I've been taking part in the Create and Thrive #CTMonthInTheLife challenge over on Instagram during August. I've really enjoyed the challenge of representing aspects of me, my work and business in a single photo and getting into the habit of taking photos again!
The prompt for Saturdays photo was "Treasured.....anything that you treasure and has helped bring you where you are today".
Wow, what a toughie! So many things whirled through my mind, my boys, my family and friends, my dog, my favourite tools, my most treasured possessions (too many to list!)
Inspiration finally struck when I was standing at the launch party of this years Perthshire Open Studios watching the fabulous film by Dave Hunt and I realised that my Treasured thing, the thing that more than anything else has helped bring me to where I am today, is not a "thing" it's an event. An un-holdable, temporary, fleeting, wonderful, inspiring thing called Perthshire Open Studios!
Although it only takes place annually for 10 days in September it's effect on me, my work and my business has been transformational!
This year will be the third year I've taken part in POS and when I sent off my application form for the very first time I'd only been selling my work for about 6 months. I had no real "body of work" (up until then I'd only sold personalised paper cuts for wedding gifts) to the extent that I had to design a paper cut to photograph as the image for use in the POS brochure! The birdie in a tree I came up with has gone on to be one of my most popular card designs. I didn't even really have a clear idea of what I was going to exhibit, except that it would be made of paper! paper cuts? cards? paper clay bowls? paper jewellery? layered paper maps? paper Christmas ornaments and decorations? I'm not sure if I was full of confidence or just delusional, but it's amazing how a looming deadline, panic and the idea of failure sharpen and focus the mind!
Taking part in Perthshire Open Studios pushed me way out of my comfort zone, mostly because it made me put my work in front of people and what did I get in return? It gave me a local group of fellow artists and craftspeople, working by yourself can be a lonely business sometimes! Confidence, in myself and in my work, the kind that can only be found by showing your work and chatting about it with over 100 visitors! A wide and varied (mostly!) new audience for my work many of whom have gone on to be loyal customers. It also gave me a much clearer idea of what I wanted to make and where I wanted my business to be, it gave me the push I needed to get where I am today.
So a huge thank you to the Perthshire Open Studios committee who devote hours and hours of their time (unpaid) to organise and run the event. Thank you to the other artists and craftspeople who open their studios and make the event what it is and lastly a big thank you to the lovely visitors who come to visit us all because with out you it would just be 220+ people sitting, by themselves, in studios and sheds all over Perthshire!
And here is the fabulous video that sparked the whole realisation off!