Thursday, 15 January 2015

Book Talk- Craft Business Heroes by Alison McNicol

I thought it was about time I ventured into my book shelves again and wrote another book feature. As it's the new year and of many of us are setting out our goals for 2015 I thought I would share my thoughts on Alison McNicols book Craft Business Heroes.

I am steadily building up a collection of creative and craft business books, This is one of four that I own at the moment and there are at least another 6 on my wish list! One of my biggest goals is to one day earn my full  income from my millinery and creative skills so I love reading about other  peoples creative ventures. I'm an avid reader of Etsy's Quit your Day Job posts and sites like UK Handmade that give a glimpse into designer makers business journeys and it was this interest that drew me to Alison's book.

Put together from interviews that she had collected whilst  researching her other book: The Craft Business Handbook, Alison McNicol has compiled interviews and insights from creative entrepreneurs across various disciplines to share their experiences of running a craft or design business.

One of the things I really like about this book is the range of makers that have been featured. Split into 5 sections, each one focuses on a different area of craft: Jewelry, Paper goods, Homeware, Sewing and Fashion/Apparel. In turn each section has at least four different in depth interviews  from designers and makers from both UK and USA.

The range of the businesses featured is really inspiring and each unique makers story shows that there is no best way of going about a creative business. Whilst reading the book each interview has highlighted methods or business models ( such as product licensing ) which I would have never have considered within the realm of a small creative start up and has provided me with a new point of view or experience to draw upon.

Ultimately there is something very inspiring and, in a way, comforting to read about so many different artists and crafts people who have used their talents to build a business and an income for themselves. It makes me feel like my dream of one day becoming self employed is possible  and gives me great insights into the challenges and experience that I may face along this way.

I think the best feature of the book is that most of  the interviewees share their top tips for a successful business, these hold such a wealth of great advice and I'm always highlighting or jotting notes of these for future reference. It's one of those books I find I can just dip in and out of every time i feel I'm in need of a bit of inspiration and encouragement and I know I will come back to it time and again.

My only criticism of the book is that whilst the cover is quite colourfull, there are no colour photographs or graphics within the book. The inside pages are nicely laid out but I feel that they could have used a little bit of colour to lift them and I would have loved to have seen a few colour images of each of the makers work.

Other than that I think the book is really inspiring and succeeds in sharing the"How we did it" journey of each of the business featured. If anyone is indeed of a January pick me up or  for inspiration into their own craft or creative business I would definitely recommend reaching for this book. xxx

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Millinery Projects: December round up

Morning Lovelies, one of my intentions for 2015 is to share more of my own millinery and creative work here, afterall that was one of my original intentions when I started this blog. So I thought I would  start sooner rather than later so here are a few photos of the millinery projects I have been working on lately.

 I started them in early December in an attempt to ease myself into doing some proper millinery rather than just concentrating on the theatre and costume projects that I have been concentrating on over the bulk of 2014. I started with some simple fascinators to get back into the swing of it and practice my blocking and wiring skills on some quick projects. 

 This was the piece I started with, after making 100 pompoms and writing this post  on pompoms used in millinery I decided to make a simple fascinator with a Pompom trim and I think it worked out quite well.

I then tried my hand at this beaded facinator. I was trying to recreate a Art Deco pattern but it didn't really work our as planned so I added these feathers to bring in some extra detail. I like the idea of creating small beaded head pieces or using beaded embroidery as a trim for larger hats but I think I need to develop my embroidery designs and plan out the pattern on the piece before starting it.

 I worked on this feather piece after finishing the feather work on the one above. I was surprised how quickly it came together and really love the colours of the feathers used but I'm not sure the overall shape is quite right. It's definitely one to revisit in the future.

After Christmas I moved on to these last two projects. I had ordered myself some lovely Liberty fabric pieces from ebay and really wanted to use them in a more wearable piece so I made this alice band, which I think has worked quite well. I have also been playing with making a more casual cut and sew hat and made this rather cozy one in velvet. It wasn't quite how I had planned but overall I think it was successful


 Well now I feel back in the swing of things, millinery wise, I'm planning on starting some bigger millinery projects over the next few months. I'll definitely try and share more of my work with you all as I work through them. Hope everyone is having a great weekend xxx