Thursday, 28 June 2012

Valuable, free and at Fibre-East

We’re very caught up as a society with assigning monetary values to everything. Yet some of the best things in life are free, or happen to you when you’re doing someone a favour. At last year’s Fibre-East I was lucky enough to meet a number of friendly journalists, one of whom asked me to write a few articles for free as a favour for their magazine. I was only too happy to help: it was an opportunity to find out more about my Ashford Country Spinner and explore its heritage, and to explore other topics too. No money changed hands: it didn’t need to. I had fun and they got an article - or two: a most equitable bargain.

We’ve talked before about craft being about what you give, not what you get in return. It’s part of the whole ethos of passing on skills to the next generation so they can continue to benefit humankind. And as part of my ‘giving back’ for all the fun I have at Fibre-East, I’m delighted to say that on the Sunday, 15th July, anyone starting a craft business, or wanting to refresh their established businesses, can come along to the Outward Images stand and get free advice from Pete Mosley, business editor of Craft & Design magazine, and author of ‘Make your Creativity Pay’.

Pete and his business partner Janet Currie run courses for craftspeople starting up or moving on up with their businesses at The Refectory Table.  At Fibre-East, we’ll be lucky enough to have Pete at our proverbial table on the Outward Images stand in marquee B all day on the Sunday. In fibre-crafts, particularly as yarn producers, we can suffer from being only one link in a chain towards a finished product. Our unfinished square peg doesn’t quite fit in the normal round hole marked ‘Craft’, yet our skills of spinning, weaving and dyeing are based on millennia of, to use business jargon, ‘knowledge transfer’.

Textile designers like Joby Lawlor, showing for the first time at New Designers, on now at the Business Design Centre, have a much more focussed business case to make as their art is in the finished material. Yarn producers have extra business hoops to go through to achieve recognition, but that’s where Pete Mosley’s advice will come in handy. His extensive store of experience is in encouraging artistic people to have confidence and ‘go for it’!

So please, do come an join us in our ‘Crafters’ Den’ on the Outward Images stand, Sunday 15th July.  Pete’s helpful business advice is most kindly being proffered with the same sincere community spirit which pervades Fibre-East. Take your first steps in good company, and if you eventually decide to join the woolly business community here’s wishing you every success.

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