At last I've got down to blogging after a busy few weeks. I have started an online Lilla Rogers 'Make Art That Sells' Bootcamp which runs over five months with one assignment project to do per month. The reason I'm doing this Bootcamp is:
In March we had to design a Badass Backpack! The stipulations were that it had to be abstract and based on doodles and freestyle artwork from Week 1, before we knew anything about the backpack assignment.
'Abstract' art is outside of my comfort zone but I soon discovered that all the doodles and scribbles I have been drawing on every drawable surface since I was a child did not go wasted. This abstract thing came very naturally and I was very pleased with the final result! I learnt that there are other aspects to my creativity that I hadn't considered as potentially viable for my business.
I'm really looking forward to the April assignment so please keep an eye out for my upcoming blog posts if you want to see some brand new work and maybe something a little bit different!
My Badass Backpack Design...I hope you like it!!
If you'd like to see the March Bootcamp gallery of all the awesome designs created last month click on the link HERE
Showcase Ireland is Ireland's Creative Expo, a place where the best of Irish creativity gather to showcase their wares to the trade. This January Hairy Fruit Art headed off to the RDS Dublin with enthusiasm and gusto! Here's my story...
Overall it was much easier preparing for the show this year because I had done it once before and this saved me a lot of time. In the run up, every spare moment was taken up designing my leaflets and putting together paperwork, creating stand mockups on the computer, making up shelves for my greetings cards, and so on. I was really looking forward to meeting existing and new buyers, fellow designers, along with the many other fantastic people you tend to meet at such an event.
Last year's Showcase was my first ever experience at a trade fair and it went without a hitch. Ahem, I have to admit, this year there were a lot more heart attacks along the way. But what is a story without a little conflict?!
The first heart attack came about because I nearly didn't get into Showcase (a long story but suffice it to say I got there at the last minute). In fact, so relieved was I to get a last minute cancellation that one or two 'wee' things got overlooked by me, principally not properly checking out my stand in advance.
When I arrived to set up my stand I noticed I had two (not three) walls which brings me to Heart Attack No.2. However, since I brought my kitchen dresser and luckily only needed to hang things from two walls it actually worked out fine, even to my advantage, because people walking past could see right through into my stand. Also my stand was right beside the restaurant entrance so many people got to see it passing to and fro.
Heart Attack No.3 was when I realised I had a 'soft shell' not a 'hard shell' stand which basically means you cannot screw anything into the walls. I was in a position to organise some panels to be added at a cost of €60 +VAT a pop x 4 which was going to add a whole lot of extra expense. This is where the hubbie comes in.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, my husband is a wizard with a screwdriver and pretty much every tool in the box. I knew he was my No.1 best chance of putting this stand together right. After many headaches he was able to pull the rabbit out of the hat and hang my prints perfectly which was a true miracle. He made up a wooden structure allowing my prints to hang. I had no fingernails left but my stand looked great! Let's just say lessons were learnt!!
stand and deliver
I was very pleased with the standard of buyers who visited my stand this year, and the orders and the feedback I received about my designs both during and after the show. There was a noticeable increase of interest in my greetings cards this year which is a collection I intend to develop and expand over the coming year. A few buyers also gave me great suggestions of designs I should add to my collection, valuable tips about things they know there is a demand for. Where else would you get such wonderful advice from the horse's mouth?
If you are a designer contemplating taking the first step into a trade fair it's a big consideration. You have a choice of either jumping into the car with lots of samples and travel the country selling your wares which is great if you have the time, or you can set up a stand in Showcase and have people come and visit you there. You will never meet these people anywhere else and all in one place, or get the real feedback you need from the people that count. That is what I love about Showcase.
everybody needs good neighbours
A blog post about Showcase must include something about your neighbours. It is the people at your neighbouring stands that enhance your experience and keep you going when the feet are aching and the clock is ticking backwards! This year I had the privilege of meeting some very experienced exhibitors who passed on lots of advice and stories which were invaluable. They were also fantastic company. Photos: John O'Brien Irish Turf/Peat Incense Co. from Nenagh Co. Tipperary selling little Irish cottages that burn turf inside bringing the smell of turf into your home and out the little chimney (brilliant!); Veronica Molloy of Crossogue Preserves, Ireland's premier jam/preserve maker from Thurles in Co. Tipperary, basically Ireland's very own Mrs Beeton; the lovely and talented Amy Sherwin of Popzle based in my hometown of Greystones, designer of the most superb 3D interactive activity cards; last but not least is me at my stand looking sheepish baa!
My thanks to The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Local Enterprise Wicklow, and everyone who visited my stand at Showcase Ireland 2017. Here's to a creative and busy year ahead!
This Sunday the 22nd January look out for Stand #A210 in Shelbourne Hall in the RDS. It's going to be *all *systems *GO for Hairy Fruit Art participating at this year's Showcase Ireland.
I am no longer a newbie since this is Hairy Fruit Art's second year attending this superb trade fair... and I'm SO excited!
All the paperwork and leaflets are ready to go which include my NEW Irish Seasons notepad collection.
My experience of Showcase last year was splendid and I feel honoured to be taking part once more. This year I have again received the much appreciated support from Local Enterprise Wicklow, and instead of the upstairs Enterprise Zone I'll be
downstairs in the 'Home and Gift'.
I look forward to meeting lots of buyers again along with many other interesting and talented people (of which you meet plenty of at this event) ...I really just can't wait to experience the Showcase buzz all over again!
Activities this week include finalising paperwork and tweaking things on my stand mock-ups on the computer, plus I have set aside a room in the house much to the chagrin of my family, gathering all my products and everything else I will need for the set-up this weekend. My hubbie will be helping me with the set up just like he did last year, he did such a brilliant job before with the set up that I'm feeling very positive.
After Showcase 2016 I did a blog post 'Showcase Ireland a Newbie's Experience" which grabbed a lot of attention online. So in February I promise to do a blog post about this year's experience, it will be interesting to see what I can add to it.
For those attending, you will find Hairy Fruit Art in the lovely Shelbourne Hall where I sat many exams for UCD in my past life! STAND A210 is situated on the very back of the Hall on the right hand side (see RED star on the map below).
I love stationery and can't stop myself buying notepads and cards, I've got loads! This leads me into my November blog officially introducing my new notepad collection and what has inspired me.
I set this design project for myself in October. I wanted to design notepads that would be really useful for managing important tasks and everyday note-taking, at the same time helping to cheer up your day by looking gorgeous on your desk or workspace... not forgetting a very sweet gift for people of all ages. The collection would be pretty, botanical and very definitely tied together with an Irish theme. So what theme would that be?
O U T T H E W I N D O W W I T H I N S P I R A T I O N
With paint brush in hand I looked out the window at the beautiful Autumn day not knowing where to start. I thought about the unpredictability of the Irish weather and how so very often we experience the four seasons in one day and then I realised I had my notepad theme, the Irish Four Seasons would be just perfect! Now it was just a matter of doing what I love best, designing pretty botanicals and completing my collection.
I'm really delighted with the way they turned out and I hope you are too :-)
I R I S H S U M M E R C O T T A G E
I R I S H A U T U M N B O T A N I C A L S
I R I S H W I N T E R F R O S T
I R I S H S P R I N G B L O O M I N G
Note: The Irish Spring Blooming notepad is arriving in stock on 25th November to complete the collection
I live on the lovely Blackberry Lane in Delgany, Co. Wicklow and this is a perfect time of year to go foraging on my doorstep for much needed design inspiration. There is so much colour in the ditches right now with lots of berries which the birds haven't eaten yet. There are also plenty of delicious blackberries for the picking.
Apart from the odd prick from a thorn or two, I took great pleasure this week gathering up a few lovely bits and pieces like holly, hawthorn, rosehips, thistles, ivy and more. Then I got out the gouache paints and started painting.
Adding a bit of life to the blackberries...the best part!
After I completed my painting I scanned my work and exported it onto the computer and worked away in Adobe creating sweet autumnal patterns with a personal touch. A nice little design project to start this lovely season and the possibilities are endless :-)