Monday, 25 March 2013

Countdown for the British Craft Trade Fair

This will be my third year at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate, an annual event which promotes about 500 designer/makers to a captive audience of galleries, gift shops, students, and invited public.

Each year I have shared a stand with Samantha Robinson who you will have read about in my recent collaboration.  It isn't the first time we have worked together.  Last year we started a jewellery callaboration which has gone from strength to strength.  Our 2012 collection RSVP which is a sensitive combination of porcelain and lace tatting has proved to be a good seller.

This year the event starts on Sunday 7th April 2013.  We are bringing to the event a new collection entitled "Wish you were here..." As the title suggests it will have a strong connection to the seaside.  I am really excited to present this collection as unlike RSVP it is totally away from our normally style of working.

Our stand number is:  419

Hope to see you there!!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Working in a Collaberation

Collaboration is working with each other to do a task. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals.

When I embarked on the collaboration for the "Synchronise" exhibition I needed to ask myself what I could put into the mixing pot and what I hoped to get out of it.

The decision to work with two people as opposed to one was the easiest decision.  I had already worked on a collaboration with one person, so I understood the process, so working with an additional person would just change the dynamics slightlyOf course each collaboration is going to be different but I do feel the same route to a successful collaboration will apply.

Sharyn Dunn, Me and Samantha Robinson hold a Skype call

1.  Sharing your ideas, your outlook and the way you work as designer-makers. By sharing ideas, you all become part of the design process and initial ideas will blossom into realized dreams.

2.  Respect: Learn to give and receive respect from those you choose to work with.  Understand and try to accept each others strengths and weaknesses and use this to your advantage.  Doing this will enable you to have an effective team working towards a common goal and a strong and success outcome.
3Communication:   It goes without saying that you will need to form effective communication with your collaborators.  Listening carefully, and voicing your views will ensure you gradually move forward to a conclusion.  I found with my current collaboration we didn't always speak up and in consequence precious time was wasted, but this is something I have learnt and be aware of next time I collaberate. I guess what I'm trying to say is we don't like conflict.  Unfortunately, sometimes we need to bite the bullet and air our views in order to move forward effectively and smoothly.  Our meetings were held at our studios but sometimes due to weather constraints we did video calls.  We all found this a bit difficult.  Being creatives, we tend to be tactile, so viewing work on the screen was quite frustrating.

 4. The Journey: Enjoy the journey.  Experience the ups and downs, twists and turns and relish the conclusion.  During your time working together you will learn so much which you will be able to move into your own creative practice without realizing it has happened.  One of the things I came away with was I need to leave myself more room to enjoy initial ideas before I move on to the design process.  Give myself time to play and explore a little longer.  I have also discovered how much I enjoyed working larger scale; the challenge, the complexities and the final visual piece.  Something I envisage doing in a solo capacity in the future.   

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Made in Northamptonshire Pop-up Shop

Last week I went along to the pop-up shop on St Giles Street in Northampton, where I have some of my work.  I had been asked by Morag Ballantyne from Creative Northants if I would mind being interviewed in the shop for NEP (Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership) and LOVE NORTHANTS.  Being a lady that is usually quick off the mark, I managed to mesh this with a stint as a shop assistant which is part of the agreement.

Since the shop opened in December 2012, I havent had the opportunity to visit.  I was eager to see how the shop was laid out, it's location and what other Designer/Makers were supplying the shop.  I have to say I wasn't disappointed.

The shop is situated on St Giles Street which is centrally located.  The layout of the shop is over two floors.  The downstairs being the main selling area for jewellery and home items and the upstairs a rather super gallery space.  I explored both and I have to say that the shop has a lovely feel to it.  This is all in part to Helen Senogles who runs the shop.  She has a good eye for detail and allows each peice of work to compliment the next.

Here is some of the work you are likely to see by local Designer/Makers:-

I spotted these beautiful italian leather sketchbooks and notebooks in the window.  They are made by handbag designer Aysha Warrak.

Glancing around these handbags almost jumped into my arms.  Felt handbags with vintage buttons handstitched over their surface. These small and unique bags are beautifully crafted by Val Goldfinch. I have added one of these to my wish list.

On my way up to the gallery space I spotted these heads by Diane Hopkins and immediately thought of gargoyles and Easter Island.

The shop houses the work of 40 local Designer/Makers, so if you are fed up with the high street, factory produced monotony and perhaps would rather spend your money on good quality locally crafted loveliness and would like to support individual makers then this is the locale for you.

Finally, as the camera crew arrived, I spotted these two beauties by Diane Macre.  Unfortunately, their schedule had been changed and they didn't have time to include me in their interview.  However, I did get to witness Helen, promote the shop, the makers and her pride in Northamptonshire.  Well Done Helen.