Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 - What a year!

Yes, what a year!!

Cheeky Pickle has gone through big changes this year as have we as a family. A change of schools for both girls, a big leap into the unknown for me and a tentative step into creative land for Dave (Benyons Corner) Big house renovations, a new puppy and....I wrote a book!

This time last year I was accepted to show at one of Melbournes leading markets, Magnolia Square. This was a bit of a catalyst for me and gave me the push and the confidence to accept that I was good at what I do and I should maybe try and believe that a bit more!


So the first part of the year was preparing for that and thinking about the next step for Cheeky Pickle. I knew that I had to either take a giant leap this year or to just carry on doing local markets.

Well, the latter just didn't float my boat and thinking big was what was keeping me awake at night. Just before the Magnolia Square event I got a call to say I had been accepted at the Life Instyle Trade Show here in Melbourne.

This was the biggie for me. Something I had always dreamed of doing but never actually thought I would. Scary and exciting times lay ahead. But was I ready for it? Well if you don't try, you'll never know will you? So with that attitude I leapt in!

Do you want to write a book?

In March I got a curious e mail that both shocked and amused me. "we love your work, would you like to write a book for us" As you can imagine, I almost fell off my chair! After lots of research and many many questions, I finally believed that it wasn't a hoax and the publishers did indeed want me to write a book. Wow!! But could I do it and did I have the time? Hubby said I'd be mad to miss an opportunity like this and so for the next 5 months months I blamed him every time I was stressed, over worked and had no time for family day trips!!

Busy, busy....

So the next three months were jam packed busy getting ready for the show and writing the book. The hours I put into getting everything just right were (looking back) ridiculous. But I'm never one to do things half heartedly and I went at it with 101% effort. Trips to the hospital after the trade show with stress and heart palpitations was not so good though.....

The trade show (read the blog here) was great and as well as gaining lots of new stockists I also gained lots of new creative friends. However, me being me (never one to sit back and think...ah, I can relax now) I now had new ideas buzzing around my mind.

It had been years since I was surrounded by so many creatives and I revelled in every second of it.

These people made me feel alive again, that I could do better than what I was currently doing. I was selling myself short and I should now follow my heart, my dreams and my goals. My confidence was there and I knew that I could (creatively) do it.....but did I have the balls?!! Of course I did!

Feeling flat...

When I got back from the trade show, I was exhausted and a little flat. All the buzz and stress surrounding the event was bound to take its toll and like many arty types I felt a bit down. Questions running around my mind about what I was doing, where I was heading, was I making enough money, was I mad to start again and ruin the business and reputation I had built up with Cheeky Pickle?????

All I knew was that I had to do something! I didn't know quite what, but I knew that I belonged with those people I met at the trade show. I could do what they did standing on my head. So why wasn't I? Why was I taking the easy, commercial route, why wasn't I pushing myself to produce my absolute best?

So I decided to jump onto a course (The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design) that I had had my eyes on for quite sometime. Read about it here

It was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life!! - Every word on this poster I designed is true!

Next came a few magazine features which were really fun to do. It's also so exciting to have your work tangible in a magazine! The Herald Sun, Made in Paper and  PaperCrafter were a few of the magazines I was published in this year. I also wrote an article for Bespoke Magazine which I loved doing.

the next big step
introducing ali benyon designs...

If you've been following me since September, then you will have seen me taking tiny, tentative baby steps into the world of surface pattern design. 

Testing the waters on my Cheeky Pickle FB page, starting a new FB page ali benyon designs, slowly getting used to the new computer programmes and gaining confidence day by day. 

Making some fabulous and supportive friends, artists and designers from across the world, who like me, felt stuck and confused as to what creative path to take.

After lots of questions and tearing my hair out, it feels like finally its all starting to come together. I can't believe how much I have learnt, changed and grown in confidence since starting the course. The cheeky pickle logo, the bird has finally flown the nest, the old website has gone and in their place is a shiny new way forward....

So now I have a new website (created by ME! with some help from Julie, Biz Yourself) Cheeky Pickle is now the childrens range within ali benyon designs with its own website and I can now well and truly through caution to the wind and design to my full potential.

Design without boundaries or any limitations.

Where will this all take me? I have no idea, but all I do know is that my heart, head and gut are all saying YES, THIS FEELS SO RIGHT!!!!! 
And if it all goes wrong at least I can say I followed my heart, gave it my best shot and didn't settle for second best.

Come join me in 2014 and lets see where this crazy path of life and surface pattern design will lead us.

I know I've been a bit all over the place this year, but thanks for sticking by me. I really appreciate all your support :)

With love

1 comment:

  1. Great post Ali! Am right there with you and very grateful to have met you and some of the other designers from the course. Onwards to a very exciting 2014!