Sexy People Drinking Tea

I’ve recently joined tumblr and am loving it so much!

I have my Chloe Henderson tumblr blog if you want to check that out (my instagram photos get posted there, as well as reblogged posts of all my cultural loves: Amanda Palmer, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Neil Gaiman, etc. and i also do a little life journalling there too!) but at the moment i’m really excited about my new tumblr blog:

Sexy People Drinking Tea

Here is a little taster of what to expect:

Love it? Follow me!

See you on the other side…

Chloe out.

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Mossycoat Drawings

As i’ve just moved onto the making stage of my Mossycoat piece, i thought i’d take a few moments to share with you some of the sketchbook drawings i’ve done so far.

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What do you think?

 

Well i’m away back off to my making! Will share the results with you soon, so stay tuned!

See you on the other side…

Chloe out.

Craft Scotland Conference 2013 – Day 2

Today was the second day, and the day of workshops, at the Craft Scotland Conference 2013.

It kicked off with much appreciated tea and shortbread!

(image via @CraftScotland)

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The morning workshop for me was led by Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust and titled Pricing = PersonalWhich was marketed as a “Workshop of valuing your work and your skills and how to price your objects.” and it very much delivered!

I wont reiterate all Patricia’s work as you can find loads of great information on The Design Trust website , but i would like to give a basic summary of the key aspects i have learned and will take away from today.

Patricia started off by asking us why pricing your work is so hard?

The discussion that followed was basically formed around one central point: our work is personal and pricing it is so much like putting a price onto ourselves. Makers find it difficult to attach a value to their work because it means attaching a value to themselves. We’re scared of being judged, and ultimately of being rejected. It’s difficult to get into your customer’s mindset and find out what they are willing to pay, and what value they attach to your work. And last but not least creative people seem to suck at math!

So it looks like we, as makers, need to start valuing ourselves better! as Patricia put it “if you undervalue yourself, and your products, it’s not a business it’s and expensive hobby.

(image via Ignition Group)

So what are the key aspects to consider when pricing your work?

– Calculate your costs: this step is easy. Pick a formula and stick to it. The Design Trust has various you can choose from, or simply research the best method for you and stick to it. For some reason creative people (myself very much included) seem to suck at math… that doesn’t give us an excuse, we just have to get over it and ask for help!

– Do your market research: this step is also quite easy, but time consuming and labour intensive. The Design Trust also has lots of tips and tricks for helping your out with this. But the best way is to just google people you like, visit fairs and exhibition and get an idea for the competitors that you are closest too and from there you have a basis for your own pricing. Doing this will also help you establish who your clients are… which is always changing  (especially if you are creative enough to create variations on products and expand your markets) and hard to pin down but is very important to always bear in mind when creating and pricing. Create not just a product but a whole experience and story that your customers will want to buy into. Market research will also help you figure it where to sell your work and how, ie. online, craft fairs, retail shops, galleries, etc. and how best to reach and attract your client base through advertising.

– Build your confidence: this last one is definitely the hardest and so important to get right, but by doing the calculating and the research you are half way there. Knowing your facts is a great way to boost confidence, especially when you are questioned about your value (because unfortunately not everyone is going to like you or your work).

VALUE YOUR WORK. VALUE YOURSELF.

Thank you Patricia, i’ve picked up on lots of information and tips that i will hopefully weave into my business plan and apply to my current set up as well… but for now everything is just a work in progress… i am a student afterall!

 

 

INTERMISSION/lunch

 

 

The afternoon workshop for me was also led by Patricia van den Akker and titled More Than Money. Which was marketed as “Making an income from all your skills – hot to make the most of your own unique experience, the digital world and other tools to run a successful microenterprise.”

(image via Angus Credit Union)

Again i wont reiterate all Patricia’s work as you can find loads of great information on The Design Trust website , but i would like to give a basic summary of the key aspects i have learned and will take away from today.

The idea of having multiple income streams is appealing to most artists/designers/makers because it can be very difficult to make a living from just one creative profession. Purely selling your work online might make you enough to pay for your rent every month, but you also need that money from that book you wrote to pay for your groceries, and that money from those teaching jobs you did to pay for a hot shower. Creative people have a reputation for being poor (which most of us would (quite rightly) suggest it is because we are horrifically underpaid for our skills) which very often isn’t the case because we are creative! we can adapt ourselves, our skills, our products, etc. to various environments so we can gain multiple incomes.

Most of us don’t like to think about money. I don’t. I just want to make art. But you have to have money to make art. I’m not overly financially driven, don’t get me wrong if you offered me millions i wouldn’t say no, but as long as i make enough to be able to make art then i will be quite happy… and i believe that is the same of most creatives.

I wont go into detail about all the different types of creative income steams as you can find them on The Design Trust website.

It’s important that you pick the right ones. Make sure you really think about what you want to do and what you want your business to look like. And most importantly just do it! you wont know what suits you bet until you try it out.

Thanks again Patricia, i wasn’t aware of the options available for making an income out of my creativity and you have certainly provided me with lots of avenues to consider!

 

 

Yesterday i forgot to mention the exhibition that accompanied this conference that was set up in the foyer. If you managed to catch it you will have seen how brilliant a job Beth Lamont did on curating the exhibition We Make Dundee. It was a beautiful example of some of the craft works that Scotland has to offer, and it was spread across a great variety of disciplines and was beautifully displayed.

(image via @Beth_Lamont)

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(image via @jobletcher)

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(image via Craft Scotland)

 

Thanks to everyone involved for an enlightening couple of days.

Chloe out.

Craft Scotland Conference 2013 – Day 1

Today was the first day of the Craft Scotland Conference 2013, and it was wonderful.

The day started with introductions, and the gratefully received tea and shortbread and the all important name-badge. I love name-badges… they make me feel important and special!!

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As well as a cute goodie bag and adorable pin.

(images via @SJRoussel and @CraftScotland)

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And into the lecture theatre we go…

 

The round of talks was kicked off with a welcome from Janet Archer, the CEO of Creative Scotland.

(image via @LFValentine)

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Janet talked about the nature of craft and creativeness within Scotland.

Janet mentioned that people do what they do, create what they create from their own routes and their own interests and from their own locations, and what she is interested in is the fuzziness in-between; the blurring of the creative lines. And when thinking about the future of craft as whole, the importance of interdisciplinary creativity and combined forces is growing stronger.

Janet sees the future of Scotland’s craft as the country being “a magnet and a springboard for Scottish talent” which sounds really exciting but as Mike Press pointed out “not sure if this is technically possible – but a good ambition” and we all have to start somewhere.

 

 

Next up to the podium was, the keynote speaker, Professor Hans Stofer, a jeweller and Head of Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery at the RCA.

(image via @ChrissieHirst)

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Hans stood up and told us he felt unprepared to speak, that he felt he had nothing to tell and that this was his experience of being a maker; we are always vulnerable and exposed. This opening statement was preemptive of the honest and genuine nature of his beautiful talk.

Hans told us about his own creative background. His mother was resourceful and used what was there in front of her, and his father “was an engineer, he wore steel like perfume” and he had his own idiosyncrasies and compulsions. Combined, this two paternal forces are what Hans believes he drew from as fundamentals for the maker that he has become. He believes that we externalize our innermost forces by making with the materials available.

Hans also talked about the nature of creative practices. An idea i will definitely be taking back to my studio is that you can’t be creative all the time. Life doesn’t work like that, sometimes you need to stop and step back from what you’re doing to truly understand your creations and your ambitions for the work, and also not to feel guilty about stopping.

Making was my way of learning” i think this statement is a key foundation within any creators life. We learn so much by touching things with our hands, and even more by manipulating materials into creations.

(image by Hans Stofer – book brooch)

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The strongest statement to come out of Hans talk was “we hold our world between our hands” and as a maker i can identify with this on every level. Making is intrinsic to who we are and it is more than just what we do, our whole being, our whole world goes into what we create. I think this is a really important point for anyone to remember when viewing something that is handmade, because it is more than just the object you see; it’s part of who the person who made it is.

(image via @MikePress)

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I was so taken by Hans Stofer’s talk that i feel a spin-off blog featuring his work coming on…… stay tuned for that!

 

 

Next up was a collection of four different talks called Parallel Lines and curated by Katy West, an independent curator and designer.

The first of these talks featured Catherine Aitken, a furniture designer, and David Murphy, a sculptor and their project working with the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.

(image via @CraftScotland)

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The pair are working to create a range of furniture and ceramics for the new Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in Newhaven. They talked about the importance of combining their interdisciplinary skills together in order to design ideal products to suit the space. Collaboration was also key when they were working with the people who were going to actually work within the space as they were the ones who knew what physical resources they required. Working well with other was key to their success.

 

 

Second was Alex Dobbie, a product designer and 3D visualizer.

(image via Hamish Dobbie)

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It was interesting again to see another example of a collaboration between two disciplines, Alex within a more digital based design practice and his brother Hamish Dobbie within a jewellery based design practice. And with as a stunning outcome as the one above it proves that joining different making forces together can really pay off.

 

 

Third up was Laura Spring, an independent designer maker.

(image via @CraftScotland)

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Laura creates beautiful pattern based designs primarily centered around the weather and turns them into suitcases, rucksacks, duffle bags, etc.

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She gave an exquisitely open account of her creative practices and led us through her journey from very hard working, control obsessed print machine into a more relaxed outsourcer, but still with creative control over her handmade work. It was interesting to see her reluctance towards outsourcing help, as that is something we are all heavily encourage to pursue, and then her bending towards it and reaping the rewards.

A choice quote and a point i have and will always keep in mind from her talk is that “making money is not the totality but it is essential as it allows you to be creative.

 

 

And last but not least was Bakery 47, an artisan bakery created by Tom and Anna Luntly.

(image via @MikePress)

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The husband and wife team make a “consumable craft product” or scrumptious works of baked art!

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Their talk was really interesting (if not a little cruel showing us all these slides of amazing looking bakes before lunch!) because their ethos was not that of a traditional business. Of course they wanted to succeed and do well, but they weren’t going down the route of outsourcing, getting a shop, writing a book, having a tv show, hiring people and eventually moving away from the business with a tidy profit; they want to do everything themselves. The passion they showed for their work was incredibly moving, and it came across beautifully as they talked about creating, designing, baking, packaging and delivering everything themselves. Their business works for them because they have a drive to put in the legwork (literally! as part of their business involves selling their bakes door to door in their local neighborhood… i wish they lived around the corner from me!).

You should follow them on instagram…. the photos will make you drool!

Later on in the day we were lucky enough to sample some of their delicious goods, and wow they were good!

(image via @CraftScotland)

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INTERMISSION/lunch

 

 

After lunch we were witness to a conversation between Amanda Game, a freelance exhibition curator and writer, and Philip Long, the director of V&A Dundee.

(image via @LFValentine)

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They talked at length about the role of the gallery/museum/exhibition space, etc. and how it is accessible for learning, in particular focusing on the craft sector.

They suggested that there are two types of learning within a museum: passive and active engagement. The former referencing stop, read and move in style learning whereas the latter considers a more sensory interactive approach. Both mediums are valid. Stopping and looking and reading are ideal for reflection and learning from the stepping back approach, and touching and playing are ideal when the learning is to be more making based. The curatorial challenge comes when trying to portray the real life experiences of the objects displayed when creating an exhibition. 

 

 

After our Bakery 47 cake munching break we were organized into groups based on our name badge star colours and were lead away into separate rooms to reflect on the days enlightenments, and two discuss two questions about Scotland cultivating a craft renaissance and how such a thing would come about.

(image via @CraftScotland)

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I wont go into what was discussed now as all the answers are being written up from the notes taken on the day and will be posted at a later date by Creative Scotland, so i’ll wait until then to share the discussions with you.

 

 

The closing talk for today was by Fi Scott and Vana Coleman and their journey Make Works.

(image via @MikePress)

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The pair, as a well as a few assorted guests, travelled around Scotland visiting factories, small businesses, foundries, workshops and studios in an old VW campervan. Their aims are to showcase the craftmanship throughout Scotland and create a database of places you can go to essentially get work made.

(image via Craft Scotland)

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I hadn’t heard of their project before today and i’m so glad they were there to speak to us as i was hugely inspired by their passionate and down-to-earth accounts of their travels. I’m excited in anticipating the project results and seeing the documentary of their journey.

Their website can say what the are about a lot better than i can, visit Make Works for all the details of this incredibly inspiring project.

 

And after all that wonderful inspiration flying around our day ended with a well deserved glass of wine!

(image via @CraftScotland)

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Everything i heard and saw today was delightfully enlightening and has left me so full of thoughts and ideas… i think now off to bed to reflect before tomorrow’s workshops…

… see you on the other side!

Chloe out.