lives in London so we have somewhere to stay. And again, there is internet connection there, but I will be too busy doing exciting London things with the children.

And at the end of the summer we have two weeks in the cottage in Wales – absolutely no chance of internet connection there – not even a mobile phone signal unless you climb up to the top of the steep track! And I am not sure if Mid Wales has internet cafes!! (If you live near Cefon Coch or Llanfair Caereinion and know of any, please let me know!) Incase you haven’t been to Mid Wales, it looks like this… (I think it might be Happy Valley? Somewhere near there)

So, you will be reading this post on Monday, it having actually been written last Wednesday. I will have nipped into the farmhouse kitchen to quickly ‘publish’ it and tweet /fb the link, and then I will no doubt be off to feed some chickens, chase the children, or chop some wood – you get the idea. So I am sorry this is not as straight and direct as I would like it to be, but at least it is here! And please keep a watch out for posts on a Thursday – I will hopefully have a fully prepared schedule of interesting people for you to meet!

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Thursday Showcase no. 1 Kirsty. M

Hello, and welcome to the first of a short series of blog posts which will introduce you to a wide range of interesting people I have had the good fortune to meet through online networking since I set up business in January. Check in every Thursday over the summer to find out more about these lovely folk!

OK, so first up we have the fabtastic Kirsty. M. As you can see from the above images, she is an amazingly good paper cutter (just like me!!) and I was so pleased to bump into her on her Facebook page – you have no idea how great it is to find someone who seems to be quite similar to you – it can be a very lonely world, running your own creative business on your own from the dining room! Anyway, ’nuff wafflin’ – let’s get on with it…

1. Whats yer name and where d’ya come from?!
For a name I simply used my own name. However I wanted to do it in a modern and different way to other artists and designers out there. So decided to ditch the other letters to my surname and just use the first. Hence calling myself Kirsty.M.

2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it?
I have been doing paper cutting for 6 months now, so quite recent. I first got into paper cutting after finding a few interesting pages of people already doing it. I always loved art and design so I thought this was a great way to fill my spare time, so I gave it a go. I as instantly hooked and started to share my paper cuts with other on social networking sites after a lot of interest in my work I decided to open a business so everyone can enjoy my art in their home.

3. What is the hardest part of your work?
The hardest part at the moment is fitting my paper cutting in to a very busy life. I currently have a high demand full-time job as well as looking after a home. As I hand draw and hand cut all my pieces of art, it takes approx. 8-10 hours to complete a whole piece, if not more for larger sized r more complex work.

4. And what is the most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my work is the lovely comments about my work. To say in just over 6 months I didn’t even know what paper cutting was ,let along picked up a scalpel and tried it out to now having people buying my work and emailing me to create one-off bespoke piece really puts a massive smile on my face.

5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative?
I class myself as an artist mainly, however I would like to see myself as a designer too.

6. Who from the creative world do you admire?
My all time favourite paper cutting artist is Rob Ryan as his work always inspires me to push myself to create amazing pieces of art work. I also admire people like Peter Callesen, Risa Fukui, Brian Dettmer and Su Blackwell who all create amazing things with paper. I could name millions more but I won’t

7. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from all walks of life. It couldn’t pin point the one thing my inspiration comes from. I have an idea in my head, I sketch it out, tweak it a bit then cut it out.

8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what?
I tend to do both, us women are very good at multi tasking. I find it very hard to work in complete silence. If i listen to music while work it could range from The Maccabees to The Smiths to Joy Division to a bit of the cure.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I see myself in 5 years living by the seaside in Cornwall in a cute little cottage with a thriving business selling products ranging from original artwork to cushions, cards, prints, fabric and other amazing products with my designs on. I want popular department stores such as John Lewis and Selfridges to stock and sell my products.

10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?!
I have sacrificed the little spare time I do have to dedicate myself to my art and to achieve my goals.

And there you have it! Now you know a little bit about here, why not go and check out her Facebook page – Kirsty.M. And if you like her work, let her know by liking her page too!

Check in next Thursday for another interesting person!

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Bird & Leaf Lampshade

You may have seen the beginnings of this lampshade on Facebook last week – I am pleased to say it was finished on Friday, and had an outing to a fair on Saturday! Here is the story….

OK, so, first off, I made a start on some paper cutting for a series of Christmas cards. I have to say, I should have perhaps put away the other project I was working on first as I seem to have muddled up in my head which design I was working on and I was thinking about Buddleia when I should have been thinking about baubles, and for some random reason my brain desided to override both, but sticking with the latter B, and so I cut a little birdie, which was rather sweet. And it got me thinking about a design that has been at the back of my mind, slowly taking shape, for a few weeks now. My thoughts had been for a lampshade with birds and grass and so on, thought it would be nice and summery. And I had a piece of yellow fabric in mind for it.

So, whilst I was looking for some green card for the cutting, I came across a papercut I did ages ago, just a sort of foliage type pattern – here is a picture of it….

Does it look familiar? Well if you follow me on twitter (@mrsmcindoe) then you may have spotted that it is my wallpaper. And if you look closely at this blog, you will see there is a grey version of it as my background (is it wallpaper or background? Not really sure!)

And so, I thought I could use that style/pattern/whatever along with the birds, and then perhaps some vines or something to link them together.

So these pictures show the early stages of the design. You might have already seen this over on my Facebook page (mrsmcindoe).

As you can see, I don’t drawer it out first. From the feedback I get from people, this often comes as a surprise – how can you cut without a pattern or a line to follow, how do you know where to cut. Well, look at it this way – the knife is my pen…. or pencil….. when you drawer a picture, you don’t have a line or pattern there already for you to follow (or maybe you do, but in my book that’s cheating!) Anyhoo – I do sometimes think, maybe I should draw a bit out – and so this time, I tried drawing in a bit of the trailing vines…….nope…..didn;t work….I just got all confused and nearly made a  big mistake! So totally freehand it is from now on! I suppose I should add (because if I don;t I will feel like I have mislead you) that the original bird I cut out I used to line up where I wanted the birds on the lampshades, andso I did use a template in some way – but I did’t cut strictly round it! Honest! I am not sure why this is so important to me, but it really is!

And so here it is….the finished shade. What do you think? I am rather pleased!

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As I mentioned, the shade had its first public airing at The Guildhall in Worcester on Saturday. A friend was having a shoe sample sale there (hundreds of amazing Italian and Spanish shoes), and in return for help with setting up and packing away, she let me have a little side-show of my shades and other work. Gottta love working with other local small businesses! By they way, if you want to go onto the mailing list for the next shoe sale (once a quarter at The Guildhall) let me know and I will pass your details on.

Anyway, the lampshade – it had lots of admiring glances, and one lady who has gone home to measure her lamp base and see if it will fit!

Overall I am very happy with the design. I didn’t manage to get any grass in there as originally planned, but I did fit in vines – win some, lose some I guess! The only slight problem is that the green of the cutting does not really show through. I did realise it probably wouldn’t when I started as the paper is quite thick, but I carried on regardless – hey, who likes perfect anyway!

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A little bit of sunshine

Yay for the sunshine! Have had a very happy morning so far, and I am sure it is down to the lovely sunshine we ar having in Worcester today. I have had a great morning at the park with my smallest chimp and a gentle stroll home along the river. All this sunshine and fresh air and general wonderfulness are perfect for helping a whirling mind settle on some creative possibilities – am narrowing down a few options of projects to work on next.

First project will be a yellow lampshade, in praise of the sun, and hopefully with a green papercut in nit, which may or may not show through as green, I will have to experiment. Am thinking birds and vines, and have a little birdy in mind that I cut by mistake  the other night when I was actually thinking about Buddleia…. funny how things turn out!

Second project is Christmas related – have kind of agreed in my had on my colour scheme and general ideas for a range of Christmas cards – I know it is a long way off, but if I want to get them done, agreed on, printed, packed and into the shops, I haven;t actually got that long at all once you factor in long summer holiday with two small chimps!

And I have also been doing a lot of thinking about craft fairs. I am finding that for me they are really not working very well, and so next year I am going to have to be far more choosy about which ones I do. I think I need to find one to do on a regular basis, rather than random ones here and there. If I had done my research properly when I started out in January, I probably would have found this out, but then back in January I thought I was going to be mainly doing greetings cards, not bespoke lampshades!

RIght, well, I a going to get back to my lovely sunny day – am watching my neighbours teenage boy mow my lawn which is very pleasing – not the looking at the boy part, it’s that fact that I don’t have to cut it myself, I don’t have to nag, nag, nag, nag, nag the husband to do it, and I get to give an unemplyoyed local lad a bit of cash to take his girlfriend out with – everyone’s a winner!

Oh, and as I haven’t given you any lovely pics of new lampshades and whatnot to look at, here are a few of sunny days instead…. it is a rather random selection, and some are not very good (the endless quest for a decent close up of a butterfly!) but to me this is what I think of when I think of summer and sunny days.

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Lovely Ludlow

I have been so busy over the last week or so, I completely forget to tell you that I have a fab new retailer on board – yay! I delivered a load of stock to them last week, so hopefully it will be on the shelves about now.

The shop in question is Kaboodle and they are in Ludlow. They also have an online store – check it out here – Kaboodle  I really love their…what do you call it….um…. mission statement? have a read ….

Kaboodle – Diverse World – an eclectic mix for the free thinking, rejecting the hype and falsehoods of the lifestyle merchants. Embracing     diverse global cultures where choice is your given freedom – inspiration to balance your world.

So if you are in the area, pop in and have a look, see if you can find my cards amongst a myriad of other treasures. It is an especially good shop if you like all things owl and rabbit!

I have to say, if you haven’t been to Ludlow, it really is worth a visit. I am thinking of planning a small weekend away there, even though it is very close to where I live!! There seem to be plenty of nice pubs and restaurants, and some great shopping – lots of independents, which is always good to see.We managed to find  a really lovely deli with lots of local produce from which we had the most amazing sage and apple scotch egg (which they very kindly cut into four for us, having no knife as we were having an impromptu picnic!) Have a nosy – Deli on the Square . There is also the amazing castle. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go and have a look, so will have to arrange a return visit.

I was very lucky, and managed to time my visit to coincide with one of their food and craft markets. We had the most amazing Shropshire blue and red onion bread from one of the stalls, plus a feta and rosemary focaccia – mmmmmm. I also met a really lovely lady called Lola, who makes the most wonderful original artwork. She regularly has a stall there, so pop down and hunt her out – or if you can’t make it, check out her website to see what she does, and also find out where else she has a stall – Lola Charles.

Right, that’s enough of my trip to Ludlow – sorry to have gone slightly off topic there, just thought I would share with you a really enjoyable day! And maybe I might have inspired you to have a weekend away in this lovely place!

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Dodgy video

Ok, so I have made a dodgy video – you are lucky I am putting it on here, as I really don’t like it. Or maybe that should be unlucky that I am subjecting you to it!!

The major problem with it is that I can’t work out how to stop the laptop from making strange random whirling sounds, which crop up every now and then through the video – seriously unprofessional. Then of course there was the husband walking across the background, and then the phone ringing – it was a lot harder than I thought.

And here we have it – the next hurdle – I can’t upload the flamin’ thing on to the blog – grrrrrrrr – there must be some way to do it without having to resort to a blog upgrade. I have a horrible feeling about this, as I think I know what I have to do, and I don’t want to do it. Am going to go and research…..

…….and yes, it is as I thought…… I am going to have to put it on YouTube for all the world to see. Now, I know that all the world can come and see my blog anytime, but YouTube – everyone has heard of that, and looks for stuff on it – what if someones SEES it!! I don’t mind you lovely blog readers seeing it so much, as I feel I kind of know you – well, some of you I have actually met – many times! (waves to Felicity!)

Big sigh, OK, am going to go and do it…….am spurred on by how well my lovely Shiny Pigeon friend manages to do hers, and I don’t see her making a big fuss about it! In fact, whilst I go and suss out how to make it work, why don’t you check out her blog – shinypigeon

And finally, half an hour later, it has uploaded to YouTube – so here you go…

mrsmcindoe and her terrible video!

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glass half empty, or glass half full?

What a week this is turning into! I’m not even going to mention the ‘            ‘ which as we all know has been unseasonable to say the least. But, in other areas, it has not been a good week so far either.

Firstly there was the disasterous cutting, which you already know about.I am almost at the point of seeing the funny side, but not quite.

Then we have had the news that our camera is non repareable – apparently it is out of date and they no longer make the parts – we thought we had only had it a couple of years – amazing how a couple of years can actually add up to more like 8 years!

On top of this we have had the cancellation of the school mini olympics, due to bad ‘         ‘.So total re-plan of how tomorrow will run. I mean, I know I will have more time to do what I need to, but some how that isn’t helping with my plan as I now have faffing about time before my trip to Ludlow.

To make it even worse, my 2 year old will not stop repeating his bestest joke, which really, is not all that great.In fact, not even really a joke at all!

I have also had a bit of a nightmare with Linked In this week after accidently inviting everyone I have ever e-mailed to ‘connect’ with me – have ended up with some very interesting connections, including a couple of people I really don’t care for – and now it would just be trez rude to delete them, no?

AND total PTA overload – we had a big thinger at school on Friday which was fab, but then the fall out is that as joint treasurer there is alot of adding up and messing about with receipts and dishing funds back out blah de blah – its hard work when both parites involved in these delicate financial entanglements are being yanked this way and that by impatient school children and screached at by hungry toddlers.

But, I am not generally a glass half empty kinda gal, so lets look on the positive side…… lets see how many I can come up with…..

1. I am delivering lots of stock to a new retailer tomorrow – watch out Ludlow! Will report more in another post!

2. I am all ready prepared for my stall at the local high school summer fair – how orgaise am I!!

3. I managed to clean the bathroom floor today (might not seem like alot to you, but its a big nasty job to me!)

4. I am on the verge of signing up to a regularly monthly craft fair at a place I very much admire – watch this space for news on that one, and if you are a Worcester/Malvern person intersted in a monthly craft fair, get in touch and I will tell you more.

5. I have managed to turn my studio back into a dining room in time for the weekend.

6. I made a new lampshade – I like it very much – here is a picture!

This rings me to my final point – we have 17 people in da house this weekend.! Nine adults, eight children, and lots of terrible ‘              ‘ – what could possily go wrong?! Should be lots of fun! Old friends from school/London/Bristol days who are all a huge part of our lives still. Loads of beds to make up, a mahoosive supermarket shop to do, lots of cleaning and tidying, and meal planning etc. and a huge amount of cleaning up and washing to do when they have all gone home. Depends which way you look at it – glass half empy? Nah, most definately half full!

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July Already!

Wowzers – we are in July – that means I have officially been in business for 6 months. I guess i should do some figures and work out how things are going. From the last bumbling around with the books, I think I might actually be doing OK – not sure why I am so surprised! There is still a huge way to go, but hopefully I have made a good start.

I was hoping to have something very exciting to show you this morning, but no – it hasn’t really worked. The thing is, amazing as I am, not every idea works! What I had been trying to do was to cut a skull (standard paper, not a real one, although…..am giving myself ideas!) I had a go last night and spent ages doing it. I thought it was coming out OK, but once it was finished, it just looked a bit pathetic really, and not that much like a skull at all. Total rubbish. It was very disappointing. So…. I am not showing you any pictures today. But to make up for it, here are a couple of links to some rather good skulls, if that’s your thing….

Firstly, the amazing Kirsty Mason – I love her style of cutting. Check out her blog for her fab skull, and many other great works.

And if you really like skulls, check out the Skull Appreciation Society

So there you have it, sorry I have not been able to be more interesting this morning – it’s hard work, this blog malarkey! I think this post wins ‘most terrible post’ award, and perhaps I shouldn’t even publish it, but I did say to myself that if I was going to do this blog I would do it honestly and openly, which means sharing with you the failures and the rubbish boring bits aswell as any excitingness, so there you have it. I am hoping that I will have something exciting for you later in the week – a brave new project that I have started – all will be revealed by Thursday, I promise!

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