This week marked the first dive into the use of AI for seatree argyll. Emily discovered a wonderful app (is it an app?) that you can use to stage photographs – not just the ones where you pick a setting and struggle to ,make your picture fit in, but one where you describe what you would like – a sandy, rocky beach on a stormy day, or coffee and candlelight in soft colours.. whatever works for your object! The end result is so natural and even has shadows and reflections – it’s truly amazing! It means of course that you can’t be sure when you see anything, or anyone, that they are where they say they are – she set up a picture of baby Robert playing the bodhran at a rock concert! Is it cheating? We don’t think so – it just a useful tool for showing off our work. I think the website looks so much more professional than it did and I am very grateful to Emily, Chris and James for all their efforts this last two weeks in making it happen!
Sometimes, you look at things for so long and even make them for so long, and you forget what it’s all about and what you want to do. That happened with our boxes of ‘words to se you through the week’. We’ve made them for so many years and the hearts have got neater and more finished and w love them. Until recently, they got packaged in a we cardboard box with a blue label and the website showed them along with some complicated instructions on how to choose which words you wanted. However, I recently received some free business mentoring and she looked at them with me. Too wordy, not clear, a little bit unloved if I’m honest, even though at fairs, it’s one of our favourite things, to see people lovingly choose their words. So, we’ve updated the website listing, after some engagement on social media where we stablished some good categories of words, to keep things simpler. Then, we scrapped the little box and made something much more ‘seatree’, a beautiful little palm-sized inch pot with the ‘words to see you through the week’ inscribed along with a soft, clear glaze. Beautiful and loved again.
I recently did a blog post about balance – promoting my small creative business support mentoring. Learning new skills, like photography and invoices, doing the making you set out to do, spending time with family and friends, updating your website, social media and mailing list – pretty much a one-person job! There’s not as much making time as you’d think. So how do you find the balance? Prioritising, post it notes, diary, list making..? Joining with others in their studio or sharing lunches with other makers? Doing courses or events to meet others? If you’d like some support to find your way, give me a shout. I charge £40 an hour online but we could spread out the meetings to make it affordable and practical.
This image portrays a few things to me..
Community – we have an exchange where folks in the village bring us shells and sea glass in exchange for a little pot of poetry.
Learning – doing a course on product photography and learning how to use the ‘big’ camera
Hard work – having to change website hosts and needing a lot of help
Peace – the joy of beachcombing
Sharing – if I have pieces that are too big, I send them to a pal to make jewellery and she sends me the pieces that are too small for hr..
We got interviewed recently by the lovely Sophie Campbell in her monthly feature of ‘our creative life’. You can read it here!
Sophie does copywriting and you can see what she has to offer on her website link above – she also sells literary treats on her Etsy page https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OldWivesTalesGifts
It’s one thing developing our skills in writing poetry and making pots but there is so much more to sustaining this as a business – learning all about social media, how to approach galleries, how to write a newsletter and build a mailing list – how to set up at craft fairs… the list goes on. But one of the key parts of all of those business aspects, is photography. It’s not easy. A group of local artists got together a while ago to pay a photographer to run a workshop for the day and help us all – we did pick up some tricks and tips and hopefully you can see the benefits – but photographing larger ceramic works is still defeating me…
Okay, this isn’t pottery but it symbolizes our life and our attempt to live as sustainably as possible. Making our own pottery and making a living from that pottery is a life-giving thing – we don’t have a lot of extra cash, but we pay the bills and have enough. We can be very caught up with work at some points, like in the run-up to a ceramics fair, but we can balance that with days at a time when we are free to spend relaxed time with family and friends. Growing our own is part of the same choice – there is a lot of work in permaculture but less cost than in buying in beds and soil and certainly, much more enjoyable to be eating and freezing and planning our own food! For clothes, we buy second hand or maybe fair trade and we choose not to fly. Other steps are currently unaffordable – electric car or solar panels, but maybe one day!
I made this sculpture in the first lockdown, from a mirror and old wire found in the garden, with a small figure, wrapped in nature – resembling the joy and comfort that we found during the ‘great silence’ but the chaos that went on around us. It’s hard to remember those days so I am glad to see this sculpture every day in our garden and watch as nature takes hold, rust, small drops of moss from passing nest-builders, the mirror reflecting skies, whether dark or blue. I am looking forward to a sculpture course later this year as I have many more ideas spinning in my head!