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My own self discovery

I speak a lot about authenticity and the power of voice. While encouraging others, as I do, to embark on this process, I feel it is important I share my own experience with both. In this blog I detail my (ongoing) journey with authenticity and what the Maker Self-Discovery Process did for me.

My experience of this process personally

I spent my early life feeling voiceless and unheard. I wasn’t living authentically. I went into theatre – a career I still hold alongside my work in the making community – and the issues around authenticity got worse. I was playing a role in life and then in theatre required to superimpose another role on top of that ... This, in time, became untenable, and I had to take time out to find myself. It was at this point I studied ceramics.

Throwing myself into a different creative pursuit, and being honest about myself, began a slow journey of getting back on track. Craft increasingly became an interest – I had been collecting prior to studying ceramics – and morphed into an area of study and a source of pleasure. Little did I know then that this interest was going to take flight …

After three years I was invited to return to theatre, and having been handed this gift I was handed another. My knowledge of, and love for, craft was recognised, and I was approached about a new online gallery. Would I be the talent scout? I didn’t hesitate. My years of personal study were being utilised.

The work had barely begun when I experienced a revelation, one that wouldn’t be dispelled by time: makers were struggling with their communication and messaging. So much so in fact, they were massively underselling themselves and their work, and in some instances were forced to leave the industry altogether because they simply couldn’t make a living. Here was an outstanding group of creative people, people who deserved to excel, falling at hurdles that could easily be jumped if they were given help. Something had to be done.

Using my experience as my foundation, I began giving talks, for free, to any craft organisation that would take me, in the hope that some makers could be assisted. I forged relationships with The Design Trust, Arts Thread, The Crafts Council, Craft Northern Ireland (amongst many others), all of whom were also spotting the issues in the industry and trying themselves to address them.

My talks increased, I introduced focused one-to-one coaching and mentoring, and then at the invitation of Handmade in Britain I began curating events. Bringing fresh opportunities to excellent people. This in turn led to my relationship with Real Food Festival and Canopy Market, for which I curate 50 weeks of the year.

With Making Goode now up and running, I was seemingly juggling two careers: theatre and the world of making. And it was at this point that I embarked on the self-discovery process … I was forced to ask myself: “Why do I do what I do?” “What drives me (not just in my work, but in my life)?” “What do I stand for?” I had to get to the root of my work, and me. The answers that emerged were deep and personal.

My years of feeling voiceless were playing a part in the present; they had inculcated in me a sensitivity to voice, to messaging and to authenticity. Talent spotting, talks, coaching, mentoring, curation are all about saying “I hear you” and “I can help you to be heard”. And theatre? This is where my own authenticity has continually to be tapped and sustained, and my own voice heard. I discovered therefore through taking my journey that I don’t have two careers after all, I have one, a career where everything gravitates around voice. Hence the tagline on my website: “Amplifying your artistic voice”

Since then, everything I am offered, or consider doing, is first passed through the prism of this self-knowledge. Will a potential opportunity fulfil my calling? If not, however tempting it might be, I turn it down, and if it accords with my mission, I do it.

To find out more about the Maker Self-Discovery Process and how it can help you and your business visit my 'What I Offer' page.


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