Working on your own has many pros and cons, some I have covered in previous posts! I try to mix it up a bit and see friends a couple of times a week, even if its for a brief chat over a small coffee, or if I’m very lucky, a long lazy lunch. The last two weeks have been a juggling act of work, preparing for a craft fair in two months to start selling my ‘hobby’ embroideries (more on that in future blogs), end of school shenanigans and preparing for our holiday. But the best thing is that two old friends have come briefly into my world in the last fortnight, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about these talented illustrators and how I know them.
Chistina Balit is an amazing artist who I first met in my second job, working for a publisher in London. I was very junior having migrated from children’s magazines to books, and was still wet behind the ears. I was lucky enough to work with Christina on book by Michael Morpurgo called Blodin the Beast, and she was a joy to work with (I wish I could say this of every illustrator I worked with over my 20 year career!). I was so new to childrens publishing and Christina was kind and patient with me. We worked together years later on another book, and anthology of Greek Myths for a very different publisher... the less said the better! And last week she called and said she would be in Bristol briefly, and let’s meet up. What a pleasure that was, and it reminded me how lucky I was to have worked in an industry full of fascinating people!
And then earlier today, I sold one of my mushroom pictures on etsy to another talented illustrator called Guy Parker Rees. If you have young children I think you’ll recognise his work, and have one or two of his books on your shelves. Guy and I first came into contact in my first job, working on a children’s magazine that was connected to a BBC children programme. I’m very proud to say that I was the first person to ever commission him, straight out of college. We worked together again several years later in my final job (one that lasted 10 years!) and he too was a dream to work with from the first to the last piece. And the exuberance of his pictures is an enduring image for my children as well as for me.
So, just a brief reminisce to remind myself how lucky I am not only to have friends to have that quick catch up, but old friends who reappear unexpectedly and bring more joy to my week! And now back to the juggling…
After almost 20 years as a designer in children's publishing a short silversmithing course in 2006 prompted a change of direction.
The following year I enrolled on a part-time jewellery course, and found a local studio where I could make and sell my work.
In 2009, together with five other crafts people we found a shop space to rent on our busy local high street, the gloucester road, called Fig. We are open tuesday - saturday, 9.30am - 5pm (except August).