January, February, March
The New year brought new ideas at the start of 2023. I always feel inspired at the start of the year, maybe it's because there are no markets, no deadlines and I have the time to start afresh after taking a break over Christmas.
By February I had a few events booked for the year and started to make new prints for these. My usual Cromer exhibition in July and a new exhibition local to me in Nottinghamshire in September. I came up with two mood boards for inspiration called ‘Shoreline’ & ‘Sanctuary’ which became my two main themes for the years work.
I created the prints In Flight, Dale Walk, Safe Haven and Shoreline Oystercatcher during these months, using higher quality papers for the first time. I think this was the point where I really started to plan my prints more, especially reduction prints, as there was less room for error using the expensive papers.
In Flight - greetings card
Sketching out Dale Walk
Creating Safe Haven
April, May, June
April's issue of Country Living magazine featured my Garden Escape print which was one of the most exciting things to happen in 2023! The design has continued to sell well as greeting cards both online and at markets.
I took part in a few markets during these months, which were successful and continued to create work inspired by my two themes. These included Egret in the Reeds, Incoming Tide, Flying Home as well as quite a few paintings for the upcoming exhibitions such as Reflections I, Summer Seascape and Into the Blue. As always, these months are crucial to my creative practice, where I am most inspired by the colour and light of the landscape during the warmer Spring/Summer days.
Design for Egret in the Reeds
Into the Blue painting
We took a trip to Dorset at the end of June. I love going away in the UK at this time as it coincides with the longest day of the year (Summer Solstice). We stayed in an old converted dairy near the Golden Gap and the location was stunning. It was a 15 minute stroll to the beach at Seatown which we did most evenings to see the sunset. I’d love to create some new work inspired by this trip.
Dorset trip 2023
July, August, September
Summer was a busy time but also a time to spend with family. I stayed in Norfolk for two weeks while my exhibition was on and stayed on to do another market. The weather was a bit miserable during my stay but I still managed to get out into nature in between the rain showers! We even had a go at pottery throwing which was a lot of fun.
During September my work was on display at Attenborough Nature Reserve for the month. This series of work was inspired by the Sanctuary theme and I enjoyed the way the work sat together as a whole. The light was changing, the swallows were gathering and we were heading towards Autumn.
Work on display at Attenborough
October, November, December
Planning, designing and making took over the start of Autumn. It’s my favourite time of year (even though I love Summer) because it's the start of hunkering down and staying cosy which also means staying in and doing lots of work in the run up to Christmas. I had loads of markets booked for November into the start of December, so it was a busy time to get prepared and focus on making important Christmas sales.
Country Christmas cards
I created Countryside Christmas at the end of the summer but had finally turned it into a Christmas card. It proved really popular alongside Winter Solstice and Retro Robin cards. I’ve written more about this collection in another blog post. My biggest sellers were my needle felted penguins, so popular that I was felting them during markets and any spare moment I had. In total I made and sold over 100 penguins in 2023!
My Winter Pheasant design was used on National Trust Christmas cards which was another really exciting thing to happen in 2023.
Winter Pheasant cards for NT
The Christmas markets I took part in were a big success, especially Nottingham Contemporary craft fair which was my final market of the year. It was a really busy and challenging time of year, but the reward of a Christmas break at the end felt extra special.
My stall at Nottingham Contemporary
So to conclude, 2023 had its ups and downs like any year when you have a small business. I feel like I gained some more confidence with markets, but mainly my work improved, it was colourful, bold and interesting. I want to carry this on but maybe go back to my more toned down palette this year. I’m working towards creating a calendar to release in the Autumn and gradually starting to book events into the diary. I hope you found this interesting and as always thank you for following along in my creative journey.