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The wheels on the bus go round!

It was this time last year that I took my first online design course, the Make It In Design Summer School 2016, and began my committed focus on building a life for myself as a surface pattern designer. The past twelve months have been incredibly intense and the learning curve so steep at times that I have felt like I was clinging on by my fingertips. This has been the most challenging and inspiring time since I was at university, having sat in my comfort zone for many years I took a leap of faith (and hard work!) out of that space and into my future.

I often get strong visual imagery in my mind's eye about where I am in life and what I am doing. I have seen myself building what has become an intricate, Heath Robinson-style machine, unique, majestic, ramshackle. This wondrous contraption is of my own creation, crafted from components sometimes found, some given, some engineered from raw materials, all slowly linked together into the vehicle that is to take me forward. The build has been laborious and painstaking, I am now aware that I will continue to construct and refine, hone, repair and remake my behemoth even as we travel along.

For a long time I was head down in this engineering project and not even sure if the beast would come to life. But finally came a day when I was aware that the journey had started and the wheels, cogs and lynchpins were holding together as they began to slowly turn! Amazing...brilliant!

In a previous post I told you that I was applying for a business development grant and I am thrilled to say that I have been awarded what I hope will be the first tranche of this funding. I am enrolled with a scheme called Cultivator, run by Creative Kernow. This scheme has a variety of strands of support available to creative businesses in my

region. The Creative Investment Grant funding which I have been awarded is for one-off activities to help develop your business. There was a rigorous process of application, supported by a wonderful advisor, lots of research to do and a many paged form to complete. This culminated with the application going before a panel for approval. I am going to use this money to get samples made, a professional portfolio printed, upgrade my web presence and do more research and training amongst other things. t feels great to be able to say that I am supported by Cultivator, Cornwall Council, Arts Council England and the European Regional Development Fund. I feel blessed to have received this support and my confidence is boosted by this impartial thumbs-up for what I am doing.

The other bit of progression is that I have signed my first freelance contract, with The Digital Weaver Studio, who are based in Australia. This came about because I responded to an Instagram post calling for creatives, was selected from the work I submitted to complete a trial brief, and had that work accepted and a contract offered! Wow!! The other great thing about this is that Maddie, who runs this studio, has been incredibly encouraging and supportive. She knows this is my first freelance contract, is happy answering what can seem to be even the most trivial questions and is keen to mentor a new designer however she can. What a great starting point for my commercial career.

I am not trying to brag here. I am reporting on the developments along the a state of deep gratitude for these opportunities, and as an encouragement to everyone else who is embarking or travelling along this path. We CAN do this.

So I have progressed and become the being and doing of my dream. I have moved from knowing that I want to do this thing to realising that I AM doing it. I know this is just the beginning, that there will be many ups and down along the way, but the wheels on this charabang are starting to go round! :-)

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