Earlier in the year, I was listening to the fabulous A Playful Day podcast. The host, Kate, put forward the idea of The Maker’s Year, a creativity and sustainable living challenge with a seasonal focus, asking folk to share our projects and what making means to us. This struck a chord with me at the time, and I replied privately to Kate to share a little of what crafting meant to me. Having blown the dust off my blog recently, I thought I’d share my story a little more widely.
This blog post is intended to be the first of two parts. Part one tells about how I got to where I am. Part two will explain what ‘making’ means to me. So here goes …
Do you look back and wonder how you got to where you are from where you started?
Having just started my crafty business, I did just that. How did a scientist become the owner of a business making and selling handmade items for the yarn enthusiast?
I trained as a Biochemist back in the day, thanks to the encouragement of a wonderful Chemistry teacher. But for him, I probably would have studies languages. Strange how things turn out. Having spent the first 10 years of my career as a scientist working in various laboratories, I moved into IT, initially as an analyst programmer, then as an IT business analyst.
But throughout all the time spent in a technical and scientific environment, I would turn to crafting as my way of unwinding. I just love making things. I think that I got my ‘Makers Habit’ from my Mum. She taught me to sew and knit when I was little. She was tremendously talented and I always remember her making our clothes and doing the most amazing embroidery. She was also a great gardener and instilled in me a lifelong love of gardening, although the ‘flower arranging’ gene passed me by…
When I left paid employment some years ago, I took up knitting again with a vengeance. That led to spinning. And crochet. And weaving. And cardmaking … And obviously I needed project bags to put my many projects in. And stitch markers to remind me where I was in my knitting. And shawl pins to secure my shawls. Now, there are only so many project bags, etc., that a girl can use (quite a lot, actually …), and I had been toying with the idea of selling them for some time. Maybe at a craft fair? Maybe online? Then along came Festiwool in Hitchin in 2014, and I decided to take the plunge, encouraged by a fellow knitting group member to take a stall and stick my toe into the ’crafty business’ water. My wares included project bags, stitch markers, shawl pins, cards and labels. All handmade by me. I loved it! And did it all again the next year at Festiwool in 2015.
I now have an ETSY shop and some items in a local haberdashery shop. I have also been commissioned to make several articles for folk who have seen me at Festiwool, or have heard about my business.
I’m starting small, but am enjoying the challenge of turning a much-loved hobby into a craft business, a million miles away from where I first started. Roll on November and Festiwool 2016!
I just wish my Mum was around to see what I am doing.
You can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GardeningWitch-Designs, follow me on Instagram and Pinterest as @GardeningWitch and Twitter as @TheGardenWitch.
And the name? You will have to take a look at my website to find out about how I chose that! http://gardeningwitch-designs.co.uk