Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Love Your Work: Ladybird Likes

It's the last in this series of Love Your Work, and we are going out with a bang! Today, the lovely Zoe is here to tell us all about her shop Ladybird Likes and the highs and lows of running your own creative business...

Could you explain your work to us?
I started Ladybird Likes almost exactly a year ago - I design and make a range of vintage inspired jewellery and paper goods featuring owls, cats, butterflies, moustaches, and everything in between! 

How did you get started? 
I have always made jewellery, and it's been my dream to have my own jewellery business for many years now. I started Ladybird Likes to earn a bit of extra money whilst I was working after university, and it has just grown from there. 

Best thing about running your own creative business?
The best part is definitely feeling like you have achieved something. I run Ladybird Likes almost entirely on my own, so every item that is designed and made, every photograph, every packaged order, it makes me feel really good because I know that I did that!

What's the hardest part?
Getting and staying motivated! When it's really busy and you have strict deadlines to work to (like at Christmas) it's easy to keep going because you know you HAVE to get these orders posted by a certain date. But when it's 'quieter' and you are the only one in charge of setting deadlines for certain jobs, it can be hard to stick to them, and I often find myself putting jobs off because I can't be bothered or don't feel like doing them.

Where do you work best?
I have a studio at home which is amazing, because it means I can spread out, work away, and be kind of shut off from what's going on in the rest of the home. If I worked in the kitchen or in my bedroom I think I would be constantly distracted! I find I get in the zone more if I have some sort of background noise, so I watch a lot of TV series (currently watching Lost) and listen to the radio too.

What's the first thing you do when you start a new project?
I'm currently designing the new ranges for 2013 (yes, I am very behind I know!) To start with I gather up lots of inspiration, from magazines, and from online sources, and make myself mood-boards. Then I draw really rough sketches of my ideas and try to think about any issues that might arise, or any details I need to work out, such as placement of holes, any extra materials needed, what size/style jewellery findings they will need. I try and talk through my ideas with some friends and family members to get their opinions. Then I will redraw the final designs and send to the laser cutters to get samples made.

What inspires you?
Everything - it sounds like such a cop out answer, but it's true! I was walking through Leicester Square the other week, and saw a sign with great typography, and had to take a picture and make a rough sketch, as I thought it would be a great font for my logo! inspiration is literally all around us - I always have my camera and notebook with my to snap a quick photo of a colour combo I love, or to scribble down notes about a piece of jewellery I've seen someone walk past wearing. 

Your best piece of advice?
My favourite quote ever is from a print by Antony Burrill - 'work hard and be nice to people.' what more could you possibly do?

Thanks so much Zoe! Isn't she talented? I am officially in love with those little moon collar clips and the typewriter key necklaces. If you'd like to see more of Zoe I highly recommend giving her blog a visit for more loveliness. Hooray for the small biz! 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Snapshot 25/2/13

Loving>>> Making chicken and ham tangle pie.... So yummy. 

Watching>>> I'd love to pretend otherwise, but it's still Buffy. 

Reading>>> The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. 

Listening to>>> First Aid Kit Radio on Last FM.

Wearing>>> Big big jumpers. 

Looking Forward to>>> A time when I don't have to be constantly job hunting! 

Coming up tomorrow is the last in this series of Love Your Work. I am very excited about featuring this lovely lady so make sure you pop back and have a look! 

x Rachel 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Weekly Art: The Event of a Thread

This is one of those installations I feel like I have truly missed out on! Visual Artist Ann Hamilton's large scale participatory piece The Event of a Thread combined 42 swings with a giant billowing curtain in the empty 55,000 square feet of Park Avenue Armory in NYC. In addition to this, 42 caged homing pigeons sat next to two readers speaking into microphones, imparting knowledge to the guests. Hamilton herself viewed the exhibition through a stationed mirror, suggesting an element of self-evaluation.

The sheer scale of this installation is what makes it so magical to me, and the way the swings connect to the giant curtain, causing the billowing effect. There are some amazing videos of the experience on YouTube, making me even more jealous that I missed it! 

Did anyone get to see this in real life? 

x Rachel 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

365 Photos

Here's a little selection of my favourite photos from February. Still loving the FMS Photo a Day challenge, despite falling off the wagon a few times. Is anyone else still going strong? Leave me a link or follow along on instagram (find me @rachelemmagood). 

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Love Your Work: Esme Duncan

I've been so excited about this weeks Love Your Work feature, because it's one of my very favourite people! Meet Esme Duncan: talented and beautiful lady, and a great friend of mine... 

Could you explain your work to us?
I am a Designer/ Stylist/ Maker. I have worked with a lot of different immersive theatre companies such as Punchdrunk and Dream Think Speak. I also design and style short films, events, interiors and window displays. I am interested in the details of design and spaces and like creating tactile environments that people can enjoy.

How did you get into that?
Well i studied Theatre Design, but since then i have just followed my heart. I try and make sure that im always doing work that i love and i think that just makes everything fall into place.

Best thing about what you do?
As every project I work on is completely different I love having to learn new skills and knowledge. One minute I may be wondering how to print onto glass baubles the next researching what WW1 solders carried in their daypacks. Oh, and I love being paid to go to car boot sales.

What's the hardest part?
The hardest thing about what I do is trying to get a work/life balance. There is normally very little notice between jobs and so I have to make sure that I’m flexible but also try and make sure I make time to see my friends. 

Where do you work best?
I work best when I’m working with people who inspire me. I have a lot of friends that do similar work to me so it’s great when a job comes up where I am working closely with good friends. 

What's the first thing you do when you start a new project?
At the start of a new project I always try and find a quiet moment where I can have a few deep breaths. I think its really important when working on creative jobs to make sure you have a moment to think about how you are going to begin.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the people around me and also the different jobs I find myself doing. I love talking to people about the work that they do too as I think there is a lot to learn from everyone out there, even if at first it may seem very different to the work you do yourself.

Aren't her stylings gorgeous? I love the first image especially. Thanks so much for sharing Esme! Make sure you have a look at her website for more gorgeous work. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Pros and Cons of Working Freelance

I talk about my design career quite a lot here on the blog, but I don't think I've touched on my feelings about working freelance. It's funny, because I went from school to university and have gone straight into trying to make it as a freelancer, I have never really experienced a 9-5 job. Of course I have had many part time pay-the-bills jobs, mainly in hospitality and retail... but in terms of a secure "grown-up" job - not so much. So I definitely don't feel qualified to comment on which is a better lifestyle, but I thought I'd share a bit about the pros and cons that I have experienced so far. 

>>> Freedom - within reason, I choose the jobs I take on and the direction I want to go in. I also choose how I want to work and the methods I use. It's a very nice feeling.

>>> Doing what I am best at - for a job! I love designing and can't imagine doing anything else. It's amazing to get paid for doing something I would happily do for free. 

>>> Being my own boss - Of course as a freelancer I am hired by other people, so I do have collaborators and clients to answer to. But on the whole, I answer to myself. I set my own targets and deadlines and manage my own timetable. 

>>> Flexibility - something that comes alongside being your own boss, I mostly decide how my week will look. If something comes up last minute, socially or otherwise, I can usually rework my schedule to fit it in.

>>> Variety - no project is ever the same, each brings its own set of challenges and learning curves. It's really fun to keep learning new things!

>>> New people and collaborations - I get to work in teams with so many amazing talented people. I love the feeling of all being in it together!

>>> Lack of security - freelancing is scary. Most of the time I don't know what I'll be working on in three months time (sometimes even in a weeks time!) and that is quite an unsettling thing. 

>>> A lot of hard work - apart from the actual projects being hard work, the biggest effort is finding work in the first place. It takes a lot of "putting yourself out there" which is sometimes a bit exhausting. 

>>> Never off the clock - when I am in the middle of a project, I am constantly designing in my head. There is always more work that could be done, so I basically never leave the office. The same is true of answering emails, researching and planning. Sometimes I wish I could just come home and leave my work at work!

>>> Self motivation - There is usually no one chasing me to meet deadlines, and I mostly work from home, so I have to be quite strict with my own time management and try to avoid distractions. This doesn't always happen...

>>> Dry spells - At the moment I still need a part time evening job to support myself as I can't pay my rent with my design earnings. I probably will still need this for a while, but it's not unusual and I've been lucky to have a part time job that I love for the past year. 

>>> Tax returns. Enough said. 

So that's what I think anyway, how about you? Any freelancers out there feeling the same way or differently? 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Happy List

From the top... Pretty Styling// Flower Guide//Cookie Cocktail Hearts//Romantic Cake//Love Typography//Heart Macaroons//Pink Heart Balloons//Be My Valentine (source unknown?)//

And on the Web....

>>> 40 Lessons from 40 Years from Susannah Conway. 

>>> A great Marquee Sign DIY from Oh Hello Friend.  

>>> An inspiring post by Renée of Antiquarian Miss.

>>> A super sweet free knitting pattern from The Purl Bee

Happy Valentines Day! I'm working tonight at this fun event, so Jake and I had a pretend Valentines on Tuesday. Even if it is a bit of a silly holiday, it's quite nice anyway... 

x Rachel 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Love Your Work: Gabrielle of Hippie Go Lucky

It's time for our next Love Your Work feature! Today's talented guest is Gabrielle of Hippie Go Lucky, who has kindly shared some of her illustrations with us. Gabrielle is also a relatively new addition to my sidebar, so I hope you will pop over to her blog and send her some love! 

Could you explain your work to us?
I am a graphic designer by day and a photographer by night. I also sing and draw.

How did you get into that?
I studied photography for two years, it really helped develop my creative side. I feel I've always been an artistic person so I pretty much knew that I'd be doing something creative for the rest of my life.
Best thing about what you do?
The best thing is to make something that acts as an extension of myself. To see the physical result of my imagination. 

What's the hardest part?
The hardest part is creating. As silly as it sounds. It has to come naturally to me, I can't force myself to do it. If it's not there on that day or in that particular moment then I have to let it go for the time being and come back to it later on.

Where do you work best?
I work best early in the morning. That's when I'm most inspired, when the sunrises, with a coffee in my hand and some good music. 

What's the first thing you do when you start a new project?
The first thing I do is put music on. For me it defines the mood, brings a lot of emotions and gets my thoughts going.
What inspires you?
People. People interacting, their behavior and emotions. Humans are fascinating.

Thanks so much Gabrielle! I totally agree there, humans are fascinating and definitely high on my inspirations list. How sweet are her illustrations?? 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

My Design Process

As it's Love Your Work Month here on the blog, I thought I'd share a little insight into how I work on designs for theatre and events. For me it's all about the process (blame drama school) and it's very rare that the ideas I have about a project in the beginning make it through to the eventual realisation. I have a semi-formula that I mostly follow throughout each design, and it looks a little bit like this:

1// Visual Research - This is hands down the most important part of designing for me. I collect inspirations on themes and atmospheres and make mood boards to communicate my ideas. Pinterest has literally revolutionised this part of my process (not to mention saved a bit of space on my hard drive) but also I try to use sources other than the internet like books, exhibitions and the real life observation to get a more rounded perspective.  

2// Sketches and Experimentation - My sketchbooks are not really very pretty to look at... When I'm just playing with ideas I work very roughly and mostly only in black pen. They are more working drawings to get ideas of shapes in space and quite a lot of shoddy math where I am trying to get measurements right. I hardly ever show these to people! 

3// Visual Communication - When I get to the point where I am ready to show my ideas to clients or collaborators, I make sure that I have some good quality images to communicate my ideas clearly. My biggest learning curve during my degree was that people can't see into my head, so I have to try and get my ideas down on to paper in a way that sparks other people's imagination. 

4// Sourcing Materials and Making Prototypes - This is perhaps the most challenging and interesting part of what I do. Every project seems to have something new to make that I haven't tried before... This means a lot of research and a lot of sometimes fruitless experiments, but it's my favourite part because it's where I learn new making skills. 

5// Realisation - Where everything (hopefully) comes together. The realisation of a project to it's final stage takes a lot of work and compromise, but for the most part it is an amazing feeling to see your ideas come to life... It's what I'm in it for!

6// Documentation - So important, and something that I often wish I could redo. It's really hard to take yourself out of the finished-project-excitement to remember to document your work... But in designing live event especially, you can't recreate the moment, so taking pictures is essential! 

Hope you enjoyed that little peek into how I work! What's your favourite part about your job? 

x Rachel 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Weekly Art: Augusto Esquivel

I am in awe of Augusto Esquivel's sewing button sculptures. The way that each button plays it's tiny part in building such a solid (yet fragile) whole is just incredible!

"Like an atom in a molecule, each button serves and shapes the whole. I hold the button to my ear and it whispers to me, 'I want to be...' " Augusto Esquivel (artist's statement).

My favourites are the colourful balloons and the musical instruments, how about yours? 

x Rachel 

Friday, 8 February 2013

My First Diana F+ Film

So... I apparently still have a lot of practicing to do with my lovely Diana. But even though these photos are all dark and wibbly, at least they aren't completely ruined like I sort of expected them to be! 

 Points for effort...? 

 x Rachel

Love Your Work: Fab Gorjian

I'm so excited because today we have the first of our featured artists for Love Your Work Month! Meet the incredibly talented designer, illustrator and true gentleman: Fab Gorjian.

Could you explain your work to us?
I think it all revolves around a need to see my imagination come to life somehow. It's similar to that feeling you get when you're trying to describe a dream to a friend. Rarely does the final image correlate perfectly with what I had first envisaged, but, on the other hand, sometimes it surpasses it, and when that happens it is a wonderful surprise. 

How did you get into that?
I actually can't remember because I have been drawing since I was two years old. I think my first ever scribble was in my Father's passport.

Best thing about what you do?
The whole process of making an image is joyous, but I'd have to say the best part is when I show my work to my friends and family - even if they are not that impressed. It's a sort-of  'Ta-da!' moment I savour. 

What's the hardest part?
The hardest part is before I've even made a mark. Sitting in front of a blank bit of paper or card is far more daunting than it sounds, and, for me, only a real leap of faith allows me to start the image.

Where do you work best?
My bedroom. It's a quiet room that used to be an attic, and there's no traffic outside my door. In the middle of the night, I can convince myself that I am the only person awake in the world. 

What's the first thing you do when you start a new project?
Something I've started doing recently is taking my first imagined image, and then, as though my mind's eye were a camera, I start to fly all around the scene, looking at it from every possible angle. Then I experiment with colour and light until I 'see' something that excites me. It's also been useful to completely abandon the original image and see where that takes it, but I usually come back to the original somehow. It's best to try this as you're falling asleep. 

What inspires you?
Reading, mostly. Great writing puts a million ideas in my head; as does music and the right kind of weather.

Amazing right? I highly recommend you check out his website for more beautiful work. Thanks so much Fab for sharing your images and inspirations with us! 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Motivation: Creative Business Plans

I've been reading Grow Your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin (a book I highly recommend by the way) and it's full of great tips and advice on making business plans and building a career in a creative industry. 

As it is officially Love Your Work Month here on the blog, I decided it was time for me to get my career plans in order. I've made career plans before, but always tried to squish all the branches of my career into one consecutive order; which in practice is really hard! 
So I've decided to make three business plans... One for my design and styling work, one for my blog and one for my shop-to-be! A bit excessive, you ask? Well I love a good list, and this is a great way to keep me on track without being too over-whelming. 

And who said business plans have to be boring? I find that I am way more motivated if I can be a bit creative with things... So I bought three A3 sketchbooks for 99p each, covered them with pretty papers, doilies and washi tape and labeled them with my trusty Dymo machine! The result: three big beautiful books that I can fill with big beautiful dreams!.... And I crossed a cheesy line there that I never wanted to cross. 

Does anyone have any more creative business book recommendations? I'm addicted! 

x Rachel 

Friday, 1 February 2013

DIY Dreamcatcher: Two Ways

I've always loved dreamcatchers and I've fancied making my own for a while. There are lots of great tutorials on the internet, and I've mixed a few different methods here to make two versions. They are so easy and relaxing to make, and only take an hour or so! 

1// You will need: A variety of wool, embroidery thread and ribbons, a plastic hoop (from any craft outlet), some decorative beads, buttons and feathers or leaves etc. Pretty things basically. 

2// Wrap your chosen wool/cord/ribbon tightly all the way around the hoop, leaving no gaps. 

3// Use a sturdy string or thread to tie a pattern around your hoop. There is no exact science to this, just keep tying knots around the circle moving further into the middle as you go. This works best if you keep the thread as tight as possible (using a less stretchy material makes this easier). 

4// Thread some decorations into the string pattern as you work. I used pearl beads and some little buttons. Keep knotting the string until you reach the centre. 

5// Attach a ribbon to the bottom of the hoop. You could tie a few different ones on or use lace, scraps of fabric or lengths of finger-knitting (see below). 

6// Glue or sew craft leaves, feathers or beads on to the lengths of ribbon. Add more as necessary. 

I love this project because there are an infinite number of ways you can customise it and make your dreamcatcher completely personal! I think I like my white version better, what do you think? 

And if you are looking for more inspiration, here are a few of my favourite examples of dreamcatchers other bloggers have made:

Crafting with Doilies from A Beautiful Mess (of course).

Lune Vintage - so gorgeous.

This Fashion is Mine - I love the leather cord look! 

Boat People Vintage - 3 ways... This video is just beautiful. 

Oh no, I think I'm addicted. Our flat is going to be full of them! Sorry Jake.... 

x Rachel 


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