Get­ting out and about

In the Moment - - Creating - Pho­tog­ra­phy Am­ber-Rose

NOTH­ING BEATS AC­TU­ALLY BE­ING THERE FOR STIM­U­LAT­ING THE SENSES. CATH DEAN WALKS AND TALKS US ROUND THE PLACES AND PEO­PLE

THAT GET HER CRE­ATIV­ITY GO­ING

While one of the most valu­able uses of In­sta­gram is the sense of com­mu­nity it cre­ates, noth­ing beats get­ting out and meet­ing those peo­ple in real life. Craft fairs like Crafty Fox Mar­ket (www.crafty­fox­mar­ket.co.uk), BUST Craftac­u­lar (bust.com/lon­don) and Rene­gade (www.rene­gade­craft.com) are full of the UK’s most ex­cit­ing de­signer-mak­ers, and get­ting the chance to chat to them and see their amaz­ing prod­ucts up close al­ways gives me a mas­sive cre­ative buzz. Head­ing to the many di er­ent con­fer­ences and work­shops on through­out the year is an­other way to feel part of a cre­ative tribe. A re­cent week­end at cre­ative blog­ging con­fer­ence Blog­tac­u­lar (www. blog­tac­u­lar.com) re­minded me how in­spired I feel when I get a chance to share ideas with a group of peo­ple all pas­sion­ate about the same thing.

Cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion

comes eas­ily when

you meet like-minded

peo­ple face to face.

“Is it time to put down our phones and head back into the real world to nd in­spi­ra­tion from real life and tan­gi­ble ex­pe­ri­ences?”

The beauty of pa­per ow­ers is that they will last long af­ter fresh blooms have faded. If you’re feel­ing in­spired by Anna Ali­cia’s de­signs, why not have a go

at draw­ing and cut­ting out some of your own?

Anna’s la­bel, A Ali­cia, is home to her ev­ere­volv­ing range of hand­made tex­tiles and ce­ram­ics, from jew­ellery to felt wall-hang­ings.

far less pur­pose­ful and rather ad hoc – es­pe­cially with a tod­dler in the house!

I can’t re­mem­ber a time when I didn’t make things. I worked o ce jobs dur­ing my de­grees (in Art His­tory and Fine Art), and when I nished my MA I was at a bit of a loss as to where to go next, so I de­cided to try mak­ing things to sell on­line, start­ing with tex­tile brooches.

It took a while and I had a huge amount to learn, es­pe­cially about things like pric­ing, prod­uct pho­tog­ra­phy and which web­sites to sell through, but in 2008, af­ter just un­der a year, I was hav­ing trou­ble keep­ing up with or­ders along­side my ‘day’ job so I had to make a choice: I de­cided to take the plunge!

I’d need a whole book to cover all the chal­lenges, there have been so many! The chang­ing econ­omy, deal­ing with ill-health as a self-em­ployed per­son, choos­ing to start a fam­ily… I think all you can do is keep check­ing in with your­self and your sit­u­a­tion – ask­ing your­self what is and isn’t work­ing and if any­thing needs to change, ei­ther be­cause it’s not work­ing for your busi­ness or be­cause it’s not work­ing for you.

The ex­i­bil­ity and cre­ativ­ity of run­ning your own busi­ness as a de­signer-maker are won­der­ful, but the ip-side is a huge lack of se­cu­rity and the ne­ces­sity to be re­spon­sive and prac­ti­cal about what makes your busi­ness vi­able. This prac­ti­cal­ity can lead to un­ex­pected plea­sures though – I branched out into writ­ing about craft and teach­ing work­shops, and now ß writ­ing is some­thing I hugely en­joy and that ts well around moth­er­hood, which not ev­ery­thing does.

Sewing is like a fa­mil­iar old friend – I feel com­fort­able with it and com­forted by it. I prob­a­bly take it a bit for granted. Though I’ve been work­ing in ce­ram­ics for a few years now, it still feels like an ex­cit­ing new world with so much more to learn. So they both have their place for me. Now and then I also get to work with col­lage or draw­ing which

I feel re­ally brings me back to the fun­da­men­tals of de­sign – ex­plor­ing how colours, shapes, marks and tex­tures work to­gether.

I don’t get much op­por­tu­nity for ce­ram­ics work at the mo­ment as I nd it far more di cult to t around early moth­er­hood than sewing. It’s messier and there are el­e­ments of tim­ing that

I’ve found re­ally hard to make work with a lit­tle one’s un­pre­dictabil­ity. But if there’s one thing I’ve re­alised about moth­er­hood, it’s that it’s con­stantly chang­ing, so I can see a point in the not too dis­tant fu­ture when I’ll have my hands cov­ered in clay again.

In the mean­time, I’m re­ally en­joy­ing fo­cus­ing more on my old friend, sewing. Fab­ric de­signs are one of my big­gest inspirations at the mo­ment. It’s a joy to work with beau­ti­ful fab­rics and bring them to life. I also have a love of em­broi­dery I’d like to in­dulge more, maybe de­sign­ing projects that com­bine ma­chine sewing with hand-em­broi­dery.

One of the things that is al­ways of im­por­tance to me is the ques­tion of

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS AL­WAYS OF IM­POR­TANCE TO ME IS THE QUES­TION OF

HOW I’M MAK­ING A DE­SIGN UNIQUE

how I’m mak­ing a de­sign unique, and what makes it in­ter­est­ing and di er­ent. My busi­ness has been through so many changes that it’s hard to say where it might be in ve or 10 years’ time – I’m fas­ci­nated to nd out!

I imag­ine I’ll al­ways be spin­ning a few di er­ent plates. I think that’s prob­a­bly just in my na­ture and, more of­ten than not, in the na­ture of a cre­ative ca­reer. Cer­tainly I’ll al­ways be

mak­ing things.

BE BRAVE, BE BOLD & MIN­GLE!

We know the idea of meet­ing new peo­ple isn’t easy for ev­ery­one, but there’s so much to gain from it. You just need to nd the right event or ‘tribe’ for you.

You can see more of Anna’s work at www.aali­cia. big­car­tel.com.

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