By Kate Marsden
I have some serious studio envy this week, as I chat to artist and illustrator Trudi Murray. Find out more about Trudi and one of the best Just A Card related stories I’ve heard so far (almost brought a tear to my eye too!).
Tell us a little about you. What do you do?
Hi! I’m Trudi Murray and I’m an artist and an illustrator. I make original paintings and illustrations for sale to private clients, online and at art fairs and markets.
What does a typical day involve?
My teenage children leave for school at 8am, and I go out for a walk then too - in the opposite direction! After that I whizz round tidying up while the kettle boils, and then I take a tray of tea upstairs to my studio in the loft. I paint in the morning, do emails and social media tasks in the middle of the day, and illustrate in the afternoon. After that it’s back to the computer for marketing and following up leads etc.
Where do you work? What is your studio space like? What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
I’m so lucky to work at home, in a big studio space in the loft. It has a huge window with my desk and easel, and beautiful light. It’s both highly organized and covered in paint. I have a desk for my computer and a long table on wheels for laying out work or packing up parcels. I love it!
When I’m not working, I write, or bake. I used to be a writer for children, and I love having fun with words and writing stories and poems. And I enjoy cake very much.
What do you consider to be the main challenges facing designer makers at the moment?
Getting noticed in a crowded market. I sometimes feel like I am locked in a cupboard, shouting through the door while the world goes by outside! Tenacity and hard work, along with a steely determination to be yourself and never swerve from it, are essential.
What ambitions do you have for your business over the next few years?
So many! I’d like to work with galleries to get my work out there more widely. I’d like to do a solo show. I’ve just made a collection of work and it was fun to work in such an extensive way, so I’ll definitely focus on doing that again.
I’d welcome more illustration work on a regular basis. I’d love to illustrate the stories I’ve got stashed away, and I’m working on an illustrated book of poems for children, so I’d like to get that published.
I’d like to try to enjoy doing the accounts more! I’ve done a few talks recently on confidence and creativity, and it has astonished me how simply being honest is so powerful and helpful. I’d like to do more of that sort of thing.
Do you have any tips for fellow designer makers/small business owners who are reading this and may be just starting out?
Be kind, helpful and generous, online and in person. Be confident! Be yourself, always.
Please share any favourite independent shops/galleries and tell us why you like them.
Big Bird, Little Bird – fantastic handmade textile creations
Wilful North – beautiful silk scarves
Lisa Berkshire – wonderful illustrations and constantly inspiring
Had you realised the Just A Card campaign message suggests cards as an example of a small purchase - we're about encouraging all sales as they keep businesses afloat?
It’s such an important message, as small purchases are what keep me going, both financially and in terms of morale! Even the sale of just a card at a market is a chance to chat, talk about inspiration and swap ideas. I love (and am amazed by) the idea that people choose my work, and enjoy it – it’s so special to know that something you have made resonated with someone else, and that feeling can’t be beaten.
How important is the Just A Card campaign message to you and your business?
It can be summed up for me by the time when I watched a little girl go round the whole market at which I had a stall. She was about 6. She looked at everything carefully, before coming back to my stall, telling me proudly she had £1 to spend, and that she wanted one of my cards, please.
It was my best sale ever, and I cried a little bit behind my stall! Does just a card really matter? Yes, it really does. It pays so generously into my bank of confidence.
Where did you hear about the campaign and which Social Media platforms do you use most frequently? What do you think people can do to support Just A Card, and how will you be doing so?
I heard about it on Twitter – it’s such a useful resource for making friends and networking, and following up on opportunities. I like Instagram, and my Facebook page is very dear to me as it’s where I started.
I’ll be displaying my poster at my next art fair. And I’ll be making some more cards, as I have currently sold out!