Straight after my craft fair I had to prepare for my market night on Facebook ( which was 6th December ) and originally thought I had 2 week-ends and then suddenly realised I only had one with orders that also needed completing in time for the Christmas post....the panic!
I managed it though and the week-end and week flew by whilst every spare second I had was spent on my sewing machine, sometimes through to 2am. The market night was a huge success and I managed to introduce some new designs too which I'm feeling very proud of.
The week that followed that was quite a whirlwind too, completing orders and staying up late to make sure everything was done in time to post. I think I learned quite a lot about myself and my capabilities during this time which is great. I learned that I work very well under pressure, even if it's all a bit of a flap and panic at the time, and with the tiredness that came with it all I also learned that as a crafter it's very important to take time for yourself too which is why I decided to give myself a two week holiday, over the festive period, to enjoy my family and let my hair down a bit. I've been using this time wisely too and have been designing in the background which I love to do.
I've been spending some of my time looking through photos of work I've completed this year and all I can say is wow! Not a wow at the work itself because I know it's not to everyone's taste but a huge wow at how I've evolved and become so confident in my abilities because I started off very timidly, treading the water so to speak, and wondering if people would actually like what I do. I still feel quite timid but I think it's a humble recognition of my work. I know I'm not the best designer in the world and I know I'm certainly not the best at sewing but more importantly is the fact that I love what I do, it makes me happy, and I'm in my own little world here in France which makes me feel good. I truly think that if I still lived in the UK I wouldn't be the same artist that I am here. I've always painted and I've always sewn but it's only my life experiences that have bought me to where I am now and I have a high appreciation and acknowledgement for this.
After studying my photos of how I've evolved I then started to study and analyse some of the work itself and realised, with great pride, that I haven't seen one other person work to the same technique that I do! It's amazing!
I think the thing that stands out the most ( for me ) is the fact that I use so many different coloured cottons! A strange observation maybe but it's true, I use so many colours in my work where a lot of other artists stick to one colour, mainly dark colours too, throughout their work, whether it's appliquéd or freehand machine embroidered. So, I now appreciate how this adds so much time to my work but it wouldn't be my work if it wasn't like that! I am forever sewing and changing cotton colours, just look at my ' Cat and Mouse ' Scatty scatter cushion for a start. I chose to use a satin stitch for the appliqué work on this cushion and it wasn't an easy project because the cutting and preparation work took hours on it's own and I had to sew it up in stages which takes a good 9-10 hours. Not only that but I had to keep changing the cotton colours too which can become a little annoying but I accept that it's a part of what I do and that my work wouldn't be the same without it.
An old school friend had asked me to design something with a cat, or cats, involved and so I sat one Sunday afternoon at my kitchen table just going crazy with scissors and bright fabrics, it was brilliant.
I truly adore colour and I think this shows in my fabric, cotton colour and ribbon and button choices and it also makes my work stand out as unique which is what I strive mostly for.
So many people take holiday's in little cottages somewhere in the middle of nowhere for the reason of solitude and having time to really take in life, experiences and what's inspired them. I'm lucky enough to live this every day which is why I feel so proud at how original Button Fayre is and why I know that if I'd not followed the path that led me here then my work wouldn't be the same. I've always loved flowers, I've only ever painted imaginary flowers, and these have heavily influenced my sewing designs. I've also tried very hard to steer away from the ' norm ' that everyone loves at any given time and so when I'm asked to do a custom design of something in particular, owls for example, it is a real challenge for me to design something in my own style instead of what could be expected. This is what makes Button Fayre different and I truly love what I do.
I was recently asked to design a tree with two owls cushion. I knew immediately that I wanted to do the leaves on the tree in a hoop as my ' Hooly Hoop Art '. I love doing this because it's just so me, a little mis-hap perhaps, but it works and looks so effective and I knew the effect would be perfect for the foliage. I love polka dots too, my house is full of them and even my poor children have to wear them, he he he, and so the tree stump was a brown polka which looked brilliant! I'd also bought some wonderful, high quality, polka dot felt to make key-rings with and ended up making the owls for the cushion with this and they look wonderful. If the whole cushion was done in polka dots it would have looked overwhelming....too many polka's! So, doing the foliage as my ' Hooly Hoop Art ' really broke the whole design up, evened it out and created in all honesty a work of art!
Here it is, I hope you like it.
Once I'd completed this design I felt like something was missing, oh yes, it was buttons! So, I added red buttons to make the tree look like an apple tree and even under the tree looked a little bare and so I added some little random flowers and stems.
The magic of doing a design is that it quite often leads to another one, a light goes off in your brain and ' ping ' you've thought up another brilliant idea. I'd fallen in love with the little flowers, how funny. So, the project I'm currently working on is a meadow of these very flowers, dotted all over a piece of calico. It's beautiful! It's an elegant but simple design although it does take a lot of time cutting out all of those little flowers and then of course sewing them on. The list of possibilities is endless with this idea because I can leave it plain, I can turn it into a cushion or anything else I want, I can put more intricacy to it and I can add ric rac, pom pom trim etc to whatever I make too. I think I'm going to turn my prototype into a little cushion lined with ric rac, I quite like that idea for now.
All in all, 2013 has been a brilliant year for me. It's built my confidence in more ways than one and given me so much, I've met and made new friends and the world has opened up for me into a huge crafters atmosphere, it's just wonderful!