Christmas Events!

I notice a nice clean ‘1’ on my calendar today so I think now is the time for a Christmas Events round up.

This Saturday 5th of December, I am delighted that unifiedspace will be part of Dundee Contemporary Arts Christmas Market, ‘Crafted’ DCA

“This special event brings together over 30 specially selected makers from across Scotland presenting some of the best contemporary, independent jewellery, ceramics, textiles, illustration, print and homeware” #DCACrafted

The full range of unifiedspace linen ties are also available from the brilliant Dovecot Studios Shop – an inspiring venue where you can take in an exhibition, view rug and tapestry tufters at work  – and make sure to time your visit near lunch or coffee time as the cafe is great!

Fennel Tangle Linen Tie

Fennel Tangle Linen Tie

Or if you are shopping in Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal The Facility , stock all the ties, scarfs and mugs and have a whole host of independent brands on display on their up cycled shop fittings.

Eclipse Scarf

Eclipse Print on Silk

All products are stocked at Whosit & Whatsit , Newcastle- Upon -Tyne a real treasure trove of a shop selling items from independent designers from across Britain. Or if you are looking for a farm shop to do your Christmas shopping in, why not visit Cross Lanes Organic Farm in County Durham – a farm shop with a scrumptious restaurant housed in an award winning building complete with a grassy roof – needless to say they stock unifiedspace’s grassy range :) as does the beautiful Daisy Cheynes in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge.


Grassy Tea towels Photo by Food To Glow

Grassy Tea towels Photo by Food To Glow

Grassy Mug

Grassy Mug

Or perhaps you are looking for a good excuse to visit the French Alps in December? If so, Montbeliard’s famous Christmas Market has invited Scotland to be its ‘guest of honour’ and I will be there next week with the fabulous Rushworth and her brilliant (and rather addictive) range of wool garments, designed and made in Scotland.


My trusty Rushworth bobble hat will be going to the Alps with me

However, if you prefer shopping online, please feel free to pop by my etsy shop or visit the glamorous Wear Eponymous (this comes with a warning though… there are a lot of beautiful products on that site) and your shopping will be delivered to your door.

There are of course, I am very happy to say, many great independent shops springing up across the UK and they are fundamental in supporting independent designers and makers like myself. Thank you indies, your hard work is noticed and appreciated and you are making our towns and cities far more interesting to shop in again.

Do you have a favourite independent shop for Christmas shopping?

Norway, the Environment and Making Things Last

Norway has the same size of population as Scotland (yes, we know, we keep being told this fact), but with five times as much space and a land where you could expect to live 5 years longer and pay 6% more tax. So I traveled 4◦ North to find out more. And in doing so, I returned to Edinburgh with a reinforced understanding of the importance of considered design and making things last.

Boat Building, Alesund, Norway

Boat Building, Alesund, Norway, 2015

9th Century Viking Ship

9th Century Viking Ship

Visit the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo and you will be struck by the elegance of the 9th Century ships but possibly even more stunned by the fact that they are so well preserved. Built almost entirely from oak and with exquisite detailing, they have certainly stood the test of time. Visit the Art Nouveau town of Alesund on the West coast (Noway’s most important fishing harbour) and the skill continues –  you can spot timber ships being meticulously crafted with a view to lasting another few centuries.

Looking into the Opera and Ballet House From the Roof

Looking into the Opera and Ballet House From the Roof

I’m no architect but it doesn’t take an expert to see that the Norwegians have a healthy appetite for enterprising buildings – take the firm Snohetta , responsible for the stunning wild reindeer pavilion on the outskirts of the Dovrefjell National Park and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet home in Oslo. The Opera house looks like an iceberg floating on the waterfront and actively entices and encourages you to walk over the structure, even on the roof where you get tantalising glimpses of activity in the building under your feet. It’s not an inanimate public building plonked down, the structure is like a new urban walkway, an adult climbing frame. It’s engaging, connects with the public and is fun.

Walking on the Roof of The Opera and Ballet House, Oslo

Walking on the Roof of The Opera and Ballet House, Oslo

Looking to the Business Sector from the Roof of the Opera House, Oslo

Looking to the Business Sector from the Roof of the Opera House, Oslo

Walk around the suburbs in Oslo and you will see nestled in amongst early twentieth century homes, thoughtful new school buildings. Can you imagine the positive long term impact it will have on the kids being immersed in such considered buildings. They are imaginative buildings – I’m sure if you asked the kids from the school pictured below to draw a house, they will come up with many ideas – not just the classic square with a triangle roof.

A Timber School, Oslo

A Timber School, Oslo

Older Properties in the Suburbs, Oslo

Older Properties in the Suburbs, Oslo

I have to confess that it was while sitting in the cinema in Edinburgh that I decided to visit Norway. I was watching the 2015 film, Ex Machina, and knew as soon as I saw the landscape and architecture in the film that I had to get to wherever it was set at some point in my life. As soon as I was home I googled the film set and found it was filmed in the Juvet Landscape Hotel about a two hour drive East from Alesund.

Phoning the Juvet just intrigued me even more. The super polite but no nonsense owner, Knut, said, “you shall be in a bird box, supper is at 8 o clock in the barn and there is a sauna, but don’t expect cucumber, this is not a spa” …

I don’t want tell you too much about the Juvet, all I can say is go if you can. Everything about it is remarkable and you will meet remarkable people who you will have enriching and fascinating conversations with. The hotel in no way spoils the stunning environment, you can barely see it and once immersed in your bird box, you are utterly dwarfed by nature, it’s the ultimate tonic to a fast machine driven life. Knut told me the area was called ‘the land of the low shoulders’ and he’s right. You leave the place with your shoulders where they should be i.e not wrapped round your ears!

A Room at the Juvet Landscape Hotel

A Room at the Juvet Landscape Hotel

supper in the barn

Supper in the barn – foraged, preserved and respected food

Juvet Landscape Hotel

Juvet Landscape Hotel

And I don’t suppose I need to tell you that the walking here is incredible – they even have huts dotted around the mountains equivalent to the Scottish bothy.

Hillwalking in Norway

Hillwalking in Norway

This post is too long already so I will follow it with another Norwegian post next time but what I was meaning to say was that everywhere I travelled, I noticed people were outside a lot – this I think is the crux. The cafes had blankets so you could sit outdoors, the homes had outdoor spaces, terraces, balconies, the food we were served was grown or caught in front of us, the buildings, both old and new were imaginative and reflected the all important environment. Everything I saw seemed to be high quality and making use of local materials. I know it’s a wealthy county but things were built to last and crucially I sensed that there was still a real connection to the environment and outside world, a real respect for it. This is a country where jumpers suitable for polar conditions are made and still passed down the generations because they don’t fall apart, they last. Some places as we all know have lost this connection in favour of buy cheap and the throw away.

However, I really think this ethos is returning, I certainly see it here in Scotland. People are starting to look again for considered purchases and I’m meeting more and more makers and designers confident in selling their higher priced quality and ethical products. I think we are all slowly realising we don’t need quite as much stuff and are thinking more carefully about what we do buy. Certainly more and more people are taking to the hills in their free time and I’m sure it’s that connection to the great outdoors that is key to the way we think and behave.

 So what do you think? Are you more careful about what you buy and from whom? Do you feel connected to the environment?

I know and understand I’m very fortunate to be able to make these choices and to visit beautiful places but if reconnecting to the great outdoors is key to a higher quality of life for all, that’s got to be a good thing and it’s a resource we all have on our doorsteps.

London Design Festival 2015

London Design Festival is such a big event and everyone who visits is bound to come away with their own highlights – here are some impressions I gathered and some pieces that caught my eye as I whizzed round 100% DesignDesign JunctionDesigners BlockTentShoreditch Design Triangle and of course the LDF at the V&A and Somerset House.

Faye Toogood's Cloakroom installation at the V&A

Faye Toogood’s Cloakroom installation at the V&A

One advantage of covering so many shows at top speed is that you get a sense of emerging trends and this year there seemed to be many crafted elements to the shows, for example metal elements were hammered and beaten (copper and brass still being prominent), there were plenty of hand woven textiles (some designers even had their looms with them) and timber was often hand turned. Digitally printed textiles also had a crafted vibe as many were hand painted designs which had been scanned and printed. The ceramics too felt really organic and I particularly enjoyed the pots at the Geffrye Museum where the potters were on hand to speak about their work. I came away thinking of individual designers and their processes rather than bigger manufactures. The festival really captured our desires of wanting authentic ethical artistic pieces rather than anonymous mass manufactured work.

Textiles by Jonna Saarinen

Textiles by Jonna Saarinen

Loom Demo at Tent London

Loom Demo at Tent

Tactile soft surfaces at 100% Design

Tactile soft surfaces at 100% Design

For me, the highlight was an exhibition at Designers Block called The Secret Life of the Pencil‘ a collaborative project by industrial designer Alex Hammond, and photographer Mike Tinney. They photographed pencils belonging to successful designers, writers, and architects such as Philippe Starck, Lord Norman Foster, Anish Kapoor, John Pawson, Dame Zandra Rhodes and closely photographed their humble pencils which actually told a lot amount about their owners. It was staggering how easy it was to guess which pencil belonged to whom. It certainly made me look at my own pencil in a new light.. normally a coloured one.

Tom Dixon's pencil

Tom Dixon’s pencil

Anish Kapoor's pencil

Anish Kapoor’s pencil

John Pawson's pencil

John Pawson’s pencil

James Dyson's pencil

James Dyson’s pencil

But the exhibit that I continue to think about is Connected by Pattern at Somerset House. A room filled with 3D monochromatic patterns which you were invited to immerse yourself in after putting on a patterned poncho hanging by the entrance of the room. Every house should have a room like this! You become instantly lost in a creative world of pattern, it was liberating, extremely fun and seemed to take you back into the fantastical mind set of a child. Brilliant.

Connected by Pattern

Connected by Pattern

It was also refreshing seeing the introduction of Asian design this year. China had a big stand at 100% Design and their accessories in particular were eye catching in their simplicity. The Korean displays at Tent were also stunning, ‘simple, calm, subtle‘ was their mantra and based on traditional Korean craft, Kim Soo Young + Cho Ki Sang’s, brass tableware was dreamy and current.

Kim Soo Young + Cho Ki Sang, Brass Tableware

Kim Soo Young + Cho Ki Sang, Brass Tableware

There is so much more I could tell you about, not least the sublime Pip McCormac chocolate brownies laced with turkish delight and edible flowers that he made for Lee Broom’s The Flower Shop Installation in Shoreditch or being turfed out of the The Shard on the 32nd floor for wearing trainers (a blessing actually as the cacao cocktails in Borough Market were a much better choice ;)

Lee Broom Store

Lee Broom Store

Lee Broom's The Flower Shop' Installation

Lee Broom’s The Flower Shop’ Installation

Pip McCormac's , The Herb and Flower Cook Book

Pip McCormac’s , The Herb and Flower Cook Book

However, this post is long enough but if you would like to see more snaps, I’ve posted some on instagram.

Thank you London Design Festival , that was the best one I’ve attended and I’m already looking forward to 2016!

Now Stocked by Wear Eponymous

Just a quick post today to announce the great news that the full collection of linen ties are now being stocked by Wear Eponymous .

Wear Eponymous

Wear Eponymous brings,

“the cream of current design talent UK wide and beyond. This isn’t the place for fast fashion or disposable purchases, this is the destination for investment pieces, stand-out accessories and unique treats”

Take a look through their site if you are looking for ethically produced independent brands and if you are quick they are currently running a great competition to win a beautiful leather VVA handbag designed by Sarah Haran.

Next post on recent travels to Norway and the London Design Festival coming shortly…

The Journey of a Linen Tie

The Slow Food Movement has been an inspiration to many and knowing that we have superb textile mills in Scotland I was very keen to produce a product with similar credentials. Scroll down and see the faces behind the various stages of production of my new range of linen ties.

Twenty nine miles from Edinburgh lies a bespoke weavers, Peter Greig, which has been weaving from the same site since 1825. 

Stacking the Flax.

Stacking the Flax. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Flax which is used in the production of linen used to be grown in Scotland and Ireland but as Angus Nicoll, Managing Director of Peter Greig explains, our climate is not as well suited as the Benelux countries.

“All the retting that used to happen in Scotland and Ireland was Water retted rather than the standard Dew Retting that is now the norm in the Benelux Countries. The problem with the Scottish and Irish climate is that through July and August we cannot rely on clear skies and warm weather. The climate in Holland, Belgium and France is far more reliable and so the flax straw can be turned daily in the fields and the Dew rets (rots) the straw off the outside of the plant as it is damp in the morning then dried during the day. With our inclement weather the rain comes solidly through all of July and August and the whole plant never dries in the field and as a result the whole plant goes black and rots”

So, the flax is now grown and spun into yarn in the drier European countries before being prepared and woven at Peter Greigs.

Linseed Pods. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Linseed Pods.
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig


Warping the Yarn Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Warping the Yarn
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving in Progress. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving in Progress.
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving the Flax

Weaving the Flax

Inspecting the Cloth Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Inspecting the Cloth
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

And meanwhile, I design the patterns for printing onto the linen from my studio in Edinburgh

Dreaming up my next textile design

Dreaming up my next textile design

Then the plain linen is delivered to sisters Solii and Zoe at BeFabBeCreative, a printing bureau in Edinburgh where they print my designs onto the Fife linen.

Solii Brodie at BeFabBeCreative

Solii Brodie at BeFabBeCreative

From here, I take the printed cloth to Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective, Edinburgh who stitches the cloth into ties. Kalopsia search for industrial equipment that is no longer being used and save the pieces from being scrapped. They refurbish them and the machines are used in their micro manufacturing facility at Ocean Terminal. Zero Waste Scotland are supporting this venture as it is a great example of the merits of a circular economy.

Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective

Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective

Once the ties are stitched, I package them with the story behind the inspiration for each design and Edinburgh photographer, Abi Radford, photographs them.

Photographer Abi Radford and model Jo Radford.

Photographer Abi Radford and model Jo Radford.

The passionate Gordon Millar of Scot Street Style launched my collection of  ties during Tartan Week in Brooklyn, New York earlier this year and their Edinburgh launch was at Design Weekend at the The Fruitmarket Gallery in May.

I have been working on the concept of linen ties since January so having worked for the last seven months with the wonderful creative people I have introduced you to in this post, it gives me a huge amount of satisfaction seeing the finished product and importantly selling this locally produced tie to people who are searching for ethically produced textiles from Scotland. The ties have a distinct character and attitude (I like to refer to them as my bad boy ties!) and I’ve been told offer some good chic-geek vibes around the office (!) so mix up your wardrobe and add some Scottish linen or if you are fed up with ‘double denim’ go the full hog and start a movement for ‘triple linen’ ;)

Thank you everyone who have helped make and launch the ties and thank you to all those buying them too.

And there is a new design coming out at the end of this week, it’s a special summer tie called ‘Prufrock’, one to be worn with white flannel trousers to walk along the beach…any guesses where the inspiration for this ones lies?

Paint by Conran, Linen From Printed and Co

When I started this blog a few years ago, I came from the paint industry and wrote fairly extensively about colour theory – until I searched the web and realised that I was just adding to a plethora of existing blogs about colour. However, today, I am briefly revisiting the wonderful world of paint.

Paint by Conran from 'Kitchen Garden' range

Paint by Conran from the ‘Kitchen Garden’ range

Being a bit of a Conran ‘groupie’ I knew they were working on adding a paint range Paint by Conran to their brand and I’ve just got around to looking at it today. It was launched last year but I’ve not seen much evidence of it around Scotland so I thought I would share the colour chart with you.

Above are some colours from their Kitchen Garden collection. Having just been at a Textiles Scotland ‘Colours Trends Fashion Interiors’ seminar for Autumn Winter 2016/17 I can tell you that ‘Kitchen Garden’ is extremely close to Anne Richie’s predicted colour trend story named ‘Crafted’ especially with the kingfisher blue hues.

Paint by Conran 'Cottage Garden' range

Paint by Conran ‘Cottage Garden’ range

It goes without saying that Conran would include a good selection of blues to the range and Cottage Garden‘ blues manage to look as British as beloved iconic brand Cornishware.

Paint by Conran with Pear Mug by unifiedspace

Paint by Conran with Pear Mug by unifiedspace

My favourite set of colours comes from the Highland‘ range (deep hues pictured above with tonally compatible paler hues below) inspired by ‘swathes of purple heather, rocky outcrops and hardy windblown grasses’. It contains a beautiful soft grey-purple named ‘Sodden Clover’ (third colour swatch below on top left)  an excellent choice for a calm contemporary space.

Paint by Conran with Botanical DNA print on linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with Botanical DNA print on linen from Printed and Co

If you prefer a warmer palette, you may like the Harvest‘ colours, ‘soft and sun- kissed corn colours combined with deep earthy umbers’. Good pale sunlight colours, excellent for welcoming hallways, although it’s the ‘Giant Bamboo’ (bottom left) that I would like to see as a backdrop to some interesting vintage agricultural equipment hanging in a pared down interior.

Paint by Conran with Flying High Mug by unifiedspace

Paint by Conran with Flying High Mug by unifiedspace

However, if it’s a classic relaxing green that you crave, you will undoubtedly find it in the Orchard Collection, inspired by British Orchards and the seasonal colours of ‘springtime blossom’ through to ‘sodden moss’. A welcome addition pops up rather surprisingly in this set and that is ‘Pippin in Spring’, a beautiful pale pink – a difficult colour to nail as too strong and you have artificial marshmallow, too weak and it’s a dated boudoir. I’ve actually been searching for a non sugary pale pink for a while and I’m very excited to find this.

Paint by Conran 'Orchard' collection

Paint by Conran ‘Orchard’ collection

I’ve already shown you the ‘Kitchen Garden’ colours (below) and despite Conran putting every effort into marketing the colours as quintessentially British, I think this collection should really be name after Sweden’s iconic Dala Horse!

Paint by Conran 'Kitchen Garden' collection.

Paint by Conran ‘Kitchen Garden’ collection.

I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed how well fresh ‘Bud’ green from the Orchard collection sat with my Falling Apples‘ textile which is available from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with 'Falling Apples' linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with ‘Falling Apples’ linen from Printed and Co

and the Highland collection of colours with Vaki Rocks printed here on Fife Linen.

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks on Linen

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks on Linen

and Kitchen Garden colours with Vaki Rocks in orange colourway

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks on Linen

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks on Linen

I’ve enjoyed teaming up some of my textile designs with paint colours from Conran and I think their intelligent choice of colours making up the range will make it a joy for interior designer to work with.

The paint itself is manufactured in the UK by a factory which has been creating paint for 120 years. They say it’s an ‘extremely durable and hardwearing’ paint and I will certainly be trying it out on my next project.

Paint by Conran and Fennel Tangle in Pink Print from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran and ‘Fennel Tangle’ in Pink Print on Fife Linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with 'Chalk' print on Fife linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with ‘Chalk’ print on Fife linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with 'New Crayon' print on Fife linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with ‘New Crayon’ print on Fife linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with 'Lines' print on Fife Linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with ‘Lines’ print on Fife Linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks print on Fife Linen

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks print on Fife Linen

I have only one concern…I’m not keen on the name or indeed the colour Conran calls Rancid Apple‘ from the Kitchen Garden collection – but from someone who included a yellow in the ‘Fauvism 55’ palette for Valtti and named it ‘Elephants Nightmare’, I suppose I’ve not really got grounds to object…

Design Market at The Fruitmarket Gallery Opens Tonight

29–31 May 2015

Launch Friday 29 May, 5–9pm


Featuring:  A Pair of Blue Eyes – Jenni Douglas; BertyB; Bon Tot; Catherine Aitken; Couple of Ideas; Cyan Clayworks; Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts; Eileen Gatt; Emma Noble; Fiona Daly; Fiona Luing; Genevieve Ryan; Gráinne Broderick Jewellery; Heather Margaret Grace; Jacqueline Bell Jewellery; Jessica Howarth Jewellery; Julia Smith Ceramics; K//M//J//C Designs; Lara Scobie; The Lindstrom Effect; Lisa Arnott; Lucia Castillo; Lucky Cloud Skincare; Lucy McLeod; Mairi Brown, Mhairi Braden; Michaelson; Mrs Booth; Myer Halliday; Nicole Scott; Niki Fulton – unifiedspace; Peony Gent; PickOne; Quilts By Lisa Watson; Rapa Nui; Rebecca Sarah Black; Sarah Diver Lang; Scarlett Erskine Jewellery; Susan Castillo; Tessuti; Ursula Cheng; Victoria Meacham; Workhorse Press; Zyzanna Illustration & Design.

'Blue Jotter' Fife Linen Tie Available from Design Market, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh.

‘Blue Jotter’ Tie designed by Niki Fulton. Available from Design Market, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. Photo Abi Radford.

Please come along tonight to see a great variety of makers from across many disciplines. Also launching tonight is the Edinburgh Craft and Design Map – a handy tool for tracking down excellent design in the capital after DesignMarket comes to a close.

Hope to see you there!

Large Patterns in the Landscape

A very quick post today, really just to show you some massive patterns I’ve been spotting and enjoying in the countryside just outside Edinburgh. They are of course man made by farmers. Green field of crops Ploughed field with tree shadows crops       Don’t worry, the frost has gone, the photos below were taken in Winter. Frosty road P1010815


Lots of fun things going on at unifiedspace right now, more on that next week.

Have a great weekend and let me know if you spot any huge patterns near you.

Colour Theory and Sports Tape

It’s been a while since I wrote about colour theory, mainly because there is enough ‘out there’ on this topic already but I couldn’t resist a quick post after a visit to a physiotherapist last week. K tapeSo I turned up with Planter Fasciitis and a squeaky achilles, which I wanted fixed before a big walk I’m planning next weekend and the physio pulls out some K Tape and starts strapping up my foot.

“Dash”, she says “I’ve run out of blue”.

So, I enquired, did the black stretchy tape she was busy using on my foot come in different widths or stretchiness which are differentiated by colour?

“No, the tapes are all exactly the same but the colour is important” she says.

Yes! Music to my colour theory ears.

You will have noticed sports men and women in virtually every sport across the world strapped up in this magical tape which is amazing considering the jury is out on what exactly it actually does. The tape was developed over 30 years ago by a Japanese Chiropractor Dr.Kenso Kase and the idea is that as the tape is highly elastic you stretch it over an area of your body which is injured, stick it down, and then allow it to ‘recoil’, exerting a pulling force on your skin which can help mechanical and inflammatory injuries. It works partly on a subconscious level as it cues a motor response through somatosensory (information received in the skin and deep tissues) and feeds back to the brain.

As we all know, colours have proven physiological effects on our psyche so it makes sense for this somatosensory tape to be available in a range of colours. My physio was keen to use blue because my injury was slightly inflamed so the cooling blue would be the obvious one to use. The bright red tape, ‘rage red’, is often used when the athlete feels their injury is of particular significance and they need recognition of this. It is also used when an injury would benefit from warmth, the kind of injury people would spray deep heat on. You may have noticed David Beckham is partial to the pink tape, one he maybe feels reflects his interest in fashion, who knows.

So, my physio told me it’s really important to ask the patient which colour they would like, it’s all part of the way it works. Proof yet again of the significance of colours in our human mind. All I can say is that the black tape worked well for me –  and it matched my Pilates gear perfectly ;) and I’m now on course to post some nice photos from my walk next weekend.

Have you used K tape before, did it work and which colour did you use?

Any Self Doubters Out There?

green man or red

I expect so, especially if you operate in the creative world.

Our heads are littered with quotes from literacy giants – “the worst enemy to creativity is self- doubt“, Sylvia Plath. Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure. Mm, here lies a problem as self doubt is a trait strongly linked to the artistic temperament. However, I think there is some good news surrounding self doubt.

I recon a little bit of self doubt can be a good thing. It forces you to work right at the margins of what you can achieve. It pushes you to the edge but in doing so it can unleash some of your best work. It demands you to analyse your work very carefully and in doing so it may lead to improvements. It will be uncomfortable but the giddy roller coaster of emotional highs and lows is in itself is a creative process.

A disappointment which leads to self doubt can be motivational. I am speaking from experience here. I’ve been riding high since my linen ties were successfully launched in Brooklyn, New York last month by Scot Street Style. Then, boom, two shows I applied to exhibit at knocked me back. They of course had every right to and had good reasons for their decisions but they were big local shows and ones I really wanted to be part of. It scuppered my plans in one fell swoop. Scunnered.

So I wallow for a few hours in the murky pool of self doubt and ask myself, is it time to change direction? My ego is low and I’m wondering if I was kidding myself attempting to carve out a career in surface design. Self doubt casting its long gloomy shadow over me. But the gloomy shadow prodded my pride. I acknowledged the nagging self doubt, that’s vital – meditation  taught me to acknowledge negative thoughts, we must recognise them, allow them to exist but then put them aside, step past them.

I decide to aim even higher. My new mantra was in place and painful as it was that trusty old self doubt had served me well as my designs were scrubbed up and ready to go. And as it happens, perfectly timed for something rather wonderful that I am very much looking forward to sharing with you soon. So, I say to Shakespeare and to Plath, yes, self doubt can be destructive but it also serves a useful purpose, just give it respect but make darn sure to contain it and push it aside.

Are you a self doubter? If so, how do you deal with it?