Posts tagged with "creative"

Retirement album for Headmistress

I was approached this Summer by a lovely school who wanted to dedicate an album to a wonderful head teacher who as retiring at the end of the year.

It was an amazing album to work on – collated into years, it contained artwork and letters  from every child at the school, memories on post cards from parents, teachers and staff and diary entries from the previous Headmasters describing the career of the now retiring Head.

The opening page

Retirement scrapbook album at the Scrapbooker

The school provided graphics and photos from around the school, art cards found in the Head’s office and key words that represented the ethos of the school. All were incorporated in to the album.

Retirement scrapbook album at the Scrapbooker

There was so much material, I simply couldn’t fit it all on the pages so I crafted white folded inserts to slip into the album, these folded out and housed every piece of artwork.

Retirement scrapbook album at the Scrapbooker

The school were very keen to make the album as personal as possible so I crafted two bespoke albums to house the pages and the additional material. The theme was one of the sea and relaxation. I crafted a bespoke box to the back and printed both the cover and the lining of the albums.

Bespoke personalised scrapbook album by The Scrapbooker Bespoke personalised scrapbook album by The Scrapbooker Bespoke personalised scrapbook album by The Scrapbooker

The Headmistress was delighted with the album

Retirement scrapbook album at the Scrapbooker

and the school sent me a lovely testimonial


You can find further samples of my work in the gallery.

If you are interested in commissioning a scrapbook album for someone’s retirement, wedding, birthday or special occasion, Email Me , I would love to hear from you.

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The Scrapbooker moves to The Custard Factory

Anyone familiar with Birmingham will know The Custard Factory – its location, history and importance to the City.

The Scrapbooker moves to the Custard Fcatory

The Custard Factory is Birmingham’s creative quarter. Just 800 paces from the Bull Ring this 15-acre sprawl of riverside factories was built 100 years ago by Sir Alfred Bird, the inventor of custard. At one time he had a thousand people making the stuff. But by the early 1980s it had long since lost its mysterious appeal and the factories fell derelict.

In 1988 developers began to restore the buildings and announced their intention to lease the studios, workshops, spaces and shops to the best of Birmingham’s young creative talent – there was an instant rush and since then a whole new inner city neighbourhood has emerged – intricate, fine grained and threaded by green spaces, fountains and sculpture. Now, more than 5,000 people work in The Custard Factory Quarter and its surrounding area.

The Custard Factory

The Custard Factory Quarter is now home to a dynamic community of creative and digital enterprises, independent retailers and a thriving independent music scene. Among other facilities are a theatre, cafés, corporate and social events spaces, art galleries, educational space, TV studios and a series of dramatic public open spaces. The Guardian has raved about it and called it “the UK’s most surprising creative quarters.”

The Scrapbooker at The Custard Factory

I have been lucky to be able to secure a studio here as spaces are now becoming very limited. The studio in Scott House overlooks the fountain pool in the square – a large, beautiful bright studio with vistas over the city and light to die for, it also overlooks the menacing iron dragon which climbs the wall opposite.

View from The Scrapbooker's studio at The Custard Factory

And I am thrilled to be part of it – in my first week here I have talked to a neighbour who is a long standing resident and who has photographed movie stars, music moguls, famous artists and international sports personalities; witnessed film crews set up (and film) outside my front door and enjoyed live music. It is also home to The Gadget Show, I mean – how cool is that?!

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Losing my creative mojo

Surprisingly, designing new products can be a particularly arduous task. I spend a considerable amount of my time working on accounts, admin, sales, marketing, website development, blogging and other such activities that have nothing to do with designing or crafting. They are a necessity of self-employment; they are also a demon to my creative mojo … let me explain.

When I eventually find myself with time for ‘play’,  I get very excited. I mark out days in my diary – weeks in advance, put my phone on silent, ban the kids from the studio, shop for new supplies to inspire me, drag all my idea sources and notebooks out of their hiding places, put on a fab new album to listen to and then set about, with much gusto, the task of creating.

It sounds idyllic. I can assure you it isn’t.

Two hours in and the scene is not one of harmonious creativity. A hundred ideas swirling around my head along with product and resource overload just isn’t cutting it. Everything I try just isn’t working; heaps of product and supplies are now strewn all over the studio in various piles – die cuts, glue pots, paintbrushes, stacks of coloured and patterned 12″ x 12″ paper, flowers, rub-ons, metal frames, boxes of buttons and brads – you name it, it’s all out. Half finished projects and my initial ideas are now scraps of crumpled paper on the floor and my note books have huge pen marks through them with the words NO blazoned all over them in red marker.

I have lost my creative mojo.

No artist or creative (or writer for that matter) likes to admit to losing their creative mojo – but it happens. We spend 80% of our time doing uninteresting,  mundane, necessary administration and that seriously messes with our creative thought process. We just can’t dive straight in and produce wonderful, fresh pieces of art straight away. It takes time and thought, then more time and even more thought. This can go on for days, even weeks.

I have, however, been here enough times to recognise the pattern and have, to some extent, accepted this part of the process. My solution? Cake (or wine, dependent on the time of day) and a few hours spent casually glancing through the carnage that now surrounds me whilst listening to the aforesaid album at my leisure.

Then the ideas come.

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Using your home to promote your business

Whenever a client calls at the house, the first thing they always comment on is the large (and I mean LARGE!) creative canvas hung on the wall in the dining room – it is 36″ x 24″ and is of my darling 5-year-old DD…

Its reason for being there is three-fold. Firstly, I love the canvas (in fact I love it so much it forms the basis of nearly all my advertising postcards and leaflets), secondly, it looks fabulous against the rich red walls, and thirdly, when clients visit me and are waiting for me to make them their tea/coffee, they casually walk around the dining room browsing the quirky paintings, drawings, photos, paper crafts and arty bits and pieces that are on display. The canvas always attracts attention. I have sold more creative canvases this way than any other form of advertising or marketing.

A neighbour was in our home for a BBQ last year and fell in love with it too; she booked a photo shoot with her 2 gorgeous kids, ordered an album, several prints, a framed montage, and this week, on the back-end of that initial enquiry, a creative canvas – this one is 30″ x 20″. Simply gorgeous.

Opening your home up to clients can be tricky, you always have to have it looking clean and tidy and smelling sweet for a start! (I was up at 6.30 this morning doing just that as I had a client meeting me at the house straight after the school run). But it also has huge advantages; being able to work around my kids’ timetables and my husband’s job, being able to dash upstairs to grab a client’s file and discuss their requirements whilst stirring a risotto also has its merits. More significantly, it allows me to adorn my home with my unique personalised pieces, whether it be photos, canvases, paper, photo and word art montages, paper crafts, hand-made books and ornaments – even knitted handbags (yes, I have been known to don a pair of knitting needles). It also allows my clients to view items ‘in situ’, not in some cold, white-walled, impersonal studio. Framed photos and prints line my walls, stairways and hall, canvases sit on shelves and are hung from walls, albums, WordArt, PaperArt and PhotoArt pieces are casually placed around the house along with handmade books and arty pieces. All are used and looked at and ‘lived in’ within my home – this, in my opinion, is why I get the response I do from clients.

To prove a point, my client (from the school run this morning), booked a photo shoot, placed an order for a 36″ x 24″ creative canvas and asked whether I would be interested in running a craft afternoon for her daughter’s forthcoming birthday bash – all this, before I had even passed her her coffee.

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All in good time

After what seems like an eternity I have finally pulled my finger out and got myself organised with a Facebook page for Gingerlily Photography. I don’t know why it has taken me so long but in an attempt to break old habits (1000 ideas but none ever realised) I sat down last night and beavered away until the wee small hours of the morning and hey presto, a basic facebook page advertising my photography and Creative Canvases. To add more delight to my day (the first being that I ACTUALLY realised something) I woke to find I had gained 7 fans  – woohoo! How good do I feel! Anyways – if you want to keep up to date with what’s happening over there, here’s the link – enjoy!

In the meantime, here’s a beautiful 12″ x 12″ canvas I designed and created recently for a client.

[Canvas printed and finished with hand sewn sequins, liquid pearls, silver mesh, ribbon and silver bell. Client’s can have personal trinkets/keepsakes woven onto the canvas. Price £75.00  Includes all design work, proofs, printing and framing. Excludes delivery.]

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