Earlier this month Folksy held their first Summer School. I had planned to go along for the weekend but as the event got closer I realised that I didn't want to leave little Rudi yet and as she really, really hates the car at the moment, I didn't want to travel all the way to Sheffield with her either.
Fortunately my lovely, talented friend Paula Tew, offered to go in my place and report back for The Startup Wife. I spoke to her on her return to find out all about it and I'm already crossing my fingers that Folksy run another one and that I get to go along.
Paula is an artist, designer and educator based in Bath, UK. Here's what she thought of the Folksy Summer School.
1. Why did you want to go to the Folksy Summer School?
I thought it would be a great chance to meet people from the world of making, as well as a chance to network with some of the speakers. I am planning on selling a range of screen printed homeware which is a new venture for me, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to network and talk to other people who are doing similar things.
2. What were you most looking forward to?
Meeting new people and getting tips from those who are further ahead than me.
3. The venue looked really interesting. Can you tell me about it and what it was like to spend the day there?
The venue was really nice, it was in the woods with lovely wooden buildings so it had the feeling of a retreat. The talks were held in a marquee which worked well as it wasn't too cold or too hot! There was a central area where we could hang out with a great looking stall of fruit we could help ourselves to and there was also coffee and a variety of teas available. Inside the main building was a hive of activity where people could watch demonstrations and have a go at a variety of crafts including lino cutting/printing, screen printing, crochet, and brooch making. The venue wasn't as big as I had imagined but was perfectly sized for the event.
4. What talks/workshops did you go to?
I went to :
Victoria Woodcock's (Author of State of Craft) talk on setting up her selling craft events including Craftacular, she also spoke about 'What is Craft Today'
Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation's talk on 'Starting Out' (I only stayed for a bit of this as I had to go to the photography workshop I had signed up to)
Lindsey James' workshop on 'Getting the most from your photography'
Patricia van de Akker from The Design Trusts' talk on 'Growing a business'
John V Willshire's talk on 'Branding'
Nick Hand from The Department of Small Works' talk on the photo films he has been creating interviewing makers
Angus Montgomery from Design Week's talk on 'Telling Your Story to the Press'
Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire from Mini Moderns' talk on their business journey.
I also had a one-2-one with Polly Dugdale from Handmade Horizons. Polly is really nice and lives locally to me so it was good to meet her. I have since signed up to the Handmade Horizons 'Getting Ready for Christmas' eCourse which I am looking forward to.
5. What was your favourite thing about the day?
Just being able to hang out in a lovely place with lovely people who are from a similar background/have the same interests and to get a chance to hear other people's stories and advice.
6. How did you feel when you got home (apart from rather tired!)?
Inspired and excited to get on with my business plans.
7. Was anything missing from the day or was it all that you expected it to be?
It was how I'd expected it to be, I would have liked to have gone to some of the talks on the Sunday but unfortunately I was unable to attend.
8. Can you sum up the day in three words?
Inspiring, Friendly, Productive
9. Have you made any new plans or changes inspired by the day?
Not really, but I am keen to get on with the plans I have started. Also, as I mentioned I have since signed up to the Handmade Horizons 'Getting Ready for Christmas' eCourse.
10. If Folksy hold another Summer School would you recommend it to other creatives?
Definitely, the nature of the way most Designer/Makers work is quite isolating and lonely and sometimes you can loose your way a little, events like this one are great for bringing people together so that you remember that you are not alone and are a great way of meeting new people, which is really important as you never know who you are going to meet and what it may lead to.