A little while ago the brilliant blogger, writer and social media / marketing guru for the knitting world GreenTriangleGirl aka aplayfulfday nominated me in the Creative Blog hop. The idea is each person blogs with their answers to four standard questions and nominates two people to continue the chain.
I have really enjoyed reading answers by those who have already taken part and feel honoured to be part of this process.
Here is my contribution:
What am I working on?
At the moment I am really focussing on finding my feet.
Currently my life resembles a treadmill where someone has turned up the pace and my little legs are going as fast as they can to keep up with the belt. I am working very hard and am proud to say my legs are getting stronger and the strides are getting longer. Some days I can’t believe I am still standing, but I am and I relish a good challenge.
This year has been pretty huge for me on the work front and things are really picking up. This is wonderful and I am infinitely grateful for each and every opportunity that comes my way. As a bit of background, I had dabbled a little bit in some technical editing work when my daughter first arrived but had planned to go back to work in my old field. I never thought of myself as someone who would thrive on being self-employed. I am not sure why this is because I could not have been more wrong, it’s great working for myself and the world of freelancing is where I belong. I love it.
After building up my client base I finally took the big plunge a few weeks ago and went fully freelance (technically part-time I suppose as I wanted to balance my time between work and my little one). I have not looked back since. Current projects include technical editing and layout design, collaborations with fabulous indie-dyers for design collections of my own and researching for some pieces of writing commissioned by a knitting magazine.
No day is ever the same and I am very fortunate to have a good balance of creative design work and ordered more technical work, the perfect match for me.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a difficult question for me. I am the ‘new kid on the block’, I am carving out a place for myself in this sector and that will take time. Actually, I think it will always be a ‘work in progress’. I have an interesting mix of skills and this has translated into an interesting mix of work within this sector.
On the client work front I like to think of myself as someone who is balanced and brings a wealth of experience from different sectors together to be the most effective editor and designer I can be for each individual client. In the past decade I have been on what some might think of a very varied and rather random journey. I started out studying photography, then worked in media selling advertising for a national newspaper, then shifted focus and worked in the humanitarian sector before studying to be a teacher. During this time I lived and worked on three continents; loving life and taking random opportunities to up sticks and move on as they presented themselves. I think this gives me a pretty unique set of skills. I love being behind the camera, I am passionate about creating with my hands and am equally comfortable behind a laptop screen plugging away at excel or tinkering about with a client layout. Having worked in fast paced deadline driven environments I thrive on the pressure that an imminent deadline brings (always useful when submissions are due).
Why do I create what I do?
I love making things work. At heart I am a problem solver who likes to look at the puzzle pieces and put them together, finding the missing pieces and working out where they are or how the gaps can be filled in the most effective way. This is why I love technical editing and layout work as a combined project for a client. Technical editing is a puzzle with maths, words and structure. I find the process of reading a pattern, knitting the design in my head and plugging the numbers into a spreadsheet very satisfying. Bringing the technical elements together with the words and watching the design dance across the page is pure magic. Sometimes when I am engrossed in my knitting I feel as if my fingers are dancing across the needles, the yarn turning and twisting through my fingers, I become entranced by the process of creating. I find the same joy in watching words and numbers combine into a brilliant pattern.
Combining this technical work with the creative process of designing a layout brings together a package that really works for designers. I love walking people through the process of what they want, what they need, what works for them, what they would like to avoid and then combining all of this together into a style that screams “I am xxxx”. The knitting world is a busy place and it is important to know who you are and have an identity that speaks to those who love your work and support you as a creative. A good pattern and layout design is just one tiny part of the process but I love being part of it, and that is why I have chosen to do what I do.
How does my creative process work?
I am an ideas person, ask the people close to me and they will attest to the fact that I have no shortage of ideas. I really do need a few more days in my week. I like to get all my ideas out there, frequently in a stream of consciousness to my husband the second he walks through the door. Then I like to let things simmer away, tinkering here and there, pondering the multiple options and waiting for the last minute before the deadline where I pull everything together in a blaze of glory and produce a finished product. (Okay maybe it is less of a blaze of glory sometimes and a mad dash to the finish line). I doubt this is the optimum way to work, waiting for the last minute, and in all honesty I do a lot of work before the deadline is even close. However, I always seem to have the most focus when I have no other option but to focus. With weeks to go my mind easily wanders off to my next brilliant plan, it is only in the final days that I can neatly tie up loose ends and bring something to life.
Between the idea and the mad rush for the finish line there is a process. It always involves my notebook and a pen. I love my computer but there is something about putting pen to paper that makes a difference to the way my brain works. I also like to talk to my nearest and dearest about ideas, problems and potential solutions. Articulating the process helps me to digest it a little better.
There you have it. A little bit more about who I am, what I am doing and why. I have a new blog series planned about getting started and am just putting the final touches to the first posts. Watch this space for more details.
In the spirit of the creative blog hop I would like to nominate two fabulous ladies who are rocking their own sectors of this industry at the moment.
The first is someone who has been a brilliant source of inspiration to me in the last year. Jess from Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh has a way with the dye pots and a fabulous bricks and mortar shop.
My second nomination is my favourite northerner Jo the voice behind the Shinybees podcast and half of the brilliant The Golden Skein team.