And just like that, 2018 is done and the new year is here! I thought I might do a little wrap on my year and lay out some plans for 2019 for anyone interested. It’s long winded and chatty, so be warned - probably grab a cup of tea and get settled in. I promise you there are photos of a cute puppy.
First of all, thank you for all your support throughout the year and since 2015 when my little business started from a pretty whimsical idea. Every year I’ve learnt so much, made many mistakes, had happy accidents, and achieved some goals along the way.
2018 I stopped doing my regular South Bank markets and I never addressed it properly as I wasn’t 100% sure of my plans. I spent the year teaching myself oils and learning how to do landscapes for the first time, learnt how to create wearable art in the form of brooches, and had art hung in competitions and group exhibitions. At the end of the year I crawled out of my studio (it got pretty lonely in there!) to do some events again. Finders Keepers and Etsy Made Local were absolutely incredible and I was blown away by the enthusiasm for handmade goods by Brisbane locals! Meeting other creatives is always a highlight as well - there are so many talented people around here. When I was doing South Bank every week, sometimes I wondered if there was even a place for handmade goods in Brisbane yet (with so much imported competition and disinterested locals), and I felt like maybe I should move to Melbourne or Sydney where there were more opportunities for small businesses. Finders Keepers and Etsy Made Local made me believe in this city again.
November was incredible, and December was full of difficulties. BrisStyle’s Brisbane Twilight Market was brilliant as always (such a warm community of creators). Then we had Westfield talk up their Christmas market to be something great, then shove us in a hidden alley with minimal signage! It was a rough three days for everyone. And then there was the South Bank Christmas Markets… ten days of the worst weather! I booked it in just to see if it was still worth doing at the end of the year, and I’m saying it here more for myself than anything else - I won’t be going back. I’m very grateful to South Bank for being the place where I started my business and set up shop every weekend for two years, but I’ve gained everything I could from it now, and I’m ready to move on.
I was blown away by the enthusiasm of people visiting Finders Keepers and Etsy Made Local - they weren’t just people filling in their day. They were people on a mission to decorate their home; people who understood that handmade is more expensive than two dollar stores (and didn’t question my prices); people who appreciated every stall they came across and were up for a chat and a laugh. (Seriously though, if I get one more person getting outraged that my “$25 print” isn’t an original for that price, especially when I tell them the original took me 40 hours and they’re STILL outraged it’s not $25 - I may lose it.)
I had people search me up online beforehand, map out their favourite creators on a bit of paper, and come to me saying “Oh yay! You’re on my list! I had to visit your shop!” That kind of enthusiasm creates such a fuzzy feeling and glowing pride within me - and I appreciate you SO MUCH.
(Just to be clear, I meet absolutely incredible customers at every event I do, there were just an abundance at these two.)
Pop-Up Shops (left - right): South Bank Collective Markets early 2016 (age 19), South Bank Christmas Markets 2016, Collective Markets 2017, Brisbane Twilight Markets 2017, The Ekka (ergh) 2017, Finders Keepers 2017, South Bank Christmas Markets 2017, Finders Keepers 2018, South Bank Christmas Markets 2018.
I’m hoping this year to be more selective in the events I do, and will most likely do the same thing as 2018 and work in the studio for most of the year, emerging at the end. I’ve properly created my online store on my own website now and will be selling prints, handmade brooches and tote bags online (as well as any new products). As always, my studio is open by appointment and 2018 had a few visitors popping by, mainly to see original paintings in person before buying. I recommend seeing them in person if possible to get a proper feel of the size and depth that photography just can’t capture.
A large part of my plans this year involve making wearable art. It feels like some restraints have been lifted, and I’m free to do as I please a lot more, which involves branching out into different products like brooches and earrings! Eventually I would love to design my own fabric and have a small clothing line too - although that’s a goal for several years down the line. I’m only still early on in my business, and I’m excited to learn so much more and create what I want to see in the world!
As always, my Australian theme will continue into this year. I love representing Australia in the way I see it - full of beautiful creatures and scenery.
I’ve been going on walks along beaches more with Sebastian and my new pup Olive, and it’s inspired me to do a little series about it. Beach houses, crashing waves, pelicans… I’m hoping to take this theme to oil and watercolour paints, as well as brooches.
My Australian bird collection will continue to grow of course! I’m planning to meet and photograph more birds this year. They’re my favourite subject to paint, because feather detail is beautiful and the colour and texture variations always keep things fresh. Also, they’re hilarious.
This year in May I’m going to Japan on my first holiday and I’m not sure what to expect! Hoping that I get inspired to do a small series about the unique culture, for something different. Less buying souvenier trinkets, more about collecting memories and painting them.
I may do some more Murwillumbah and surrounding Tweed region paintings for a part II this year… we’ll see! I’m always inspired by that part of the world - as well as Queenslander architecture and Brisbane life. I’ve wrapped up my 2018 series of these subjects, but I don’t feel as though I’ve closed that subject for good at all. Too many more beautiful things to paint!
I’m hoping to fit in some private bookings for Watercolour and Wine this year as well! I love doing hen’s parties, work get-togethers, birthday shindigs - hit me up if you’d like to organise something fun with some friends this year. It’s BYO alcohol and I can travel to you if you’re in Brisbane. Choose your painting, I slap on some tunes, and let the silliness begin.
These are just some ideas - obviously we all know how slow I am at painting! I do everything in my business - and some days are just social media, website updates and computer things. Other days I wake from a trance with paint on my face… Being a one-woman show slows things down a bit. We’ll see how many ideas I can tick off and how many get moved onto 2020 plans. I think 2019 is going to be full of inspiration and productivity - fingers crossed it’s a good one for all of us. Let me know below what your plans are for 2019 if you’d like. Or if you have any feedback, suggestions or general comments, I’m always happy to hear them.
Best of luck for the new year.