March meet the maker, part 1
#MarchMeetTheMaker is an excellent project set up by Joanne Hawker, a creative who lives in Somerset. Each March she shares prompts for fellow makers and creatives to share their work and join in with this month long project. Usually the responses to the prompts are shared daily on social media, but I thought I'd share them here on my blog this year instead as they are a great way of finding out a little bit more about the person behind the business and the day to day running of it.
I'll cover a few prompts at a time and make this a series of blog posts for this month.
So, today I'm going to tell you about my take on the first four days worth of prompts, which leads us up to day, the 4th March.
These prompts are-
1. Brand Introduction
3. Beliefs and Values
4. On my desk
So, first up, Brand Introduction.
As you may already know, Alice Draws the Line all began with the drawings that I was creating in my sketchbook. After doing an art foundation course in 2001-2 I decided not to pursue it as a career but to go into Education and Forest School in particular instead. I often kept sketchbooks however and in 2008 I did a drawing a day for a year as a new year resolution. I loved it but had a break from it until 2013 when I did it again, but I haven't stopped since then. Much of my work was observational line drawings in these books and so the name came from there (and the fact I'm called Alice). I was working full time as a Forest School leader, trainer and county coordinator at the time and so wanted this to be a distinct, separate identity, away from that other part of my life. For this reason I didn't go for my full name (Alice Savery). Now, several years on, I no longer work in Education and as of the last year, I do this full time. My previous career of teaching children and adults in woodlands and my passion for being outdoors and really taking careful and detailed notice of the shifting seasons is part of the brand identity too. I still work predominantly from observational drawings, many of which are seasonal nature studies - a fallen leaf, a grass collected on a walk etc. These are then turned into products such as greeting cards, notebooks, mugs, tea towels, calendars for example or used as a basis for the creation of original artwork.
Sketching the seasons, observational studies of the seasonal details I notice in nature. The species, the colours, the changes. Until now these have been mainly small (A6-A5) observational drawings, drawn in pen and coloured with watercolour. In 2020 I did more studies that were A4 or A3 in size and also started working in a slightly looser style and adding in different mediums - such as inks including gold and watercolour pencils. In August 2020 I made a quill pen from a feather. This has become a new favourite drawing implement.
I've also dabbled with working with more abstract pieces - usually still starting with a seasonal or species for inspiration and working from there. Recently I've been zooming out a bit and looking at the landscape as a whole rather than looking very intensively at the small species within it. I'm keen to keep exploring this and to work in a more abstract way to interpret these landscapes and the seasonal colour palettes that they are constructed of.
photograph by Andrea Gilpin Photography
Beliefs and Values
I think my beliefs and values have been evolving as I / the business have. I am a huge believer in tiny steps. A little something really regularly can make a huge difference. For me a little daily sketch build the foundations for what has become my full time employment and livelihood, a business I love and that brings joy to other through my creations.
I think it is important to follow your interests, keep inspired and interested and be okay with the fact that may evolve. I can't walk past a hedgerow without looking at it, in it, under it, above it. I like to photograph things I notice, I love to share these (usually on Instagram) and then I like to take these observations further and create artwork from it - in whatever form it takes. I find joy in very tiny things and hopefully share this with others through my observation of these and then my creations from them.
I like working from my immediate surroundings and my experiences but sharing these through products and originals in a way that others can also experience something similar.
Time is important to me. I like the pace that nature sets - we can't have snow no blossom just when we fancy - we have to wait. I think there is a beauty in the rhythm of the seasons and I enjoy embracing each season, through artwork, my daily routines, my walks and the way I spend my days.
photograph by Andrea Gilpin Photography
On my desk
Now, this image isn't of my desk. But it could be. More often than not there is a hot drink. Usually Earl Grey tea (with milk), sometimes hot water with lemon and ginger, sometimes coffee, sometimes peppermint tea and occasionally hot chocolate.
There is a sketchbook somewhere, and a black pen - the one in the photograph is a fountain pen (I have several favourite fountain pens), often it is a fineliner or a unipball eye, and there will also be a brush pen nearby which I use to address all parcels and envelopes containing orders from the online shop.
I love having a variety of places to work from. I'm currently sat at a kitchen table that used to belong to my Grandmother, which now lives in my studio - in front of the woodburner which is warming my back (and drying my coat after a soggy walk this morning). I set the printer and heat press up to print personalised mugs here when I need to, and also put wrapped orders ready to go on here. As I'm writing this in early March there are also hyacinths blooming on the table.
My mobile is on the table. It is playing a podcast (Art Juice which I'm really enjoying). I use it for lots of on the hoof photography, Instagram and for processing the day's orders via my website and Etsy apps that I have on there.
I also have a standing desk where I wrap all orders. I have set up a desk space in the studio window to make the most of the light and I have a tiny bureau desk where I love to write longhand in notebooks -making plans and writing lists, occasionally journaling.
My watercolour palette is normally in my bag / coat pocket / wherever I go and that and my sketchbook can be used anywhere - desk or not.
I've recently set up an area of the studio where I can work on the easel. It needs a bit of tweaking so that I can have my paints to hand but it is getting there.
So, there we go - those are my responses to the first four prompts for this year's #marchmeetthemaker. If you use Instagram I highly recommend looking up the hashtag and seeing all the great insights behind lots of creative folk out there.
I'll be back next week with the next few prompts.