News

Hello, I'm not dead!

Not only am I not dead, but I'm making new work and I've finally started showing again. This is by far the longest gap I've had between shows since I graduated in 2002 but deliberately taking a break was very needful.

Anyway, I'm delighted to announce that I'm in the Shoddy exhibition in Leeds in April. Shoddy is a show for disabled artists working with textiles, so of course I had to apply and I was very pleased to be accepted.

From the exhibition brief:

Shoddy is the name for new cloth made from woollen waste and recycled fabric. This original meaning is now largely unknown, and the word has come to mean of inferior quality, shabby or broken-down. This is the starting point for a project by disabled artists working with woollen or other yarns and fabrics, or recycled and reused textile materials.

We are challenging ideas that disabled people are second-rate. Instead, we think that “shoddy” could be used to describe the government’s treatment of disabled people, with cuts to welfare benefits and public services.

I'm making a brand new piece of work for the show.

Tatterdemalion consists of 255 rocks wrapped in torn cloth and sewn along all the seams so the rocks are completely encased like tiny shrouds. It's a rock for every month since January 1995, when I first became ill with ME/CFS. Although I wasn't diagnosed until much later, that's when my health started to deteriorate.

Tatterdemalion 02
Tatterdemalion: Kirsty Hall, Dec 2015

 

Here's the wall text for the piece:

The work explores the on-going nature of chronic illness and the way that many disabilities are invisible. The work speaks to the inherent contradiction of disability – that we are so often perceived as vulnerable, worn-down or damaged yet we often have a hidden core of inner strength. We need that strength not only to accommodate the limitations of our own bodies but also increasingly to deal with the prejudice that people with disabilities face in these harsh times.

The piece references the British thriftiness of ‘make do and mend’ and the Japanese tradition of Boro. It uses recycled fabric from my own life, including fabric from my first art installation from before my illness. The sewing is deliberately rough and threadbare, emphasising the oldness of the cloth by leaving small holes, raised seams, frayed edges and darned areas. The smooth stones become uncomfortable to hold.

On a personal level, this piece is about coming out. I spent many years denying and hiding my illness, at one point even concealing it from my family. It is the first time I have made art explicitly about my ME/CFS and the enormity of seeing 21 years of illness made manifest has been sobering.

Tatterdemalion 03
Tatterdemalion: Kirsty Hall, Dec 2015

I've been making the piece since December and I currently need to sew three rocks a day to make my target. Each rock takes a minimum of an hour and often longer, so it's generally around 3-5 hours of daily sewing. With my illness, I'm finding it very physically taxing but I'm stoically plodding along.

It's a stretch but it is doable. I did the maths before I started: I'm not completely masochistic! As my illness has worsened over the years, I've had to adapt my practice to accommodate my limited energy, which means being realistic about what I can achieve and allowing myself more time than I think I need.

Barring disasters, I'm currently on track to finish the piece in time. I reached 190 rocks last night, so I only have 65 to go with three weeks left to complete it.

Tatterdemalion 07
Rocks, scissors, needle, thread: Kirsty Hall, Dec 2015

It's immensely satisfying to be making new work again - even I can only pin so many pins before I get a bit bored - although this is certainly not the first time I have wrapped objects. Whilst in college I wrapped cherries in silk and made a silk pillow filled with rose petals and the jars featured several wrapped objects.

The rocks are intended to be displayed in a large pile and I think they'll have quite an impact en masse. This image is only the first 16 rocks; it's hard to comprehend what 255 will look like - even I won't know exactly how they'll look until I install them.

Tatterdemalion 01
Tatterdemalion: Kirsty Hall, Dec 2015

It's interesting looking at these first photos of the work because my sewing has become much neater as I've perfected the technique. Which means I need to decide whether I'm going to go back and tidy up these first rocks to match the later ones or if I leave them as they are.

Tatterdemalion 06
Tatterdemalion: Kirsty Hall, Dec 2015

The opening of Shoddy is at Live Art Bistro (LAB), Regent Street, Leeds, LS2 7QA from 6-8pm on Wednesday 6th April and the show runs until Saturday 16th April. If you're local, I do hope you'll come along. Please share the information with anyone who might be interested - the Facebook invite is here, if that's a better way for you to share.

Right, got to go, it's gone 10.30pm and I still have three rocks to sew today - I don't often say this but right now, it's a good job the ME/CFS comes with side order of insomnia!

You know that thing where you're so deeply involved in something that you completely miss the obvious? Well, I've been helping to organise an art exhibition in the shop windows of Hebden Bridge with the Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market. And I was just wondering how I could get more submissions for it when I realised that I hadn't mentioned it here. Well duh!

So here are the details:

Applications are requested for an exhibition taking place as part of the Hebden Bridge WI Sensational Summer Rag Market.

Shortlisted entries will be exhibited in shop windows in Hebden Bridge in July 2013.

Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market

The theme of the exhibition is 'Haberdashery' and this can be interpreted through any form of creative art. Most creative art forms will be considered including craft, textile art, sculptures, paintings, photography, print, drawings, jewellery and fashion. Unfortunately we cannot include video or performance art.

The space available in local shop windows to display your finished piece will be no larger than 50cm square so please bear this in mind when choosing your medium and creating your design; small really can be beautiful too!

This Competition is open to anyone over the age of 18 and Alison Bartram, owner of Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge, is delighted to have been asked to come along and choose an overall winner. This winner will have the opportunity of working with Alison in the future to create either a 'one-off' commission piece for Heart Gallery or a collection of work to showcase. Heart Gallery prides itself on supporting, nurturing and promoting independent artists and craftspeople; particularly local makers.

There are no entry fees for this exhibition but artists are responsible for delivering their own work. The deadline for proposals is 1st June 2013 and finished work must arrive no later than Monday 24th June. For more information, or to send images of your work & details of your proposal, please email kirstymhall@gmail.com.

If you're interested, email me with your submission proposal or comment on here. I am easy to talk to and happy to help if you have any questions. And if you know any artists whose work might suit, please pass it on.

The Rag Market itself takes place on the weekend of 13th and 14th July in the Hebden Bridge town Hall and I will be performing my Pin Ritual piece at various times during the weekend.

So if you're local, please do come along. It's always very popular and the money we raise goes to fund an education bursary for WI members. For more information, visit our facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

8 Comments

A blog. Oh my god, I have a blog? Actually I have two and they're both languishing in sad and dusty state. Poor blogs.

Hey Kirsty, what the hell happened to you?

Oh you know, nothing much? My world fell apart & then I fell apart.

After a very difficult 18 months, my husband and I have now moved to lovely Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire where we are slowly putting our lives back together. I am currently in the midst of a big ME/CFS crash but I'm slowly pulling myself out of it with lots of rest and knitting. And I'm very slowly inching my way back to making art. It will NOT involve jars.

I'm not sure what this blog is going to look like over the next few months, let's just play it by ear.

Hey there, this is just a quickie.

I'm off to Brighton tomorrow because the lovely people at Fabrica Gallery kindly invited me to talk at this this event. The theme is artists who are using the internet as something other than documentation. I will, of course, be talking about 365 Jars.

There are four artists taking part, we'll each have about ten minutes to talk about our projects and then there will be a panel discussion. I'm looking forward to hearing what the other three artists have been up to.

They are:

Kevin Meredith aka Lomokev, a Brighton-based photographer
Wandering Bears, an artists’ collective
Lucy Phillips, creator of the What Cannot Be Seen project

The event starts at 6pm on Wednesday the 14th of September. Although it's a free event, booking is advised, just call the Fabrica office on 01273 778646 or email office@fabrica.org.uk

OK, got to dash - I need to pack before bed. Why do I always leave these things to the last minute? No, don't answer that...


12 Comments

Hi there, my lovelies.

As regular readers know, I'm currently hugely busy over on 365 Jars and it's basically eating my life. The project takes at least 2 or 3 hours most days and it's often far more. When I started, I honestly thought I could work it around the other things that I had planned for this year but three months in, it's obvious that I was monumentally wrong about that.

I knew it would be a lot of work but I honestly had no idea quite how all-encompassing it was going to be. That's partly because it took off instantly, so I never got the gentle 'I'll just get up to speed while no one is looking' period that I was expecting. But I also drastically underestimated how much admin it would require. When I was planning it, I sensibly accounted for the making and the walking but stupidly didn't think about the time needed to answer comments and emails, promote it, manage the required databases and all the photo editing and blogging. Let this be a lesson to you, my dears, the hidden work is still work!

365 Jars is an epic project that deserves my full attention and rather than attempting to do lots of other things in a half-assed fashion, I've decided to make a few changes to free up time and energy so that I can concentrate on it.


The art shop

Firstly, I am closing down my Big Cartel shop completely. It's costing me money to run and I'm just not selling enough to justify that expense. More importantly, I don't have the time to make and add new stock and do the constant promotion that an online shop requires.

Rather than having it mouldering away unloved, I'm shutting the shop on Thursday 31st March at 9pm GMT and I'm discounting the existing stock, so you've got two days to get an art bargain.

Smaller drawings like this one are now only £30:

Pencil + gesso 05
Kirsty Hall: pencil & gesso drawing

While the larger drawings are reduced from £75 to £50:


Kirsty Hall: pencil & ink drawing

These are all original, one-off drawings and the price includes postage. It's possible that I may try selling my artwork online again at some point but it definitely won't be with these particular drawings, so you've only got two days to snap them up and then they're gone for good.

If you're desperate for one but can't afford it right now, let me know and we'll work something out.


The business stuff

I have taken down the Artist's Eyeballs. It was an interesting experiment but they proved to be far too much work for the amount of money that I felt I could charge for them. I also didn't enjoy doing them enough - they felt like a struggle. It's possible that they may return in a different form in the future but for now, they are no more. If you've bought one and not yet received it, please don't worry, I've not forgotten about you - I'll be emailing you all personally this week to discuss timescales and options.

It's extremely unlikely that I will be offering any new products or services until next year and I may not continue working in this area in the long-term. But for now you can still hire me to help you work out your internet strategy because I'm continuing to offer Internet Hand-holding consulting. I've also taken this opportunity to slightly lower the price of consulting from £70 to £60. I know people say that you should never lower your prices but it was obvious to me that £70 was too high for my particular client base. Yes, I could go looking for a wealthier client base but other artists are the people that I'm still passionate about helping.

I am also still available for paid talks in the UK, so if you represent a college or an artists' group who need a talk on blogging, social media or the internet, please get in touch.


This blog

I will still be blogging on this site but it is going to be infrequent. However, I definitely don't want this blog to die for a year while I blog like a crazed weasel over on 365 Jars, so I'm considering options like Audioboo, more round-up posts and short videos.


Artist Arse Kicking

I haven't completely decided what's happening with Artist Arse Kicking but I definitely won't be opening it as a monthly subscription art club until early next year. It's obvious that I can't offer people my full attention right now and it would be unfair to charge for something that I can't deliver well. I am still very excited about it though and it will definitely happen once the jars are done.

I would like to do something with the site this year but I don't quite know what. I may ask for guest posters or just post inspiring stuff that I find around the web. I'd like to get some energy and community going over there. Suggestions gratefully received.


OK, that's it for now. Don't forget that you've got until Thursday at 9pm to buy my drawings before the shop closes.


4 Comments

So I finally got round to updating my sadly neglected news page. I hadn't updated it since July. Oh the shame of it, Internets, the shame.

So, in an effort to be a little bit more on top of things, here's the news for January.

PS. You have to imagine me reading this aloud to you in a newscastery sort of voice.


First international exhibition

One of my pin sculptures, Quiver, will be at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor during January.

Quiver at PYF 01
Kirsty Hall: Quiver, Jan 2009

This is my first international exhibition, so I was thrilled to be accepted. And Quiver made it over there without being blown up in customs as a suspect package, for which I'm very grateful.

Disruptive Stillness is on at the Jean Paul Slusser Gallery at The University of Michigan between 7th - 28th January and there will be a closing reception on January 28th from 6 - 9 pm. Gallery opening times, address and further details are here.

If you're in the area, do pop along to stroke the pins.

I'm doing a talk

I'm pleased to announce that I will be one of the speakers at the Textile Forum South West conference Mapping The Future - Where are you now? on 26th March 2011 in Taunton. More information here.

If you're in the UK and you have an interest in textiles and/or mapping, I would encourage you to come along. The folks at Textile Forum South West are some of my favourite art peeps to hang out with and I think this conference will be great fun.

My talk will be about mapping and the internet, so I'll probably be discussing things like my 365 Jars project.

Speaking of which...

365 Jars is off to a resounding start with people all over the world avidly reading the daily jar updates.

To date, seven of the sixteen jars have been found but one of those was re-released into the wild by its enthusiastic finder. So if you're in Bristol, there should still be ten jars out there for you to find and take home - keep your eyes open!

There will also be arse kicking

Oh yes, indeed there will.

Artist Arse Kicking is an online monthly art club for grown-ups that I'll be launching some time in the spring.

Check out the FAQ for more details of what's involved and if it sounds exciting, please sign up for the AAK mailing list. Signing up doesn't commit you to joining, it just means that I'll let you know when things of an arse kicking nature are occurring.

Free Photographs

My Creative Commons sets are growing like topsy and now have their own page in the free resources section. If you're not sure what Creative Commons is, I wrote about it last week.

The House Numbers set in particular, is evolving into something very special and I'm proud of it. My jar walks are providing lots of fruitful opportunities to photograph house numbers, so it's growing weekly. I've also added a Graveyard set, a Signs set, an Urban set, a Natural World set and a general set with all the random stuff that didn't fit anywhere else.

Charity Donation

Finally, in response to the dreadful flooding in Australia and South America: if you buy anything from me during January, I will donate 20% to charity.

10% will go to the Queensland relief fund and a further 10% to the Save The Children Brazil fund. This is not a promotional thing; I've already made a personal donation, I would just like to give more if I can.

So if you were thinking of buying some art or one of my services, now is a excellent time to do so since you'll also be helping a very good cause.


My dears, I am taking some time off to hibernate. I have been pushing myself beyond my limits for months: I can't even remember the last time I took a full weekend off, let alone worked normal hours.

I need to eat good food; play in my art journal; have long lazy baths; read a big pile of books; watch some dumb films; hang out with my much-neglected family and generally recharge my batteries for the coming year.

snow sign
Kirsty Hall: Snow Pub Blackboard, Dec 2010

If you're celebrating, I wish you a joyous and stress-free holiday season. And if you're not celebrating, I wish you a joyful and stress-free time anyway because I love you - look on the bright side, you'll get to buy discounted biscuit selections and cheap cheese soon.

I will be back at work on Mon 3rd January 2011. If you're waiting for completed work from me, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you. Your work is scheduled (I made a database!) and I expect to be fully caught up by the second week of January. If you need to speak to me, I won't be answering any email until the 3rd but I will be on Twitter intermittently.


6 Comments

Ooh, categories vs tags, it's like The Sharks vs The Jets. Except not.

Other ways I could describe them. Categories are like tags on steroids. Categories are like your troop carriers and tags are the specialist troops that live inside them. Tags are little goblins but categories are orcs.

Look, I've been up all night, I stopped making sense quite some time ago...

Watch this 7 minute video that I made to launch my fantabulous Artist's Eyeball service and you'll see that both categories and tags have their place.



Huge thanks to my second brave volunteer, Julie Shackson for being a guinea pig: you'll be receiving your free Artist's Eyeball soon, Julie.


What's so great about Artist’s Eyeballs?

Remember Carol Nunan, who featured in our first video? Well, Carol got her free Artist’s Eyeball on Wednesday and promptly impressed the hell out of me by staying up to midnight to revamp her sidebar. If you visit her site, you’ll see she’s also got rid of the problematic ‘Monotypes’ button that I objected to.

Here's what she wrote on her blog:

Well I won myself a free 'Artist's Eyeball' from Kirsty Hall and I received her much anticipated report today. Veeery useful. Nothing like getting an objective view point from someone who obviously knows what they are talking about and who is prepared to be brutally honest. I like that.

So... hard on the heels of her report I've been doing some serious tidying up for my blog. I've done the easy stuff first. I hope you approve Kirsty. It's still a work in progress but I have some direction now.

Damn right, I approve - way to go, Carol!

These are the kind of results that people get from The Artist’s Eyeballs. They can really light a fire under you. In a good inspirational way, not in a 'call the Fire Brigade' way. Because that would be bad.


What do I get?

A highly detailed, written report that will in no way cause your house to burn down but that will tell you what you need to fix on your website to stop people wandering around uselessly like drunken chickens.

You get a lot of eye and brain for your money: Full Eyeballs tend to be between 5 and 10 pages long, sometimes even longer. It's a big old to-do list with a fairly large amount of to-don't's thrown in. I don't just say 'do this', I also tell you why you should do stuff.

And if I can't find anything to say about your site or you don't find the report useful, I'll give you a full refund.


What if my site isn't ready yet?

There is no expiry date: you can buy an Artist's Eyeball now and use it later. Just make sure that you tell me on the order that you want to wait. It would also be helpful if you can give me a rough idea when you're likely to need it, so that I can make a note to follow up with you.

You could even treat someone to one for Christmas & I promise to wear tinsel when I write it. Although it might be a bit like giving someone a diet book for Christmas; 'Hi honey, your website sucks, Happy Holidays!'


Last chance for cheap Eyeballs

And let's face it, who doesn't want cheap eyeballs?


Blog Eyeball (including up to 3 static pages) - £50, now only £35
The Blog Eyeball is down to £35, which is £15 off - a truly delightful bargain, I'm sure you'll agree.

Add to Cart


Full Artist's Eyeball - £100, now only £50
A Full Artist's Eyeball normally retails at £100 but during this sale I'm offering it at £50, which is a rather splendid half price.

Add to Cart


Full Eyeball with consulting - £160, now only £100
The Full Artist's Eyeball with an extra brains consulting session is currently going for £100 instead of £160. That's a full written website analysis plus 45 minutes of follow-up on Skype where you can delve deeper into what I've recommended. It's the dinner and a date version.

Add to Cart


Deadline

This offer closes at 5pm GMT on Friday 3rd December 2010. That's today, people! If you're going to buy one, you should do it now.

If you know you need an Artist's Eyeball but find yourself temporarily low on funds, please email me and we'll organise a payment plan that suits you. I am more than happy to do this - I've been where you are and I know what it's like (it sucks!) - all you have to do is ask.

P.S. I am going to bed now: do not panic if you email me & I don't get back to you instantly. As long as I get your email before 5pm today, we're good.

Please note:
If there's a high demand during this sale, it will take me longer than the usual 7 days to do your Eyeball.


Honeys, please do me a huge favour and pass this on by clicking on one of the share buttons below...


2 Comments

Welcome to the Artist's Eyeball launch party! Woo, streamers, balloons, cakes and small children peeing themselves with excitement (what, it could happen).

Pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and have a slice of cake...

Gâteau mousse de Framboise
Creative Commons License photo credit: Rubyran

The Artist's Eyeballs were quite insistent that they had never had a proper launch and that not enough people knew about them. When they heard that I was meant to be launching something at the end of November for Customer Love, they started tugging on my sleeve. Since I felt kind of bad that I'd launched them accidentally and then buggered off to Holland for a week, I gave in.

Besides, it meant I didn't have to create something new - ssssh, don't tell them!

Btw, this is what I'm doing instead of a Birthday sale because My Inner Businesswoman decided that 10 days before Christmas was a mind-bogglingly stupid time to try to sell anything that wasn't Christmas related. Although if you do want to buy someone an Eyeball or a session of consulting as a Christmas present, rest assured that I will find a way of putting ribbon on it, even if I have to wear the ribbon myself.

A present for you

First of all, a fabulous freebie, wherein I demonstrate 'stuff that I know' and you get to think, 'shit, I'm doing that wrong' and rush off to your site to fix it. Even if you're not in the market for an Artist's Eyeball, I hope you'll watch this 5 minute demonstration video and share it with your friends.



Huge thanks to Carol Nunan for bravely volunteering to be a guinea pig in exchange for a free Artist's Eyeball.

Btw, this is why you should sign up for my newsletter. Last week I put a call-out to my newsletter peeps for volunteers and got a fantastic response - thanks so much to everyone who responded, I was hugely impressed at your willingness to volunteer. I've also picked a second victim, Julie Shackson: her site will feature in another demo video later in the week.


Why you should buy An Artist's Eyeball

Well, because they're awesome!

Of course I would say that, I'm their mama. However, I can report that the majority of people who've received one of these have been instantly fired up and usually started making changes to their websites straight away.

Kirsty cut right to the chase - what worked, what didn't, what would make my sales page better. I felt encouraged & excited to have some concrete steps to make improvements. I was a bit afraid the critique might hurt, but Kirsty knows how to make you feel good about what you have, while helping you make it even better.

Melissa Dinwiddie from A Creative Life

The Artist's Eyeball was an eye opener. Kirsty gently but firmly told me my sales page isn't about ME but my CUSTOMERS.

LaVonne Ellis from The Complete Flake


What you get

You get a highly detailed written report that points out everything that I think you're doing wrong on your website or blog. Lest this sounds too depressing for words, rest assured that I also enthuse about the stuff you're doing well. You get a lot of eye and brain for your money: Full Eyeballs tend to be between 5 and 10 pages long, sometimes even more and even a Mini-Eyeball will usually contain several pages of suggestions.

Now I know this might not seem like the most exciting thing in the world to buy but holy cow, these are seriously useful. You get a nice big list of things to tackle and often a bit of longterm strategy thrown in for free. Instead of aimlessly going around in circles for months or years wondering why this internet lark isn't working out for you, you get pointed in the right direction at last. You can also work through things at your own pace, confident that you're making positive changes.

And if I can't find anything to say about your site or you don't find the report useful, I'll give you a full refund.


Super-duper Special Offer

I highly recommend snagging one of the larger packages because they're an amazingly sweet deal. In fact, I won't be offering these prices ever again, this is an introductory offer only.

....Drumroll please....

Mini Eyeball - £20
The mini-Eyeballs are staying at £20 because that's already ridiculously cheap and my Inner Businesswoman wasn't having anything to do with a deal on these.

Add to Cart


Blog Eyeball (including up to 3 static pages) - £50, now only £35
The Blog Eyeball is down to £35, which is £15 off. That's some kind of complicated percentage that I can't work out because my maths guru, Colin Beveridge has gone on holiday to America. How inconsiderate!

Add to Cart


Full Artist's Eyeball - £100, now only £50
A Full Artist's Eyeball normally retails at £100 but for 3 days only I'm offering it at half price. £50 for an entire site analysis is crazy: I had to lock my Inner Businesswoman in the basement to get away with this.

Add to Cart


Full Eyeball with consulting - £160, now only £100
The Full Artist's Eyeball with an extra brains consulting session is currently going for £100 instead of £160. That's a full written website analysis plus 45 minutes of follow-up on Skype where you can delve deeper into what I've recommended. Total bargain.

Add to Cart


What if my site isn't ready yet?

There is no expiry date: you can buy an Artist's Eyeball now and use it later (thanks to Skaja for asking this question). Just make sure that you tell me on the order that you want to wait. It would also be helpful if you can give me a rough idea when you're likely to need it, so that I can make a note to follow up with you.


Deadline

You've only got three days to take advantage of this: the offer will close at 5pm GMT on Friday 3rd December 2010.

If you're absolutely desperate for one but you can't afford it with Christmas coming up, email me and we'll sort something out. Please don't be shy or embarrassed. I know what it's like to need something when you're skint and while I can't lower the price any further, I'm happy to work out a payment plan with you. But you've got to brave enough to step up and ask.

Please note:
If there's a high demand during this sale, it will take me longer than the usual 7 days to do your Eyeball.


Honeys, please do me a huge favour and pass this on by clicking on one of the share buttons below...


6 Comments

Happy St Valentine's day
Creative Commons License photo credit: ShironekoEuro[busy]

1) Customer Love challengers are amazing
The support, love, ideas and kindness I’ve received from fellow challengers has been incredible. I've met cool new people and deepened relationships with existing people and this was undeniably the best part of the experience for me.

If you are thinking about doing the next Customer Love Challenge in February 2011, it's worth it for this reason alone.

2) I need to get better at promotion
This is an area where I totally fell down. I did lots of great things but then either got coy about telling people or just didn’t have the time. This is a long-standing issue for me but Customer Love brought it into sharp relief.

All month I could hear my art college tutor saying the words, “Kirsty, you need to do more with less”. He was right 9 years ago and it’s still true today but my ADD nature struggles with that limitation. My brain is always all, ‘ooh shiny, new thing, shiny new thing! Oh wait what was I doing again?’

I need to do some Big Thinking about how to work with this aspect of myself because I'm clearly never going to eradicate it.

3) A stronger strategy would have given better results
When I take part in the next challenge, I plan to be more prepared. That said, being spontaneous was a lot of fun.

4) I overestimated the amount I could get done
You know, I don’t know why this is always such a surprise to me since it happens all the freaking time. Yet I am always blithely convinced I can do twice as much as humanly possible in half the time. What can I say, I’m an eternal optimist. Completely clearing the decks before doing Customer Love would also have been smart. We live and learn, people, we live and learn...

5) Deep strategy stuff fascinates the hell out of me
I love it to death. I even love the word ‘strategy’ and wish it hadn't been overused by boring corporate types. Part of my mission is to reclaim it. We can have strategy, people and it can be fun strategy with extra cakes and biscuits.

6) I need to be more strategic about 'free'
I talked about this in my Customer Love guest post – The Volunteer Junkie. Please read the incredible wisdom in the comments.

7) It's a bit crowded in my head
I have an Inner Businesswoman, a Volunteer Junkie and a Girl Reporter who's in charge of the newsletter (she's very keen, bless her and survives on biscuits and cups of tea because I don’t pay her). Unearthing these metaphors was one of my favourite parts of Customer Love.

8) Not everything I tried worked
I attempted a bit of public Twitter loving but it felt slightly icky to me. I realised that I’m not comfortable singling people out for public loving - unless there’s a good reason to mention them, it feels artificial and weird. I also worry about the hurt feelings of those I haven't singled out.

But that's OK, it's good to try stuff to find where your edges and tolerances are and I value learning this.

9) Be clear about what you’re offering
Saying ‘I’ve got some free time, who needs help’ on Twitter won’t get nearly as many responses as something specific like, ‘who wants a mini-Eyeball on their sales page?’

10) I sometimes swallow my words
But it's not my fault, it's because I'm Scottish.

I discovered this whilst listening to the audio interview I did with LaVonne Ellis about my art, business and the importance of respecting our limitations.

[PS. To anyone interviewing me in the future, get me to say the words ‘film’ or ‘iron’ – the way I say them will make you laugh your ass off.]

11) I rocked the tiara on VYou
I loved making these little videos but the VYou thing didn't take off as much I'd hoped, probably because I didn’t promote it enough. Although I mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook a few times, I never told you guys about it (sorry, my bad!)

I intend to carry on with it though and would be delighted to answer questions in my newly repaired tiara, so please pop on over there and ask one.

12) I'm loathe to ask people what they want
I get shy and embarrassed about asking people what services and products they want or need, in case I can't deliver. Getting the hell over that piece of ridiculousness will be my challenge for the next round of Customer Love.

13) It IS important to launch something
My Inner Businesswoman wasn't at all happy that I said I wasn't going to sell anything in my first Customer Love post, so I've revised that decision. We're not letting The Volunteer Junkie make those kind of choices any more. Plus my Artist's Eyeballs insisted they wanted a party with streamers and buns since they never had a proper launch and hey, nobody wants sulking services.

Coming tomorrow:
The official Artist’s Eyeball launch with a special 72 hour Customer Love sale!

14) I can't tell the difference between peers & customers
It quickly became apparent that I'm way more comfortable loving on my peers than on my clients and I’m hazy on the difference because I tend to think that everyone is a potential peer. In fact, I’ve realised that I'm still not clear who my ideal customers are. More Big Thinking is required on this issue over the next few months.

15) I'm not comfortable pitching to my friends
In fact, I'm not comfortable selling at all. This wasn't exactly news but again, Customer Love highlighted it. However, I’m about to take Pam Slim’s Ethical Selling That Works course in December, which I’m hoping will sort out some of these tangled emotional threads.

16) My business needs a new name
SOS For Artists was never right and now it feels like a shoe that’s too tight. I think it's limiting and far too negative. An amazing late-night Twitter brainstorming session revealed that the core of what I do is about seeing and explaining patterns, which makes total sense when you consider how important patterns are in my art. The lovely Amy from Antemortem Arts dubbed me a Patternista, which I just adore.

17) Sometimes old school is better
When I bought a mic & headphones set, I should have bought one with a traditional jack instead of a USB connection. However, even with that caveat, my audio quality is hugely improved - get a headset, people, it makes a world of difference.

18) There are awesome people outside your niche
Who knew that an elf who does tiling would be so funny and delightful? Who knew that a sex therapist could teach me so much about newsletters? Who knew that I would become good friends with a maths tutor?

19) And finally...
I will use the word ‘trebuchet’ in one of my sales pages even if I have to invent a brand new product to do it!