I've moved studios, again. But, just after I left, I received these pictures from a talented photography student at UCA Farnham called Hannah Rowsell. She approached me to take some pictures of me for a portrait project. As you can see there was a bit or upheaval, but I quite like it.
That was the week that Juno arrived. Poor thing, she'd been abandoned and had been in kennels. You'll be glad to hear that she's put on several kilos.
This was also the week of the dog jacket making project as I wrote about last time.
I remember when I was starting out someone told me that if you have a creative job the reality is that you spend at least four days doing marketing, admin, accounts and stuff like that for every day making or designing. It's absolutely true, I spend many hours at the Mac face.
But that week it was more making and packing. One of the secrets of sewing nicely and tailoring in particular, is not about the sewing; it's about the ironing: the pressing. I was 'cool pressing' the jacket ties here. You sometimes need to fold a seam really flat and so what you do is press first with your steam iron nice and hot, then you get your cold iron and press hard and, somehow, it seems to flatten everything really nicely.
I got this iron from a brocante shop in Normandy, France. I returned from my shopping trip with three old irons to a chorus of hilarity from my sister's family. I bought them because they looked nice and only cost me 3 euros. But, they turned out to be amazingly useful as weights (for pattern paper and card) and for cold pressing as above.
I was packing a nice parcel to send some knitwear to New York. It's funny, I really enjoy packing up products to send out. I try as far as possible to use natural materials, especially brown paper.
I haven't put my small vintage collection on the website, but here is a nice 1970s cape. Let me know if you like it.
I love the depth of these images. They have an intensity - without being too hard. Serious, textural and they draw you in. I think Hannah has great talent.
So it's true, my stay at Farnham Maltings was less than a year. I loved being there. It was a great community, especially Sally and David at the box office (dog lovers too). But, having avoided it for months, I really did have to spend a few weeks at the Mac looking at my figures and my business with a cold stare. It became clear that my local strategy, so close to my heart, wasn't working. My customers appear to be mainly online and in the flesh mostly in London. I have had to cut costs in a major way.
At the same time, I have more space at home and have created a whole new studio out of room that was a moth-ridden storage space. Largely out of fear of moths I've had to do a major spring clean and clear out everything, re-store and pack into vacuum bags and discover a pest control expert (who had been to a birthday party of my older brothers' in Elstead when they were still in short trousers). I found an exhausting Sunday to whitewash the unloved room and I now have a wonderful room, that is a showroom, a work room and a creative moth-free haven.