Tuesday, 12 August 2014

My silk proofing is here!! Sneak preview!

Having clicked 'send' for the file below to go the my chosen silk printers.......

......I got back from France to a note from the Post Office telling me to pick up a parcel. Da da daaaaaah!

Last year was the year that got away from me. I'd intended to have products to sell for the Autumn lead up to Christmas and didn't make it due to those pesky personal circumstances. I started the New Year with renewed good intentions, making use of the 'Do What You Love' New Year's Revolution kit to focus my thinking. Not a new way of thinking for me as I've worked on & developed projects in various fields over the years, but it's always useful to get a timely nudge and reminder via a well loved blog.

So, back in January I decided I wanted to

  • be more balanced & focussed, less stressy & impatient; 
  • become more confident in my artwork and in my ability eventually to make some income from it;
  • to have created a product with which to test my quality and appeal 

The kit suggested we write down things we believed were true about ourselves but which were holding us back from our goals and then, in the adjacent column, write the things we believed could become true for us in 2014 (ie the opposite of the first column). Mine looked something like this: 

Holding me back

Could become true in 2014

I can’t settle on what my style is / should be / could be

Through the ‘Make it in Design course’, I will find my style
I can’t decide what patterns etc suit what products best

Through the course and through practice / prototypes, I will learn what patterns suit which products

I find it difficult to believe in my abilities as an artist

Through the course and through practice, my abilities and therefore my confidence will grow

I find it difficult to believe the world has space for / needs / desires my art / product

Thorough market research will allow me to discover my niche market
My lack of self-belief and my proneness to a guilty sense that I am not financially justified in attempting this path, diffuses my focus.  This is partly rooted in the sense that, as a self-taught artist, people won’t take me seriously.

By committing to the course I will overcome that sense that people won’t take me seriously. I will give myself the necessary breathing space and time to develop, experiment, learn and ultimately discover whether or not I can make it work.

Since I believe I am only on this earth this one time, I HAVE to commit to trying this thoroughly or I will end up on my death bed, still asking ‘What if?’ and ‘If only I had…..’.   Melodramatic but, oh so true!

How am I doing now, eight months in?
  • Definitely getting more of a sense of my style and of what suits what product (more on this in a future post); 
  • I am much further down the road of self belief and belief in my artistic abilities (again further blog posts planned, identifying critical milestones on that road). This has lead to a more relaxed attitude to a time scale for achieving sales of my work (although I'm obviously gearing up for the autumn test marketing phase);
  • I am writing business plans and doing market research for the scarves I plan. Working consistently with that distinct single product in mind has offered a very useful exercise in developing my style without getting bogged down in achieving a properly repeating pattern (a skill we cover in more detail in the next module);
  • Notwithstanding any scarf business I develop I am open minded about where my patterns will take me next. The next module covers designing for wallpaper, for example. 
  • I'm definitely more balanced and focused, less stressy & impatient. Frankly, giving myself permission to go for it has taken a lot of pressure off and I've always been better when I have a clear goal in mind.

Finally, as I said at the beginning, my proofs are back. Time to wake my 21 year old son, have a 'discussion' about 'what time do you call this, to wake me up, Mum, you've deprived me of my last half an hour of sleep!' (luckily, our spats are always over quickly), so that he could take on a new role as trainee fashion photographer in the back garden. Lighting conditions were not perfect as the sun had started to shine piercingly around the corner of the house next door - but still, what do you think? (Oh and many thanks to the unknown surface pattern designer who designed the pattern for my frock - which I love & if any one knows who they are, I'd love to credit them?)

And after that little fun episode I'm off to analyse them in more detail before making final decisions about which ones to use initially. I know some adjustments are already needed - for example where some colours aren't coming through strongly enough compared to others; where perhaps I'm not sure I've got the scale right; where maybe a particular motif may not be right for a scarf after all. Difficult difficult decisions that will take some time. I'll be reaching out to my local friends to collate their opinions too. I'm already in a quandary over one square which my husband and I are convinced is not right colour-wise but which my mum and dad think is one that works very well - a difference in generational taste perhaps, and something to think about when marketing? And I'm going to make a note of the hex numbers of various colours so that next time I want something printed I'll have more of an idea of how they'll work out. 

Proofing hasn't been a cheap exercise (paid for through some long held back birthday money - thanks to my in-laws) but I do think it's been a vital part of my learning & development curve, and a very vital part of ensuring the quality of my final product. I love this work and this process so much that I am become hugely particular about all the details. There is no way I'm putting these scarves up for sale until I am convinced they are completely ready...... completely perfect.

All my love


PS In my next post I'll tell you all about my holiday which - quite by accident, we managed to book in pattern designer heaven.