I’m Ba-ack!

I’m not a big fan of the New Year equals a fresh start hoo ha, mostly because I use tomorrow/next week/next year fresh starts as an excuse to delay diets, housework and other things on the ‘should but don’t really want to’ list. But I’m in the peculiar position of an enforced new beginning – I’ve completed my Bachelor of Arts (YAY! WOO HOO! WOOT WOOT!) and my 2010 job has finished.

Now I’m back from a wonderful if exhausting family Christmas/New Year with an opportunity to focus on my craft free from distraction.

Finishing my BA meant I spent my festive season being bombarded by the dreaded question; “So now what are you going to do with your degree/career/WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE?” Teacher, administrator, butcher, baker, candlestick maker… I think my difficulty choosing a ‘career’ is because in my heart I want, I need, to give Phoebe C. a proper go.

So I’ve blocked out my time until my personal day of reckoning, the 28th of February, to brainstorm, prototype and produce. Then, a market stall and le grande launch of Phoebe C. on etsy.com. That also means lots more to blog.

For now I’m leaving a mini montage (could be worse, at least its not a vocal montage performed to interpretive dance) of what I’ve been up to since I last posted something creative.

Please do come back soon, there’s a lot more to come.

Time Passes

My blog, newly come into the world wide web, has seemingly been abandoned. But don’t call creative child services yet, my little project is nourished in the quiet space of the home.

That is, I’m working and with my last semester of uni (unless of course I decide I’m insane and wish to do honours) I’m prioritising study, then work, then rest which leaves little room for dedicated creativity. Not to say that I’m living the straight and narrow, but creativity has become a quiet thing in amongst the everyday.

So, I haven’t forgotten you, little blog. In the words of the Governator, I’ll be back… Not in an ominous way though.

The Art of Walking

Yes, it’s true. I’ve sadly neglected documenting the trials and tribulations of starting an Etsy shop because I (guiltily) thought I hadn’t done anything. But the tactic of ‘one foot in front of the other’ I normally have difficulty mastering (I’m more of a ‘feet flying madly out of control’ person) has actually worked. In amongst job searching and assignments (and yes, I am currently writing this because I should be writing an essay) I’ve made progress almost accidentally.

Firstly, I’ve ordered and received my fabric for the tops. Hooray! The fabric is a gorgeously soft bamboo jersey with a small amount of spandex. I ended up getting it online for a decent price (I love ordering online – when it comes in the mail it’s like getting a present from me) and the delivery was surprisingly prompt.

Speaking of price, I’ve done a groovy Excel spreadsheet to tally my costs and calculate a selling price, then checked whether the price was viable with another impromtu bit of market research. And, yay! All my numbers looked good (plus they added up to the right amounts… Ha! Attractive numbers…).

I’ve also drawn up some belt designs. I had a look in the local textile/craft stores; there’s not much in the way of plain, well priced belt buckles so I started trying to think of other belt fastenings that would suit the lighter look of fabric.

I sketch for pleasure in sketchbooks with thick white paper, but for clothes and accessory brainstorming I prefer black paper as it shows up coloured pencils beautifully and throws simple sketches into strong relief. I did these basic workings for some belts with a really soft white pencil; the excuse of using beautiful art supplies motivates me to actually get my ideas down.

So my next move is to purchase materials for the belts, then look at branding and product presentation. Step by step.

And So It Begins

I have a bit more clarity around products and business image for Etsy after an informal business meeting (ie ‘Are you free for chat and cake at my place?’) with my wonderful sister Bec.

I was planning on making the bead necklaces I’ve been making on and off for family and friends, using beads in my eclectic and embarrassingly large collection. I made the first necklace back in ol ’04 for a fellow jewellery junkie, then improved the design through successive versions and repairs when the prototype ‘fell through’ so to speak.

I photoshopped the first picture when I first started using the program… Needless to say both my necklaces and photoshop skills have improved with practice.

After some impromptu market research Bec and I both saw an overpopulated and often overpriced market. Items that pop out on Esty are things that nonchalantly murmur Indie Craft and my necklaces just didn’t have enough of those beautiful handmade touches. So they’re on the backburner until I can personalise them a bit with some Indie-style detailing.

In the mean time, Bec has reminded me of a top I recently made from a wide ring of jersey left over from when I shortened a dress. The top is comfortable, versatile and a simple design. So, I’m planning to make them from bamboo jersey for an eco-friendly option with a beautiful soft texture. Then, to use up my vast horde of fabric (did I mention I’m also a dedicated fabric junkie?), I’m hoping to design some fabric belts – probably towards a modern obi style – to go with the tops.

Right then, I’m off to do some research on fabric wholesalers (sigh) and belt designs (yay!).