FICH is coming to Not On The High Street!

Yep, you heard that right, FICH will be coming to NOTHS soon! I am so excited about this opportunity, hopefully this blog post will make you as excited as I am if you’re not already buzzing!

 

So, what is Not On The High Street?

 

NOTHS is a curated online marketplace whose primary focus is on personalised, thoughtful, unique gifts. I particularly love the photography of the high-quality products on the site. It is very succinct and clean, making it easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for. I couldn’t believe it when they got in touch, I cannot wait to get my storefront up and running!

 

What can you expect from FICH?

 

Hand-thrown pieces are very personal because each piece is made by hand. This is evident when a piece is finished, there are usually maker’s marks on the piece or when you put your finger in the inside curve of a pot or by holding a mug, it comfortably fits your hand because it’s come from mine. There are always more ways to make a gift more personalised and this is the aspect of my business I have been wanting to develop for a while.

 

I’m imagining fun sayings, quotes or a couple of words that can be generalised like a plant pot that says “Mad About The Plants” or just a simple “I Love You” on a mug. There will also be the option to have your name on a piece, I can imagine this is especially appealing to those of you who have an alternative spelt name, looks funky but you cannot find your name, spelt the way you spell it, anywhere! This has obviously come from the struggle to find “Fiona” on personalised bookmarks at the garden centre when I was a kid.

 

My one goal for selling with NOTHS, will be to create a unique gift for you to give the one you love that’ll make them smile. Pretty simple really.

 

How can you help me?

 

I want to make my pieces FOR YOU, therefore if there are any words or sayings you’d love to see, then please leave a comment below and I will do my best to make these and put them in my shop!

 

When?

 

I am hoping to open my shop at the mid-end of February and it will be filled with gifts for Mother’s Day so you can find the perfect gift for your mum! Please follow me on Instagram if you’d like to know when we are officially open for business at @FICHceramics or alternatively you can sign up to my newsletter, you can do this by popping over to my website at www.FICHceramics.co.uk.

 

Please be aware that to start with I will only be selling within the United Kingdom, but I will be looking to sell internationally eventually.

 

Take care,

 

Fi x

2019, let’s be havin’ ya

Right, so, I am going to try really hard not to write cliché’s, let’s see how I do. I’m going to throw the ‘new year, new me’ out for starters because let’s face it, I have bought a diary for the last few years that are only filled in for the first month or so and then the rest of it is left blank. Okay, first admittance of 2019, I’ve bought myself another diary. Ha. It does say ‘2019 is your year’ on the front so maybe that’ll help.

 

“You could take me on a camper holiday in the UK over a trip to Dubai or New York any day”

 

Since I’ve had a few days to let the new year sink in I have been mulling over 2018. It’s been amazing both in my personal life with my sister’s hen party and wedding (this is when I get sad I’m not in the ’21 Kids and Counting’ family, I would love for a sister of mine to get married every year). This is also the first year me and Phil (my boyfriend) have been able to enjoy our camper and I literally couldn’t love our little trips away, more… You could take me on a camper holiday in the UK over a trip to Dubai or New York any day (although taking the camper to New Zealand would be The Dream… hinthinthint). For the last few of months of 2018 I also started going to the gym again. In my second year of university I went nearly every day and lost of load of weight. Having a job I wasn’t happy in, pre-FICH, made me put it all on again and I have been really angry at myself for it ever since. Going back to the gym has been great for my mental health and has helped me to start feeling good again. This is something I can’t wait to continue in 2019.

 

 

 

 “FICH ceramics is supported by the Prince’s Trust, woop!”

 

My business life has been pretty amazing too. 91 Magazine did a feature on me and my work in their E-zine. I actually love the magazine it’s bloody lush so it was a great honour [if you’re into indie interior magazines you should really check them out]. I completed the Princes Trust Business Enterprise Programme which means I can now officially say that FICH ceramics is supported by the Prince’s Trust, woop! I also opened my studio up for two weekends in December, that went really, really well. So chuffed and grateful that people came along, so thank you so much if you did, it really means the world [if you would like to come along to the next one please sign up to my newsletter and/or follow me on Instagram to stay updated]. I was also approached by Not On The High Street to sell on their platform which admittedly I did have to refrain myself from just replying ‘YES PLEASE!!’. I was feeling a bit miffed that I didn’t have a work do to dress up for so to finish the year, I took the people who have supported and helped FICH ceramics in 2018, my family, out for a meal to say thank you. Not that a meal equates to the amount of thanks I have for them, but it was something.

 

 

Although this year has been amazing, the last 3 months have been the toughest I’ve had to go through with my business and I wasn’t happy towards the end of 2018. I mentioned my kiln issues in the last blog post so I won’t dive into that cesspit again. I have since realised that it wasn’t really about the kiln, anything could go wrong, like if I broke my wrist (which is pretty likely due to my horrendous clumsiness) and other happenings that would have a big impact on my business, with me mentally but also financially. It was the first major thing to go wrong for me, which is pretty good going as I edge towards the end of my second year and what it taught me was that I should have plans in place for if any of these things do happen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to write down an individual plan for everything but putting money aside or having a ‘is it really that bad’ checklist would really help my brain to see the situation logically.

 

So, 2019, oh heeeeeey!

 

I am determined to make this year a bloomin’ gooden and to do that I…

 

  • Want to keep at the gym because that helps me so much mentally. When I am in the gym I feel as though I can accomplish anything I put my mind to and I actually, as stupid as it may sound, it makes me feel alive and strong. I may be out of breath and sweaty but I love pushing my body to see what it can do. I know this may not look like a business goal but if I’m not showing up at 100% each day, no one else will.
  • Will keep myself organised. I am so bad at this but organising the year as a whole now will make this a hell of a lot easier when it comes to designating jobs that need to be done each week. I did this a few months into last year (when I met my PT mentor for the first time) and it was so refreshing to be on time and ready for each deadline.

 

This last goal may surprise you but I think it’s one that needs to happen…

 

  • Need to get a part-time job. Not really for money, although getting a monthly pay cheque will be nice, it’s more to help with the loneliness of the self-employed life. I feel like I need something else to focus on which will inevitably make everything flow better, yes, my brain works in weird and wonderful ways… I’m imagining it will be as an art technician at a school or something along those lines. I will fill you in as and when things happen!

 

2019, let’s be havin’ ya. I’m excited and eager to get going. I hope that whatever your plans are, you achieve them, I’m rooting for you!

 

Speak soon,

Fi x

 

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram under the username @FICHceramics.

Ch-ch-ch-changesss

Everyone loves changes, don’t they? 😉

 

Here at FICH ceramics I am always looking for new ways to develop my products. Therefore after a few prototypes I have decided to use a coating of clear glaze over my pieces. This enhances the textures of the clay and makes it more tactile. I’m so excited for you guys to see the results!

 

Mugs

 

I have also decided to just have two different sized mugs. A cute little espresso mug for those coffee lovers that like it strong, but also a larger mug for the ones of you who like a little milk with their coffee and a mug of tea. This will mean I have more time to make mugs so expect to have more in the shop!

 

Herb bowls, Egg cups & Milk pourers

 

Finally, I have decided to make my herb bowls and egg cups sets of 4 which will include one of each colour. As I have had many requests for them, I am also introducing bigger milk/cream pourers!

 

My next shop update will be…..

 

My shop will be updated on the 29th of October.

 

As always, thank you so much for your patience.

 

Speak soon,

 

Fi x

 

Follow @FICHceramics on Instagram to keep in the loop with all of the details.

Me, Myself and I

My First Year In My Small Creative Business Series, post 1.

 

Hello and welcome to:

Me, Myself and I

 

I can’t quite believe that it is coming up to a year that I have been a small creative business owner, still not used to how fancy that sounds. To mark this occasion, I have decided to do a series of blog posts that will give an insight into everything I’ve learnt, obviously hoping I don’t bore you too much with this one.

Apologies to everyone who knows me already but I am going to use this first post to introduce myself. I have given each section a title so feel free to scroll through the information you’ve heard a zillion times before!

 

When I was first introduced to ceramics…

 

I studied Contemporary Crafts (yes this is a real degree!) at Plymouth College of Art and graduated with First Class Honours. I loved this course because you could experiment with lots of different materials and then at the end of year one you choose which one you’d like to specialise in.

One of the first processes we were introduced to was throwing. Here’s one of my first pots I made…

 

 

 

Laugh away, we’ve all got to start somewhere! I was so proud of this pot I wanted to fire it, even my technician asked me if I was sure I wanted to. This is the feeling I can see in my student’s faces that come to me for pottery lessons. It’s such a great feeling because the process is tricky to get your head around at first, so you’re surprised you’ve managed to make anything at all (well I definitely was!). This is the moment I fell in love and couldn’t imagine my life without pottery in it somewhere.

Although I loved throwing, I also wanted to experiment with different processes to learn as much as possible. I did a lot of mould-making and slip-casting (pouring liquid clay into a mould). We did a lot of projects, most of them I’m proud of, others not so much. One of my projects in second year was a comment on the amount plastic that is being washed up on the beaches and killing lots of sea life. I decided it would be a good idea to make a turtle from the plastic I found on one of the local beaches. It ended up stinking the whole of the workshop out and you couldn’t even tell it was a turtle. Let’s just say I had good intentions..

 

Skip forward a year and I’m still making smelly/weird projects…

 

The idea for my final Degree project ‘Deterioration’ came from working as a home care worker. It ended up being a porcelain cast of my mum’s head, which needed a fourteen-part mould. I put health foods that were recommended to eat by specialists to delay the onset of ageing like kale, seeds, beans, etc, into each cast. These were left to grow in our warm studio which made everything go mouldy and the seeds started to grow. It looked as creepy as you’re imagining, I’ve put a picture below so you can have a look for yourself.

 

 

 

I loved the challenge but it was a MAMMOTH project and was a massive risk considering the biggest mould I had made before this was a basic drop out mould… The mould in total took me 80 hours which meant I was in the workshop from 9am – 8pm everyday. It’s put me off doing any slip-casting in the future, I am just soooooo thankful that it’s over and it worked.. if it hadn’t that would’ve been £27,000 and a degree down the drain.

 

After university

 

I finished university and lasted a couple of months before I needed to be creative again. So I decided to do an internship in a pottery. It was the dream set up, a shop with a workshop underneath – the only set up I will say that’s better than the one I have at the moment! It was great to experience what it would be like, I felt like kid in a sweet shop. Unfortunately a few incidents happened where I felt like I was being taken advantage of, which I’ve heard this feeling is quite common in internships. I lasted a couple of months before I had to get out.

I got a part-time job at a pub to get a bit of spending money. I realised that a hangover doesn’t just happen when you’ve been out drinking the night before. I quickly realised that to work there I would have to forget about sleeping. I then got a job working as a learning mentor at a people referral unit, working with primary and secondary school students who are either at risk of being expelled or have been already. It was great having both incomes but it got to a point where I couldn’t balance the two anymore. I’m someone who needs their beauty sleep!

I know the PRU job seems a bit random but I’ve always had a distant dream of becoming an Art Therapist one day, as I would love a job which combines my two passions; helping people whilst throwing. Makes me smile thinking of it, one day.

I used my monthly pay checks from the jobs to pay for different bits of equipment, until finally in the summer of 2016, I had enough to convert my garage into a little home studio, much to mum’s delight…

 

 

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I started working on my ceramics as a hobby but taking commissions and doing shows. Trying to find time to throw around working my full-time job, which meant I was mainly throwing in the evenings and at weekends. This made time a lot more precious. It became important to try and get pieces right first time but the pressure made breakages a lot more frequent, a very annoying catch 22. It came to a point where I had to make the decision of whether I wanted to take my ceramics a bit more seriously or leave my ceramics as a hobby and stop doing commissions. I decided to leave my job and go full time with my ceramics, because it really was an ‘either now or never’ situation. Best decision I have ever made. I absolutely LOVE what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I was going to do a blog post every week so I could use it to track progression and set realistic goals. Obviously, this never happened but I did do it for the first week.

 

Here is the best bit;

 

“I can’t begin to explain my relief at making the decision to go full time ceramics. The mind-set I found myself in before doing so, I knew I had to change. I was stuck in a rut, without any motivation and I felt like I was being held back from what I really wanted to be doing. I wanted to become inspired again, get the cogs rotating and get me moving.”

It’s been great to read it back. I am blown away with how much my state of mind has changed in a year, I am so much happier. I’m always buzzing with new ideas and I am always motivated to make more pieces and wanting develop ideas.

 

Present day…

 

So here we are now, one amazing year later. I have learnt so much and I would love to share what I have learnt with you guys. I would’ve found it really useful to have an overview of different topics to get me started in the same place so I hope this helps you if you’re either questioning whether to take the plunge, you have just started out or you’ve hit a road bump. I’ve focused on the areas I have learnt the most about.

 

These topics are;

 

  • Introduction to small business life
  • Before you take the plunge
  • Be you
  • Etsy
  • Instagram
  • What have I achieved this year?
  • Top tips
  • Recommendations books/podcasts/websites
  • Money

 

They won’t necessarily be in this order and I might do a couple of posts about certain topics but you can either keep updated by signing up to my newsletter or by following me on my social media pages with the username @FICHceramics on both Facebook and Instagram. If you have any suggestions for topics I should cover or if you have any questions please feel free to either comment below or email me at info@FICHceramics.com. The link to my website is; http://www.FICHceramics.com.

 

Thank you for reading,

Fi x