One of the better things to have come out of social media, is connecting and meeting with people in real life you would not normally have met. Even people that you have much in common with, who live down the road from you and whose path you would not have crossed if it wasn’t for instagram. I have a few, very dear friends I have met in this way and I would like to introduce to you my latest pal Melanie Ward …
One of the better things to come out of social media, is connecting and meeting with people in real life you would not normally have met…
I cannot pick just one moment, but over the last year, Mel and I connected via instagram with our shared passion for art and creativity. Imagine then, how suprised we both were when we realised we lived approximately 7 miles apart!
To cut a long introduction down to the bare facts, we finally met in April when I booked an ‘Escape and Create’ block printing course at Mel’s home. Printing, fabric, coloured inks and tea and cookies added up to one very enjoyable morning spent with Mel and some other creative ladies.
We finally met in April when I booked a ‘Escape and Create’ block printing course at Mel’s home.
The only drawback of being so absorbed in the class was that Mel and I did not have a chance to natter! So I later emailed her some questions about her new business venture, that I would love to share with you too.
This is the second in a series of blog posts about my Dorset
Not a tourist guide, but places and things to do in Dorset, that if you are a local you may not know about, and would like to try!
Not a tourist guide, but places and things to do or see in Dorset, that if even you are a local you may not know about, and would like to try!
Melanie Ward Designs: Block Printing Workshops:
1 . Hi Mel, after having recently participated in one of your superb printing workshops, I know my readers would love to know the backstory of how you came to start ‘Escape and Create’ can you enlighten us?
Since my teen years in school and then entry into Art College I’ve always had a passion for making and doing and on leaving college set myself up as a craft maker of fashion accessories. Various opportunities came my way during my early working life and I headed more into freelance graphics and commercial design and have been doing that for 25 years. But there has always been the need to get away from a computer and return to getting my hands dirty, inky, painty and makey! The chance to feel real materials in your hands rather than the sterile world of a screen.
I’d been talking and dreaming about sharing my passion for creativity and making for years but as a single Mum with a young daughter the timing was just not right. Now in my 55th year with impending “Empty nest syndrome” looming in September I’ve challenged myself to get on with a new career and business venture, I think we girls get to an age in our lives when we need to reclaim/rebuild “us”.
My vision has been to create workshops and courses that would allow people to just turn up and everything is prepared for them. They can leave their day to day stresses at the studio door and allow themselves some fun and relaxation time.
A pivotal part to my teaching is that complete beginners or those lacking creative confidence are given the help and guidance to create something beautiful, above all else I want Ladies to go home feeling really proud about what THEY have created!
It’s such a pleasure to see people who had started very tentatively happily and confidently printing away after just a short while.
2 . What business achievements are you most proud of and why?
I think getting the workshops up and running ranks pretty highly as I’m still doing my day job of freelance graphic design and so much goes into building a new business.
Also doing live television product demonstrations for Create and Craft was a fairly momentous and scary thing to do. I’ll never forget the first programme, as they were counting down to going live I said to myself “Mel wherever you have gone please come back now” my body stood there but the inner me had gone AWOL!
I’m pleased to say that by the time the programme went on air both were reunited and all went well.
3 . When not running the workshops how do you like to relax and unwind?
Relax…Hmm? That’s a difficult one. I love walking and being out in nature, it really takes my mind off things and is definitely my happy place.
4 . Do you have any future plans for Escape and Create, your block printing workshops?
Gosh where do I start?
I have so many different ideas for workshops, that I think my head might explode! A major aspect that I’m working on is developing a range of Indian carved woodblocks with my own designs, that people can buy after the courses. After every event I’m asked for this so I shall put together a kit that will allow for the inky fun to carry on at home.
5 . Just for fun: Your Favourite Flower, Drink and colour?
Favourite flower has to be Cow Parsley, my phone and camera are full of their images.
Hand me a glass of Prosecco and I’ll be happy but I do like flavoured gins too, I’ve made some at home with rose petals, tastes and smells delicious. But then again where would I be without tea?!
Easy – green, balancing and nurturing.
A huge thank you to Mel for reigniting my passion for printing and for taking the time to answer my questions!
Contact Melanie Ward to book her Escape & Create workshops:
Or you can email her firstname.lastname@example.org
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