Archive for the ‘friday folks’ Category

Friday Folks: Simon and Erin, Never Ending Voyage

Friday, November 9th, 2012

"Friday Folks" blog post banner

Simon Fairbairn & Erin McNeany of Never Ending Voyage

The subjects of this Friday Folks instalment are just a bit different to the artists, craftspeople and creative business owners we normally feature. Simon & Erin, founders of Never Ending Voyage, are a couple who are almost 3 years into a lifetime of travel – they are the epitome of the term “free spirits”.

Adelle & Erin met when they worked together for a few years at Community Arts North West in Manchester. We’ve been following the blog she writes (and the gorgeous photos she takes) from the very start – it fills us with pangs of wanderlust of our own!

olive green dotted horizontal line

Who are you & what do you do?

We are Erin McNeaney and Simon Fairbairn a digital nomad couple who sold everything we owned and left the UK in March 2010 to travel the world forever. Since then we’ve travelled to South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, working online as we go.

We fund our travels through our travel blog, Never Ending Voyage and through our web design & development business. Recently we’ve moved away from client work and have begun to create our own digital products. Our first iPhone app will be out soon – it’s called Trail Wallet and helps travellers track their travel expenses easily and quickly.

Simon & Erin floating in the Dead Sea

How did you plan for and continue to maintain a life of long term travelling?

We cut our expenses right down and saved enough money to keep us going for the first year while we got the business off the ground. We sold almost everything we owned except for a few personal items like photo albums that we left with Simon’s mum, and what we could fit into a carry-on size backpack each.

We didn’t really get the business started until we’d left the UK. We started our travel blog 10 days before we left and it took about 18 months of regular updating and marketing through social media, guest posts etc before we made a regular income from it through advertising and affiliate commissions.

Simon started out doing web design & development projects for family & friends and got more jobs through word of mouth. We also had a lot of clients find us through our travel blog.

Simon & Erin with their rucksacks on their backs

Who or what inspires you?

We’ve been travelling for two years and eight months now and our travels continue to inspire us. We love learning about different cultures, trying new food and enjoying amazing landscapes.

Simon & Erin outside a monastery in Petra

What has been your greatest success?

Taking command of our own lives and taking the step to sell everything and travel permanently. And that through writing about it on Never Ending Voyage we’ve inspired others to travel too.

Simon & Erin launching a paper lantern in Yee Peng, Thailand

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to do the same?

Cut down your expenses, get out of debt and start saving. Figure out the skills you have that you could do online – writers, designers and developers are the most obvious digital nomad friendly careers but we know people who teach, consult and coach online.

We’d recommend doing what we didn’t do and getting your business up & running before you start travelling. It’s hard to balance work & travel and if you’ve already got some income coming in from your business it’ll make things easier.

Friday Folks: Amanda Shufflebotham aka Graffikheart

Friday, July 27th, 2012

"Friday Folks" blog post banner

Coffee with a hint of Hornsea - digital print by Amanda Shufflebotham aka GraffikHeart

During a recent daily fix of Pinterest (yes, I’m still addicted!), the poster above by Graffikheart caught my eye. Isn’t it great how easy it is to find out more about a maker on the internet? In the click of a link I found more of her lovely work up for sale on Etsy. It has that colourful, retro, mid century modern vibe that I love – she’s a great Friday Folks guest!

green dotted horizontal line

Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Amanda Shufflebotham aka Graffikheart, I am 42 year old graphic designer/illustrator and mum of two boys. Originally from Oxfordshire now living in Monmouthshire.

Amanda Shufflebotham aka GraffikHeart

How did you get into the business?
I attended Swindon School of Art & Design and from there I went to work for a pharmaceutical communications company as a junior designer. I stayed in the graphic design world for over 20 years, working for agencies in Oxford and Cardiff. I took a break to have my children but remained connected to design via freelance work. I always had illustrative leanings so took the chance to explore that over the last couple of years. I really enjoy what I do and although it’s not far removed from my actual ‘job’ it gives a welcome break from the more corporate work.

'The Animal Alphabet' digital print by Amanda Shufflebotham aka Graffikheart

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by other graphic illustrators like Charley Harper, Sanna Annuka, Rex Ray and Tom Eckersley. I’m also inspired by my late father, a great artist and my close friend, the paper artist Helen Musselwhite who introduced me to Etsy and has been very encouraging. I love the shapes, colours and textures of mid century ceramics so that’s why some of my work is inspired by certain pieces like Hornsea.

"The Mid Century Herb Garden" digital print by Amanda Shufflebotham aka Graffikheart

What has been your greatest success?
I was recently contacted by the people who own the rights to Hornsea to ask if I wanted to produce some official posters. That’s in the pipeline. But for now I am thrilled that I’m getting good feedback on the designs and have recently produced some kitchen items that I hope some of the manufacturers might like?!

"The Mid Century Kitchen" wooden chopping board digital print by Amanda Shufflebotham aka Graffikheart "The Mid Century Kitchen" wooden chopping board digital print by Amanda Shufflebotham aka Graffikheart

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
My advice to others would to be to try and make your work as visible as possible via all the routes that social media offers. I am amazed how many people tell me they have seen my work on Pinterest for example. I have also been commissioned to do some more conventional graphic design work from companies overseas that have found me via Etsy.

Friday Folks: Olivia Pilling

Friday, February 17th, 2012

"Friday Folks" blog post banner

Olivia Pilling in her studio

This Friday, we’re really pleased to be featuring local artist, Olivia Pilling. We first saw her gorgeous, colourful paintings in Todmorden Fine Art. Owner, Dave Gunning was excitedly enthusing about this new and extremely talented young artist that he had just started representing. About a year later, we went for dinner at the Todmorden Vintner and saw two large paintings on their walls… unmistakeably Olivia’s work. When we said to the owners how lovely they were and if they were in fact done by Olivia, they said yes, she’s their niece! Since then we’ve been to the restaurant to attend an exhibition opening of her work – and she’s invited us to another one happening next week – we’re really looking forward to it!

green dotted horizontal line

painting of a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Olivia Pilling. I’m am artist, more specifically a painter. I work in acrylics. I’m 26 years old, and have recently moved to Manchester from Todmorden.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

How did you get into the business?
It was by accident to some extent. I was doing my Fine Art degree at the time in Nottingham but over the long summer holidays I’d have small exhibitions at the Todmorden Vintner restaurant back home. I needed to get two paintings framed, so went down into Todmorden Fine Art gallery to get them framed. The paintings were just placed on the floor (apparently lent against the wall of the gallery to one side) when one customer came in and took a shine to them and offered £250 for them, then another customer came in and offered £500, then another came in and offered £750! As a skint 19-year-old student, I was ecstatic when I heard! Since then, I’ve been selling my work through the gallery mentioned and have gone on to sell with four others in the North West and the Midlands.

painting of houses by Olivia Pilling

Who or what inspires you?
I don’t have to go far before I feel totally inspired to paint. I love to walk, and try to do everyday. When I lived in Todmorden on the hilltops, I’d walk to the end of the hill and be surrounded by rugged moorland, patchwork fields, steep cliffs and be able to look down to Todmorden in the valley to my left and Cornholme on my right. Cornholme especially is a feast for my eye, the train-line runs straight through it squeezing through the valley walls. Dotted around are rows of terraces, mills chimneys and zig zagged shaped factories. It’s like a little toy town, it looks very sweet and quaint. The shapes, angles of the architecture really appeal, it allows me to create wonderfully simple fresh planes of colour with one brushstroke but still with a decorative element. I’m unashamedly a sucker for aesthetics and colour. I try to squeeze as much colour as I can into my paintings, and in parts, sections of my work will look abstract as I put brushstrokes of rich colour anywhere I can.

painting of cows in a field by Olivia Pilling

Travelling inspires me, especially exotic colourful places. I was lucky enough to go to India last year, and visited Jaipur known as the pink city and Jodhpur know as the blue city, I was in heaven with the colours and decorative jewellery and clothing, and architecture. I’m planning a trip to Jordan next year. It appears to be an absolutely fascinating place. David Bomberg’s paintings of Jerusalem and Petra are a real inspiration to me, he handles paint amazingly and creates such beautiful paintings.

I love the work of the Fauvist painters, specifically Jawlensky, Vlaminck and Kandinsky. Russian folk art is also an influence – the heavy use of black in the motifs and drawings, help to make the colour pop and this is something I try to do with my own work. I like to play around with light sources in my work. Having light coming from different directions can give a sense of isolation, and confusion, Russian folk art does this very well. It makes the image look quite enchanting and mysterious.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

What has been your greatest success?
I think simply my greatest success is just being able to do what I do for a living. Sounds cheesy I know, but I forget how lucky I am to to able to do something that I love on a daily basis. I came straight out of university and more or less started to sell work immediately. To have someone like your work is great, to have someone love your work is fab, but to have someone actually want to spend their hard earned cash on my work, that’s unbelievable – the feeling never gets old.

painting of a train on a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
I’m not quite sure I have some advice about how to actually get into the business, as the circumstances about how I got involved were quite accidental. The obvious thing to say would be to approach galleries and see if they are interested in your work.
I would say though that if painting is a real passion then you just have to stick at it, and be clear that it is what you really want to do. Sometimes you’re up, sometime you’re down, and sometimes you’ll get knock backs, that’s just the way it is but if you’re passionate about it, then the rest will hopefully fall in to place!