If you’ve been following the March Meet the Maker challenge on Instagram, then you’ll likely know a little about it – but if you haven’t then let me explain…
The brainchild of illustrator Joanne Hawker, March Meet the Maker is a photo-a-day challenge where makers around the globe upload a picture that suits the theme of the day. When I discovered the challenge through my friend Rachel over at Tattered Rose, I thought it looked like so much fun that I had to join in!
I’ve enjoyed the concept of finding creative ways to meet the daily theme, but most of all I have been surprised how much it has forced me to evaluate myself, my goals and my business. It’s been eye-opening to see how far I’ve come as a jewellery maker, realise ways I can grow and improve, and on top of that, it’s been a fantastic way to discover other great handmade artists all around the world!
Below is a snapshot of my first fortnight of the March Meet the Maker Challenge – if you’d like to see more then search #MarchMeetTheMaker on Instagram to discover all of the fun, inspiring and sometimes very emotional posts from the March challenge.
Day 1 – Brand Image
I was a little late getting started and did Day 1 retrospectively!
Here’s my brand image from Day 1. I make handmade jewellery and write tutorials so you can make your own too!
Day 2 | You
Day 3 | Workspace
This is the Bead Room! We bought our own home 6 months ago and a space like this has always been my dream. It gets lots of natural light although it has been a little chilly over the winter. I also do a lot of my beading on the sofa in front of the TV! I love my Ikea units and the colourful rug, although I’m already running out of space! Too many beads! I’m looking forward to opening up my studio for classes soon!
Day 4 | Tools
These are the things I can’t live without; dinky scissors, beading needles, synthetic wax for coating my thread, a tape measure, bead scoop and flush cutters. Depending on the project I’ll likely have an array of pliers to help along the way. Oh and not forgetting my trusty bead mat to stop the pesky beads rolling everywhere!
Day 5 – Couldn’t live without
This one is a bit literal, but for me my hands allow me to bring my ideas into being and my glasses let me to see the teeny tiny beads I work with (headache free!). I am grateful every day for my eyesight and the use of my hands.
Day 6 | Raw materials
For me it’s all about the sparkles. I have hundreds of thousands of beads in my stash, in a rainbow of colours but my absolute basics that go into most projects are Japanese seed beads, Swarovski crystal Xilions and rivolis, and of course thread. I also love working with Starman shaped beads such as the rose petals. My favourite colours to work with are bright pinks, teal, gold and purple.
Day 7 | How & why
My beading story started properly in early 2007. Home from university one weekend, I was looking for something to keep me occupied; my Mum handed me this loom and this book.
They literally changed my life.
I’ve always been crafty; growing up with a scenic artist as a dad (Grahame Menage) and a textiles teacher as a mum it would have been hard to be any other way. But I’d never been particularly good at anything. In discovering these tiny beads it was like a light went on. I found something I not only loved doing, but I also seemed to have a knack for.
These wonky bracelets and chokers are some of the first pieces of beadwork I ever made, using a Native American fact sheet and learning basic stitches from The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving. They’re far from perfect but I keep them as a reminder of how much I’ve learnt, the friends I’ve made along the way and also to never, never use regular sewing thread for stitching beadwork!
Day 8 | Where
I grew up on the south coast so Hampshire and West Sussex have always felt like home. I’m a new resident of Hayling Island and adore the more countryside feel of our new home. The views from my bead room are so refreshing!
However I lived for several years in Nottingham and left part of my heart in the city for sure. It’s where my crafting really developed and I still visit regularly to catch up with beading buddies and do some bead shopping!
Day 9 | Goals
I’ve been wracking my brains all day about how to tackle day 9 of #marchmeetthemaker – goals.
I have lots of goals; life goals, business goals, personal goals, but ultimately I want to be the best designer I can be. So this post is going to be in fact less about goals and more about aspiration. Heroes. These girls are just some of my beading heroes, they inspire me every day with their creativity, dedication, hard work and beautiful beadwork…
Pictured below: Melissa Ingram, Melanie de Miguel, Misan Teijre, Miriam Shimon, Sabine Lippert, Marcia de Coster, Anna Lindell, Sian Nolan and Jean Power.
Day 10 | Favourite small business
Find Messam’s on East Street, Chichester, right next to Montezumas 😁An Aladdin’s cave, it stocks a range of beads, cords and metal clay accessories and is the perfect place for those ‘Oh no I’ve run out of..’ moments
Day 11 | Post run
The majority of my business is selling digital tutorials and teaching, so when I do go to the post office it’s usually to post off workshop samples to a shop or send a magazine project off for photography.
My mantra where possible is re-use, recycle and that’s why I send a lot of my jewellery off in these handy Graze boxes, packed with re-used bubble wrap to soften any bumps in the journey. I smarten them up with branded address labels, and add one of these cute Moo stickers and off they go. The best part is that providing you don’t over-stuff the boxes they class as a Large Letter!
Day 12 | First sale
When I first started Pinkhot back in 2009 I began by selling jewellery at craft fairs, the tutorials came later.
At my first ever craft fair I sold several pairs of these simple but sparkly Swarovski heart earrings. I was over the moon! They still remain a popular item and I have two pairs I wear myself as they go with everything!
Day 13 | Feedback
Getting great feedback from happy customers always makes my day!