Today I am going to talk a little bit about me. I know, how very vain, but I'll be honest, I get a lot of feedback from people about what I do and I always get asked the same question .........
'How do you do it all'?
In order for you to understand what 'All' is, I'll give you a little background information into myself, my life up until now and some of the things I plan for the future.
Me and my family
I fell in love aged 14, to the man who would become my husband at age 20, and the father of my 3 children. We left high school, stayed on at 6th form and when I was expecting my eldest daughter, my husband left 6th form and went to work. I stayed on and completed one of the three A Levels I had started. At the age of 18, I decided I wanted to go to University to become a Journalist. Unfortunately by the time I decided this most of the Colleges were full and only Leeds Art (Formally Leeds College of Art and Design) were taking applications. I needed English Lit, Media Studies and they offered the courses. I had to take one art based course given it was an art college. I Chose Textiles. (My previous A Level was in Product Design).
I Fell in love with Textiles.
I changed my entire career based on that one course, I applied to continue at Leeds Art doing a BA(hons)Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design, after spotting some of the courses work up on the walls of the College.
I was told I would need a Foundation in Art to be accepted.
One year into my Degree I fell pregnant with my Son, who was born the following September 2007. I took a gap year, found a job, my husband stayed at home with the children after losing his own job.
I decided not to go back to University. We needed the money, I had a family. But as September approached of 2008, I had that urge to call up the college and accept their offer of returning.
so I did.
I left my job,and my families security, I went back to University, and completed my second year while working part-time in a local craft shop. My final year began, everything was going well, I decided I wanted one more child.
Alice came the following September.
Between that period of time, I slipped and fell on the Ice, in what was one of the worst years of snowfall England had seen in years, the break turned into a Tumour, and I had to have 3 operations to remove it, all while pregnant, all while completing my final year at University.
I came out with a 2.1
I was very proud of myself.
Alice came September 2010, I graduated November 2010, and I focused on being a mother. My husband went back to work, life was good (except for the whole broken wrist issue).
But something was missing. My degree was being wasted, I hadn't been creative in months, and I missed it. I had still been entering the odd Tigerprint competitions, which I still do to this day. They kept me creative, but it wasn't enough.
Which brings me to how I got to where I am today, and How I manage to fit in the various design competitions I regularly enter, found an Agent,started my own business and be a mother to my 3 children.
.... and a wife, and a cook, and a cleaner, and a teacher etc etc etc
I found the Rachael Taylor/ Beth Nicholls course (The art and Business of Surface Pattern Design) by complete accident. I had missed round one, I was gutted. It was a lot of money, I couldn't afford even one module.
Cue bank of Mum and Dad.
They paid for all 3 modules and I slowly paid them it back. The course changed my life, my outlook on the Surface Pattern industry and my self confidence.
During the course, I plucked up the courage to open an Etsy store, I now have 37 Products for sale, and lots more to add very soon.
I was featured on Print and Pattern, which as a result found me an Agent, and I now design collections for them regularly.
I found Twitter.
I love Twitter.
My Facebook page is almost like a mini-blog, I have constant access to it, so I often update little bits of information. Usually pleading for a vote in a competition.
Im constantly socialising, and without my Twitter friends, you all know who you are, my life would be a lot more dull.
My ABSPD girls, are amazing, so inspiring, encouraging and helpful.
I blog 3-4 times a week, I haven't the time to blog Daily, I wish I did. Im also not interesting enough to have something to blog about every day.
I design in the evenings, my children are now 8,5 and 2 years old. They go to bed at the same time everynight, no messing about from me. I need those precious 5 hours an evening to design, email, tweet, etc etc.
I run a toddler group on a wednesday, and it might not sound a lot of effort, but it takes up the entire day, so Wendesday's are a write-off design wise.
I do socialise with my friends one or two evenings a week, so I don't always design on a night.
Often I put my youngest down for a nap 1-3pm Mon-Fri which gives me 2 precious hours, and I'm ever so lucky to have a husband who has gone through my journey with me from the VERY beginning who understands, and appreciates.
.....He appreciates that he gets the evening to play on the Xbox while I'm designing. He thinks I don't realise, but I do.
Finally, I have an amazingly supportive family, my sister,my brother, my parents, uncles, aunts etc. They all understand my craziness, and my excitement when I finish a design and share it with the world.
Thats how I do it all.
I wish it was more exciting than that, but it isnt.
I also wish I could do this full time, it feels full time, but its only about 20% of my actual daily antics.
Imagine what I get up to with the rest of my time?
....... and what I could do with a full day to design?