On being a fairytale maker

I am often asked about the title I use to describe myself. A childhood watching Blue Peter on TV and using sticky backed plastic has led me to a passion for creativity. I have always been inspired by fairytales but my love of all storytelling pervades my work.

I spent four years at college studying City and Guilds Embroidery and when we graduated most people called themselves “Textile Artists”.  I have to say I struggled with this description. I didn’t feel it really described the work I do.  Narrative has always played a large part in my work and I wanted to convey this.  In my very early work traditional Fairytales were a huge inspiration and I still find this title motivational.  Whenever I am at a craft fair I display my Fairytale Maker logo and am always surprised how positively people react to it. It is a great ice-breaker!

However, I worried that my recent collages, although they tell a story, perhaps they don’t fit with my ‘brand’ (a word I hate).

I have recently come across Lisa Jacobs and her website Market Your Creativity.  I really love how down to earth she is and the advice she gives is very good. However, she recently gave me some real food for thought during an email. She said I need to ask “what do my customers want to take home?”   This brought me up sharp and got me thinking. I am making things that inspire ME but is that enough? I think anything I make has to inspire me. I could never imagine churning out hundreds of items that I didn’t love – just to make a quick buck. That wouldn’t work for me at all.  What I make has to feed my own artistic soul first. But it would be grand to be making things that people wanted to take home too.  Any thoughts people? xx

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8 thoughts on “On being a fairytale maker

  1. I think Corinne that there is a difference between becoming an artist and becoming a business woman. If you are in it to create a successful business then the email that you received is really relevant . If you create because you have to express your inspiration and what you truly love then it is less important. Work produced to supply a market and simply to make a profit may be necessary but not authentically you. We all need to make a living but I think we have to find a compromise where we are pouring our joy into to our work and appealing to people at the same time.

    I often find at Craft Fairs that I am standing behind a stall displaying work that doesn’t feel true to what I am capable of doing because I need to earn some money. It makes me feel that I am letting myself down. I have decided to take the risk and do more of what I love because if I have poured so much energy into it then there will be people out there who will love it too. It will mean concentrating upon work produced for galleries but I think that it will allow me to raise my game.

    What do you think?

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    1. I totally understand. I regularly swing from concentrating on craft fairs and then on galleries. The answer is probably doing a mixture of both – but the target market is slightly different. I did come to the same conclusion as you – in that I can’t just make something because there may be money to be made from it. Anything I make has to come from the heart but it would be nice if that didn’t exclude making money too!

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  2. The problem is, do you sell your soul and churn out table fillers which in itself is soul destroying or do you stay true to your inspiration and what drives you? If you dont have a personal love for the items you are making then what is the point? I think that a small amount of items that produce a steady income is good but personally, i feel you should stay true to what drives you, if you like it then others will too. There is no such thing as a generic all purpose people pleaser, Every creative artist has their own following, vive la difference i say, do what you love and lets face it, whats not to love about what you create?
    Your items have a wide appeal in my opinion and dont warrant any concern as to whether they are what people want, of course they are!

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    1. I totally agree Ally. I don’t see the point of spending lots of time on something that doesn’t inspire me. But it did give me food for thought and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to re-evaluate what you’re doing from time to time. Thanks for the comment and kind words x

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  3. I totally agree with Ally, you do make the things people want to bring home! I always feel if I like something then the odds are so will other people, keep true to your gift, because that is what you have, a gift! Everyone love the pieces we have in our walls by you, they are quirky and totally unique, they fit our beautiful house which is filled with thing that make us smile everyday. Do not have “art” in your home because it’s trendy or by a famous label, have things that make you smile and enriches your soul!

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