It’s that time of year when many of us unleash our creative sides and the craft shops start calling, as we continue to come up with new ways of making things more personal. There has been a real shift towards homemade and personalised gifting over the last few years. Artisan foods, arts, and craft fairs are increasingly popular, with amateur and professional crafters alike coming together to sell us their wares.
I have always been crafty myself (and, periodically, still toy with the idea of selling my own greetings card designs), but I have never really pursued the hobby as anything more than that. It takes an awful lot of inspiration, drive, self-belief and hard graft to turn such a personal, often subjective, pastime into a successful business. I admire those who follow their dreams and manage to accomplish just that; turning their hobby into a job. As a creative, it is no mean feat to produce something objectively – something that you are sure other people will like and buy – when you are so deeply immersed and emotionally invested.
One thing that local artist, Laura Prouse took away from her first major craft show last week was the affirmation that other people (not just family and friends) like her creations as much as she does, and even want to own them. Several of her designs completely sold out. All that time and love spent carefully designing and handcrafting each and every item had been rewarded with the financial and emotional investment of strangers. This also provided her with valuable, objective feedback about what to make next.
Laura designs beautiful wooden objects, all handcrafted by her, in her own little purpose-built studio in Devon. She has been creating personalised gifts for friends and family for years, takes commissions, and is already well established locally as a mural painter. But this new branch of her dream enables her to make small batches of items (in this case, tree decorations) – each one still very much unique because of handpainted detailing or a slightly different print – and sell them as retail items so that everyone can afford a little piece of her work. The range – which is expanding all the time – includes tartan robins, cheeky Santas, colourful snowmen, Christmas puddings, stockings, hearts and baubles. You can also personalise her decorations with handpainted names or messages to make them even more unique. Catch Laura at her next Christmas fair this coming Saturday 3rd December at Holsworthy Memorial Hall in Devon. Or check out her Facebook page here.