Hello, If you’re new here then thanks for visiting. And If you’re not new – thanks for sticking with me 😉 I’ve had a blog for years and years – in fact I started it when I did my textiles degree – you can find my old one here if you want a nosey at some of my past bits and pieces – but this is a new shiny one that is connected to my website and so hopefully easier for you to find. I thought I’d start my new blog with a bit of insight into how I went about starting a creative business.
Speaking of new websites – I’ve had a bit of a rebrand and now everything lives in one place – let me know what you think of it.
My creative journey began in my 30’s after leaving a job that was no longer a good fit. Although it was a bit scary to leave my job, I knew looking back that I had not really enjoyed working in offices and it was time to explore something new. I also started to consider what I had really enjoyed doing growing up. I was always making things, knitting or sewing, demanding that my Mum help me make teepees in the back garden, but somewhere along the way the freedom and confidence in making and creating got knocked back and academic subjects took over at school.
I didn’t have the best art teacher at high school. There was a lot of pencil drawings of still life set ups plonked on a table, while the teacher busied himself in the store cupboard. I never understood why I got a good mark or a bad one. There wasn’t much actual teaching going on, so I never took up art at GCSE or A Levels and I left school thinking that I wasn’t very creative.
So I went off to university and studied Business, and then after working for 10 years in sales and marketing, I eventually ended up having a summer off work feeling pretty low and not knowing what I was going to do. It was my Mum who encouraged me to do something creative again. She had always made things, quilts, china painting, embroidery and while I was having time off from work she gave me some art materials and said have a play with these, so I started doing some drawing and painting.
back to art college at 30 years of age
Next thing I knew I was enrolling on a year long course at art college aimed at adults who had no art qualifications but were looking to explore a way to develop a portfolio of work. I got to try lots of different things, drawing, painting, ceramics and textiles. I spent the year skipping about and loved every minute. I had some very inspiring and supportive tutors who didn’t spend their time in the store cupboard, but encouraged me to keep going and apply to university. Which I did, and after 3 years I gained a degree in Surface Design and Textiles. This is where I developed my love of screen printing, pattern and illustration.
Soon after I set up a space at home and went about starting mycreative business, but quickly realised I needed a more inspiring and less distracting environment a to work in and rented a studio. I started running workshops alongside making my own work and studied for a Masters in Textiles part time. I was then asked to do some part time teaching at university, I loved it.
teaching at university
Teaching others or helping them to learn new skills in my past jobs was something I’d always enjoyed, so teaching was something I knew I wanted to explore and I didn’t want anyone who I taught to feel like I had at school. Fast forward to now and 15 years later I’ve been teaching at university ever since, as well as running the Surface Pattern and Textile Design course for 10 years at Staffordshire University. I’ve tutored 1000s of students and helped them develop confidence in creating their work, understanding how to critique and reflect on their process and to become independent in the development of their ideas.
MOVING – the ginger beer factory studios
In 2017 I moved to the studio I am in now, one all of my very own. I never really believed it might happen after renting spaces or working at my dining table for years. It’s a lovely old building that used to be a Ginger Beer Factory, a little one – its not as grand as it sounds, but it is a truly lovely space where people can come and learn alongside me and great space for my business.
I also have an online art school – you can find it here – as I often get messages from people saying they wished they lived closer so they could attend a workshop. I am building up some new courses too so if you want to keep up to date with what’s going on then do sign up to my regular emails, as you get all the info first.
And of course I make – I make lots of happy colourful products that are a lot of fun to create and hopefully bring a smile to my customers who buy them and put them in their homes. I mainly create wall art and home accessories, but ideas are developing all the time and my product range as a result is often expanding.
What next! Well I really want to write more courses and a book – there I have said it, a BOOK! More of that to come in future blog posts.
Thanks for reading if you got all the way to end you get a big fat gold star – love Fiona x