Social Marketing, Micro Businesses and My Confession

Ever heard of Warren Knight? If you have, you are probably succeeding with your social marketing goals and have an efficient and regular system in place to get messages out across numerous platforms in order to grow your brand or product.

I, on the other hand hadn’t come across this social media speaker, author and trainer until I attended one of his seminars at Top Drawer in London yesterday. But that’s not surprising as I am fully aware that my social marketing falls woefully under most radars. I am also acutely aware that I need to improve things on this front but unfortunately fall into the camp of – and this is where it feels like a horrible confession, apart from instagram , I really don’t enjoy taking part, in fact I will go one step further and say it very often makes me feel sad. There, I said it, a faux pas extraordinaire, just like that. Warren will not approve.

However, one thing I am not doing here is knocking it. I’m not that dim, I know it works supremely well, and that many millions of people learn fantastic things, meet like minded people and indeed one of my closest friends is a meteoric star on it. Plus it’s probably near impossible to succeed with a product without it. All I am saying is that I can’t get fully into it. But I do try.

So the very engaging and focused Warren managed to tap into my guilty secret and instead of letting it fester, today I am facing it head on by allowing myself to confess, I’m not that good at it but at least I’m not in denial, surely in that case I’m firmly on the road to recovery?

Then as if by magic, Craft Scotland who had kindly invited me on this ‘Go and See’ trip to London introduced me to Piyush Suri. Piyush is one of these enviable people who has that ‘tigger bounce’ (a term used in an article in yesterdays Evening Standard about people who simply have great mitochondrion and are naturally energetic powerhouses – it went on to suggest ways to improve your own ‘tigger bounce’) and apart from directing massive events like Top Drawer, also has his own homewares brand Akin and Suri , textile company and is Director of Hand Made in Britain . On meeting Piyush, you quickly learn that he must have teams. People to help grow his business. It’s difficult for micro businesses to imagine employing staff but until you understand your own strengths (and weaknesses) and realise that you may need to employ others (and indeed should) with a different skill set, it’s not really possible to grow properly.

Shortly afterwards, I met a jeweller and she told me that she didn’t enjoy social marketing either but was savvy enough to know how crucial it was for her company. So she employs someone for a few hours a week to do her social marketing for her. This has meant she can concentrate on what she is good at – making fabulous jewellery.

So this is a long way of saying, make sure you have great social marketing (thanks Warren for underlining this for me and I hope you are pleased that I’m using plenty of links 😉 ) but if you do find it chips away at you or destroys your creativity then don’t bother doing it because if you aren’t fully engaged it’s actually a bit of a waste of time.  It’s like anything, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well . So try and find a way of delegating, it will probably help your business grow. As much as we all try we can’t do everything all of the time – although I should add that according to Warren one weeks worth of effective, timed, social marketing can actually be achieved with one hours work…but he didn’t tell us how to do that, I guess it’s in his book…

However, in the meantime, you can still find me dabbling on TwitterFacebook  Pinterest and Instagram 😉

Do you enjoy taking part in social media? How much time do you spend on it? 

…I can’t have a post without some images so here are some pictures (no filters) of the amazing winter sky we have had recently taken from my kitchen window. And on that note, I’m off to do something I love, design some textile prints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

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

fields

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.

Thank you, Huldufólk

Finding the right hole for your peg may take a while. Kids are asked to make ‘career choices’ when selecting their subjects at school. Do they really know what they want to be at that age? Great if they do but I think it’s important for people to know that it’s alright to make career changes throughout life.

Letterpress Christmas Cards

Letterpress Christmas Cards

Perhaps I’m just trying to justify my own wandering career path but I bet I’m not the only one who has discovered what they want to be later in life. I think every job you have is important whether you like it or not because you always learn something – it’s like walking through life wearing a sticky cape – some experiences stick  and others just tumble off until finally the cape feels complete and you feel ready and informed to make the right decisions.

I’ve always worked for small family organisations because I like seeing processes from the start to the finish and enjoy floating from menial tasks to important pitches and although my jobs have all been quite varied, one fact remains absolutely constant – there are always visible people in an organisation and a whole team of ‘hidden people’ supporting them. They often go unnoticed to the end user but they are an integral part of every company.

I work for myself now and that constant layer of hidden people are more important than ever. You may look at my products all finished and ready to buy but other people have helped me reach that finishing line. I always create all of the design work and decide what I want to make but there is of course a process. Take the mugs for instance. I don’t have a kiln to fire the design onto the china, or the skills to do so. That is done by a skilled craftsman, Graham, in the very heart of Britain’s potteries, Stoke- on -Trent. My textile designs are printed here in Edinburgh by the immensely helpful sisters Solii and Zöe from the print bureau BeFabBeCreative. I have had a beautiful tailored blouse made from my ‘Fennel Tangle’ print by seamstress and poet, Claire from Make Me a Frock and no, I don’t have the skills to make bespoke ties – I can design fabric that I want to see as a tie but without Nina and Adam from Kalopsia Collective who constantly encourage and mentor me as well as sew my ties beautifully, I would not have ties in the shops. And in case you wondered, no, I don’t have a Letterpress machine in my studio, but Euginia a superbly helpful and talented Siberian living in Edinburgh does and she presses my cards for me. I’ve talked about Hosanna Yau before, my friend from Hong Kong who is most certainly the best logo designer I have ever come across and she gifted me the ‘niki’ logo. Her mantra is ‘using the least to represent the most’ – perfect.

Linen ties, Made in Edinburgh.

Linen ties, Made in Edinburgh.

 

Letterpress Card Made in Edinburgh.

Letterpress Card Made in Edinburgh.

 

'Tjornin' Mug named after the lake in Reykjavik.

‘Tjornin’ Mug named after the lake in Reykjavik.

 

 

 

Twigs Linen Union Tea towel - fresh new shoots

Twigs Linen Union Tea towel – fresh new shoots

'Toffee Apples' ' printed onto Fife Linen in Edinburgh

‘Toffee Apples’ printed onto Fife Linen in Edinburgh

So, I now have a range of products that are stocked by very supportive independent shops, The Turpentine in London, Persora in Worcester, Concrete Wardrobe and Red Door Gallery in Edinburgh, Kerachers in St.Andrews, Wooly Blue in Newcastle and Teasel and Tweed in Aberdeen and several more which I will tell you about early in 2015.

But back to my title and the Huldufólk. I find my home country of Scotland massively inspiring from the busy colourful urban ports to the utter wilderness of the Western Isles but I have to mention the huge influence Iceland has had on me over the years. I have been several times at varying times of the year and the land, its people and its culture touches me every time and so I hope a little part of Iceland somehow appears in my designs. As this post is about all the people who help me and allow me to work in an area that I very definitely want to stay in, (Surface Design), I think I can borrow the word ‘huldufólk’ from Icelandic folklore – the word for the elves that stay hidden but have such enormous powers and should always be respected.

Thank you Huldufólk, you know who you are.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Thank you!

 

Botanic Lights, Edinburgh

Lots going on at unifiedspace right now but first I want to share an experience I had at the Royal Botanic Gardens with you.

Portal

Portal

Entering the Botanics in the dark is unusual enough – Edinburgh residents are accustomed to spending many hours wondering around the fabulous grounds but always during the hours of daylight so it immediately felt really special even be allowed in after dark. We were to enter via a Portal in the famous beech hedge where lighting artist Malcolm Innes and colleague Euan Winton wanted us to “leave the city behind, and begin to consider our relationship with nature”.

Galaxy of Bits

Galaxy of Bits

Passing twisted bark and dappled shade we found, The Galaxy of Bits, an installation representing the vast amount of scientific work that is undertaken in the Botanics.

Butterfly Ball

Butterfly Ball

Down at the pond, the many different environments available to flora and fauna at the Botanics are celebrated with a spectacular sweeping light show which dances across the land and the water to music created by jazz musician Haftor Medboe (who I was lucky enough to hear at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and am now fairly obsessed by his album Places and Spaces) where it would not overly surprise you if you saw wildlife performing balletic poses.

P1010189

Back on the path, normally so familiar but now strangely disorientating we are attracted by random red tubes which lie like lava leaking from the ground.

red lights

On up to Inverleith House which is transformed by William Morris inspired projections on its normally formal and sober stone facade tricking us into thinking we are now inside a great ballroom rather than outside on a cold Edinburgh night. It plays with the idea that despite wanting to shelter inside buildings, humans very often surround themselves with plant imagery on wallpaper and paintings and have ‘house plants’ in our homes as we crave that connection to nature.  Inside Out, instead,  brings the inside, outside.

Inside Out

Inside Out

 

P1010212

Having had our visual feast, we leave the garden via the Pool of Serenity, a quiet, calm and truly beautiful installation.

Pool of Serenity

 

So as our hours of daylight diminish, I think the Royal Botanic Gardens and Malcolm Innes have truly made our Winter darkness a celebration and I for one very much hope they run this magical event again next year.

 

 

The Isle of Lewis, Scotland

On a remote beach on the Isle of Lewis why bother with words, or order, or classification, for there is no chaos here.

One beach, different times of the day. It could render even the most wordy person speechless.

The Sea Turns Mauve

The Sea Turns Mauve

Inky Tide

Inky Tide

Violet Edge

Violet Edge

Luminous Aqua at Dusk

Luminous Aqua at Dusk

A Rain Cloud Passes

A Rain Cloud Passes

A Fresh Wind

A Fresh Wind

This is for Michele who was telling me the winter landscape inspires her to paint more than the summer one – but then added, “unless I am in the Outer Hebrides”

When We are Deprived of Colour…

If you’ve read my blog before (thank you), you will know that I am a big fan of Iceland –  see Colour At The Edge and Inspiration From Reykjavik. I was over again last week and something dawned on me. What do you do if your natural surroundings starve you of colour? Of course, I know there is colour in Iceland – the hot lava and the bubbling mineral pools (below) but much of the country is covered in barren lava fields (second image). Add to this the long dark Winters and the mild but often grey Summers and you soon discover that there are a lot of natural grey tones to this magical island.

 

A beautiful blue hot pool

A beautiful blue hot pool

Lava fields near Keflavik

Lava fields near Keflavik

So, a lot, even perhaps an excess of grey around.

What happens to compensate for the lack of colour is this…

Interiors BURST with colour

Interiors BURST with colour

and you paint your homes like this…

You Paint Your Homes BRIGHT

You Paint Your Homes BRIGHT

and your computer power cables get some treatment too:

power cables

and your road signs and bollards look like this:

Reykjavik streets

and one of your most celebrated Icelandic artists, Erro,  paints in this palette:

Icelandic Pop Artist Erro

Icelandic Pop Artist Erro

and shops look like this:

A Shop in Reykjavik

A Shop in Reykjavik

Ok, I think you can see what I’m saying. Starve the human psyche of colour and soon we will find our way to compensate.

Reykjavik Rooftops

Reykjavik Rooftops

But something else struck me on this visit. At first I thought the parks and small gardens looked rather untended. They were full of weeds, dandelions, buttercups and cow parsley mainly, growing out of every crack or gutter. But remember, it’s pretty difficult for anything to grow here on the hard lava rocks and the tricky climate. If you had a barren patch of land and a bright yellow flower appeared, you are hardly going to go and pull it out are you? They absolutely embrace little plants that we in Britain get excited about pulling out. I quite honestly see my garden at home with new light, and it’s not just an excuse to avoid weeding, it’s about appreciating life form.

Buttercups next to Tjornin

Buttercups next to Tjornin

 

And one last thing. Artist and product designer Almar Alfredsson, has just designed a set of wall plaques to commemorate Iceland’s 70 years of Independence this year. It’s a replica of a copper plate from 1944 showing the head of Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879) whose birthday, the 17th of June was chosen to be Iceland’s annual National Holiday  in recognition of his work on independence. And of course, why are these plaques so attractive and collectible? – he designed them in several bright colours of course!

 

Jon Plaques by Almar Alfredsson

Jon Plaques by Almar Alfredsson

 

 

 

International Colour Day, 2014

Today is International Colour Day – nicely chosen to coincide with the Equinox.  Around this date, “night and day are equally long which symbolically juxtaposing the complementary nature of dark and light, of shadow and illumination, that are expressed in all human cultures“, Colour Group GB

pencil shards

To celebrate, here are some of my photos where I think colour speaks for itself. I know, I know, white isn’t a colour but I view it as utterly magnanimous because instead of absorbing or snatching wavelengths, it reflects and shares them straight back again thus becoming the most pure, peaceful and generous ‘colour’ in my mind…

White Peace

White Peace

Beautiful, Elegant Green

Beautiful, Elegant Green

Warning, Agressive Red

Warning, Agressive Red

Endlessly Creative Blue

Endlessly Creative Blue

Ray of Yellow Hope

Ray of Yellow Hope

For more colour inspiration have a look at the  Dulux Colour Awards 2014 which is run in partnership with The Guardian – definitely worth a look.

What colour are you feeling like today and how will you celebrate today, March 21st 2014, International Colour Day? 

A Foray into Mindfullness and Meditation

Ever fancied trying some meditation or learning about mindfullness? Well that’s just what I’ve been doing. You may well ask what this has got to do with colour or form, quite a lot in fact.

path

I will not attempt to describe all the techniques I’ve been learning, far from it, as there are experts who will do just that. I wanted to tell you about three things which really stood out for me which I thought may interest you too, who knows?

1. If you suffer from a lot of ‘chatter’ whirring around in your head when you are attempting to get to sleep, Tara Brach‘s  book, True Refuge, has a brilliant technique to quieten your mind. She asks you to visualise outer space. Most of us will think of a vast and empty place especially compared to our own more solid world. However, she points out “the atoms that make up our own bodies are actually 99.9% empty space and the distance between atoms, and the space within atoms, compared with their mass makes us as spacious internally as the universe we live in” Now visualise the space behind your eyeballs or the space between your ears while thinking about all this space between your atoms. My head which had previously felt ready to explode with a massive ‘to do’ list, suddenly feels quite empty. Voila! Please try it, it really works.

2. Mindfullness and remembering to live in the moment. This isn’t a new concept or even a difficult one and I think most of us are good at this while on holiday but tend to get caught in the rat race as soon as we get home. It’s not difficult to live in the moment while standing in one of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet. These snaps were taken (without any filters or photoshopping) last summer while on holiday in the Plitvicka National Park in Northern Croatia. A stunning natural wonder where I would defy anyone not to live in the moment.

Plitvicka lakes

So, remembering to notice, absorb and appreciate things around me even in a seemingly ordinary normal environment, these pictures were taken looking out of my kitchen window at breakfast time – not one of my best times of day (!) and a time when we are all flying around with tight schedules. However, it was certainly worth pressing ‘pause’ and looking at the sky in Edinburgh last week (again no filters or photoshopping)

Edinburgh sky

3. Visualisation during meditation. My meditation teacher gave our group many different techniques to help ‘let go’ but the most successful method for me, surprise surprise,  involved colour. She told us to imagine our bodies were a transparent glass statue, completely empty inside. She then said ‘scan’ the body with your mind exploring from the head to toes all while visualising it as an empty glass statue. Then she told us to imagine a coloured mist entering our bodies which would gradually fill the empty glass space with colour. The mist would reach and fill all parts from the finger tips to the back of the legs and around the skull. At this point I had a very clear mental picture, and colour (aqua in my case), flooding through my body. After a while we were to imagine the coloured mist sink down through our body as if it were getting heavier and it would flow down our legs (taking with it any negative thoughts) and out the soles of our feet leaving behind our empty glass vessel again. It cleanses your mind. Really.

Ok, so at this point, I might be loosing some of you and you may well be thinking, oh dear, poor niki, she has lost the plot, but fear not! I was a sceptical as anyone else and having been brought up in a purely scientific world which needed proof and results, I didn’t hold high hopes of benefiting from any of this but I was curious and willing (which is all it takes).

So having finished the course and finished Tara Brach’s brilliant book, I admitt I have benefited in several ways. Apart from meeting some highly interesting people on the course, it has unleashed a torrent of new designs – oddly enough, very different from my previous work, so much so, I may well set up a new range with it. The new textiles are not printed yet but I look forward to showing you them soon – they are watercolour and pastel designs which I plan to print onto a fairly heavy 519 gsm linen.

One last thing I really liked from Tara’s book. A group of students were shown a photo, something like this,

gull

and were asked what they saw. Of course they said ‘a bird’ but the spiritualist leader said, ‘sky’ . A  great example of keeping an open mind and looking past the obvious. I liked that a lot.

If you do try any of these techniques, I would love to know how you get on. Training your brain to use slightly different neurological pathways can be pretty interesting.