I’m back!

Well I haven’t go myself a new proper website from which to pedal my wares as at because designing a scarf a month turned out to be a bit ambitious! So in the meantime I thought I’d catch y’all up with all things printy.

Here is my first test scarf;

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I was so relieved and excited to get this through I can tell you. It’s sans having the edges finished as that would have been a further 3 weeks and I was too impatient. My fear had been that given the delicacy of my drawings, I wouldn’t get good ‘through-print’ (a scarf needs to be reversible as you see flashes of the back) but as you can see in the first picture, the top half is the reverse and you can hardly tell. Whoot.

It’s 90 x 90 and it’s given me a good insight into how a scarf works on the neck. Whilst I don’t want anything too fussy, I do need to add some more detail around the edges of the scarf as you do really see those. I’m not totally happy with my central bird so she might go. It just needs a bit of tinkering.

I’ve learnt a lot this past year and it’s been a strangely more emotional journey that I expected to be. It’s the first time I’ve done something which really is totally creative and done it independently. I didn’t have the luxury of going back to school to train to be a textile designer (full-time for 3 years, eating up my savings; no thanks) so have fitted this around my job. It’s fair to say when I was teaching myself the computer aided design software I was totally aimless. I didn’t really know how I’d make money from it so I took the ‘How to Make it in Design’ course. This had a wealth of information about all the different options as a textile designer; freelancing, art licensing, trade fairs, nuts and bolts of own business financially. It made me think realistically about myself and what would work for me even if it meant accepting bit of my personality I’m not necessarily that proud of;

  • I’m aesthetically stubborn. Massively. I thought about working to briefs from clients. Not going to happen.
  • I’ve no interest in the twee end of the market. Which erm, a lot of surface design is for homeware etc
  • Working for anyone, interning. Was I straight of uni then yes, but I’ve done that for 20 years and I’m done with it.

Great I thought. You stubborn, un-realistic, pain in the backside. How is this ever going to work. But I decided to go back to basics and do some drawing. Just because once I’d taught myself CAD I wanted to see if I could incorporate my own stuff. Thank ^%$£ I did. That is what I am good at although I don’t trust in it at all. Trust me, I am as surprised as everyone else when I sit down to draw and come out with something beautiful. I have no idea how that happens.  It’s where my OCD is actually useful; “no not quite right…still not right…”. The penny dropped. Yes I’m stubborn, everytime I start a picture I doubt it will come out nicely, but I’m also lucky to have a good eye and a natural ability; not everyone has that. I’m fine at working independently, being self directed and I want to make something that sits between art and pattern. Scarves.

If I went into Dragons Den they would tear me apart. I don’t know what my market will be, I have no projected turnover – any of that. But I do believe I can slowly but surely create decent scarves. I’ve got a clear idea of how I want the brand, know I need to understand how to get places to stock etc but you learn, explore and adapt as you go.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional side. Jesus. I know why artists go and group together and work in studios. It’s far too isolating working on your own. I can’t do that at present as I have a full time job. I actually wept when I got my first small test print back. I felt vindicated that there was something I did actually want to do. I’ve spent years feeling like one massive, anxious, clumsy square peg pretending I want to fit into a round hole. I never had the slightest clue about what job to do because to me they all sounded a bit shit. I realise now it’s because I’m a creative so for me, they would be a bit shit. My mind, if it’s not working at making things, expressing itself, challenging itself, just turns inwards and eats itself in a bevvy of OCD. (The irony here of course being when it does that, my life gets more and more limited thereby preventing me from doing things that make me feel better. Bah) If it wasn’t scarves it would need to be academia; writing.

Finding out what your passion is and then following it is not easy. The self-doubt, the fact I’m massively risk averse and the power of inertia. But in there is that shaft (oo err) of steely stubborness. I’m trusting that aspect, accompanied with my ability, will eventually win out over the self doubt. Keep plugging on.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “I’m back!

  1. Welcome back, then, and that’s a lovely scarf. (I love scarves and have a sizeable collection). It seems to me that it’s good for you to have nutted out what it is that works well for you. And good luck with getting the rest of the paradigm shift implemented. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your designs.

  2. Welcome back… and that is a fabulous scarf

    Keep on with it, don’t give up on your dreams

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