What do you think? They debuted on Facebook and seem super popular! I am really enjoying pushing myself to create things of equal quality to my regular work but even smaller. It’s an interesting process too as (some of you will know) everything I do is a ‘first attempt’ (I do a lot of planning). But with the execution of buttons, it’s been a little random as far as the outcome being perfect; some of these are, and some have been not quite up to my standards but I know how to fix it better for next time.
That little hedgehog is mighty loved by all I have to say.
Anyway so I am going to be continuing to make more designs of these, and get some proper photos done, and them all on my website for sale as my next collection, ready for spring. I think they are more wearable in an everyday way than my other work, and when I get them in my shop there will be the option to have them as buttons or badges. I have loads of ideas for this format – Toadstool collections, trees/leaves, birds, zodiac etc etc…Good to be inspired isn’t it?
What else has been going on?
I had a good lot of end of year sales, a few bespoke pieces which was great. But also when they were ordered I was in a bit of a different creative head space (see above) and it made me feel a bit bla to be making stuff to order when I really wanted to be getting on with new stuff. I realise this is a terribly ungrateful sounding thing. I do know what a massive privilege it is to get paid for creating something you loved to create. But let me clarify: it’s the frustration of being interrupted whilst creating something new. All my work has always been the product of intense excitement in thinking of something and executing it, followed by the joy of someone else loving it and buying it (hopefully). Revisiting designs is something I also enjoy doing (see Hare/Moon Hare/Ghost Hare and numerous skull type things), but these are always done on my own terms. Basically I’m saying my creativity is a deep well of happiness and I want to make sure I’m always mindful of it not becoming a ‘chore’, lest it stifle creativity itself. I like to always be moving forward. And, you know, it’s my art at the end of the day so I can do what I like.
So, having had a good look at all my online things (website/blog/Facebook/etsy etc etc.) I realised I was presenting too much as ‘craft’ and not enough as ‘art’. That is to say, all my one-of-a-kind’s that have sold, I almost immediately make available as made-to-order items in my shop, which have benefited me in making them more accessible, but by its very nature I think has meant my creative process has often been interrupted by having to revisit points in my creative past I wasn’t necessarily that excited about at the time. Another thing I think is that it *sort of* devalues the bespoke stuff in a way, like how I make a big fuss about how long everything takes to embroider and create from scratch and it’s one-of-a-kind etc, and then you buy one and ping! It reappears as a made-to-order.
Also (I know how you love to hear all the endless thoughts about the same thing over and over forever in my head) having this as a system of selling doesn’t actually work as a long-term strategy, or even as a scenario where I am more successful and have more interest/customers/higher profile/whatevs. Because if I was enjoying said success, that would mean in theory that I am regularly getting multiple orders of existing designs which I then create on a first come, first served basis and am then unable to really progress with new work or larger client driven commissions.
This isn’t the same as being commissioned to do something totally new of course. And also I don’t want to be all spoilt and cut my nose off to spite my face.
So what’s changed? Something and nothing. Basically I’ve removed all made-to-order items from my shops – you’ll now only be able to buy the one-of-a-kind, ready-made items from my collections in the usual way. All designs that sell or have sold and were available as made-to-order can still be bought but only by contacting me by email as a special commission. All work I’ve ever done is pictured in my archive page, linked to the blog post about it and I’ve mentioned everywhere that’s relevant that any old designs can be ordered bespoke.
I feel I’m presenting my work more as the art it is, and it feels like the right thing for me, even though I’m basically making it harder to buy my work. But not if you really want to.