A lot can change in seven months...
Hell, a lot can change in one week. But even so, one should learn to plan ahead.
You will have seen me tentatively skirting around the idea of changing things up a little... or a lot. And kind of half-sharing my plans, but not going into great detail. Well the only reason I'm not sharing every single aspect of the coming changes is that I know I can be someone who does things on a whim. I may well plan out this whole thing, seven months in advance, and in the final week change everything again. I sort of don't want to publicly commit to something, to anything, because I don't like the feeling of being tied down. I like to think I can always change my mind, mix things up, let ideas and curiosity take their natural course.
But that hesitancy about publicly declaring a plan is only a personal quirk which I give more significance than it probably deserves... Ultimately, clients and potential clients need to have a sense of what's going on, otherwise how are they meant to place orders that fit around their needs and timelines?
So here's the short version :-)
I intend to take a year or two "off", to pursue other interests and enjoy life.
Namely, I wish to continue my horsey studies (with some distance learning and the BHS) and enjoy being more active and outdoors more often. We will therefore also be leaving our studio when our lease ends in seven months time and shrinking the business overall in a dramatic way, so that I have very low outgoings to deal with whilst taking this year or two out. During this time "off" I intend to finish/embellish a tiny handful of ready-to-wear "art corsets" (perhaps one per month, sewing just one day a week), either from a corner of my boat or sitting in a cafe or at the library, something like that. And I suppose, twelve highly shiny corsets a year might seem a decent amount, but given we usually produce around four times that it feels like a tiny number!
Anyhow, this way I can continue satisfying the creative side of my character (and hopefully continue collaborating with other creatives and working alongside Holly) whilst also earning enough of a living to get by.
Though I adore my work, sitting down three days or more each week just doesn't feel good. I want to be moving. I've always done better in more physical jobs and struggled as soon as I had a sit-down one. I want to be outside. I want to be around horses and be healthier and more active. I always said (quietly, privately), that I'd get back into horses when I had a better income, when circumstances were different, etc. etc. But you know, you need to make those circumstances different (as much as you can influence such things of course, so much of life is random chance), and just get started already. I love my work and I love my studio and I will be ever so slightly sad to downsize (I was thinking just today that I'll miss our big make-shift pressing table!)... but I feel like the balance of my life needs to be slightly more outdoors and slightly less sitting down sparklewren-ing. Especially now, whilst I'm still comparatively young.
So what does this mean for you?
- It means that we won't be able to take interns (and in fact, we are already full for interns this year) or students. Perhaps we could have someone come and sit with us embellishing and chatting about corsetmaking on the boat every so often... But at this stage I can't make any promises. So all I can say is that we're unable to take you on. This is why we're scheduling students at the moment, to try to make sure everyone that wants to see some of our work and chat through some techniques has the chance to.
- It means that we won't be able to take new bespoke orders after about September.
- It means that brides should get in touch now...
- It means that you will still be able to get one-off designs every so often. These will inevitably be made in the sizes that sell, which, for better or worse, tends to be between 20" and 25" closed waists. I'm looking forward to really exploring some of my aesthetics in more depth though. Perhaps pieces more like Pyrite and Bloom.
- It means that my role as professional email-replier will hopefully lessen! I'm endlessly behind on emails. Doing bespoke, selling samples, taking interns, and generally helping people takes up loads of time on email. I'll be pleased to have slightly less to deal with.
- And it means that I will be posting far more pics of ponies and boat-life and study notes than anything else! This already seems to be the case on my instagram...
There you are. Our plan for December onwards! Months away, but we need to plan now if it's going to work smoothly. So, bespoke orders need to be lined up now. Especially bridal, of which we could fit in perhaps one or two more this year if the process started now. Otherwise we will be focussing on clearing out the stuff I don't want to keep (ie: some equipment, fabrics, samples, etc., as per our current Spring Clean) and preparing new pieces for finishing during my time off.
A lot could change between now and then. But these are the changes that we will be actively creating. I'm excited! And slightly afraid, haha. But mostly the former.