This time last year I was moving at a million miles an hour, working, parenting, and running a household. I had a stack of unread books by my bed, a to-do list that never got shorter, and couldn’t remember what me-time was. Being creative had become work, and somehow I’d lost track of how to keep a healthy work-life balance. I was on a treadmill, and I couldn’t seem to get off.
But in March 2020, everything changed. The global pandemic was affecting our lifestyle, work, society and the world we were familiar with and having a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. What was going on out there was frightening and the world we knew around us suddenly fell silent. On a personal note, away from the pressures of the outside world, something unexpected happened. Despite the emotional pain and stress, I felt like I’d been given a chance and space to breathe. At home and at my studio, I could create things just for the joy of it.
I’ve always loved making things with my hands, especially working with fabrics. There’s something special about the smooth fabric, the glowing colour and the beautiful textures that make my heart thrum and light my mind up with possibilities. In lockdown, I rummaged through piles of handmade fabrics that I had designed and printed over many years and started to make lampshades for my own home. I picked up my paintbrush to paint again. I even sat at my pottery wheel and started making ceramic bits and pieces.
I reconnected with my creativity once again and made things for pleasure like I hadn’t in years and somewhere in the middle of it, things changed for me, I felt myself letting go of stress and pressure. In that place, something else arrived. New thoughts and ideas began to take root and grow.
Over quiet morning coffees, through reading books, phone calls with family and friends, and finally finding time to sort through old class records and student reviews, it happened. I realised that the heart of everything I do is sharing this feeling – the joy of creating – with other people.
I knew that lampshade making would always be in the centre of my business but yet I wanted to combine all my skills, the skills that had taken me over 25 years to learn and master. Finally, I was able to pool all of my resources. The book I’ve always dreamt of writing and the creation of a blog and online courses could finally come to fruition. A place where I could share my creative journey with others and be an inspiration to them.
My plan for the content of the book and the blog was to encompass all aspects of my work. This will entail a glimpse behind the scenes, a comprehensive and detailed instruction of the making all the way through to the display of the finished article. I could use my interior design skills for prop and set styling, my paintings for the scenic backdrops, handprinted fabrics for the lampshades and lastly the making of ceramic lamps to complement the lampshades.
In the midst of covid-19, I also realised how many people were unable to join the classes that had been a creative outlet before lockdown – and how many people were facing uncertain financial times. I had a vision for an online lampshade making course, where I could teach both the skills for creating your own lampshades – and then how to price and sell them. A new creative course, and a new business opportunity for people experiencing difficult times.
At that time I felt that things were beginning to fall into place. I called up my studio manager Hannah, and said, I know this is crazy because we’re already doing so much, but we need to make this happen. We need to bring this to other people. So between lockdowns we headed back into the studio and got started. We’ve been working all year to bring this vision to life. Classes, tuition, and inspiring videos that will bring the magic of handmade craft to you – whether you come to a lampshade making workshop, join me in my studio for private tuition, or tune in to our videos and get inspired by our blog and Instagram stories.
The lockdown has affected us all in different ways and for me, it gave me a chance to slow down, think more deeply, reflect on what is truly important to me and to convert my skills and lifelong learning to new forms of creative expression.
Creating something calms your mind and brings quietness to your heart. I have treasured the peace, rest and joy I find in making. Whether I’m making lampshades, working at my potters wheel, printing my own designs onto fabric or brushing paint onto a canvas, being creative fills me with a sense of rightness. Creating is good for you! Remember back in school after a busy day, when the art teacher would bring out a box of paint or lump of clay and something in you would just relax – you would actually feel your shoulders untense. We live in a world that asks us to use our minds all the time, but our bodies – our hands – need to be involved in creating things too.
At Moji Designs, our goal is to bring the joy of creating into your life – whatever that looks like for you. If you want to change the trajectory of your life and start a craft business, we’ll support you with every aspect of that. Or if you just need a way to be creative, we can teach you how to get started. We’re at the start of our journey, and we’d love to take you along with us.
We’ve put together a video that sums up who we are, and what we offer. Take a look, get to know us (check out the gorgeous lampshades in the video while you’re at it) and get in touch if you’d like to join us.
Stay safe and creative!