Friday, 23 August 2013

Upping Sticks.

Just a short post to let you lovely people know that this blog will be moving to a new home.

My lovely new site - Triskele Designs - is now live and will be where you can follow this blog as well as get news of my work, view images of commissions or buy patterns/finished garments.

It's very exciting and I owe a huge thank you to Lou over at Soulstar Design who has done a stunning. job in creating something that far exceeds my expectations.

Hope to see you over there very soon.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Groundhog Knit

Have you wondered where all my exciting "this is what I'm currently working on" photos are? Do you miss my teasing "I can't show you properly" images of samples? Well probably not because no one likes a tease, but you are right. There has been a distinct lack of things for you to look at.

Well, I'm in the thick of commissions at the moment. I took on a commission from Eribe Knitwear in July thinking "That'll keep me ticking over with paid work and allow me to work on my own designs at the same time". So there I was all organised and planned (Sarah stop giggling back there), when I got a phone call from an old Uni pal who's interning for a studio and they needed a hand knitter. Was I available? I checked the deadline and knew I'd be busy but how could I say no? Well a sensible person would tell me "Simple. You say NO" but I really struggle with that word. Which is why I'm currently knitting 10 pairs of mitts for Eribe and at least 2 long cardigans (although that may increase to 4) long cardigans for Kate.

So gentle reader there is little time for anything else at the moment although that will ease off next week, when the Eribe commission needs to be completed. Then I can concentrate on long cardigans and some more of my designs. I'm itching to get on with my own work and have ideas for at least 2 new designs as well as wanting to knit more of the existing style.

Hang in there, I'll be back to teasing you in no time.


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Sparking Saturday - Four Beautiful Keys

I have had such a girl crush this week. It's entirely the fault of Haley Key, the designer behind Four Beautiful Keys, and her gorgeous jewellery she creates in her studio in Suffolk.

A business inspired by faith & love which Haley incorporates into each design.    

This is the perfect description of what Haley achieves. Her work have a lightness and whimsy to them that just makes you smile. Don't believe me?

See! Isn't that pretty!

The designs are incredibly feminine without being in your face. They are demure, elegant and incredibly stylish but with a sense of fun. 

The work is delicate and  gentle. It makes me think of long, summer days with the aroma of cut grass, lemonade, roses and warm earth permeating the memory.

These pieces are textured with hammer marks creating a surface that holds and softens light. It also makes them incredibly tactile. As Haley points out -

They do tarnish quickly like an old penny- just gently polish them back up with a silver polishing cloth? Silver oxidises quickly so just  rub it with a silver cloth or dip solution. 
This gentle act of cleaning allows the wearer to work with the pieces and interact with them.

Not only are Haley's pieces beautiful, they do something beautiful too. She works with A Way Out - a charity who "are an outreach and prevention charity, specialised in engaging vulnerable and hard to reach women and young people". Haley created two necklaces, incorporating the charity's logo and donates 50% of the sale to them. Anyone who knows me will understand why this just made me fall even harder for Haley. How appropriate that a designer who's work is based on love and faith works with a charity trying to restore that in such vulnerable people.

If you too are now smitten, visit the site and treat yourself to something full of whimsy and joy.


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The First Step.

What an exciting day I've had.

Do you recall the post I wrote about a sweater I had designed? The client was really pleased and that gave me an idea. Open a shop.selling my original designs as finished garments. After some encouragement from friends, it's gone live.

At the moment I'm busy with some outside commissions, but when they're out of the way, I'll be putting more items in there and I have plans for more designs.

As a start though, I'm really excited.


Monday, 12 August 2013

On The Other Foot

It's very interesting to be the client rather than the provider. In reality I am often a client - when I go to the corner shop or the cinema I am a customer, but to actually be asked what you want as a client is a very different experience.

This is currently mine. I'm working with website developer who is building a site for me. I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted and what was required. We talked about the colour palette and the use of images, what sections I wanted and what add-ons may be of use. My webby person went off and did what we'd agreed and it's looking great so far. Just recently we've had a discussion about fonts and text size. All perfectly sensible questions and ones I realised, I hadn't considered. Rather than making me feel stupid for not considering something really basic, my webby person gave me examples, played with ideas and offered some thoughts.

The important thing was that I trusted her entirely. Not only is she extremely talented at what she does, I've known her for a few years so she had an idea of what I would like. It got me thinking about my relationship with my clients. The really good ones do take time to develop and build up but they only get that chance if there is the potential for trust. Behaving in a professional manner is key but also open and honest dialogue with the client. When things go wrong as they undoubtedly do, being able to take responsibility for that and finding a solution is what makes the difference between customer service and great customer service.

I have recently experienced the worst customer service ever. I ordered an item which, according to the terms within the company website, was late. When I queried this with the manager, using the relevant information, he told me it wasn't late, I was wrong and if I didn't want the item, he'd "chuck it in the bin". I was shocked. Suffice to say I'll never use that company again.

Both of these experiences have reinforced for me the importance of excellent customer service. The customer may not always be perfect but then nor am I. Similarly, being experienced in a field doesn't mean that I shouldn't listen to an outsider when they offer their thoughts or advice. It may be an old fashioned notion, but it's worth remembering do as you would be done by. After all, if someone wants to be your client in the first place, it does indicate they have excellent taste and that should be respected.


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sparkling Saturday - Sarah Hamilton Prints

This morning I'd like to share the fun prints and works by Sarah Hamilton.

Sarah is a printmaker based in South London who creates an extensive range of cards, wooden blocks, prints and paintings. She talks about her work with such joy, it's infectious -

Every mirror, print, card and woodblock made in my sunny South London studio reflects my passion for colour, drawing and textured materials. Joyful, fresh and contemporary, with a Mid-Century Scandinavian feel, my images emerge from sketchbooks and are hand, or digitally, printed. Silkscreen printing is my first love – lifting a screen to reveal a glorious hit of rich colour is heaven. Colours, and their effect on each other, fascinate me. Put simply my colours must sing – which is harder to achieve than it sounds – and is why my studio creaks under the weight of endless colour tests and samples. I thoroughly enjoy everything about making my work, and each aspect receives the same loving attention to detail, from packaging a card to designing a large commission.

Her work is certainly richly coloured and full of joy.

As you can see the work is wonderfully playful and has a lightness to it. The colours are bright and there is a definite Scandinavian feel to the images. It puts me in mind of crisp air and sun shining on a chilly day.

Her drawings have a similar feel which is a gorgeous feat in monochrome.

Sarah also creates woodblocks which are bursts of colour that can really brighten a space.

Sarah's work is bright and vibrant and at the same time playful. I love the deceptively simplistic lines. It gives the overall print a very clean feel. I am in awe of anyone who works within print - it's a way of mark making I've never been able to master. and Sarah's definitely that. When I look at her prints it makes me happy that there are such things in the world.

If you wish to explore more of Sarah's work, then visit her site and enjoy these wonderful pieces of art.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Do Something Scary

Today I'm offering up a challenge.

We all know that doing something scary is good for us. It pushes us and tests us. It causes us to lose control which can be exhilarating. It emboldens and empowers us.

Today I filled out my first ever tax form. "Big whoop" I hear you respond but actually, to me, it is. My little Type A self is often terrified of "doing it wrong" ("it" being anything). I find myself paralysed at the thought of doing something because I end up over thinking it. In this instance "I'll get it wrong, not be able to afford to pay them what I owe and go to prison". Despite the fact that I know I can ring HMRC with as many questions as I like, I was scared. Today, being Admin Wednesday, I bit the bullet and 2 hours later, my tax return was filled out and returned. And I feel amazing! I've conquered a thing! I beat it.

Now I'm not suggest you all go and do your taxes. You're all well rounded individuals and get your kicks in better, more inventive ways, but I am suggesting you do something that scares you.

Remember when you were a little kid. I bet you cycled down a steep hill and took you feet off the pedals. If you were the one that tumbled to the bottom and ended up in a full body cast for the rest of the Summer, then I'm sorry, but if you remained unscathed, remember how it felt to free wheel down that hill. Now remember how you laughed like a loon. It was fun. It was exhilarating. That's the feeling I want you to have today.

Today is Hump Day so why not free wheel into the weekend with a smile on your face and laughter in your voice. Do something that scares you.