Monday, 17 December 2012

2012 - WOW, what a year it has been!...

Wow! what a year 2012 has been for Artwork By Angie. 

Aside from all the excitement of the Jubilee and Olympics in London - it was also a milestone year for me as I turned 40 this year. I'm so proud of what I have managed to achieve these past 12 months that I actually feel like 40 is the new 20! I have more energy, enthusiasm and drive now than I've ever had (and those who know me well will tell you that means I'm off the scale as I'm never one to let the grass grow under my feet or dwell on the negative!).  

The reason I feel like this is because I am so inspired.  As we move towards 2013 I can see so many opportunities and ways to develop my work and have lots of plans and ideas.   Please watch this space, as I hope to be sharing so much more with you here next year...

Looking back over this year, it really has been amazing.  At the start of the year I nipped off to Birmingham's NEC for a day to see all the hard work I put in during 2011 on display on The Heart of a Garden's stand at Spring Fair International 2012. From this event, lots of my cards found their way into many shops all over the country, including branches of Waterstones and National Trust shops.

To see my cards stocked in their shops was a dream come true.  National Trust has always been on my 'dream stockists' wish list so that made me very happy.  Another highlight for me was seeing my cards in Waterstones in Exeter where the spinner was near the door and only a few metres away from a wall I used to sit on opposite the Cathedral to sketch people back when I was an illustration student...    

Throughout the summer I was receiving lots of lovely messages from people who had spotted my cards in National Trust shops all over the UK.  Each message filled me with joy not just because people had taken the time and trouble to tell me about it and confirm where my cards were being stocked - but also because I knew that to see my cards in those shops, they must have had a lovely day out at a gorgeous National Trust site!

In September I had lots of fun with some of the team from Somerset Life magazine when we made preparations for a feature about me as their local artist for the November issue of the magazine.  The lovely Sarah Ford popped in for a cup of tea and to interview me.  Then a few days later the very talented portrait photographer Mike Alsford came by and took some fantastic images of me at my desk and generally messing about with my cards....

It has been an extremely busy year and I've certainly put the hours in at my desk, but have thoroughly enjoyed working on a wide range of projects with no two days the same!  It has to be said, earlier in the year I was little un-prepared for and totally overwhelmed by the level of interest and support I've received for my work.

2012 has been a year where I've been lucky to have worked with so many amazing and inspiring fellow designers, crafters, artists and small business owners - either to help them with their business branding or collaborate on particular projects for new product development...

This year alone, I have single handedly worked with around 100 different design and craft based businesses to help them their branding, graphic design needs and general branding advice and tips.  Some projects were big, some small - but all have been an absolute pleasure to do.  I would have dearly loved to have helped more businesses this year and often wish there were more hours in the day as I've had a consistently long waiting list for the best part of 2012. My order book is already full well into February and judging by the length of the current waiting list I'm all set to enjoy working with many more small businesses in the new year!  Here are just a random handful of some of those businesses in the pic below....

However, the branding work is only part the story as I have been hard at work designing 2 new ranges of greetings cards and gift wrap this year ready to get them out in the shops next year.  My 'Living the Dream' and 'Tis The Season' ranges will be making their way to the NEC in February for Spring Fair International 2013..

With only a few days to go until Christmas, I really want to say a very big heartfelt 

 Everyone I have worked with this year - All the business owners I've designed for, all the designer makers I've collaborated with, all the wonderful team at The Heart of the Garden who continue to champion my designs and get them in the shops.  Also a big thanks to photographers Lyndsey James and Kate and Alex Photography for creating stunningly styled images to show off my work in the best possible way- having beautiful photographs to hand has certainly given me a much needed confidence boost this year.

Everyone who has ordered prints and cards from my shops or bought my designs from 
high street shops.  A very special thank you to all of you - I hope you enjoy looking at my designs as much as I enjoyed creating them!

Everyone who has supported me and my efforts at social networking.  THANKS for all the follows, comments, likes, shares, messages, re-tweets, re-pins, linked ins, g+'s, tags and hash tags.  I'm usually a fairly private person and initially found social networking very daunting - but through it I have made so many wonderful new friendships with like minded souls and am gradually finding my voice and confidence with it.  I look forward to catching up with you all again in the new year.

A huge THANK YOU goes to a few very special friends (you know who you are) for helping to keep my spirits high and for supporting me when the going gets tough.

Last but by no means least.  My final THANK YOU goes to my family - particularly my husband John for putting up with my nonsense and long hours... for supporting me and helping do my accounts, packaging orders, post office runs, scanning drawings, occasionally photographing my work, collecting items from the printers on his way home from work, making me endless cups of tea and most importantly, consistently dishing out very good advice - I couldn't have done any of this without him by my side.

So that's it for me this year on here.  I've closed my online shops today until January.  I've got a couple of orders to finish off then I'm taking a break for Christmas (woo hoo!)...well I say break, but I still have a few designs to get prepared for Spring Fair International 2013, which means I will still be doing a little bit of 'colouring-in' on my computer over the Christmas break - but when you love what you do for a living that really is OK.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best wishes

Angie x

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Our Christmas tree is finally up!

It's a very homespun, handmade effort as always, filled with little craft projects that the kids and I have done together over the past couple of years.  Like our rudolf and toadstool felt kits from The Felt Fairy which we made last year...

...then there's this cuddly little knitted Santa, made by the lovely lady who volunteers at my daughters' school to help the reception children with their reading.  I treasure this Santa, knowing that it was made by the lady that helped my daughters find their love of reading...

...there are lots of salt dough creations we made together a couple of Christmases ago and plenty of sprayed pine cones, candy canes and ribbon...

...and some jolly little wooden gingerbread men made by my friend Jo over at Muddy Puddle Crafts

At the top of the tree are a couple of lovely rosettes from Little A Designs 
One which we made up from a kit and the other was a gift which simply says 'Santa's Little Helper'.  I usually have this one up by my desk all year round, but it is on loan to the tree for the festive season!

The big deal for me on the tree this year is the fairy at the very top.  Last Christmas, my dad found her lurking in a box in his attic - she's the fairy we used to put on the tree when I was a little girl, which as you can see from her style, was a very long time ago!..she's very Glam Rock don't you think? he he.  
Good to see her back where she belongs!

The girls break up from school next week and I'm hoping we'll add some new bits to our homespun decos collection.

Festive Wishes

Angie :)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Cyber Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc...

Hello!  I've been cutting  A LOT of these lately!...
According to the press & media, the nation is currently gripped by on-line shopping fever this week.  Well, I know I've been hammering the 'add to cart' button lately in order to keep on top of the Christmas shopping!

Just over 2 years ago I opened my website shop and my Folksy shop.  During those past 2 years there was always a big pick up in sales around about now...

...but then again, I also used to do a couple of Craft Fairs around now too.  

This year though, something had to give due to the amount of commissions and orders I've been juggling lately - so I took the decision not to do any Christmas Craft Fairs this year.  It was a tough decision as I quite enjoy doing them - but the amount of work involved to prepare for them for the return I generally make just made it the very thing that had to give!...

..I must confess, I did worry whether I had made the right decision as I've got lots of new designs so therefore lots of new stock. 

It seems I needn't have worried as on-line sales this year are going great guns.  

Folksy has been a real surprise this year...and I can't help but notice that there are far more orders from non-registered Folksy members/shop owners than ever before - so the word that you don't need to be a Folksy member to shop on Folksy has certainly spread in the past 12 months - which is great news for all!...

These pics are just some snapshots of a few of the orders I've prepared for posting off to their new homes in the past week.  All I know is I've gotten through a lot of bakers twine for my Christmas card multi-packs...

Thank goodness for Pretty Fabrics & Trims and their super speedy service for keeping me well supplied :)  

So it's off to the Post Office again for me.
I hope the Christmas Shopping and trading is going well for you all too!

Have a great week

Angie :)