Friday 17 December 2010

Nov 29th–Dec 3rd

And the week has changed from 5 days to 7.  I will deal with Saturday and Sunday in a separate blog! As we get deeper in the Christmas season this is what happens. Work that is booked starts coming in whilst lots of last minute work start creeping in.

A few months ago I had a talk with Tom Freud of Atom Events concerning business practise. We have worked with Tom for almost 5 years and I thought ‘who better to ask advice on practise?’ We went for a drink and that resulted in me coming up with our job scaling scheme whereby we work to a 4 day turnaround. 3 days is 25% more, 2 days is 50% next day is double. Weekend is triple! But it also meant that we implemented a £50 minimum fee regardless of job. I must confess I did feel bad having to do something like this but business is business and there are bills to pay.

The day I rewrote or Price List Info Sheet to reflect this we applied it to a few jobs and the clients were a little shocked but completely understood, as they wanted the work urgently. Just goes to show that Artisans should not underestimate business practise. Dont get me wrong, it takes a lot out of us to conceptualise this, and then we have to come to terms with it, and then implement it. But I digress.

Anyway, the week started off with a stupid tube strike so I shut the studio as the hassle is simply not worth it. Besides there was enough writing that needs done so working on the website from home as well and catching up on correspondence proved useful.


Tuesday early start and snow! And you know what snow means – cold! Got in at 730 and hoped straight in to writing. This week saw us signing 1500 Christmas cards for a client. Angelo, Keiko, Nicola and myself all worked on them as they we aim for our turnaround time of 4 working day. This is more tedious than time consuming. What clients fail to understand is mistakes will happen, ink will not work on the card but also repetition causes the brain to skip. Needless to say we got them done.

P1060519I had to come off the job as the work from Steffi Beeck from Specific Media came in – guess what – I had to be one of Santa’s Elves – can you imagine? I had to handwrite 10 letters.  The thing I dislike most about handwriting large blocks of text is the with every word you write the possibility of an error increases and once you mess that up, well you just have to start over. I managed to get them to opt for Colourplan Cream over Pergamenata. I like Pergamaenata a lot, it had the perfect colour and look for the job but once it was folded it, the score was rigid and cracked. I used Windsor and Newton Lamp black and a Manuscript Pen Company Round hand 4 nib.

Wednesday saw more snow. Someone emailed me to ask how I start the day so this is what happens – if there is staff the day before, I come in, at about 730/8 – we are not open for business until 10 though as I usually leave at 6 or 7, sometimes 8 or 9, or 10 depending on what is on. So I come in and switch the coffee machine on, pack away the dishes and cups which have been washed up and then make my coffee. Sit at the computer and check emails, as we get emails in the night! Reply to what I need to reply too and leave what Sarah or Angelo have to deal with. Check Facebook and my other profiles and if there is time reply. But which time I have finished my coffee. I get a pint of water, drink half of it, go wash my hands and head down stairs. Once I have mixed up gouache and get the jobs I am working on set up on various desks I finish my pint of water, head upstairs, check email, get another pint of water and scrub my hands. This gets done every hour or so. Needless to say my the skin on my hands are dry. I moisturise at night but that much washing is hard on them, but it beats dirty work!


Wednesday saw a job for some Placecards for Friday, from Louise Jackson at Burberry. We have started stocking white and cream Placecards, Placement Envelopes and Escort Cards. Louise is great to deal with. She is always pleasant and funny, and then she said she was leaving. I was saddened by this. It is always great for people to move on they take us with them but it is always sad to know that you need to develop a new relationship, it is hard work! But we are here to help.

Rebecca at The Communication Store also called, needing names on invitations and envelopes. I had a brief chat with her and we decided to do the Placecards at the same time as well as next week is already booked solid.

Thursday saw my working frantically on finalising my course materials for my workshop at the British Museum in conjunction with the Book of the Dead Exhibition – more of this on Saturday!

We also got a call from the lovely Polly at Brides Magazine for some name son the backside of some envelopes for a shoot – odd, but brilliant concept! Envelopes are on its way. It also saw the agreement by the British Fashion Council, thanks to Sophie at Honest, to get 450 placecards and 450 seating cards (Placecards with a table number at the back) done! The are due in tomorrow and needed on Monday end of play! You know what that means – yep working on Sunday! Sarah and I left work at 5 to get to Peggy Porschen’s New Shop opening and Christmas party!


We arrived at Peggy’s and who greets us but none other than Polly! The envelopes did not arrive – how we laughed. I did come in on Friday to find them there though. The party was great. Peggy is a goddess! Apart from always looking beautiful and elegant, would love to see her baking with flour everywhere but somehow I don’t think she would look like that. The food was AMAZING. The little Christmas Puddings, miniature mince pies, cookies, lethal! I could not stop stuffing my face! And cosmopolitans – those were very very bad!

My wonderful friends Javier and Tony from By Appointment Only Design produced some stunning (no surprise there) arrangements for the shop and a table boa of flowers which was magical. I was so happy when they turned up. It is great when professional practise turns into supportive friendships – those boys are great and I am so thrilled they are in my life.

Friday saw me at a Palaeography Conference on Illuminated Manuscripts in the Digital age. I try to do a little bit of academic work very now and again, or the practical will burn me out. Saw Michelle Brown (got grilled about my studies), Chris de Hamel, Pamela Robinson – always fun but had to leave early to go to the British Museum to drop off my exemplars for tomorrow for copies.

Sarah fell today. I was nearly in tears when I read the message. She was heading out of home and slipped on some ice and serious injured her arm. The text was sent from hospital. I felt stick to my stomach.

I left the conference and headed to the studio. Polly’s cards are stilling there bright gold and all! Angelo finished proof reading the TCS stationery and got Rebecca to send a courier for them. Louise had to cancel her job because the attendees could not fly in due to bad weather. We sent the cards on anyway! Annika at TCS called to say her menus were a definite go ahead. She sent a sample of what the paper would be like. The paper was so thick, I double checked with here that is was going to be thin enough (350gsm) to be printed on and she said yes. Looking forward to that job on Monday.

I left early to take all the stuff I need for the workshop at the British Museum home so I did not have to go back and forth. Ali was still working hard when I got home, so popped in an episode of Supernatural, am trying to finish season 4, when he was ready we headed out to Su-Fang’s, from the Royal Academy, leaving party. Andrew, Debbie... everyone was there! It was a great occasion even if for a sad reason. We did not stay late as I needed to get some sleep from the night before and needing to be ready to teach Cursive Hieroglyphs! Am a little nervous but so excited too

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