Dream. Create. Inspire. It’s at the heart of what I do. I love that every day I get to do what I love. It’s not work to me. It’s a source of joy and passion. I love the creative process and I hope what I put out into the world not only brings a bit of joy and happiness to people, but also inspires them to get creative too. I believe that we are all creative and have the right to figure out how to express that creativity.
I love sharing what I know. I love being able to help, motivate and hopefully inspire other women to pursue their dreams.
It’s not always been this way. None of what I’m doing now happened overnight. And it often felt like it wouldn’t happen at all. Even when I was finding success as a freelance digital artist and graphics designer, I had many days feeling unworthy, miserable, incapable, scared and frustrated. Frustrated that I couldn’t seem to move forward.
I’d already overcome a devastating divorce, facing an empty nest and losing my parents to cancer within a year of each other. I knew I was strong and had it in me to take my business and creative desires to the next level. But time and again I let self-doubt creep in and so just bumbled on. Don’t get me wrong. I loved what I was doing. I was working from home designing and creating graphics primarily for the craft and hobby industry. It’s just that my heart was whispering something new. I kept having these visions of my designs as fabric. They were fabric in a digital world. Super imposed onto 3D objects such as soft furnishings and mock fabric shops. And they made such pretty papers for scrapbooking and other paper crafts.
I’m a great learner. I never stop learning and one of my favourite places online to learn is Creative Live. One day I stumbled upon a course on surface pattern design taught by this sweet, mesmerising designer, Bonnie Christine. Even though I considered myself an expert in Illustrator, Photoshop and the fundamentals of surface pattern design, I found myself learning so much more watching Bonnie’s class. That was a while ago now and since then Bonnie has gone on to teach and share via her blog and subscription website, Going Home to Roost.
It was her gentleness and willingness to share all she knew with a genuine kind heart and authenticity you rarely see. There was no question that Bonnie believed by sharing all she knew as a successful business woman and surface pattern designer, she could inspire other women to follow her path and find there any authentic voices and success.
There and then I decided to go for my dream of having my own fabric line. Again, it wasn’t overnight. I took time out most days to sketch and build up a portfolio of collections. I fine tuned and honed them time again over a couple of years. I re-coloured and re-drew over and over. Her words echoing “there’s room for you” on the days I wanted to throw up my hands and give in. I persevered.
And then one day I decided to show my work. I signed up for a “designer’s booth” at the Craft, Hobby and Stitch trade show. It’s Europe’s biggest trade show for the craft and hobby industry for the UK and Europe. My goal was to initially show my work and get some feedback. Not only was the show a huge success for me (on day one), it gave me the confidence to make appointments with a couple of fabric manufacturers that were there. I walked the show, took names and asked if I could see them on the last day – always a quiet day.
Yes, I was crazy nervous. Yes, I honestly wanted to run away. I was 52yrs old. What was I thinking?! I was surrounded by what seemed much younger, more successful designers. Doing what I wanted to do? Was there really room for me? But it only took “10 seconds of bravery” and before I knew it, I was designing my first fabric collection which is due in shops March 2018. And I’m already designing my next one. Faith and action. It opens doors. There is something amazing about putting yourself out there. There’s a knock on effect. More opportunities come your way.
Be brave. Be bold. Believe in yourself and know that there isn’t any one like you. Be true to yourself, develop your own style and the rest will fall into place. Yes, it’s a crowded market but there’s only one you. It’s what will make you stand out. Be authentic. If you want to truly be a fabric designer or learn surface pattern design as a career, go for it. I’m always happy to help if I can or go check out Bonnie’s courses and website for lots of inspirational info.
(Please note that I am an affiliate for Bonnie Christine and I may recieve a residual payment if you sign up for her course, Immersion, via my links. Thanks.)