Do you get moments when you have to stand still and tell yourself to ‘Just breathe!’? THAT’S what I’m having to tell myself right now after a night where I was still awake at 3.30a.m thinking about all the things I still haven’t done! January and February were not meant to be like this. I thought I would get a chance to catch my breath after Christmas but as ‘His Nibs’ continues to make progress with what has become his side of the business I’m now running to catch up. I’m not complaining mind!
It’s the small things that make a big difference. For example, workshop bookings continue to pick up from a standing start last year and one of the things that has helped is simple. When ‘His Nibs’ goes out to restock the outlets that sell my greetings cards he also takes out a handful for flyers and posters and keeps them toppped up.
His efforts have led to significantly increased workshop enrolments, 1-2-1 tuition bookings and enquiries from WIs, textile groups and other public bodies interested in my workshops as part of audience engagement programmes. Not that I’m doing myself down. AT the end of the day, people are booking because they want to learn from me and that is really heartening. Nevertheless, his input has freed up my time to work in the studio and to work the laptop keyboard more effectively. Social media is consequently proving to be more effective – I’ve taken a booking from the Republic of Ireland for my collagraph workshop in March and last weekend one of the participants came down from Edinburgh to take part in the gelli-plate workshop. After the hiatus of the last few years, what with one thing and another, when I nearly threw in the towel, it’s great to feel supported and that I’m finally making some headway.
‘His Nibs’ isn’t yet working for a salary but at the rate he’s going by next year he will be. Just recently he has scored a bit of a coup by getting both Sunderland Glass Centre, and last week, Fenwick in Newcastle to stock my greeting cards. Sunderland placed their second order with us today which is excellent news and Fenwick received delivery of their first order. Now that I am a listed supplier of Fenwick, it means it will be much easier to get my cards stocked by the other 8 department stores around the country. ‘His Nibs’ has his eye on the Mayfair store on Bond Street!! Well, ya gotta dream big haven’t ya?
On top of all this, studio access sessions are picking up regular as well as occasional users and the summer printmaking retreat in August has got off to a good start as far as bookings are concerned. I now just have to finalise the rest of my summer programme of workshops. This Friday is the preview of my first exhibition at the Biscuit Factory in a while. 6-9pm. Come along if you can and say hello.
Of course, with all this activity, what I’VE got to avoid now is the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ syndrome! … Just breathe!