Hello and Happy October!
First up as always, may I introduce this month’s free monthly desktop wallpaper.
This month we have a little kitten in a pumpkin - because that definitely says ‘October’ to me. Hopefully those rusty orange colours will help provide a warm glow to desktops as the weather gets chillier as the days grow shorter.
If you would like this free wallpaper, here is a link to subscribe to my mailing list:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST
What can I tell you about September?...well...
I’d been looking forward to working in September. I enjoy the feel of a new term, fresh start and chance to get back to routine. Most of all this year, I had something wonderful to look forward to - on Thursday 20th Sept, I went to Creatival at Escot House in Devon, a day of inspiration, fun, friendship and learning for independent creative businesses, organised by Helen Bottrill from The Creative Business Network. It was a great chance to meet up with some of my creative friends and make new ones with a healthy dose of inspiration to set me up for the new term. Also, my youngest daughter was away at school camp that week, so there was a bit of a deafening quietness in our home and a day out in creative company was exactly what I needed....
Having kindly been asked by Helen at The Creative Business Network to help with the branding for the event, as I discovered more and more about the details, the more excited I was about going to it.
It was a very early start for me - I’d planned to meet up on route with the fantastic Sheena Spacey Ceramic Art to hitch a lift and to then meet with Carla Taylor from The Mousehole Woolery and Lynne Raddall, crochet queen, to car share the rest of the way. As we were coming from all corners of the Somerset Levels and Dorset, it was a little bit of an adventure to get to our meeting point (if you are not familiar with the back roads of the Somerset, they do feel like they go on forever, twisty, windy, leafy lanes!). All worth it though, there was much excitement and anticipation in the car and it felt good to be going in together - the safety in numbers helped ease some my nerves. Not that there was any need to be nervous, the welcome to the event could not have been any warmer!...
We were treated to a day filled with inspiring talks and informative workshops. I learnt that it’s OK to make it up as you go along, and if you don’t feel the love for it - it’s best not to do it ...and that’s OK too, from Leona at Indie Roller and The Lucky Dip Club. She shared her rollercoaster of a business story going into detail about the downs as well as the ups, which not only inspired us but also reminded us all that there is no such thing as an over night success and that sheer hard work, persistence and a bit of gut instinct goes a heck of a long way....
I was also extremely inspired by the talk given by Lucy and Chris from Lucy and Yak.
They shared their story and the thing I learnt most from them was their business ethics and how it is possible to have a successful business that does the right thing at every part of the process. Like many others, recent information about the impact our consumer society is having on our planet has made me question some of my buying habits and lifestyle choices. Having worked in advertising on brands before going freelance, I’ve grown very cynical of brands as I’ve grown older. Especially seeing how my children are susceptible to the glossy ad agency messages pumped at them from the big brands, making them want to pay extra for a brand name that means very little when you look in to it and discover the goods are manufactured in the same places, using the same conditions as the cheaper ones. Lucy and Yak’s talk made me feel very hopeful that there are new brands on the block that actually stand for something, whilst offering very desirable products. To aspire to a Lucy and Yak label is to aspire to fair trade working conditions and ethically sourced materials because they are a company that strives to do the right thing in all areas of their business. We all need more of this - quality, desirable, sustainable, slow fashion where a brand label shows you have a large heart rather than a very large debt on your credit card!
Lucy and Yak, I applaud you for all that you do, thank you for coming to speak to us all!
There were a choice of workshops on the day, I did the photography one with Georgia De Lotz and the Folksy one with Camilla Westergaard. Both workshops flew by as they were packed full of information that I can now take away and apply to my business. There is always something new to learn, and here I learnt loads, my head was full when I came away from the event.
Someone I had met online early on in my business was Emily Fox from Skull and Crossbuns and it was so good to meet Emily for the first time in person that day. She was there representing the Naked Cards campaign - cutting down on plastic one card at a time. I’d been aware of the campaign before the event, but wanted to find out more. My cards have always come in eco friendly packaging and I have a large stock of compostable cellos for my cards, so I was concerned whether I could take part in this campaign. Emily reassured me that was fine, others are in a similar situation with stocks to use up, so I bought a Naked Cards stamp and have pledged to ensure that once my cello stock has gone, I will replace them with paper wrappers when posting out card orders.
To find out more about the Naked Card campaign here’s the link:
I was also delighted to finally meet Joanne Hawker for the first time after having followed each other on social media since the early days of our businesses, long before for her amazing March Meet The Maker challenge came to be. It was through Joanne, I also got to meet a more members of the Somerset Etsy Team that day because she is our team captain. That has encouraged me to try and get to some of the Somerset Etsy Team meet ups soon. Creatival has proved to me, it feels far less lonely knowing there are lots of other lovely creatives within a short distance from me doing similar things, working from home. I really wanted to bottle the feeling I had coming away from this event so I could have more of it...
The cherry on the cake of the day was a fun photo booth by Beautiful South Photography, to dress up and take pics with your friends, which was so much fun…AND we had goody bags filled to the brim! What is not to love?!
I can’t wait until next year.
This was the first one and I have it on good authority that there will definitely be one in 2019. If this sounds interesting to you, you can find out more about it here:
Pictured with me below is the amazing Helen Bottrill from
The Creative Business Network - our host for the day!
(I am the one feeling a bit too comfortable in flamingo glasses)
One last thing to tell you about September before I sign off.
I only went and finished my 2019 Wall Calendars! They are now all printed and in stock over at my Etsy and Folksy shops. This year I will be donating £1 from the sale of this calendar to Secret World Wildlife Rescue. www.secretworld.org
They are a local charity to me in Somerset who rescue, rehabilitate and release British wildlife, while inspiring an understanding and love of wildlife and the countryside.
I know each donation will be put to great use and I believe they are the perfect fit with the theme of this calendar...
Have a wonderful October &
enjoy the rich colours in the hedgerows and falling leaves!
Hello & Happy July!
It's time for another new desktop calendar wallpaper already.
This one has been sent to everyone on my email list today. If you would like this free wallpaper, here is a link to subscribe to my mailing list:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST
With all the lovely sunshine of June and the school summer holidays a few weeks away, I think these sunny coastal birds and sea shells set the right mood for July....
June has been filled with all sorts of work and I have featured some of the new designs I have been developing last month throughout this blog post. These designs can be found as prints in my Etsy shop and print on demand designs over at my Society 6 and Spoonflower stores.
In a few days time it will mark 8 years since I started my 'Artwork By Angie' journey.
On 11th July 2010, I posted my first ever blog post followed a few days later by my first ever attempt at Illustration Friday. It was from those first tiny baby steps that what you see on this website has grown into my actual, proper job.
I can't tell you how nervous I felt to make those first steps. My nerves were founded in fear of failing, rejection, being caught out for being an imposter. The thing that made me do it is knowing I would definitely be failing myself if I didn't even try and give it a go to see what happens - I had nothing really to lose and everything to gain. I am so glad I did and have been continually making scary little steps into the unknown ever since, it's the only way to move forward...
This past month I really needed to remind myself of all of that.
It sometimes gets difficult to see how much progress we make and what we've learnt and achieved over time when we are just getting on with the day-to-day. Like so many others, I've found social media a big strain over the past weeks. To be honest, I've had a love/dislike relationship with it from the very start.
I LOVE social media - because it has enabled me to do so many things that have never been possible before social media. Such as connect with a wonderful community of likeminded creative people, get my work in front of so many eyes, for feedback, encouragement and most importantly - to sell it and make enough to keep going. All of this done from my home, because geography is no longer a boundary. I sell my work all over the world and have work in bricks and mortar shops nationwide - it was social media and the internet that has absolutely enabled me to do this and I am very grateful for it (hence love and dislike, not hate).
I DISLIKE social media - because you have to relentlessly feed it with content to keep algorithms happy and continue to be seen. Which means you can easily get hung up on feeding social media rather than producing work that satisfies your heart's desire. Which can be particularly unhelpful if you are going through 'The Creative Gap' - which is where your skills haven't caught up with your tastes yet - this can leave you feeling disappointed in your own creative work.
If you've not heard about this creative gap before, it comes from a quote from an American Radio and TV presenter called Ira Glass. I discovered it through this Vimeo clip of his showing up in my Facebook timeline one day. I'm glad it did and it's another reason to like social media. I recommend a quick watch of it here:
I am convinced this 'creative gap' he's identified is the root of all the other adverse creative stuff that artists and designers sometimes experience and are widely discussed, like imposter syndrome and negative comparison...
The good thing is to recognise this stuff creeping in uninvited, call it out, give it a name and then say to it a big:
'Oi, NO! Not today thank you!'
I've been working on so many different types of project lately that I hadn't really had a chance to stop and realise that I wasn't factoring in time to work on things that help me bridge that gap. To just do more practice and learn more of the stuff I have in my head.
Which is why, halfway through June, I found myself lacking a bit of enthusiasm about my creative work. So I stopped social media for a few days, to plan a way to work which allows time to develop the skills to achieve those designs I have in my head and close that gap...
I believe it's never too late to learn new skills and a little bit each day always adds up to big things over the weeks, months and years.
It doesn't need to be a massive commitment or a big financial outlay to learning. Sites like Skillshare and You Tube have been vital to help me learn the techniques I've needed to put into practice over the years....
Of course there are lots of great online courses and college courses to take if you are up for a greater commitment to learning and really want to immerse yourself in it.
The point I am trying to make is, if like me, you find yourself getting lost in the scroll down of social media and feeling a bit lack lustre about your own creative endeavours. It may just be 'The Creative Gap' making itself known to you. Where you find your ideas are forming based on your tastes, but your skills haven't quite caught up with it all yet.
Please don't despair and certainly NEVER give up.
Simply stop, identify the skills you need to work on, then plan a way to learn and practice to bridge that gap...
When I look back at the work I was producing eight years ago compared to now, I can clearly see how investing time in practice, learning and simply showing up each day has paid off. There is still so much to learn...but then again, so much has been learnt along the way too, much more than I could have dreamt of.
I can also see this with other artists and designers I admire, when I look at their first ever blog or Instagram posts from years ago. We can all take heart from the fact that absolutely everyone starts from zero!
So here's to showing up and I wish you all a very positive and productive new month!
All content on this site is © Copyright 2018, Angie Spurgeon & Uxella Publicity Limited. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this website can be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission from Angie Spurgeon.