Monday, 29 July 2013

A Little Peep at New Work In Progress...

I'm very excited to share a long over due cheeky peep at some new designs in the making.  

I must admit, it's all a bit of a juggling act at the moment with the kids on their school hols, but thanks to my scary brave move a few months ago to only do custom orders for my lovely regular customers, I've finally found a bit more balance to my working week.  There have been plenty of ideas buzzing in the back of my mind for months and in the past few weeks I've finally laid firm plans, drawn up scamps and concepts, costed it all up and set up a bit of a timing plan so now know exactly what I'm working towards and feel all the better for it.  It's now a case of get on and do it....

...So, that's exactly what I've been doing in between being a very full time mum and working on the orders I've got booked in for the moment (a few late nights are on the cards - but hey ho! I've always been a bit of a night owl)...

...The designs you see here are to extend my gift wrap and notecard/general stationery range and will tie in with a new greetings card range I have planned, more of which I will reveal soon when the first concepts become finished pieces...

...You may have noticed that I've been posting lots of photos of our garden in full bloom.  The garden has played a massive part in inspiring the new range I am currently working on...

I look forward to revealing more new work with you soon.

Have a great week :)
Best wishes

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Summertime & Harrogate Home and Gift...

It's been glorious to see so much of the sun lately.  Aside from the scorched lawn my garden is loving the sunny weather and is greeting me each morning with a row of bright cheery Sunflowers...

I must confess, I've not had much chance to do much gardening myself this year but my husband John has been taking very good care of things.  In fact so much so that the garden has never looked so good.  He knows how much I love to see flowers, how much it inspires my work and also how much our daughters enjoy seeing pretty flowers and helping in the garden.   So we now have homemade planters over-flowing with a riot of colour everywhere I look...  

...Being in a very summery frame of mind, I have released a couple more designs from the 'Living the Dream' collection as prints to be available both framed and unframed from my Folksy and Etsy shops...

Summer Breeze is now available on Folksy:

Everybody's Gone Surfin' is also now available on Folksy:

But not all my thoughts have been about summer lately.  There's been a whole lot of prep for the run up to Christmas (as there usually is at this time of year).  As you'll see from the pics above all my wholesale designs have been on their travels again.  Last week my lovely friends at ArtEco Designs took my designs to the Harrogate Home & Gift show where they were on display alongside all their other ranges.  I wasn't able to make it to the show, but this is where being part of the online craft community has proved wonderful once again.  My good friend Marna from Little A Designs  did visit the show last week and managed to take the photos you see above of my work - how kind!  I am so happy and grateful for these photos, it's always exciting to see the fruits of your labour at a show.

Have a great week :)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Happy Blogiversary - My Blog and Website are 3 Today!

Hello! As you can see, today is a special day for Artwork By Angie.
Today is the anniversary of the launch of the website with my very first blog post on here.  What a wonderful and enriching 3 years it has been.  I would never have dared to dream about how much I would gain from making that very first blog post and stepping into the world of online social networking to grow my little business.   Not only has it enabled me to work on some great creative projects and stretch my imagination and skills.  It has had a huge positive impact on me personally and my home life.  

It has enabled me to discover and become friends with so many wonderful like minded people.  My home and my wardrobe are steadily transforming thanks to the power of facebook, Folksy and Etsy as I find and collect more and more beautiful handcrafted things - each with a very personal story to tell.

In the past couple of years when this blog reached anniversary day I rambled on about how the business has developed and changed.   This time I want to show and tell about the people I've met and the wonderful way that has enriched me and my home.  To me, this is more than a 'job' and means to pay the bills, this is also a way of life, without wanting to sound corny it's a continuing quest for a happy creative life.

So, I'll take you on a quick guided tour of some of the loveliness that adorns my home.  I've picked out a few choice items that remind me of the great people I've met or have inspired me on this journey over the past 3 years...

See that dangley bird up there?..that's a Muddy Puddle Crafts hand painted wooden bird.  It hangs proudly in our lounge.  It has a prominent position because I owe a huge debt of thanks to it's maker, my good friend Jo Williams.  Jo and I were at college together more years ago than we'd like to confess to.  We've stayed in touch over the years, then one Christmas Jo mentioned in her Christmas card that she had started a blog.  It was around the time I was looking at Illustration Friday and wanting to have a go at getting back into illustrating in a serious effort to make a go of it.  I needed to have a blog to take part in Illustration Friday, so I had a look at Jo's blog and really enjoyed reading her updates.  A few months later I got an invite to follow Muddy Puddle Crafts facebook page and watched with joy as I saw how my friend's work was gaining popularity and reaching a wider audience....and quite right too, her work is fab.  Check out her website, it's a gloriously happy world of colour:

Watching Jo's business grow steadily and confidently gave me the courage to take my first step and set up my blog, shortly followed by a facebook page - for that I am eternally grateful to my friend :) ...

On the opposite side of the mirror in the lounge that the Muddy Puddle bird hangs on is a London star by Little A Designs.  Marna at Little A Designs was someone I met fairly early on.  I'd only done a few branding packages for crafters when she approached me to design a logo for Little A Designs.  Since then we've worked together on many things, but more importantly we've grown a good friendship and shared many giggles that have certainly helped me keep going with my business.  Anyone who works for themselves needs to have people to giggle with who understand the ups and downs of running a business from your home - I truly believe that sharing a laugh should form an important part of any business plan! ...

One of the main benefits of using online social networking to promote your business aside from meeting other like-minded souls is that you discover so much talent.  It makes it very easy to find something a little bit different, unique and to suit your personal taste.  Here are a couple of items from two designers/bloggers I've discovered in the past 3 years who are particular favourites of mine.  

Above is a screen-printed cushion by Jane Foster.  I have a few Jane Foster cushions scattered around my home, they never fail to raise a smile with me and the colours brighten up each room. Jane keeps a very inspiring blog which is well worth a follow:

Below are some prints by Gracie's Garden Bazaar and these add a very pretty touch to my daughter's bedroom.  Every piece Cassandra makes with her combination of painting and embroidery takes my breath away, her work is simply stunning and she has a great Etsy shop: ...

 It's not just my home that has seen the positive effects of being in the online craft community.  I do like a bit of dressing up so my wardrobe has had a boost too.  The brooches below are the ones I am wearing right now as I type this.  The dinky apple brooch is by the very wonderful Andrea at Polka.  The little yellow crochet daisy is by Rose from Victoria Rose Crochet.  Rose was my first ever branding customer.   I'd never even considered doing branding for crafting businesses before she asked if I could design her a logo and I said 'OK, I'll have a go!'.  It's fair to say, I have done A LOT of branding work since!  
Thank you for that first order Rose :)...

I had to show you this one - look at these lovely cherries in the pic below, they are by Jo at Elf Designs.  I get plenty of complements when I wear this brooch and my kids love this particular brooch too as they like giving the cherries a bit of a squidge - tactile accessories are always the best!....

And Finally!!...talking of meeting lovely people on this creative journey, last weekend I did exactly that.  

I went on a bit of a road trip to Stratford where the River Festival was in full swing to spend a glorious weekend in the excellent company of some of the lovely ladies I have been very fortunate to meet from my blogging and facebooking efforts.  It was 24 hours of fun, laughter, inspiration and talking...lots of talking.  It was a weekend I'll always remember with a happy smile!

The group pic below is a blend of 2 photos (as we didn't have a pic with all of us in it) so I used my photoshop knowledge to tweak..  
From left to right, please allow me to introduce (click the names for links to their websites or blogs):
Roslyn Mitchell (Roslyn Mitchell Designs), Julia Crossland (Artist), Kate Brazier (Kate Creates), Marna Lunt (Artist/ Little A Designs), Helen Bottrill (Kindred Rose), Me, Kirsty Elson (Kirsty Elson Designs) 

It's been an amazing 3 years and my only hope that things continue as they are.

If anyone is reading this and considering getting started on their own little creative blog I'd say go for it and see where it takes you.  I hope you discover as many joys as I have from sharing and taking part in this amazing creative community.

Happy Anniversary Blog!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Trying New Things...

The weeks are flying by as ever, but I wanted to share a few things with you to follow up from a blog post I made on here at the end of May called 'Time to Make Some Changes'

Since that post, I have been steadily making changes and starting to make the time to attend to a few things I've planned to do for ages.  I've been longing to see some of my designs on different products such as printed fabrics, canvases etc.  

Spoonflower and Society 6   are two websites that have been on my radar for some time now as both sites have enabled me to discover some fantastically talented designers and artists.  I love the way they enable artists to do what they do best - create, whilst providing them with an outlet to produce and market their designs in a low risk way.

Since making changes to the way I work, I've been able to set a little bit of time aside each week to finally get the ball rolling on these grand plans of mine.  The tricky bit is, like anything new - there is so much to learn to make sure this plan gets the best chance to fly.

With designing fabrics for Spoonflower, there are lots of technical issues regarding colour reproduction which is very different to print on card or paper (which is in my comfort zone).  Adapting my existing designs which were originally created for greetings cards is not as straight-forward as you may think so a bit of research and development is in hand at the moment.  I'll let you know how I get on when my first designs start to emerge....

I've also begun to dip my toe in the Society 6 waters and see what that feels like.  So far, not bad - getting products up on the site is a breeze and I'm gradually getting to grips with being part of that community by learning how to follow and promote other artists on there.  From what I've seen of it so far that's the key to success on there, being involved in the community because the more your work is promoted by others the more visible it will become on the main site.  At the very least, it provides a way of making my designs available on a new range of products...

My other news is that many of my designs will be making their way to Harrogate this month for the annual Home and Gift fair.  If you are visiting the show you will find my designs on ArtEco Designs stand, number H40.  My designs will sit alongside some other delightful photographic and illustrative ranges.  

With this in mind, I've also been able to tick something else off my 'to do' list that has been there for a very long time.  I have finally created a Trade Brochure which has all my greetings card collections in one place complete with their trade codes to help make wholesale ordering easier and it is available to download as a PDF from my website here: 

All the items featured in the brochure will need to be ordered via ArtEco Designs/ The Heart of a Garden . This brochure features my designs only, for their other ranges you would need to obtain their brochure from their website:

That pretty much brings us up to date.  It looks like this weekend is set to be a gorgeously sunny one for the UK.  Slap on the sunscreen and have a great one everyone!

Best Wishes

Angie :)