My garden is located in the extreme SW of England and subject to high salty winds and marauding snails. Gardening in Cornwall can be a bit of an extreme sport and its similarities with trying to establish an art business didn't escape me. Getting things to grow is a little complicated, just like making a career out of art.
To begin with you need to to establish your space, prepare your soil and decide what you are going to grow. A certain amount of realism is helpful here! My garden is too small for the massive blooms of hydrangeas or fruit trees etc. and so it would be inappropriate to plant them. You need to have an idea about what you want to create - you might not know how it's going to work out, but you have a vision. If you have a small space like me then you have to get creative about being creative.
I work mainly on my iPad which is pretty brilliant in terms of saving space, but I sell actual physical products at markets, so I also have to store all of it somewhere (mainly in Tabitha's room and in pretty Sass and Belle bags).
Another issue with space is that it limits the amount of stock I can order at one time which means that I cannot take advantage of bulk ordering and price discounts. I have to keep things small and manageable. This however is my situation and everyone will have their own entirely unique set of challenges.
My limited space has worked out fine so far as it has kerbed my impulse (a little) of creating lots of products before knowing what will sell. It's good to test things out first. See what grows well and plant more of that. It won't be long though till I need a bigger pot as I'm starting to outgrow mine.
If a garden only had one type of plant or flower however it might look a bit boring and it also might be subject to dying or being eaten by bugs all at once, leaving you with a bit of a sorry mess. Successful gardens have a good variety of plants, with some plants helping to shelter others, generate the right type of bugs, shield from the wind etc. Diversity is not just pretty, but necessary. I'm thinking permaculture here!
The same is important with an art business if you want it to be successful. Think about all the different art markets and products! Sometimes the choice can be overwhelming. I think that intuition helps a lot and I tend to choose what feels right in the moment.
I planted an olive tree in my front garden when I first moved in and it's really in the 'wrong' place, but it's thriving! Sometimes it's worth taking a chance and doing things that you are not supposed to do.
Getting some new tools!
When I got my iPad I was really liberated in terms of what I could do and when I could do it. You wouldn't dig in the soil with bare hands only on the full moon and hope for the best hey? The result of this for me was that all of a sudden I was able to do lots more and fit it around my daughter. I had a huge time of experimentation. Some things worked and some things didn't, but I worked every day and pushed forwards.
Art and gardening involves a lot of 'wait and see' and faith. When you plant seeds you don't see results immediately - you have to water the spot and wait for some shoots. You have to be gentle! You don't berate seeds for not growing fast enough.
The same applies to your work - you can't give up on it because it doesn't go viral and you don't make much money. While you are waiting for everything to grow you can plant more (depending on the season you are in), do some weeding or pruning. Sometimes you do need to cut back in order for things to grow and be manageable.
I feel as though I could carry on with this analogy for some time, but I'm aware that this might turn into a crazy long blog post! For some reason though I'm finding it quite helpful to think along these lines. Creativity is an organic process and it's something that has a wild nature of its own. If you want a garden though, as opposed to an overgrown mess you need to do some work to create a space for yourself that you truly love.
I hope this might be a useful way of thing for you too! I'd love to hear from you and continue the discussion.
Thank you for reading!
I have entered this image for the 2017 Bridgeman Studio award. The theme was 'dark Summer' and they had a Pinterest board for inspiration, which was pretty amazing. It was a bit weird designing a book cover with no idea of the story, but it was also freeing as i could pretty much do what I wanted.
The prize is a commission to do the book cover for real which would be fabulous! Imagine seeing your design on books lined up in a shop. I would go around taking selfies everywhere I found them! 😂
Here is the link to the competition details: https://www.bsa2017.com/
Wish me luck!
I am really delighted that I have my cards in some new shops!
Space is a gorgeous contemporary shop that stocks local makers as well as big brands like Cath Kidston and Orla Kiely. The owner Ian is very friendly and there is always some good music playing which makes browsing a fun experience!
10 Market Jew Street Penzance
Morva in Marazion is run by Tamsin and hosts a whole range of local goods. It's a great place for tourists as well as locals, looking for interesting and unusual items.
2 Market Place Marazion
The Magick Mermaid in St Ives stocks unicorn, fairy and beach items, with a little fantasy thrown in for good measure. Make sure you pop in and say hi to Natasha.
4 Chapel ST, St Ives