Updated: Feb 14
It's been a big year of lots of change! I scream that out because it's been huge. Goodbye, 22, and I'm looking forward to 23.
In 2022, my son went to UQ for the 1st time. There were many concerns: is he too young, 16, and how will the new changes in his lifestyle affect his health? Will he miss us (not much, I'm happy to report, as he has always been very independent)... That's our job as parents to give our children enough life skills so they can live independently, but he always knows the doors open if he wants to return.
I found a job on Seek at a designer store in town that I'm not allowed to mention, which I find weird nowadays, where even Louis Vuitton staff are encouraged to use social media. The hours were a bit too long for me, so even though I liked all the staff, commission and clothes, there was an opportunity to move on to Ralph Lauren, so I did.
RL is closer to home, has free parking, and is undercover, and there's never a time when it's too busy I can't go to the loo. Not because I was forced not to but because it was always crazy busy at my last job. We ate lunch standing up at the counter and never got a break; we started early and finished late. Even though we were paid a commission, it barely covered the extra hours.
RL clothes are even more expensive (than last employment), but I can see their quality control is impressive, and whoever cuts their clothes knows what they are doing.
Pattern drafting is one of the most critical steps in creating a fantastic garment. You can't go backward. Once the cloth is cut, there's not too much you can do to change it.
But that's not the only job I do and have done. I worked as an illustrator at the Cairns Amateurs for three days which is always a fantastic event to attend. The Benson hotel employed my illustrating services at the Melbourne cup, which was the event of the year, it's air-conditioned, and the venue is beautiful and easy to get to. Great for taking Instagram photos.
Held an exhibition at The Bailey Crystalbrook hotel collection; this is where I had to learn how to make QR codes for my artwork which helped sell work to people staying at the hotel.
I had to go in every day and ensure no bird pooed on the works and nothing had fallen over and dusted the works on display.
We also had to take the exhibition down for a week as they had some very young guests from all over Australia coming in for a conference for seven days. They were coming in drunk late at night, and the hotel staff and I thought it would be best if we stored the exhibit away until they left.
I work as an art aide two days a week at a school, which I find very rewarding as the kids are so lovely.
I got asked to be a grade one friend and asked if we could hang out on the weekend :).
(I almost said in response, 'Yeah, sure! See you at the pub for the Sunday Sess ', but seriously it's adorable that she asked, and instead, I said 'I would be her friend any time)
Sewing alterations mainly consist of men's alterations. I find men way fussier than women as, in all fairness, they don't have the flexibility women have in altering garments. Women know what they want, or if they don't, you give them a good suggestion, and they are happy to run with it. They also have many shoes of different heights.
While men don't know a good idea when they hear it, so you have to sell it to them and show them why. No, you can't have your hems that high because when you sit down, you are going to show too much leg, then you have to get a chair and make them sit down so they can see for themselves, and once you gain their trust, they are happy to be repeat customers.
It took me a while to work out why I only had issues with men's pant alterations, and it's because they say 'that will do' and they can't be bothered spending the time required to make a good decision. So now I make them stand there and give them two hem options, and I have to refuse to alter pants if they are not wearing a belt or not wearing the correct shoes.
It's a little demeaning to my sewing skills because they often treat it as "how hard can it be to sew a hem?"
Then I have art and pottery. These get updated on my website as much as I can.
Last year I won serval awards for Best Sculpture, three Highly Commended in art and Digital, Best Emerging Potter and Best Drawing. Made it to the top 10 people's choice award. Plus 600 dollars prize money.
It's always busy on social media to promote new works; I don't write about my personal life too much as I'm pretty dull, I don't go out much as there's never enough time, and I love to cook at home.
Working on my website, encouraging all my art orders to go through www.Luisamanea.com; it allows for PayPal and credit card purchases; it's also suitable for national and international orders, which are increasing, and keeps a good record for my accountant.
A new area of work I have just started to promote is Art Classes for kids and adults. Unicorn painting party, Christmas Tree, and Fashion illustration art classes. At private venues, and now found a location close to the CBD to hold courses/classes for those interested.
Art competitions, looking these up is a job in itself. Are they local? How much do they cost? Is delivery affordable? Is it possible in the timeline they give? How much commission are they charging? Just because you enter doesn't mean you get in, so can I afford to throw 50 bucks down the drain if the artwork isn't accepted?
The work needs to be professionally photographed; a CV will always require an update, an extensive portfolio of artworks to show you are serious, a record of competitions you have won, creditability from people in the art industry as references and, worst of all, talk about your art and why you made it. It's not enough to say you love to make art.
Sometimes I work 16 days straight.
I did a PechaKucha talk on my art career, I'm terrible at public speaking, and practising is the only way to improve. Worst of all, they put me first.
I illustrated serval fashion illustrations. One of my favourites was for a bride whose parents passed away, so I drew two little blue birds flying around her with ribbons in their beaks, fussing over her on the wedding day in her beautiful dress. Just like Cinderella getting dressed up for the 1st time.
And BEST of all, I made many people happy by selling a lot of my art and pottery. One day I will have just one job, ARTIST.
1 Worked a job I'm not allowed to mention (god! this sounds so silly like I worked for the government in some secret department)
2 At Ralph Lauren
3 Art Aide
4 Uniform shop, help when they are busy at school
8 Social media to promote art and exhibitions
10 Held a show at The Bailey Crystalbrook Hotel collection.
11 Entered six competitions and grants
12 Updating online galleries
13 Website developer (not a very good one)
14 Wife, cook, gardener, swimming pool maintenance and cleaning lady.
15 Cairns Amateurs
16 The Benson Hotel Melbourne cup and New Year's Eve
17 Commission work
18 Interviewed as an artist at a private wedding,
painting live, which I hope comes through
19 Art classes