Saturday, 2 January 2010

Craft Review 2009

Well, I finally had a few minutes spare to gather my thoughts about 2009. For me it was a year in which I re-discovered my creativity and finally felt that others appreciated what I made. Ironic really considering that my day job is as a product designer!! And for the past 9 years most days I have been designing and developing giftwares for thousands of people to buy and give as presents.

When you work in mass produced products you lose your connection to the item. It is produced rarely for its aesthetic beauty or to win design awards - it is created purely to make the most amount of profit - 70% usually for the big High Street guys!! (Don't tell them I told you that!!). Don't get me wrong, I do like my day job - much better than previous jobs (chambermaid, cleaner, checkout girl, office junior, pound shop worker, call centre salesperson, canteen assistant, graphic designer), and I still get excited when a DHL arrives at work from one of the Chinese factories with my designs inside.

But it's different when you have crafted something by hand, tweaking the design along the way. Wondering whether it is something you could sell, something a friend or family member would like - or even something to keep myself!! Not overly caring that you have just spent £20 on materials, thread, books, a new pair of scissors, buttons, ribbons or just had to buy a new desk, or chair or storage unit to house your ever expanding stash! It's not about the money for me - it's about the sense of achievement and the thrill of other people noticing my work and commenting - and when I sell something I get a real rush of adrenalin - followed usually by a tinge of sadness knowing that I cannot keep it for myself now!

Learning to sew again and embroider, appliqué, lino printing and needle felting have made me a much happier person - and the friends I have made - mostly online through this blog, flickr and twitter have opened my eyes to a whole new world - one that suits me down to the ground. Not only can I be creative with pretty fabric I can also indulge my inner geek and learn about blogging, seo's, keywords, meta tags and nettiquette (still need to work on that!!).

Before I blether on too much, just a wish for 2010 - that I can find more time and energy to do the things that I love!

Happy New Year everyone!!


(these are just a few of my creations from the past year - the whole collection can be found on my flickr page)



  1. What a lovely review, Shelley. I love the things you have made for me so much - they make me smile every day - and it is so lovely to have been involved in the making of them. Looks like you've had a fabulously creative 2009 - here's wishing for another even lovelier one in 2010!

  2. Happy New Year, Shelley!

    I love your work, and couln´t agree more of that "it´s not about the money" part. I also have a dayjob, but I dream about creating for living and love following blogs where people start creating and little by little get into it more and more - just like you and me.

    Thank you sharing the pictures and stories, they make me very happy!

    Mias from Finland ;)

  3. Hey you guys!!

    Thanks Zoë, so nice to know something I have made can make someone happy (apart from my pumpkin muffins!!).

    And thanks also Mia - you are such a sweetie!! And fantastic for my ego!!

    Although non artistic people do appreciate crafts I find that people who make things themselves -whether it is photography (Zoë) or felting (Mia) or anything creative, they really do appreciate how much time and effort these things take, but also how much love and passion goes into it!!

    Hope to keep creating things this year that make a few people smile (and keep me sane!!)

    Thanks again for your kind words and support (sounds like an Oscar acceptance speech now!!)

    Lots of love,

  4. Hello! I´ve been reading your blog for a little while and i just wanted to say i enjoy it and your crafts are really nice and unique!
    Also i felt like commenting couse i could relate in so many ways to your post... i recently started to craft again and i realized how important that is to keep me feeling acomplished and creative (even touhg i work in a creative area as a graphic designer). I´m also starting my last year in product design university, and would love to see some of your professional work in the blog as well, if thats allowed by your bosses he-he.
    hope you´re having a good 2010 start! =)

  5. What a great review!!!

    Love all your work its great to see, the photos of it are fab too if mine can look half as good as yours I'll be a happy bunnie....I'll definately be over here visiting you more often!

    I know exactly how you feel too, I work as a senior designer for a greetings company and know all about cost being the biggest issue doesn't always matter how good a design is or how much the customer likes it if it doesn't come into cost it doesn't come into cost and still after the last 9 1/2 years it can be disappointing. Though still a buzz at christmas when I see my work on the shelves and people buying it.

    But this year I took my infrequent making of things for peoples birthdays and other occasions into what hopefully is the beginning of a nice little business with my old uni friend Beth. I'm also trying to do some of my own crafty things alongside that don't fit in with our bunting and bows.
    before I waffle on too much too. thanks for visiting my blog and very Happy new year to you :)
    Anna x

  6. I know just what you mean about getting that rush of adrenalin when somebody buys something but, if you are making one-off items, that slight tinge of sadness to see it go. Just goes to prove we're not just doing it for the money I suppose.
    I look forward to seeing your new creations in 2010 - it looks as if we're going to see quite a bit of felting!