07 Mar 2018By John Gatimu
What time do you wake up and what does your prework routine look like?
My alarm goes off at 6.30am and I must admit to hitting that snooze button a couple of times during winter. Summer is so much easier!
I check e-mails, messages, my Etsy shop and take a quick look at the news headlines.
One of the best e-mails I receive every morning is a new motivational quote and that really works for me. I’m a very positive person and I like that a couple of words can give me an extra boost.
You get into work – what does a typical morning look like for you?
Like most creative people, I always have loads of projects and ideas on the go, so I need to start my day by prioritising the ‘to do’ list.
The morning is spent designing commissions, gathering ideas and planning for workshops, kits and shows. I’m a very talented procrastinator and given half the chance I could spend way too long on pinterest and facebook!
What time do you take lunch, and what do you do on your lunch break? What do you typically eat?
I’m not a great one for sitting down to a midday meal and tend to nibble on fruit, nuts and yogurt as and when I’m hungry. I do like to take a break away from my desk and take a stroll down into town for supplies. I live in Bakewell in the beautiful Peak District and I find the fresh air and exercise re-charge my batteries for the afternoon.
How does a typical afternoon take shape?
This is when I get down to work by embossing the designs onto the metal. Those hours fly by and I’m totally immersed in what I’m doing.
What time do you leave? And what kinds of things do you like to get up in the evening?
I try to stop around 6pm and make supper. Family time is very important to me and it’s so easy when you work from home to keep on working all the time.
In summer I love to go for long evening walks with my son. We live in such a beautiful area that we can walk in any direction and be inspired by our surroundings.
Finally, what time do you typically go to bed on a work night?
I am normally in bed by 11pm and then read or catch up with my eldest son who lives in Australia and just starting his day.
How did you come to work in your current position?
I have always worked in the design and creative industry. I was a kitchen designer for many years and then owned a franchise where we taught creative skills development to young children. This is where I realised how much I loved to teach and share ideas.
I attended as many workshops as I could and came across pewter embossing through my fabric painting tutor. She convinced me to give it a try. My first thoughts on working with metal were that it would probably be hammer and tongs and furnaces! I was proved wrong and found it to be a totally absorbing art form with such an interesting process that I was hooked and haven’t looked back. That was about 14 years ago. I was living in Cape Town in South Africa then and honed my skills with several amazing teachers.
When I moved back to UK three years ago, I knew I wanted to pursue working with pewter as a career. I started off with a few local craft fairs and workshops and have grown from there.
I was very fortunate to be approached by Peak Dale Products to work together and develop metal embossing kits. Peak Dale Products are manufacturers and sell wholesale to the craft industry. Through them I have had the opportunity to appear on Hochanda TV and showcase the metal embossing kits. What better way to reach out to fellow creatives!
What advice would you have for someone looking to get into your particular industry?
You do need to do your research of course and have a basic idea of where you want to go with your business. However, having said that, I also think that it is important to be flexible and open to where the trends and opportunities take you.
You need to have passion, patience and perseverance ….. passion to share what you love, patience to keep forging ahead and perseverance to pick yourself up if you make a wrong decision.
What are the best parts of your job?
My students! My ‘happy place’ is sharing my love for metal embossing and seeing my students complete a beautiful piece of artwork from a plain sheet of metal. They truly inspire me!
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
The run-up to Christmas is very busy with both jobs and I think keeping a sense of humour is best. You can get through it all with a smile or a frown, I choose to smile.
What does 2018 hold for you?
I love what I do and want to reach out to more people. I’m working on some YouTube tutorials, I’d like to write a book on metal embossing and I’m thinking about offering craft retreats. It’s all exciting stuff!