Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Business or Craft…..? From the Postbag

Just waiting for my clothes to dry so I can pack them and be gone again…. watching paint dry is more interesting than my knickers in the tumble dryer… so thought I would blog instead. 

The constant cry from the family is that I spend more time on the computer than I do in “real space”.  My defence, carefully constructed, tried and tested is that I do so much at the computer – ie produce accounts, stories, administration, design, sort out plans etc. and I rarely spend time “playing” – Ravelry and blogging doesn’t count as playing does it?

I also tend to use time at the computer to “think”. 

It has been universally acknowledged that I am best not disturbed whilst apparently - in the eye of the beholder - doing nothing but staring at the screen.  The memorable rant one Christmas as I spent the whole day delightfully, productively and enjoyably building a web site, is still in living memory.

Just as I was about to publish I was distracted by a command  inconsiderately bellowed up the stairs –  distracted I stupidly pressed the delete button.

The cautionary tale of what happened next is now told to the grandchildren at all appropriate and inappropriate family occasions and having grown somewhat in mythical proportions I have no doubt I am up there with the boogy man and will leave my mark on history.

So moving swiftly on – what am I trying to say here?  My computer time, linked into business, life and admin has melded into my craft time.  This could also have happened in my business/craft life if I had let it. 

From the Postbag

Over the past few years/months as more and more people are looking to rebuild their lives in other directions after redundancy and life changing events such as ours, craft is becoming a serious contender for filling the void.  But before you valiantly declare that you are going to become a professional craftsperson, pay off the mortgage and move to sunnier climes - please consider one or two points:-

  • “Craft” seems to be replacing writing a book (well according to my in-box) as the quick rich scheme of the last two years.  Obviously writing a book has proved too hard and onerous, so best get on with something easier. 

Okay- I am not one to dissuade anyone from writing a book.  It has never been easier to write and be published without being censored by constraints of contract etc.etc.  So get on and do it.  So what if it is not of the best? – tick it off your to do list and if there is a nugget of a tale within you can always approach a tutor or professional critique to help you edit it.  

  • What is your USP – Unique Selling Point? Why should anybody be parting with their hard earned cash to buy your product?  Why should a gallery or showroom in another part of the country stock your products – when they have craftspeople of their own locally?

In my case it is actually me and my backstory.  It took me a while to work that one out. 

  • Harking back to venues for sale.  I am astounded when I meet people who leave work, valiantly declare that they are becoming self-employed as they have attended one half-afternoon dyeing/felting or thinking course and promptly try to place their product in markets which are already over-stuffed with local craftsman – many whom have years of experience and awards behind them – and have been earning a living of sorts.

Aaaaghhh…. this is my pet favourite at the moment and I am becoming quite rude and belligerent about it.   It is plain right deceitful to sell skills that you do not have but have harvested from someone else.

Oh and also think about it – if a venue doesn’t sell someone’s work who is living just up the road, it is probably because the person living up the road knows something of the venue’s reputation ! – just saying !

  • OK you have been made redundant – you have set up on your own undertaking courses and tuition – two finger’s to your ex- employer and off to work you go….

Right – something came up at the weekend about the courses I have run and who attends.  Many of these two-day workshops are undertaken on behalf of cash-strapped areas of the public and private sectors.  The retort – and rightly so – was that there is no spare money now for these courses – but this was in fact wrong.

There has never been a more important time to get staff to work together. The rebuilding of relationships and moral is high on the agenda – believe it or not.  Bad working practices are costly and frustrating.  Team building courses which are realistically priced and professionally run (I knew all that CIPD training would come in…..) are an investment in the future of the firm.

So how do you attract them? – well I hope you weren’t too rude to the HR Department of your old firm.  They are the best placed to try to help and point you in the right direction – they also have a vested interest in you saying nice things about them ! . 

Hope this helps…..

To finish here is a photo of one of my very “inexpert” felting pieces I made on the weekend.  I am having such fun playing at these techniques.  I am learning a lot about myself as much as anything else.  Sat round the table sewing chatting with others, felt like something out of House of Eliott.

Felting Workshop

1 comment:

  1. I´m glad you spend some time at the computer. Love following your work and blogging;0). Thanks you


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