Its the people you meet that makes it great!
Everyone gets bogged down in what they are building and how to promote themselves and which way the online comments will go. It is all important stuff but stop and have a look a round you once in a while. Along the way you will meet or make online contact with others who empathize with what your struggles are but also share the joy of creating and can share in a triumph or two.
I have been on Instagram since I started doing this making lark. On here I found some amazing people who helped me grow in skill but also helped me see how far id come and provided me with the materials that are needed for better builds.
I will list a few and let you know what they do but also I want you to look around on your Instagram and see who likes a lot and comments most. See who you aren't seeing that are helping you to get out there and grow. A lot of the time we are alone in our workshops and forget that promotion and help is a two way street. Celebrate those that help and inspire you. Share a post back make sure to see what your peers are making and like it and comment on it, help them in return.
I need to quantify this word help to. Helping is not just giving knowledge or selling you what you need, it is also being a role model, even if they don't realise that is what they are to you it helps you get better and work harder to be like them in some way.
The first person who helped me and also I admire what they do is Simon @Iconicvehicles
He helped me when I was learning at the beginning and let me use some tools that I didn't have. Also the work he does restoring vehicles and specifically H vans I have always secretly admired because I love the idea of bringing back to life cars and vans that look like they are for the scrap heap! What he does makes me understand that old is not bad and history can be brought back to life one vehicle at a time.
Pete Barnes on instagram is @metalbender_uk
This guy is the top of the tree when it comes to metalwork and welding. He has every right to be aloof and reserved but I tell you this a nicer man to talk to and get advice from I haven't found yet. Right from the early days he has always shown friendship and also advice and given it all freely! Amazing work shows well on Instagram and his speaks for itself! Check him out even if you don't do metal work but see him as inspirational on how to run a page, show your ideas and showcase your work. He makes the amazing little man lamps pictured above I think they are wonderful.
There is a guy over the pond in Chicago who works up items that amaze me every day. I like every photo he puts on his Instagram not from some sort of loyalty but because all he does product wise is inspiring, clever and different and his life posts are very real. Brian Mcquaid is Breclaimed on Instagram
I would say he is a very large inspiration to me and I often look at his products and say "I wish id done that!" I once said that to him and instead of being precious he simply said "Go for it!" His life is not easy, he has bills to pay like us all but he works hard and as well as looking after his son and his new dog, he makes work that stands tall and proud in a sea of others on social media! He is an example of someone I was simply watching what he did and wanting my products to be better so I to could stand tall like he does. Look him up as he deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.
A member of my Instagram circle I have only just recently met up with and bought some amazing wood items from is Joe from @therustictreecompany
by day he is a house restorer, sympathetic to old historic styles of building and by night he is an excellent wood worker who mills his own trees and creates perfect chopping boards, coasters and many other items. I watched what he was doing for ages before I finally realised I had to have some coasters which lead to me buy the most amazing chopping board and then I went back and bought my brother something to which can not be talked about yet as he hasn't got it. Joe is a very approachable person who now I see as a friend. We are looking at doing a project together for a military charity to so watch this space. In all seriousness he inspires me to work more with wood and understand finishes to create better products.
I have realised that there are so many more but I think my point is made. Its not all about you alone making what you do. It is about seeing who is around you and what they are doing. You do not know how to do everything at the start and however far along you get, there is always someone you can learn from. I have found people on Instagram to be inspiring as well as helpful and friendly but you have to show respect and genuinely enjoy what they do as being false shows up brighter than anything else. Be yourself, meet people, help them if they help you but most of all know you are not on your own if you are a maker. You can find people who will help.
One last word, if you see something that someone else has made and you like it then tell them you like what they do. Ask if its ok to make something similar. People spend years honing their products and skills and its polite and the right thing to do to talk to them and tell them your intent. Do not steal ideas, work them up but also talk to the people who make what you love and I'm sure you will find they are open to helping or at least selling you what they have spent years developing!
Talk more soon!
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Look at my products to if you need anything made talk to me I know I can help you!