Tag Archives: business

Family Affair

24 Mar

You’ll know by now that I come from a very creative family. I’ve featured a lot about my mum’s fabric art, and I’ve told you about my dad with his extraordinary drawing and painting skills. But it doesn’t stop there. The extended family are also a very talented bunch, and today I want to share with you a little about my uncle.

Uncle David is my Mum’s older brother. He had a successful career with his own design and marketing business, but decided to retire early to make more of his creative urges. He is a sculptor and a poet, and last night he was interviewed by Claudia Winkleman on the Radio 2.  At the time of writing, it’s still available to listen to on Iplayer (he comes on at 1:27) and it’s inspiring to listen to him talk about his creative process. Each of his sculptures has an accompanying poem, in the interview, he describes the way that during the long process of carving the stone to create the sculpture, the poem essentially writes itself in his head. This struck a chord with me as it’s pretty much what happens as I make my monsters. Whilst stitching away, they tell me their name and their life-story.

You can see uncle David’s work on his website, The Artful Gallery, and read some of his poetry. I’d love one day to get a family exhibition going, get all of us to create a couple of pieces to collate together and display. What a lovely thing that would be. Generations worth of creativity and skill bought together in one place. Maybe one day…

ThreadHead – Coming Soon

4 Nov

ThreadheadExciting developments in monster land. On Nov 19th I’m launching an online magazine showcasing the best of thread based craft in the south west and beyond. Regular news, reviews and features to feed your creative appetite. Come and find us at http://www.threadheadmag.com, follow us on facebook and twitter. I have high hopes for this new enterprise and the quality of the artists featured so far is second to none. Jot Nov 19th down in your diary and help us to spread the ThreadHead word!

A Little Glitch

31 Oct

Just over a week ago I wrote a very excited post about the fact that I was about to embark on a couple of weeks of annual leave from my job. I had images of sewing all day every day whilst whistling a merry tune and having a small army of monsters completed by the time I have to go back to work.

How wrong I was.

In reality, I had one super-motivated day of monstering, brimming with enthusiasm and overflowing with energy which was quickly (and some may say predictably) followed by a crash into exhaustion and negativity. To be honest, I’m not surprised by that. I have worked damned hard this year at a time when my life has taken some wonderful, but dramatic and life-changing turns. The monsters have been a real sanctuary for me and a release from the stress and demands of my day job.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy my job but it is draining and requires a lot of focus and attention to detail. I enjoy the freedom involved in monstering and, as my job is public facing and involves dealing with often extremely nervous and stressed people, it’s a great chance to squirrel myself away and have a some time where I only have myself to please.

Monsters have been my hobby and my release for some time now and have developed into something in which I am immensely proud. To me there is no better way to spend my time than to stitch and stuff until I forget to eat and look up to realise that the sun has gone down and my stomach is rumbling. This week though, when I finally had the time and brain space to devote to monsters as a business, I started to have a wobble in confidence. Do people REALLY like my work? Is my craftsmanship good enough? Are my ideas good enough to sustain long-term? I allowed these niggles to take over and…


Down I came. I tried to ‘keep calm and monster on’ but then everything I tried to do went a bit wrong and plunged me deeper into my quagmire of self-doubt.

Stitching ceased.

Today though, I spent a lovely afternoon with Amy of Purple Thread Designs. Amy runs a business making ‘Cross-stitch kits for twitchy mitts’ and is doing brilliantly. As well as designing and producing cross-stitch kits for stitchers of all abilities, she also runs cross-stitch parties and does some amazing commissioned one-off pieces. What that girl can do with crosses has to be seen to be believed! She works incredibly hard on her business and speaks about her work with passion and enthusiasm. The joy which it gives her is plain to see. Spending some time drinking tea and throwing some ideas around with Amy has made me realise that there is no shame in having a bit of a rest every now and then, sometimes it’s  just what you need to come back stronger and in a fresh and positive frame of mind.

I feel re-energised and ready to face the craft room once again. I think I’m going to spend a bit of time working on some ideas of some art pieces which I want to do just for me. Not necessarily to sell, just for my own satisfaction and one in particular should serve to be quite a cathartic process for me.

Tomorrow I’m off to London for the day to check out the ‘Power of Making’ exhibition at the V&A which should spark some ideas, followed by a catch up with a friend who always manages to talk sense into me! After all that, monstering will, I’m sure, be back on track

Spreading the Monster Word

26 Oct

I got an exciting little parcel in the post today, a little bundle of ‘Bambino’s Magazines with my monsters on page four! Check this out:

Bambino's Magazine

I love how my logo looks in print. Many thanks to Jane, editor of Bambino’s for the mention. Bambino’s is a free Bristol based parenting magazine with loads of great articles and useful links. If you see a copy, be sure to pick one up!

It’s Good to Have a Plan

23 Oct

Now that I’m on holiday, I finally have some proper time to devote to my monster business. Not just the products themselves but the marketing and promotion side of things too. I admit I’m not the most organised of people, definitely one of my major flaws, but I am very proud of what I’m starting to achieve.

I have three main areas of focus at present; my babygo keepsakes which I’m going to start marketing under the name ‘Keepsake Creatures’, a new kit based project which I hope will attract those people just dipping their toes into the wonderful world of crafting, and of course, Christmas.

I’ve had a cChristmas crafting day today and Mr Monster, the cats, and I all look as if we have been subject to the wave of  fairy’s wand and are covered in glitter. I’m impressed with my productivity and will show you the fruits of my labours very soon.

The babygro side of things is coming along nicely and getting excellent feedback from my customers. Here’s a reminder of what I’ve been up to, turning old, cherished babygro’s into keepsakes to preserve them forever.

Keepsake Creatures

I have today secured a stall at a big baby and toddler show in Bristol next year and am EXTREMELY excited about it! More on that another time…

For now the babygros can go to one side making way for the Christmas push both in terms of decorations and little gifty bits and pieces. I love Christmas and am a massive kid when it comes to stockings, trees and yuletide magic so thinking about it early is no hardship. It just serves to whip me up into even more of a festive frenzy.

I have so many other things up my sleeve at the moment and as soon as I make progress with them you’ll see them all here on the blog, so stay tuned fabric fans!