I'm catching up with work for stockists before diving into Christmas designs. I've nutted out most of this year's illustrations and I'm itching to get into them. Being sensible and responsible to complete existing orders has been difficult when I can hear wrens and reindeer calling to me from my sketchbooks!
I've only just updated my homepage and contact info, removing my travel dates. Whilst I catch up with myself and resettling, it's been quite nice to fly under the radar. It's been a particularly lovely week in the studio, thanks to a glorious Indian Summer:
True to form, I've hit the ground running! Back into the studio on Monday morning to prepare for the Isle of Man Food + Drink Festival. It's seriously exciting (if somewhat anxiety-inducing) to have full time hours to dedicate to my work now!
We had a wizard jolly time at the food fest. PIES, CROISSANTS, JUICE, BEER, GOURMET HOTDOGS, CUPCAKES, BEER. I could go on. I was stoked to double last years sales. Many, many, deep thanks to my customers for continuing to support me and for embracing my new, slightly higher prices. I went through the age-old agonizing over increasing prices (what if people stop buying, blah blah blah), but as everyone reassured me, it was FINE and sales were still strong. Thank you. Special thanks to the organisers and Manx Radio for the live interview!
My last week in Melbourne, before flying home. This has been my base for the last 3 months, and it feels odd to not be coming back here again after a week or two, as I have done throughout this trip. I love this city. It makes my heart flutter. It's my second home. I did a lot of growing up here, though if you count the days and weeks spent in the city it may not add to much over the years. The trip has been marvellous, and sad as I am to leave, I'm ready to return home.
It's refreshing to be happy to go home. I've spent years escaping the island and feeling sad at the prospect of returning, but this time is different. My business is thriving, I have shops waiting for stock after a busy summer (far busier than I anticipated!), there are some exciting Christmas projects to work on, I'm fortunate to be doing this FULL TIME and I have a lovely, inspiring, supportive man by my side.
Clay comrade and partner-in-crime, Adriana Christianson, is curating an exhibition of handcrafted cups later this year - The Cup Collaboration. 34 potters from across the globe have been paired up to create two cups together and one of their own.
I'm fortunate to be one of those potters! The AH-mazing Niharika Hukku is my partner. We met three years ago at the Eveleigh Market during an Australian Ceramics Association event, where we bonded over our love of illustrated pots and birds, particularly Australian natives! Niharika paints exquisite, highly detailed, almost photo-realistic designs on wheel-thrown porcelain.
We'd both been watching rainbow lorikeets in recent weeks, so they became the subject of our collaboration. Niharika welcomed me into her studio whilst I was in Sydney this week. Each of us threw cups in our preferred forms and swapped them to paint.
Niharika works in Clayworks Cool Ice porcelain, a new clay to me. Thankfully it threw and trimmed beautifully, which made the new-studio-new-wheel experience pretty pleasant! We spent hours talking, sharing stories of our cultures, travels, families, work, social media (Niharika's Instagram following sky-rocketed this year after a featured post, so she has a unique experience of it!), love, thriving as an artist. The gorgeous men in her life, husband Tintin and 5 year old son Shay, were also lovely to spend time with and made me feel right at home!
These two days, along with some time spent with other friends this week, have fed my soul. That's why I travel, that's what I'm seeking. The magic doesn't always happen, but this time the stars aligned.