My 2023 started out really exciting – January was all about juggling my business and getting ready for our wedding in the beginning of February. I also didn’t have a wedding dress until three weeks before the big day! It was a little stressful but absolutely worth it, of course. We had the most amazing wedding day! Because of our honeymoon – which got extended for four extra days due to Cyclone Freddy – I was off work for the whole of February. So it took me a bit of time to get back into the routine in March – catching up and readjusting to reality.

Overall my year did feel a little slow, in comparison to other years. I couldn’t pinpoint why as there are a few possible factors (my month-long absence, living costs, algorithm, etc) but I try to get on with it rather than fretting over it!

Despite that, I’ve still got memorable highlights to look back and remember.

Valentine’s Day card collection

In the spirit of getting married in February, I designed the biggest Valentine’s Day card collection in the whole of January – and when launched, they were received well! I’m proud of every single design, but I’m really happy with the Carnation I Love You, Red Rose I Love You, and Houseplant Heart cards. (They’re also blank inside, so perfect for any time you want to say I love you!)

New postcards

I upgraded the card stock for my postcards, which is now sturdier. It’s glossy and scratch proof on the design side so it’s protected during shipping! It’s uncoated on the back for writability, with a new design that creates more space for the address and stamp. I’m chuffed with this change – they feel way more luxurious and are thicker, so they’re perfect for sending postcards. And the designs are as vibrant as before, so they’re still suitable for framing if you’d like to do that instead.

New washi tape designs

I couldn’t be happier with my new washi tape designs: Ladybird, Cacti, Bat, and Fern. They’ve gone down well too – Ladybird and Fern in particular. My watercolour fern paintings look really amazing printed on washi tapes, much to my delight. The leaf detail stands out so nicely.

Extra shelf storage

As I continue to expand my product range, I was starting to struggle with my storage space in the studio, so I decided to combine my admin and painting desk together, creating more space. I then single-handedly built the shelf on where my admin desk was. While I need to be more mindful on how to use my new dual purpose desk space well (and keep it tidy), the extra shelf space is exactly what I needed. I can access my products more easily, and there’s even less likelihood of damaged stock, so it was a great move. There are also some empty parts ready to store any new products!

Ferns collection

This has got to be one of my favourite collections! I might have said that about every single collection previously, but I’ve so enjoyed finding ferns in the wild, then drawing and painting them in the research and development phase of the collection. They’re also challenging to paint – especially the intricate detail of the leaves – but I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish painting each fern. As mentioned earlier, my fern paintings really work well printed on washi tape, and on postcards! There are greeting cards and art prints too.

Seconds sale

I had my most successful seconds sales! I’d held seconds sales previously, so I have no idea what changed. I’m thinking one of the factors might be the living cost and how we all need discounts more than ever. I also found myself buying more seconds from other makers. Having the successful sale was such a nice surprise! And it helped me free up a little more storage space, which is much appreciated.

New ceramic kiln

The most exciting news of the year! If you’ve been following me for longer than four years, you’ll know I had a short stint of making and selling ceramics between 2018 and 2019. My ceramic journey was abruptly halted due to the pandemic – the local kiln service I was using closed for a considerable period of time. It also coincided with the start of my wholesale business journey (I unfortunately exhibited my first ever trade show in Jan 2020!) and I was focused on developing my list of stockists – so my ceramics got pushed further down my priorities. But what didn’t stop is my love for it, so I decided that 2024 would be the year that I get back into making ceramics.

I built the shed (with the help of my lovely family!) for my new kiln, as well as gardening equipment. As the kiln got delivered and installed, I realised that I couldn’t have my first bisque firing as quickly as I hoped because I am generally busier than I used to be in 2018. The cold weather makes clay dry so slowly too, which doesn’t help either! But I’ve really enjoyed the past month sketching new ideas and making things out of clay. I’ll keep you updated on the journey.

Art retreat

I attended a deaf art retreat for the second time and I loved it so much.

I went to the first one in 2022, which included touring walks at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This time, it was held at a grand house with workshop sessions and more creative time. I enjoyed reuniting with the groups of deaf artists from the year before, and meeting new faces. It was wonderful to have no communication barriers among us. That weekend taught me how to let go of perfectionism, facilitate a workshop and visually interpret music sounds through drawing – I was left feeling very inspired!

Now it’s time to talk about new year resolutions, which I took quite a long time to decide on!
Putting myself out more

As always, I need to create more income streams, so I want to start looking for more freelance work opportunities (I’ve got a new LinkedIn profile!) and explore art licensing, which I currently have a little knowledge about. I want to learn how it works this year and hopefully, I’ll eventually be equipped with the right knowledge and be able to make that area of my career happen in the future.

Pottery experiment

I want to have fun with my new ceramic journey (2nd round!) this year. I want to let go of my perfectionism and have fun experimenting with techniques. In the process, I hope to have a better idea of what I would like to make for the first range to launch next year.

Looking back at my 2023 goals

My goals last year were more creative time and better bookkeeping. I’m so pleased that I’ve succeeded on these both goals. I definitely found more time to create – and even finished a sketchbook – but I need to be less shy about sharing them on my social media! I want to continue making time for creating this year. And doing bookkeeping every month, and keeping on the top of it felt so good. It was really nice to go into the new year knowing I’ve already submitted my tax return and my accounts are up to date, so of course, I want to continue doing this as well.

Tagged: From The Studio