Thursday, 14 July 2011

Nearly a year of Bird's Yard!

It's our birthday party soon, and everyone in the shop was asked to write something about our experiences in the shop. Here is what I wrote, just thought you might be interested.

I'm Chloe, often known as Pesky, and the following is a short bit about myself, and my involvement with Bird's Yard.

I'm the offspring of a mother who would often say 'we could make that,' and a father who hoarded second hand stuff in his garage (a sort of charitable Delboy). I began my creative life as a teenager, making my own clothes out of duvet covers and writing fanzines about imaginary bands I created with my brothers. This led to eventually producing my own 'zine, Pocket, in which I interviewed and reviewed real bands, asking them inciteful questions such as 'Peas or cheese?'.

After brief stints as a bingo caller, behavioural therapist, dental receptionist and one of those people who put stickers on oranges, I found my true calling as an artist. I started by selling animal paintings, and then progressed to greeting cards, toys and finally one-off wearable art creations (or jewellery as some people might prefer it).

A chance encounter with Michelle Walton gave me the opportunity to stock my art inside Bird's Yard. I first saw the shop when it was a shell, and watched as it grew into an amazing creative hub. The way the shop works is unique; I rented a small cabinet downstairs, and worked one day a week. Lots of similar places don't allow you to work inside them, and without this experience, I would not have gained any of the wonderful advice and mentoring that Michelle gave me.

My jewellery sold very well, and I eventually made the decision to expand into a half shop on the first floor. The arrangement allows me to work half a week, which is perfect as I have a husband at home who I am a carer for. It's a very flexible, community driven shop, and we all help one another.

After 9 months, I have a regular customer base, and as I use the shop as a studio, visitors get the chance to have any jewellery modified, repaired or custom-made. Socialising with customers, showing them the love we all have for our products, whether we've made them ourselves or sourced them, is the most rewarding thing in the world, and without Bird's Yard, I would not be as fulfilled as I am.

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