The Big Pixie Collab is growing closer and I am excited and terrified in equal measure! Next up in our Meet the Maker blog series is the incredible By Charlie's Hand
. Charlotte has more collaborative pieces than any other maker in this event purely because her work is perfection to stitch. Everything about her style lends itself well to embroidery and so each piece has been a pleasure to sew (although my fingertips may not agree with that after many hours on that seahorse).
Tell us a bit about you!
Hello! I’m Charlotte the hand behind By Charlie’s Hand! I’m 30 (nearly 31) and I live in the beautiful South Wales valleys with my boyfriend, affectionately referred to on social media as ‘The Trucker’, even though he’s not a trucker it’s just a silly inside joke. I’m a papercutting artist with a bit of an obsession with colour, repetition and drinking tea. I graduated in 2010 with a degree in Fine Art and was left at a loose end after moving back home, not having a huge studio space to splash paint around in anymore I found a scalpel in my parents kitchen drawer and inspired by Rob Ryan I started stabbing really awful holes in paper and in early 2011 started the By Charlie’s Hand Facebook page
. Thankfully since then the holes have gotten better and By Charlie’s Hand has gone from strength to strength even though it was never intended as a job it’s been my livelihood since 2012.
What does an average day look like for you?
Normally once the Trucker has gone to work I get up and a little exercise each morning on the Wii Fit (don’t laugh it’s really good!) then have a shower and make myself a fresh cup of tea before hitting the studio. My day varies a bit depending on what needs doing, sometimes I start the day with doing prints and packing them ready for a post office trip, or it’s emails and admin. Most of my time thankfully is spent drawing and cutting paper. I work until about 1pm and then I make sure I take a break for lunch and then I may pop to the post office or head back upstairs to do more work in my studio. I work until around 5.30 and then break for the Trucker returning home from his job, we have dinner, watch a bit of TV then I’ll work more until around 9pm when I will either finish up for the day or go swimming for an hour 2-3 times a week. I’ve been working exercise into my routine more recently as my job is very sedentary and I need to be fitter and healthier and it’s good headspace away from the house as it’s where I spend 90% of my time.
Collaborative work requires us to step outside our comfort zone, if you could work in a different medium what would you choose?
That’s a difficult one as I’ve used a lot of mediums over the years so I know there’s a few I would stay as far away from as possible as they don’t fit the way I work. I’ve always liked the idea of lino and screen printing but never had enough of a chance to give them a go properly, I think my style and work would fit those processes quite easily and translate well into those formats.
Otherwise seeing my work come to life in thread has made me want to learn to sew!
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
I would say pricing is really difficult at times, to account for all the time and effort put into something is hard as sometimes if a piece has been really enjoyable to make it’s not always like ‘work’ but you have to put on a business head and look at it from that point of view rather than ‘oh this is a lovely thing I made’.
If you could share one tip for surviving in the small business world what would it be?
Be original, there is only one you creating your work. Don’t be tempted to follow what someone/everyone else seems to be doing, doesn’t always mean they are right just because ‘everyone’ is doing it. Strive to create original and wonderful things people are always looking for something different and unique.
Also keep up with your admin, do your accounts and submit your tax return early, the last minute January panic is never fun.
Who are you top three small businesses?
Three Katy?! You expect me to pick THREE!? Besides you of course…
I’m going to cheat and say the Sparkle Showcases
gang, simply because they are some of the best and most amazing businesses out there! There are nearly 90 of us Sparklers and I’d feel bad picking just one or two from the group to big up when I just want to say how wonderful they all are both personally and professionally.
Other than that gang of ladies and our honorary gent Andy, I’d have to say I love Rob Ryan
, because well he’s the reason I started papercutting in the first place and without him I wouldn’t be doing this and maybe not even pursuing an artistic career in general so he’s awesome, my house is filled with his beautiful work and he generally seems like a great human being.
Last but not least Little Black Heart
, Sal’s work just makes me very happy, it’s a mix of pretties with some zombies and gothy type stuff thrown in for good measure. I did a collaboration with her a couple of years ago and it was brilliant and I am very envious of her style and the way she works is just beautiful.
Don't forget to sign up to the Big Pixie Collab event here so you don't miss out on anything.
Righty then, I best get back to stitching after all there are just four days to go!