The prize for this April's #wipsandblooms had been provided by The We Make Collective.com.
Making is a funny old business. It's amazing how something so rewarding can equally be so frustrating and agonising. The lengths we go to, to make something just right can be a painful process, but inevitably whatever you make you have to push yourself beyond your boundary to produce something innovative or original that gives your work an identity.
And although my work currently has a distinctive style, I'm always trying to experiment (sometimes behind the scenes) about what my next body of work might look like.
Kate from @aplayfulday is encouraging people to blog about what making means to them and to use the tag #themakersyear, as part of a creativity and sustainable living challenge with a seasonal focus, so that makers can find each other, and as a community we can share our issues, niggles and experiences.
I strongly believe that as single makers out there we are like little fish in a huge pond, but as soon as we begin to connect with each other, through collaboration, praise or feedback then we grow in confidence and stature to become much bigger fish. And our making or promotion of it (which to me is of equal importance) takes on a new stature. Afterall, what's the point of creating something amazing if no-one else knows about it? Unless of course you don't want to sell it, and are just making for yourself, which is a privileged position to be in.
I've come across a couple of really interesting quotes in a new magazine called Woven, for makers and thinkers, which resonate with me, and are helping me with some of my issues with my personal making.
"...creating what matters to you will ultimately become your greatest work.'", by fibre artist, Allison Volke Shelton from Shutters & Shuttles.
I love this quote. I've realised I'm passionate about two themes - the coast and botanics. I started making little tea-light holders reminiscent of sea-urchins and and sea-foam around two years ago.
More recently I've been making little bowls inspired by the sea, which are then displayed as wall-art. There is something very tactile and soothing about the finished product as well as the repetitive nature involved in the making process.
The other quote that I love from issue one of Woven magazine explores how other people see your work.
" You see your product so much that all you can see are the flaws, the things that you want to change. Suddenly someone else sees it and says, 'This is amazing!' by ceramacists Nate Mell and Wynn Bauer, from Felt + Fat.
,I had to smile when I saw that quote as it is essentially what has helped me to produce my 'coastal collection' a series of vessels with an appearingly 'broken' rim, but which have purposefully been finished to show off a raw edge to the design.
This leads me to my second passion of botanics and a new range of planters that I have produced to show off plants, using traditional hanging macramé techniques but in a contemporary coastal style planter.
Those that follow me know that I co-host a hashtag with my friend Kate, @aplayfulday, encouraging people to tag their progress shots with seasonal blooms/greenery. This month's theme was reflection and here are my favourite images from this inspirational gallery.
My favourite image captured my imagination due to its beautiful lighting, and styling with snippets of greenery. It is from @rebeccadesnos who explores plant dyeing with natural mordants. She has such a pretty feed. Do go check her out, and she wins a beautiful hand-stitched notebook from The Eloise Bindery. Congratulations Rebecca.
You may have noticed that all the images for this blog have hands in the frame, and I'm using the tag #myhandsmaking, from Fran @fallfordiy and @wemakecollective. Fran is also developing a community of makers and offers a bi-monthly diy craft kit which you can sign up for at wemakecollective.com. Hands are going to be next month's #wipsandblooms theme. Hands in images add a personal touch to your photographs and should help boost your promotion of your work. We want to see your beautiful mitts and next month's prize will be one of the wemakecollective's former kits - a travel-loom.
I appreciate that taking hand shots isn't that easy - believe me I know. This month I've challenged myself and I set my tripod up on a time-lapse to capture my hands; I've also produced a short video. Or simply hold your phone high up to capture one hand - tricky, but it works. For more information on how to take these kind of images and tripods then visit the following: Fran's blog at fallfordiy.com Emily Quinton's blog.
I do hope you'll join us next month with both hashtags #wipsandblooms #myhandsmaking.
And that you found my own making reflections helpful with your own creations.