May has felt like a particularly busy month. Either that or I've been more productive than usual.
It was a month of gentle goodbyes to Spring, as the days become warmer and longer and Summer finally beckons. A month of playing with soft sweet smelling lilac, and beautiful bold peonies, in my studio for styling opportunities, as I stretched my throwing skills further and experimented with new colour palettes with my porcelain slip casting.
Of course I had a brilliant collaborative month with Folksy and found myself hosting #Folksyhour, a hilariously fast-paced Twitter chat (Tuesdays 8-9pm). I wrote a follow-up blog for them all about how I came to the #wipsandblooms tag and how to use hashtags to tell a narrative, in my case a maker story. It's here in case you missed it.
In the same month I was also asked by my etsy team to talk about my Instagram account and the way I have grown my followers, which was less nerve-wracking than I thought it was going to be. Though I still hated seeing myself on the video that was filmed of it.
And... I was really lucky to have the lovely ladies, Jo and Carolyn from the Paperdolls Handmade Market do a studio tour and write a glowing blog about my work and inspirations.
There are tons of behind the scenes pictures on their blog - all my messy corners and untidy shelves! But what I liked most about the process was our in depth chat, which wasn't all printed at the time. One of the things that came out was how I had found solace in creating ceramics after having children. I had given up my previous marketing role and become a full-time Mom, which, as anyone who has done it will know can be as difficult as going back to work. So my studio has become my personal oasis, a place that I could retreat to and escape some of the more mundane aspects of parenting, as well helping me to be my own person again and not just wear the the tag of stay-at-home Mom (which I personally find a bit of a depressing title). I also realised that up until now I had always felt whatever I did was never enough; my work wasn't good enough, my role juggling mother/maker was never enough, my life had been drifting along...
Well, now I've reached the stage of contentment. I may not have arrived at where I want to be, but it's ok to be on a journey, and I can see small achievable goals ahead. I can be happy with all the small experiments I am doing and be producing work in grown up pastels, as well as greys and blacks that I find joyous to touch and behold. I have found this happy place through all the heartwarming comments and community that I have found on Instagram. And OK, I may not be the main breadwinner in my house but I should be proud of what I'm doing and making. So that's enough of my personal outburst there... Onto some pretty stuff....
For June's #wipsandblooms challenge I thought it would be good to mix it up a little and allow us makers to focus on process even more and to show off all our favourite tools. So the tag this month is #wipsandblooms_tools and I have lined up the most creative judge with a gorgeous prize too: the very talented Kate from @graceandflora who makes nature inspired silver jewellery.
Kate has taken the most beautiful photos of next month's prize, one of her stunningly intricate leaf necklaces; showing off her process and tools along the way...
If you are like me, and are a little bit nosey, I thought it would also be nice for everyone to get to know Kate a bit more, so she has answered a couple of questions for me.
What motivated you to start your jewellery business?
What makes your jewellery special?
Do want to tell us why you started your hashtag and how it supports your business?
What is the tool you use most often during the jewellery making process?
Do you have any tips for people joining in #wipsandblooms_tools?
You've recently launched an e-course. Can you tell us more about that and what special skill set you bring to it?
Back to last month. We had such a bumper month for entries, and Camilla, our guest judge from Folksy had some really tricky decisions to make, but narrowed down four favourites and our prize winner.
Such a nice selection of makers featuring textiles, florals, jewellery and bookbinding, all demonstrating process so clearly.
However, the image that really caught both our eyes is a new(ish) venture from Bex from @botanical_tales, and this is her first wreath that she has made with flowers dried by herself - look at those pretty blue cornflowers! Bex has an inspirational account filled with creative floral ideas, vignettes and scenes from nature. So I suggest you follow her, if you aren't following her already.
Camilla/Folksy also wanted to give an extra shout out too to these people who caught her eye :
So much talent! Thanks to everyone who has joined in, I really wish we could name you all!
I'm really excited for next month's challenge and entries. A quick reminder how to join in if you are new to this tag:
How do I take part?
In terms of my own making, I'm also looking forward to showcasing some of the above new work at the Paperdollshandmarket on 17 June at the Custard Factory in Brum. Do pop down and say hi if you are local - there will also be yummy street food on hand (so don't eat beforehand!)
That's all for this time. Happy making and chat soon on Instagram?