27 August 2013

Time for reflection

Pause, take a breath, be calm, think, evaluate, consider.

There are key times in the year when I take time to consider what I have been doing, how things have changed, and where I want things to go. New Year is one, when the chaos of Christmas is past, and there is a little stillness for the first time in weeks. And again as Summer ends, and the long school Summer holidays are over (two months in my boys case), there is another time for reflection. Come late August, I am itching to get on with all the things I haven't been able to do I for two whole months. Time to take the pause button off life. It may start with a de-clutter, a huge cleaning session, and an ironing mountain to work on, but then I can turn to my lists of things I haven't had time to do, things I need to do, and things I want to do.

Despite a jolly public face for Charlotte Bezzant Jewellery, it has been an extremely hard year on a personal level. Not the sort of stuff I have wanted to share, and who would want to read about it anyway? I have asked myself over and over if I should even refer to it in anyway in a blog post. Finally I came to the conclusion that what I experience is what makes me tick, it is intertwined with my creativity. The short version is, early in the year I nearly stopped making jewellery. My spirit was crushed and broken, and it all seemed rather fruitless. I had been under pressure for sometime not to run a business, and it seemed that was what was going to become reality. The little energy I had was needed to keep me and my boys going through the most difficult time of my life. I had no energy for creative things.

Then suddenly there was a realisation. To stop would mean I was defeated. It would mean my dreams had been crushed. It would mean all I had been doing to build my little business had been a waste of time. Then there were other things that became important to me. The need to bring up my children showing them that if you want something, and you work for something, there is a big chance you can achieve it. That it's OK to dream, and sometimes your dreams come true. And on a more basic level, my future was completely uncertain, and it seemed important to be able to produce an income of some description, however tiny, because it could be vital. Making jewellery is something I do when the children are at school, or when they are asleep. As far as they are concerned, they have a full time mum. That's important to them, and important to me. I am always there - for school runs, to ferry them from clubs, to sit and do homework, to make sure they are clean, washed and well presented, well fed and nourished, and that they are tucked into bed at the end of every single day having had the time to talk, a bedtime story, and a big kiss. On top of this my lovely boys are really proud of mummy and her jewellery making. Bless them. As well as the fact that they tell me what I make is beautiful, I'm under the impression they actually think I'm famous!

So now, as the Summer heat has died away, and the mornings are becoming fresh and Autumnal. I have to consider what to do next. I must evaluate all options.

The reality is I could definitely earn more money doing something else. Anything else really. But this is about more than money. It's about striving and achieving, its about learning and growing, it's about being appreciated, and making people happy. It's about self esteem. It's about being there, and also being a role model for my boys.

Creativity is in my blood. My parents are both creative. It's as important to me as breathing. From an early age I knew I would go to Art School, and I did. I have always made, drawn, sewn. Where I am now with my jewellery making grew from a hobby, an evening class. If I don't sell jewellery, I can't afford to make jewellery. I don't want to stop. If I am not making jewellery, I would be making something, anything else. I always have done.

I believe in the things I make. Everything I create is something that I would chose for myself (except perhaps for earrings, my ears are nearly always bare.) It means I can talk about it with a passion. I have grown in confidence as I have seen there are others who like the same things as me.

Making commissions brings me real pleasure. The fact you know someone is getting something unique, and so special to them, makes me feel warm inside. I know how much thought and effort, and 'the extra mile' that I put into commissioned pieces. Other makers do to, and I love to be able to support them by buying hand made things when I can.

Makers like me are now facing the run up to Christmas. I know that seems ridiculously early if you are not a maker, but out there there are many like me ordering packaging, thinking about stock levels, getting on with producing stock. Last Christmas was the first real Christmas for my business, this year I have a better idea of what to expect, so I want to run with it. In January, I can look back and decide if that's right for me. It needs to work with role as a mum, Carol Concerts, School Christmas Fairs, cake sales, writing Christmas cards, filling stockings etc.

So now, no more procrastination. I'm off to write a 'to do' list. I know I really WANT to do this. I just need to prove to myself that I really SHOULD do this.

15 August 2013

Inside my studio

Yesterday, my little studio had a visitor. Now there's nothing special about that - I positively encourage it, but I don't usually get the cleaning things out for visitors (I'm sorry to admit). I do believe in 'take me as you find me', and anyway, my studio is normally a quite tidy place. 

However, it was time to wash away polish dust that had settled, and the finger prints that were everywhere from when I am working. (There are many that would think I was mad to work in such a white space, but it's just so me, and I wanted to create the perfect little spot to work in when I bought this with my savings a year and a bit ago.) I finally got some little display cabinets on the wall, and arranged all the little things that I find and love on my Special shelves. With the place so spick and span, it was the perfect opportunity to get the camera out. would you like to see?

There's the working end...

Lots of inspirational and pretty bits and pieces.
(I've always been a magpie.)

An area to store the cabinets I use at shows that makes a sweet little display area. The little wall frames were a TKMaxx bargain. They didn't look so pretty when I bought them, but a lick of paint and a new inner later, and they are just perfect.

(I had baked tiny shortbread stars to go with our coffee. Beauty is in the detail!)

Here's a pile of my used sketchbooks...

Some of my boxes and cards...

And finally, the latest bits that are burning in my mind, that will hopefully become lovely jewellery soon...

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

11 August 2013

Delightful Dorset

I have just come back from a wonderful week away. A week spent with my favorite people, my two boys, and my parents. A week spent under canvas. A week enjoying the British countryside and British beaches. In this glorious Summer we are having, it is a perfect way to spend time with the kids. I am sure the time will soon pass when they are happy with a bucket and spade, a crab line, and a body board. I intend to savour these times while they last.

Wonderful Corfe Castle that Enid Blyton based Kirrin Castle on.

A little Hobbit House at the base of the Castle.

This year the castle had a Medieval Village in it's grounds.
Pretty Corfe Village beyond.

Beautiful unspoilt Shell Bay, a National Trust beach. 

This was where I found all the little shells last year, that are cast in solid silver for my shell jewellery. Once again I walked bare foot, stowing little treasures in my pocket as I wandered.

Happy days with my nearest and dearest.