Sunday, October 30, 2011

'Cwtch' The Christmas Exhibition at Craft in the Bay, opening on the 11th November.

'Lattice' blankets & cushions

'Lattice' blankets & cushions

'Dot to Dot' blankets & cushions

'Dot to Dot' blankets & cushions

Beaded xmas garland made with 100% lambswool blanket offcuts

Xmas garland made with 100% lambswool blanket offcuts
Am busily getting ready for the forthcoming Christmas Exhibition at Craft in the Bay. Whilst you will be able to see pieces from my Resonate and Jacquard Sketch collections in the retail area, in the Gallery will be some new blankets and cushions woven in 100% lambswool. They are part of my new venture 'Made With Colour' a brand of exclusive 'Made in Wales' gifts and homewares. There will also be some of the ever popular Xmas garlands made from my blanket off cuts.

Craft in the Bay is the gallery owned and run by The Makers Guild in Wales, an organisation very close to my heart. I've been a member for around 7 years, and a Trustee for for about 18months. I also coordinate the CPD programme. It may surprise you to know that we get very little in the way of public funding, and so in the current economic climate our income from sales is ever more critical. As we approach the festive season can I urge you all to support your local galleries, makers and artists. Buy thoughtfully: please try and buy handmade as far as possible :-)  Thank you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Press coverage for Heals Collection

A bit more press coverage for the Symmetree throw and cushion for the Heals Discovers collection :-)

Etc magazine, September 2011

Observer Magazine, 7th July 2011

Flourish: Continuing Professional Development for Craftspeople at Craft in the Bay, Cardiff

Got my CPD Coordinators hat on again today! Just want to share with you the forthcoming seminars and workshops that I've booked for Craft in the Bay, Cardiff.
To book, please phone Craft in the Bay on 02920 484 611. If you've got any queries, drop me a line:

October 28th 2011 – Craft Photography with Toril Brancher

11am – 4.30pm

Are you aware that your photographs are not showing your work to its very best potential? Want to create more eye catching photographs to attract press coverage? Want to learn how to get the very best out of your digital camera?

Following the great success of the oversubscribed workshop with notable photographer Toril Brancher led last year, we are delighted to welcome her back by popular demand. This one day workshop with begin with an analysis of what makes a successful photograph, what the common errors are and how to take striking photographs with minimal periphery equipment. This will lead into a practical photography session where you will apply the theory to photographing one of your craft objects.

Toril Brancher is an established documentary and craft photographer, as well as a regular photography tutor with Ffotogallery in Cardiff. Recent significant commissions in the craft sector include photographs for the Resonant Colour exhibition catalogue at Llantarnam Grange and catalogue photography for Warp + Weft, a major touring exhibition of contemporary woven textiles.

What to bring: your digital camera and card reader (or connecting lead to view your images on a PC); a laptop if you have one (so you can download your images and view them on screen); some pieces of your work that you’d like to photograph; notebook and pen.

Cost: £50 for non members, £45 for members and friends of the Makers Guild in Wales

14th November 2011, What Buyers Want, Sara Gatoff and Maureen Cook, Buying Vision Ltd.

10.30 - 4.30pm

Do you want to wholesale your handmade products into the retail sector? Does the idea of approaching commercial buyers make you feel apprehensive? Want to know how to get your foot in the door? Have you had unsuccessful dealings with buyers thus far, and feel the need for some insider’s knowledge?

The Makers Guild in Wales is delighted to welcome Sara Gatoff and Maureen Cook of Buying Vision Ltd to share their unique and high level experience of the retail buying sector. Sara and Maureen have a combined background of over 40 years experience of working in UK buying offices up to senior levels at retailers such as Harrods Plc and Tesco’s as well as the independent sector.

This is a rare opportunity to glean valuable advice and guidance on how to effectively approach and impress buyers. The workshop will be divided into two sessions as follows:

Session 1 – “Preparing to meet Retail Buyers”

• Understanding yourself and your business, what kind of business you are looking to have and why. Here we would look at the values and motivations behind the business decisions we make.

• PS! Product Strategy. What is it? Do you need one? How to develop one?

• Defining a plan of markets and customers to approach, we call this “developing a route to market plan.”

• Starting to determine how you are different from your competition and why a Buyer may want to buy from you.

• Understanding Retail Buyers, what they may be looking for and why.

Session 2 – “Selling and Driving Sales”

• Building a Sales Pitch – what to say, in what order and why?

• Making a good Presentation – and handling a sales meeting, keeping control of it even when you are the seller.

• Combating nerves and learning when to talk and when to present your product.

• Communication, getting it right for your audience and projecting the right message to the Buyer.

• Different Ways of meeting Buyers.

• Cold calling, how to do it.

What to bring: notebook & pen.

What to think about before the seminar: what shops and boutiques (both multinational and independents) would be your dream retailer of your products?

Cost: £55 for non members, £49.50 for members and friends of the Makers Guild in Wales

14th December 2011- Develop A Marketing Strategy That Works & Select The Right Tools! Kelly Monroe from The Concept Club

1.30 – 5pm
Aimed specifically at craftspeople, designer-makers and other creative businesses, this workshop will introduce you to the basic elements of creating a manageable marketing strategy for your business and to select with confidence marketing tools that will bring a return on investment or objective for your business.
You will be encouraged to think about the specific goals you want to achieve for your personal marketing strategy, whether it be to increase sales, develop a new service or launch a new craft retail space. The seminar will give you a structure and framework to use day in day out to ensure you turn your plans into reality thus demystifying the art of marketing.

During the seminar we will also look at the variety of marketing tools you can use to develop your profile from traditional print media through to online social marketing websites. The seminar will give you an over view of the array of tools you can utilise and how to select the right tools.

Kelly Monroe is an experienced business & marketing consultant and training professional with over 10 years industry experience. Kelly has spent many years supporting SMEs in Wales to become productive and profitable. Kelly has trained with seasoned professionals and believes in inspiring people with confidence.

What to bring: notebook & pen.

What to think about before the seminar: your marketing goals.

Cost: £35 for non members, £31.50 for members and friends of the Makers Guild in Wales

Coming next year:

26th January – 11.30am. Membership of the Makers Guild in Wales.

26th January 1.30pm. Arts and business organisations that support makers in Wales. Confirmed speakers include representatives from Wales Arts International, Association of Contemporary Jewellers – Wales and the Arts Council of Wales. Further speakers to be announced very soon.

February – Stretching your practice. Speakers confirmed so far include textile artist Debbie Smyth and jeweller / stylist Anna Lewis.

March – Sell Yourself! The art of effective communication, with Noleen Mathias and Erin Martin

April – An introduction to Adobe Illustrator.

30th May – ‘Make Craft Pay’, Jules Mallory Skinner

June – ‘Thinking Big’, a number of guest speakers will discuss crafts in the public art sector. Confirmed speakers so far include tapestry artist Sue Lawty, blacksmith Ann Catrin Evans and Brigid Howarth who will discuss the successful Museumaker programme.

12th July – ‘Internet Strategy’ Pete Moseley. Again back by popular demand following his successful workshop in 2010.

Further details and dates to be confirmed very soon!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Press coverage for the Heals Discovers collection

The Circle Line and Symmetree designs for the Heals Discovers collection are cropping up in lots of the press. As I catch up with myself I'll scan and upload all the images, but in the meantime, here are two from this months Living etc and July/August issue of House Beautiful.

Living Etc, Nov 2011

House Beautiful

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cardiff Design Festival Awards 2011

For the third year running, I was delighted to be commissioned to design and make the awards for the Cardiff Design Festival. Two layers of taut cotton threads were composed in a bright cerise and emerald green, with a fine dividing line in sunshine yellow.

Below are some pictures of the awards at the ceremony on Friday night (a top night at the Cardiff Coal Exchange). They aren't the best quality as they were taken on my phone. But the awards were lit by a changing spectrum of coloured light shining through them, and I couldn't believe the extraordinary effect - they were literally glowing when the red light shone through.

Oh, and I should add, I did actually win one of my own awards for the designs I produced for the Heals Discovers collection! Am delighted to say that the collection seems to be selling well for Heals as I've had my first reorder for the Symmetree throw. If you're asking Santa for a Laura Thomas Heals throw this Christmas - tell him to buy sooner rather than later!


Oh dear..... my blogging recently has somewhat fallen by the wayside as I've been frenetically busy. Last month I took part in Origin, the contemporary craft fair which is part of the London Design Festival. I had a great week meeting lots of customers, new galleries and fellow makers. Below are some pictures of my stand and some of the new work, including some of my jacquards of the Welsh landscape. Enjoy :-)

....and after a stand shuffle around on the weekend.....

New work - Aqua Circle

another new piece

and another new piece - finger knitted yellow threads

'Elan Valley I', jacquard woven silk and cotton

'Elan Valley II', jacquard woven silk and cotton