I’ve left home.
Only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 10am and 3pm but it still feels very significant!
Until now I’ve been working on the driveway in my beloved Jessievan – my tiny 1969 quilted Holivan – and taking up every nook and cranny in the house with boxes, frames, buttons and other essential art paraphernalia (like emergency rum, biscuits, and film of varying degrees of cheesiness that I have on when I’m working). As every homeworker will understand, working in your house comes with mixed blessings. On the plus side you can work in your fleecy soft spotty onesie and have Netflix on in the background. On the minus side it means that work is ever present at all hours of the day, seven days a week. After nearly two years my ‘switch off’ button was definitely broken.
And then a chink of light appeared in the guise of a very talented local business woman, Shelley Norton. She has a theatre training and acting agency and is setting up ‘The Talent Shack’ in Cardiff. It’s an amazing space based in a huge industrial unit. Most of the space is taken up with fantastic rehearsal space that Shelley runs theatre training classes from. (And is available to hire, folks!) But there’s a corner of the space that now houses Jessievan (permanently) and me (three school-hour days a week). I absolutely love it.
Home is home again. Living in this particular house of monkeys is never going to peaceful but it’s sooo nice to not feel like I HAVE to work at 10pm just because a message has come through.
As the space develops I’ll post additional pictures. In the meantime here’s a snapshot of Jessie in her new indoor gaff. She was never fond of the rain so is now a very happy van.
Ok, it’s clearly NOT Christmas for the sane individual but for those of us inhabiting Retail-land Crimbo is firmly on our minds! I’ve started my Christmas stock and am trying out a few new things this year, both in terms of the way I sell and also the types of items I make for different venues.
I’m braving the weather for the first time as part of the hugely popular Craft*folk Christmas Market on The Hayes in Cardiff. I’m told it’s a fantastic event to be part of and am already getting lots of hints and tips from other artists and traders about the best methods to keep warm! I’m nervous but looking forward to the challenge.
I’m also enormously excited that I’m going to be part of a ‘real’ shop from September to the start of January. Rowley’s the jeweller in Penarth (a long established and lovely shop with a loyal customer base) is kindly welcoming me into their premises where I’ll have my own mini gallery. I’ll also be on hand to chat and take orders a couple of days a week and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of their customers and bringing my work to a new audience. Of course this does mean less working in my onesie and more actual getting dressed in the mornings, but I think I’ll cope!
Also for the first time this year I’ll be taking part in the fabulous Little Otter Handmade Christmas markets – one in Penarth and one in Rhiwbina. The lovely April is the powerhouse behind the events and I’m thrilled to bits to be able to take part.
Throw in a large scale Christmas school market that I’ll be helping to organise and that’s my diary sorted til the 3rd of January. Right better get back to my tinsel. ‘Nadolig Llawen’!
The ‘Ceri Lambert Designs’ adventure has been been a bit full throttle for the last 18 months. I’m not complaining, it’s been a glorious ride and despite steep learning curves I’ve survived pretty much intact. However I’ve finally managed to put the breaks on in order to take a look around and see where I am, and what route I’d next like to travel.
While I do enjoy the direct selling approach at fairs and showcases the work involved in preparing and participating in them is immense. I don’t think anyone who visits craft fair could fully appreciate the sleepless nights, ingenuity and sheer determination that goes into not only creating stock but designing, planning, building and running a shop that at the end of a very long day can fit in the back of you car!
Call me lazy but I still want my weekends to be about lie ins and playing with the kids. I really missed my family last year when I was running around setting everything up. So my plan for this year is to investigate other ways of connecting with customers and showcasing my work. Social media seems to be the obvious place to start. My Facebook page ticks along and I had a great response to a flash sale I ran just before Christmas. More trial and error for the next 12 months but hopefully a bit more carried out in my onesie with a cuppa rather than behind a stall in the cold!