We’ve had Mollie Makes‘ first editor, Jane Toft sharing 50 crafty things to do before you’re 50; made a video (as yet untitled, although 50 Shades of Mollie Makes has been suggested); and today we bring you the best pieces of creative advice from every issue of Mollie Makes, ever!
Read through these nuggets of wisdom then share your favourite with 3 beautiful people in your life. Go and inspire…
1. I needed pattern nor plan; I just crochet for the love of it. – Dottie Angel
2. The New York conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, who’s famous for her truisms, once said to me, “Remember you always have freedom of choice.” That’s something I keep close to my heart. – Aurélie Mathigot
3. Do what you love, and love what you do! – Jane Foster
4. One of my old tutors, at the Royal College of Art, once told me to make my work really beautiful – as beautiful as it could be to look at and in its finishing. This one tiny sentence has stayed with me ever since and now I try to impart this sentiment across the different projects I undertake. – Catherine Hammerton
5. “Try not to worry, because worrying is praying for the thing you least want.” I saw that on a sign outside an accountant’s on a particularly bad day and thought: someone’s speaking to me! Please don’t worry about stuff, just make stuff! Yes. – Pip Lincolne of meetmeatmikes.com
6. Years ago, when I was a teacher, I was on a creative business course. On the last day, we were asked to give each other a small note. One lady, a complete stranger, gave me one that read: “Never turn your ideas down. Keep following what you believe.” How did she know I needed that? I’ve held onto that note. I want to frame it. – Jeanette Lunde of byfryd.com
7. Elsie: My first advice is always start online. Start a blog, start an online shop and build that following. Starting with just a local store is so challenging these days. If you have that base of people who know you online, they are there to support you even if they aren’t local.
Emma: I totally agree. The support you get online helps in so many ways and gives you a sounding board, too.
Elsie: Start with one thing and do it really well. You don’t have to do it all overnight; I like to see people develop their skill and style. – Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess
8. Never be afraid of starting over. A lot of the time it’s easier to start fresh – Kim Lawler
9. My mum often used to say to me when I wanted to buy something: ‘You can make it yourself even better.’ So I would go home and make things – Julie Marabelle
10. You don’t need an ideal space to make things, you just need to want to make – Bookhou
11. When I was 10, my grandmother taught me how the sewing machine works, that was great advice! I made dolls’ clothes and soft toys on it. Later, in my teens, I made a lot of my own clothes. She taught me to knit and crochet a little, too. – Eline Pellinkhof
12. When you’re doing what you love the initiative to go that extra mile just comes naturally. – Quill and Fox
13. I once went through a very frustrating period where people were copying my designs all the time, and I felt there was no way to protect myself from it. But then a good friend of mind said to me, “you’ve just got to keep on making.” If you have a creative voice and a creative style, in the long run it will definitely pay off. You’ve just got to keep doing your thing and believe in yourself. – Lotta Jansdotter
14. Be yourself, follow your heart and always do what you love. – Amy Butler
15. Do what needs to be done today, today. If it isn’t good enough, repeat it tomorrow until it’s beyond what you thought you could do. – Cassandra Ellis
16. I just want to play around until an idea pops into my head – Mini-eco
17. You can’t design for everybody so make sure you please yourself. – Sarah Fielke
18. Stay true to your intention. At its core level this doll is not a piece of art – it’s for a child to play with. The arms are going to fall off, the hair’s going to fall out, it’s going to get stained and dirty. Every time I think that thinks are getting a bit ahead of me I remember that I made this for my daughter. – Jess Brown
19. Linda Miller, is a great machine embroiderer and tutor. She was the first person to point out the elements of my own style to me. She told me (and the rest of her class at the time) to just “be yourself” when making and creating, and to do what feels right for you. I took it to heart and it has always stayed with me. – Jane Brocket of yarnstorm.blogs.com
20. Just work really hard! When I was studying, our lecturers used to load us up with lots of work, and we used to think it was outrageous – but really it was the best preparation for running my own business. I put in lots of hours but, as I’m lucky enough to be doing something I love every day, it’s yet to feel like work! – Beci Orpin
21. Don’t rely solely on your blog to earn a living; those looking to make a full-time income from advertising will most likely be disappointed. Try to think of clever projects that you can work on and then offer a fee that will result in direct sales: an online shop, an ebook, affiliate programs, a digital magazine, teaching, working with sponsors – that sort of thing. There are lots of opportunities to earn a living from your talent. – Holly Becker
22. Well, the most important advice anyone gave me for my business was: make sure you calculate your prices. I basically worked out what I needed to live, and what my business overheads were – the cost of my workshop, insurance, the cost of materials and so on – and I knew that those costs needed to be covered by my making time. Fairly simple sums to make sure you’re not working for 5p and hour! – Poppy Treffry
23. Just because you’ve spent an insane amount of time on something ¬– if you aren’t 100% satisfied with it, it’s OK to let it go; just because you made it doesn’t mean you have to share it with the world. Scrap it and start over. I will be worth it. Thank you, college professor! – Danielle Thompson of Kitschy Digitals
24. Never create a piece with what you think will sell in mind; always design what you truly love. Also, the thinking part of anything creative is just as important – if not more so – than the doing part. – Lou Rota
25. My mom has a sign hanging on our fridge, which said: “A creative mess is better than tidy idleness,” and it’s stuck. It’s helped expand my vision for what’s possible. – Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House that Lars Built.
26. My husband always looks through my bin to see what I’ve thrown away. Sometimes he’ll turn over a piece of embroidery and say it looks better on the other side. He always says that what people reject, don’t look at, or don’t find interesting is actually what is the most interesting. – Natalie Lété
27. Follow your gut instincts – every time I’ve ignored my feelings, it’s gone wrong. Big companies often tell you that things should be done a certain way, and it’s important to stand your ground if you disagree. – Pearl Lowe
28. Always be true to yourself – Mary Kilvert
29. “Make bold, confident strokes.” Jean Sieben, an artist who attended our church when I was little girl, said this. One summer she taught me how to oil paint. I was being timid with the brush, and she held my hand and showed me how to dive in to see what’s going on as a result. I’ve found it applies to nearly everything I do. – Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching
30. Stick to your convictions. If you fall, it’s not important – don’t dwell on it. Back when I was selling designs from my apartment, I wasn’t sure about starting the company. A friend said to me, “give me one reason not to…” After a long silence, she said, “OK! You’re going to do it!” – Anne Hubert of La Cerise sur le Gâteau
31. It comes from my family: “You don’t get owt for nowt.” – Wayne Hemingway
32. Hester: You have to stop dreaming. JUST DO IT! NOW!
Mariëlle: Yes – start your own business, right now! –Hester and Mariëlle of House of Dots
33. My tutor at Manchester [Manchester College of Art] called Judy Barry, who’s a real hero of mine, just said, ‘Look, look and look.’ Just always look around you. That’s the most important part. – Karen Nicol
34. When I had a fancy for something as a child my dad would say, ‘Well, give it a go, if you don’t try you’ll never learn anything,’ and this became my mantra. You may make a pig’s ear of something, but every time you do it, you’ll get a little better. – Rachelle Blondel of Ted and Agnes
35. Don’t wait for your work to be perfect. It never will be. Just go and do it – you have nothing to lose. – Colette Bream
36. Carlos: Be true to yourself and do your own thing. People may suggest things because they want to make more money, but we’ve always avoided that.
Arne: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. A lot of people think they can’t be creative, or they can’t knit, for example – but they shouldn’t be upset if something goes wrong. We saw a poster in a yarn store in Minneapolis and it said: “We don’t do mistakes, we do variations: That’s nice! – Arne and Carlos
37. ‘Work hard and be nice to people’ – Anthony Burrill. That sums it up for me. I think that’s all you need to know to get where you want in life. – Chloë Owens
38. Don’t worry about fashion trends – make clothes that suit your style and figure. – Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It
39. I am self-taught in the discipline I have ended up working in, but it was my grandmother, a textile artist, who taught me to love fabric. She had no boundaries and often made her textile pictures in unusual ways. I think that taught me to think outside the box when finding solutions, which I find very important in my day-to-day work. – Tone Finnanger of Tilda’s World
40. I can’t remember whether this was advice someone gave me or advice I gave myself, but when I returned for my final year at university I realised that I’d been doing work to please my tutors. I decided to just do what I loved, and after that I enjoyed my degree so much more. Do what you love, and someone else will love it too. – Keighley Shepherdly, Liberty Print Designer
41. Work with odd numbers, whether you’re hanging pictures or arranging flowers. But, if you find a pair, always buy both! Also, preparation is everything – don’t be too gung-ho. That’s a difficult thing for me. Whatever you upcycle, whatever you buy, start by cleaning it. If you can’t wash it, it’s no good anyway. – Kirstie Allsopp
42. A friend of mine at college told me that if you’re feeling stuck creatively then you need to embrace that feeling because you’re obviously processing something new. Find a monotonous repetitive job to do and eventually your creativity will flow. If you’re able to immediately churn stuff out, then you’re not actually challenging yourself. Embrace the stuckness! – Lisa Levis
43. Be forgiving to yourself and to others – everybody is on their own journey and every mistake is a lesson. – Maryanne Moodie
44. Claire: Build a relationship with your inner critic. Keep it quiet at the beginning of the process so it doesn’t stop you being creative, but then bring it in again at the end. Also, your first few attempts at anything will be crap – try and try again.
Louise: Experiment! Have no boundaries, make mistakes and then learn from them. – Claire and Louise of Papered Parlour
45. “Always treat others they way you want to be treated, with kindness and respect.” I use this piece of advice from my dad and apply it to all aspects of my life, from the creative to the personal. – Meredith Crawford of One Sheepish Girl
46. Buddug: I have my very own mantra: ‘Promise me never change or stray from your inner thoughts and interest.’ I hold this true and try and listen to that inner voice in my head to stay grounded and focused.
Jessie: I’ve always held onto my mother’s favourite words of wisdom: ‘Small is beautiful.’ Keeping things simple and on a small scale is the key to both my home
life and business working in harmony. – Jessie and Buddug of J & B The Shop
47. On my degree course they told us that if you want to do something and have the drive, you only need confidence to make it happen. I know that the harder I push myself to be brave, the further my career moves forward. I’ve learnt not to be afraid of people saying no, because at the end of the day you only need one yes. – Louise Walker of Sincelery Louise
48. Finish your work! It’s important to check to see if it can be made any better. When it can’t, then there is peace. If you’ve started to hate something you’re making, find a solution. You could pass it on; learn from your mistakes and unravel it; turn it into something else, or push harder until you finally make a breakthrough. All these processes bring confidence – every creative person has problems at some point. – Rachel Matthews of Prick Your Finger
49. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Or just get started – don’t worry if you don’t know how it’s going to end. Sometimes it’s more important to just begin. – Sara Duchars of Buttonbag
50. The quote ‘perfection is the enemy of creativity’ is a really good one. It’s easy to become paralysed by the myriad of small decisions you have to make in any given day when running a business. Sometimes, especially when it comes to the small stuff, ‘good enough’ is often good enough. Abigail and Ryan of abigail*ryan