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Surviving a Pandemic as an Artist

Last year Life took a very surprising turn for me. How did things work out for me as an artist and as a small business ?

One minute I was at #showcase in the #RDS taking orders in January 2020. I took orders and made contacts with the most amazing representation of Irish Tourist Gift Shops in Ireland, the UK and USA. I was excited with the forecast for 2020.

And then, well you know how the story goes.

My first thoughts were with some of my stockists. They have long established family businesses with closed doors and overheads to pay. I was fortunate, compared to what they were to face.

My next problem was the stock I had made that was sitting in boxes with no where to go.

So I struggled with a heartbreak of sorts, and no mojo to make anything. Yes i even cried.

My husband was the comforting shoulder to lean on. I kept busy with the garden and house.

For 3 months, I didn't look at the studio.

And then, ACCEPTANCE. With acceptance, i started to realise I had to re-invent myself. I had to adapt. I had to find ME again.

Step 1 was to get creative again. So i ordered books written about felt making and researched techniques.

I was going to try new things whilst I had the time on my hands. I read about new silks, different wools and the process of using wool dyes. I ordered new materials to try new methods, and I played with techniques in felting. I played and messed around with fibres and ideas. I grew as a creative.

Step 2 was to adapt. Everything was suddenly ONLINE. My website was a disaster, My social media sporadic. My branding was teetering over a cliff edge.

I rebuilt the website incorporating a wholesale portal with #istockist and introduced an online shop with #ecwid that was more user friendly, I signed up for a course in SEO and social media promotion with (still working through their amazing course) and pulled my branding away from the cliff edge.

Step 3 is ongoing. It is to enjoy my work, create what I want to create, and go with the flow.

I have found projects to keep me busy, new goals to achieve and headspace to be creative.

What i made in 2020 :

Continuing on from the techniques learnt has enabled me create new lines for 2021 :

So I'm happy with the challenges I faced and overcame. I feel even more confident in my creative abilities. I know I can adapt. I am ready for the next chapter in Jayne Gillan Designs.


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