2018. The year my working world changed. And an Artisan business was Born.
As I entered this year I already knew I was at a career crossroads. My event styling business of almost 13 years was about to be retired. For good. No going back – the stock was almost sold. The final pieces would come out of the very last venue and literally be handed over to another company to continue in a new life. Job done.
I also entered 2018 as a Moray Business Women committee member. President in 2017, committee member two years prior to that. I was tired and felt the need to take myself away from all the pressures for a while. So I resigned from there too and set aside four months to be me. To do things for myself. We had a flying visit to South Africa to celebrate a friend’s birthday among the lions and the elephants. Literally. Nine days later I was back there again, 40km away, volunteering with young children while mucking out Dassies and Meerkats and feeding a bush pig and a wild dog. It all felt a bit crazy. Yet liberating.
Two months later I rounded it all off with a bit of a trek along the Portuguese coast.
The plan had been to complete around 100-110km of the Rota Vicentina. I managed around 60km, I think. To be fair I stopped counting when my toe nails fell off and I had to resort to walking in someone’s sandals. I had vowed 2018 was the year I would stop beating myself up for putting my health and mental welfare first. So, I stopped “trekking”. Instead I took my camera, hobbled the streets of a Portuguese town, chatted with shopkeepers and ate the most amazing prawns overlooking the sea at lunchtime. Because I could.
But then it was time to come home and make some decisions.
I am not ready to retire. At just 53 years old and still have lots of creativity inside me yet. Writing more, that bit was easy. “She Wordsmiths” was born and I had my first writing commission within 24 hours. Still sticking to my plan not to make this a pressure to hard sell. I like to write when it feels right. Then the words just flow. Like today.
I also took up an invitation to join the Association of Scottish Business Women’s Committee. Three years of being an active part of local Moray business group had taught me so much about the benefits of a supportive networking environment. Indeed, I was flattered to be asked, and it seemed a shame to not continue to use those skills. Saying yes was a no brainer, as they say.
So, I now had a part time business and a volunteering role. You would think that would be enough? Me too. But then a rather strange thing happened. I picked up a pot of paint. Not just any old paint. A “no nasties” mineral chalk paint which claimed Titanium like properties. I took it outside and I painted a crusty old set of garden chairs. Relax, I de-crusted them first – it’s not that clever. And then I began to wander around the house, brush in hand, painting some more. And suddenly there was a new me emerging. One who would happily spend 10 hours shut in her “she shed”, radio on, painting. I would dance, sing, and “come home” a happier me. Eager to get back into the shed the next day, I slept better. Except when I woke with an idea for a new colour combination. My husband even donated a cupboard out of his shed for me to upcycle.
When I wasn’t painting, I was writing about it.
My furniture even began to take on their own characters. And these pieces of furniture were telling me something. I had two pieces ready but with nowhere in my home to use them. There was only one solution – sell them. I drove home from an ASB committee meeting on the Saturday. It took me three hours and by the time I was in my front door, I knew what I wanted to do. What I had to do.
“The Artisan Bothy” was born.
I sold my first two pieces within the week and my studio is now full. Commissions are rolling in, while speculative pieces are patiently waiting their turn.
Don’t worry, I am still writing, as you can see. In fact, She Wordsmiths and The Artisan Bothy have become good buddies. I mean writing about upcycling – it has to be a win:win surely?