WebinArt Member Focus - Part 2

WebinArt is Creative Leicestershire’s flagship one-year Professional Development Programme for early-career creatives + artists in Leicestershire. We collaborate with experienced professionals online + in-person to help creative start-ups navigate their way to confidence and success.

In part 2 of our member focus, meet another three of our members below and gain an insight into their work, their creative journey so far, and their plans for the future. Many thanks to Rachael, Lucy and Susan!

 

Rachael Harman

Hare and Wolf Jewellery

 

Tell us about your creative business and how you got in to it.

 

I make narrative jewellery and crafted objects from precious metals, based on my childhood memories and love of nature and preservation. I first started making in metals during my time at Leicester College, but I love all sorts of making techniques, so

it was hard to pin me down to one material.

 

When I eventually left to study design crafts at Hereford College of Art, I suddenly learned all these new techniques and fell properly in love with metal, practically lived in the workshop for three years and I guess the rest is history!

 

How does your work fit in with other life responsibilities?

 

At the moment my practice is squeezed in between my relatively new responsibility as a mother. My daughter is 18 months old, and it continues to be a daily learning experience, both in terms of helping her to grow and thrive as well as continuing to find time to create! I’m not always very good at juggling these two aspects of my life, but I feel like I’m on a slow upward swing.

 

 

 

What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?

 

I think if you’d asked me this a few years ago, I would have had some big ambitious plans for the future… but now? I really crave the slow creative life. I’m working on new components to add to my existing jewellery collection and looking at buying a house so that I can set up a “proper” permanent workshop with some of the bigger tools I don’t currently have room for. And I’d love to expand my customer base. Getting my work out there again, to galleries and fairs is a really big goal for me.

 

Tell us about your biggest challenges and successes up to this point.

 

Motherhood is by far the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to negotiate! It’s changed my entire life, right down to the smallest detail. As I said above, I am still working my way towards a balance with my work In terms of successes, I have designed collections for a high-end jewellery store, and I was lucky enough to be a graduate member of Alloy Jewellers group for almost two years. It went by so fast but I learned a lot from the other jewellers, and it was a really invaluable experience.

 

Tell us how the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far.

 

Webinart is giving me the time and space to really consider what is important to me about my life and practice and how the two fit together now after such a big life upheaval. The mentoring aspect especially has been brilliant because I’ve been able to discuss my ideas with another creative person. I think a lot of the time, we makers look for “permission” before we try something we aren’t entirely confident in. So I think it’s super important to have a network of creatives to help spark that action, even if it’s just bouncing ideas around.

 

 

 

 

See more of Rachael's work here:

Website: www.haresandwolves.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/Hares_And_Wolves

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/haresandwolves/

 

 

Lucy Stevens

Lucy Stevens at StudionAme

Tell us about your creative business and how you got in to it.

 

I've been making work since I graduated from the MA in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University (back in 2007). Back then I worked a lot with audio to produce commissioned sound walks and installations which explored the landscape and psychogeography for festivals and arts venues. My practice has shifted quite a bit and now I use sound to inspire my visual practice, including field recordings of birdsong to produce paintings, drawings and music. I have a studio space at StudionAme in Leicester and in the past year this has catapulted my art career, meaning that I have been able to create large and experimental pieces, exhibit at high-profile art fairs, develop a body of work for a solo exhibition and sell my work. 

 

How does your work fit in with other life responsibilities?

 

I have a job at NTU where I work in marketing so this is useful for me to use these skills to promote my own artwork. However, since December last year I have gone from a 5-day week to a 4-day week and this has made the world of difference! It means that I have more time to not only create more artwork, but drop off work for exhibitions, collect work from the framers, catch up on admin, attend exhibitions and networking events, apply for funding and reflect on my practice (the latter part is usually done on the train into/from work!).

 

 

What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?

 

Short-term: to attend local and national art fairs to meet new art collectors and gallery owners and to build my mailing list and gather feedback on my current portfolio of work. 

Long-term: to reduce my work hours and gain more time in the studio with a healthy revenue stream from my practice via my online shop/galleries/international art fairs. To develop my practice to include 3D works for public art commissions as I'm interested in producing outdoor site-specific works.

 

Tell us about your biggest challenges and successes up to this point.

 

Challenges: Deciding where you and your work fits in the art world (I honestly still feel like I'm figuring this out!). Taking financial risks can be tricky, this includes paying for expensive art fairs, buying new high-quality equipment and art materials, framing, scanning and printing artwork.

Successes: If you're willing to take the risks (see challenges) then I believe that eventually it will pay off. I have only been focused on selling my artwork now for a year and whenever my bank balance has been at zero, something has always come up from like-minded people that enjoy my work and want to add an artwork to their collection. That is the best feeling ever!

 

Tell us how the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far.

 

The webinars and mentoring is a refreshing way to analyse and reflect on your own processes and methods for working, in the studio, when building relationships and measuring success. It's a great programme to keep you on track, keep you focused on goals and most importantly provides a community of artists that can support and champion each other. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more of Lucy's work here:

Website: www.lucystevens.co.uk

Shop: https://lucystevens.bigcartel.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lucyjostevens/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucyjostevens/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lucyjostevens

 

Susan Paez

A Cuerpo

 

Tell us about your creative business and how you got in to it.

 

I run a theatre company called A Cuerpo . A Cuerpo was established in 2008 in Leicestershire to deliver theatre in Spanish for British children aged between 4 and 11 to support language learning and immerse the audience in Spanish language and culture, as well as to offer an opportunity to be involved in a new experience, learn and ideally be inspired. I am now looking to move on to offering online activities using film and new technologies such as Augmented Reality and 360 video. I always wanted to be an actor and decided to study Performing Arts. Once I graduated I did a few acting roles and after a while I decided to create my own work. I am passionate about languages as I’m half Spanish and at that time the Government had made it compulsory to learn a second language in primary schools. I thought it would be great to support children and teachers by offering fun activities and workshops in Spanish. So I wrote a play called “El viaje de Matilde” (Matilde’s Journey) and with funding support from Arts Council, Creative Leicestershire, Melton County Council and other organisations. I collaborated with other artists and the play was born and toured to various schools and theatre venues in the UK.

 

How does your work fit in with other life responsibilities?

 

This is a really good question, because for quite a few years I haven’t been able to fit my work into my life. Once A Cuerpo was up and running and I was successfully touring I found out I was pregnant with twins. I decided to stop during the pregnancy and I was hoping to go back to running my business when the babies were 6 months old. That never happened and now 10 years down the line I have realised I cannot continue with the same business model I had before and I need to adapt what I do to be able to fit it into my life. Touring is not an option anymore for me, that is why I have decided to adapt my work to an online format and use very exciting new technologies that are out there.

 

 

What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?

 

Right now I am adapting the original theatre script “El viaje de Matilde” (Matilde’s Journey) to a filmscript. My aim is for it to be interactive using AR and 360 video and available to schools but also people at home (home schooling community, etc…) via an online channel.

Initially I am aiming to gain some funding to do a pilot project and if it is successful to produce the whole project. I am putting together a group of people that have the expertise that I lack in filming and mixed reality technologies.

 

In the long term I would like to write and devise other projects that are already in my head, waiting to be produced. I would like to create work in Spanish that is in context and immersive and that links to other subjects that are dear and interesting to me such as female scientists, history, old Spanish legends, gastronomy…

 

Tell us about your biggest challenges and successes up to this point.

 

My biggest success has been to put my initial project together, get the funding and tour it. It was a very good experience to work with other artists and to see my vision fulfilled. My biggest challenge is to start again. It is hard to combine the home life and work, to establish new contacts and to decide on a new path.

 

 

Tell us how the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far.

 

WebinArt is a wonderful, supportive and invaluable scheme that has given me confidence and access to professional advice. It has helped me get back into the working world, allowed me to establish new contacts and helped me to move on by aiding me to establish deadlines.

 

See more of Susan's work here:

Website: www.acuerpo.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/acuerpo.co.uk/