This is a subject which is quite close to my heart as I know it’s a common emotion and problem for creatives, whether its in the fashion field, jewellery or art. Those who know me, know the frankness with which I speak about things, but this is my way and this is who I am and what my brand is about. I do not believe in giving a completely false PR image of myself to try to increase profile, I have enough personality to be myself!
When I finished at St Martins in 2005, I remember being so full of energy and drive – I was bright eyed and ready to take on the challenge of what lay ahead. I had a real sense of blind optimism and truly believed in my vision. I am still like this but what I want to explore in this blog is what happens when this wanes a little. I didn’t know what the future held or the direction I was going in but I was enjoying the ride and the journey. It was a hard, hard slog from 2005 to today. I won’t lie, there were times when I was exhausted beyond belief and everything felt like such a struggle. I was working three different part time jobs and was doing my jewellery in between, often working till 2/3am every night and then up again at 6am.
Looking back on it now, I never knew it would be this painful – physically exhausting and mentally exhausting. However, through this pain and hard, hard graft I have achieved things I would never have imagined.
I have however, experienced the lows which inevitably go with the highs. The first time I experienced this was in 2007 after I did the launch at Home House for Mystical Tarot.
This was the collection I won Young Designer of the Year with in 2008 at the UK Jewellery Awards. It was such a crazy, crazy year, I was travelling a lot, in New York three times, then in Japan…..
I designed and made this collection and organised the launch and sponsorship etc pretty much solo. I was exhausted but I didn’t care as the adrenalin of realising my vision and having that as the sole drive kept me going. I don’t think I slept much for six months and pretty much survived on coffee and rollies. The launch was a huge success and the night was one of the proudest moments of my life, however, come the end of September when the craziness had all stopped, life began to feel quite odd, like something was missing, I felt flat a lot. I pretty much crashed and burned…. I remember being in New York in October and my body and mind just broke and I couldn’t stop crying. The worst thing was I didn’t know what was wrong, there wasn’t one thing I could put my finger on and say “that’s the problem”. These feelings passed as time passed and I think it’s always harder the first time you go through this- I am now much more aware of feeling like this and when it starts to happen, I can sense it and deal with it better.
I guess the most dangerous aspect of burning out or becoming too exhausted mentally and physically is that one can become negative or like a victim. I think it’s because when you are trying to build a brand when it’s something which is your vision it becomes very personal and if you feel it’s not working it hits hard. However, we always need to remain positive and full of energy and belief– belief in your work and in others around you. I find that when I am relaxed and not putting pressure on situations, the results are so much better. You have to believe in yourself and if you truly believe in your work you will have no problem bouncing through the doors of Vogue House or W magazine in New York and telling them how fabulous you and your jewellery are. This is what I have always done and it seems to work, it’s kinda psychological, if you tell people you are fabulous and talented they are more likely to see you and listen. Besides, nobody likes a depressed or negative jeweller!