I thought I’d put together a quick blog post to tell you the story behind Savvy Supply School, our newest course here at the Academy.
This course is a bit different, perhaps a little unexpected? This post gives an insight into my thinking process in launching this new venture.
I’ve been on a journey with my mixed media making over the last ten years. I’ve been very guilty of ‘shiny object syndrome’, spending too much on the latest thing, which all too often then sits gathering dust, unloved and neglected….
So last year I made a conscious decision to stop buying all the things and focus on better and different ways to use what I already had. What I learned is that I can make art with nothing more than a bit of paper and a pen, and even for mixed media, a relatively modest amount of stash really can be enough.
I owe the idea for this course, and perhaps the credit for my epiphany, to MUCA tutor Mags Woodcock. Poor Mags gets the piss taken for being THE most frugal creative I think I’ve ever come across. Every time she creates something for the Academy it’s salvaged, or recycled, or homemade, or fudged in the most glorious way. Her approach really got me thinking more creatively about my own artistic processes – and how much I was spending on unused product (while simultaneously drowning in an endless sea of ‘stuff’ that was stifling my ability to create).
I also feel that (and I recognise the irony while writing a post effectively promoting my course…) that we are bombarded with marketing nowadays. Running a small biz, I know why this is – it’s the reality that to be heard in a crowded market sometimes you have to shout the loudest and post the most content. But while there are masses of good quality choices out there, I feel that a lot of craft product is style over substance, we’re being lured by pretty packaging and celebrity endorsements. I don’t want MUCA to be like that.
So, long story short, the courses we offer here come from a genuine place. We don’t sell thousands and thousands of places like some courses, but that’s not our mission. We want to offer something different, something honest that speaks to us as a team.
The idea of Savvy Supply School might seem a bit unusual to many of you – and that’s because other companies don’t do stuff like this. They put out content because want you to BUY THINGS, they want to use their class to upsell to you. We don’t want to do that – in fact for all of our Schools there’s a strict no advertising policy. But I digress, again (ask my long-suffering husband how many topics I can get into one conversation)! On Savvy Supply School we’re actively encouraging you NOT to buy any more things. We’re encouraging you to use just the basics plus non-commercial additions. We’re working with frugal, found and free stuff – that you might find in your home, on the high street, in the recycling bin, in your back yard….
Of course I realise that there are some people for whom supply shopping is a hobby in and of itself. And if that’s you, that’s absolutely cool. But I can’t imagine there are not others out there like me, with total product fatigue, who just want more and better ways to work with what they already have and who want to be more inventive with everyday (cheap and/or free) stuff. And you know what, you might find that your work is more original, more unique, and more YOU, because you are thinking more creatively about HOW you make, rather than just sticking the latest embellishment you bought on something….
And finally, the other reason for this course is that it’s HEAPS OF FUN!
Although the art that my team has produced is awesome and you’d never know they were working with, in some cases, literal garbage, everyone has enjoyed the creativity that comes with being more experimental and having to think of different ways and different tools and different ingredients. Sometimes we get so wrapped in being ‘artists’* that we forget this is a hobby and it is, more than anything else, supposed to make us smile and bring us joy.
So if you want to join us for three months of fun, fresh, frugal makes, you’ll only need a tiny box of stuff and a little bit of imagination. I’m so looking forward to taking you on this journey in January!
(* I really still don’t consider myself an ‘artist’, I’m a crafter and I’m perfectly OK with that. Some of the greatest creatives who ever lived – Tiffany, Faberge, Mackintosh – were craftspeople!)