Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Badger Badger Badger Badger

Last week I was lucky enough to get a place on the Vinspired ‘Big Societys Big Mouth – Social Action Training day. The training day was aimed at young people in Knowsley aged 16-25 who want to make a difference in their local community.

The aim of the training was to teach us;
  • Project management skills
  • Creative thinking and problem solving
  • Volunteer recruitment
  • Managing and delivering our own projects
I went along with Cousi, the other volunteer in Halewood Arts Association and it was such a good day. There was only 4 of us there, along with the two Vinspired representatives and also two young volunteers from Knowsley who where helping to deliver the training.

I learnt so much! They basically taught us step by step how to plan, organise and then partake in our own event / community project. Working within Halewood Arts Association, a volunteer led organisation, it was great to get some formal training in how to apply for funding, how to get other volunteers on board and how to deal with any problems along the way. Carole at Halewood Arts has already taught me so much, but any extra training is always a bonus.

I was on team ‘Badger’ as our scenario to work through was the tidy up of an adventure park, that also had an endangered badger settlement within it. The word badger was thrown about far too much and now whenever I hear the word badger, me and Cousi can’t help but giggle.

Team Badgers wonderful 'Volunteer Recruitment' Poster, my best peice of work to date.
It was also great to meet some other local volunteers within Knowsley who we could swap details with and potentially work with in the future! It definitely inspired me to carry on with all my volunteering work. (Although if you are reading this and would like to offer me a full time / any job, feel free!)

I am about to start the event managing of a ‘book launch / celebration’ evening with Carole at Halewood Arts and I will definitely be using all the information and training I was given when planning this project. I will blog more about this when I know more details, as we are in the very early stages of planning at the moment.

The next couple of months I have a few exciting projects / opportunities coming up and although I was shouted at yesterday for looking ahead too much I can’t wait to get stuck into them all.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Lovely Janey Butler

Earlier this year I started to follow the lovely and very talented Janey Butler on twitter. Janey is an amazing wedding and event designer / planner based in the North West. Whilst I have been volunteering at Liverpool Museum I have been working on my Bronze Arts Award. One of the sections I need to complete is writing about someone within my chosen industry who inspires me. As soon as I read the brief, I instantly knew I wanted to write about Janey. She very kindly allowed me to interview her and provided me with some lovely images to go along with it. So again thank you Janey and below is my interview with her.

Sophie - Hi Janey! I would first like to thank you for agreeing to answer some questions for my Bronze Art Award

Janey - You are very welcome darling.
S - First of all could you tell me a little bit about yourself?

J - My name is Janey Butler and I own and run Sweet Days and Roses which is a bespoke wedding planning and design company based in Cheshire.

I was born and grew up in the Cotswolds on a gorgeous farm in a beautiful conservation village in the heart of the Gloucestershire countryside, which for a child was just idyllic. My mother is an amazing gardener and always had beautiful roses everywhere which is where, I am sure, my love of roses and flowers comes from.

My love of art and design also started from as early an age as 6 when I used to annually win art competitions I entered into. My Nana was an amazing artist and I think I have inherited her artistic genes.

As a family, we always used to go over to the south of France in our VW camper van and this is where my love of this gorgeous stylish country came from. I still adore now popping over to France every year to get my supply of vintage linens and buttons and other gorgeous antique french pieces that I use a lot within my work... we are in fact off to Paris in May to do just this.

From here I went to a good school where I excelled in Art and Design and then went onto Cheltenham Art College and then the London College of Fashion off Oxford Street where I studied Theatre Costume design.

I have always loved making things out of gorgeous bits of fabric, especially if it is a little worn and torn...there is something very satisfying making something beautiful for someone to love and treasure out of something that most people would just throw away.... This fills me with a lot of satisfaction.

I now live on a beautiful small holding in North Wales, with my husband Andy and our dog Ruby and cat River. We have plans in at the moment to develop our little cottage into a beautiful home. My husbands work is wonderful and I also help him with his projects on the interior design side of things. His website http://www.llamadevelopments.co.uk/ and our other home Spring Cottage is also on there which we just recently developed from a dark and damp little cottage into a beautiful, light home that it is now.

I adore my garden, and love Roses and especially cottage garden flowers and I tend to use these an awful lot in the weddings that I design and style.

Janeys wonderful office and the HQ for Sweet Days and Roses
S - Where did it all begin for Janey of Sweet Days and Roses.

J - Andy and I got married at the wonderful Babington House in Somerset which is a beautiful Georgian House with its own gorgeous, tiny chapel in the grounds. http://www.babingtonhouse.co.uk/

Our wedding was a beautiful day, and I just loved organising everything for it. In the run up to our wedding I made all of my ladies favours which were out of gorgeous vintage linen, vintage lace, old mother of pearl buttons and pretty faux velvet flowers, pearls and twinkly rhinestones. These were filled with gorgeous smelling lavender and had little personalised pretty cotton name tags on the back with "Andy and Janey. 21st August 2008"

Vintage favours made by Janey

J - I am all about attention to detail. I am a firm believer that it is this that sets beautiful weddings apart and it's the little finishing touches that people see and remember.

After our wedding everyone kept telling me I should set up my very own wedding planning and design company as lots said it was the loveliest wedding they had been to....So I put my thinking cap on and decided to put my hand to it and this is where Sweet Days and Roses was born from.

After our wedding Cosmopolitan Bride Magazine contacted me and said they wanted to feature our beautiful day in their fabulous magazine and they did a 4 page spread on our wedding day. 

Since then I have helped design and plan so many beautiful weddings, a number of which you can see on my lovely website http://www.sweetdaysandroses.co.uk/

Janeys Wedding feature in Cosmopoliton Bride Magazine, I love her dress!

S - Who or what are your inspirations?

J - I adore French architecture & antiques. I love finding gorgeous vintage bits in brocante or junk shops and even if a little worn or broken I love painting them up and fixing them and making them into beautiful objects to use within my weddings or for vintage styling with photographers for magazines , etc.

I especially love the Louis XVI furniture and design. The whole romance and beauty of this time is just so evident in furniture and architecture and even the way people dressed in this period of history ...simply fabulous.

Gorgeous Vintage finds painted and brought back to life by Sweet Days and Roses 
J - I adore flowers, especially roses ....I have a real love of roses, the way they look and smell is just heavenly in my eyes. I just love working with them, especially the beautiful old English Roses, these are the best.

I also love nature, and like to keep all that I design and make as natural and pure as possible.

Some of the lovely flowers from Janeys garden that inspire her.
S - If you could name the most rewarding thing about your job what would it be?

J - Making things beautiful, especially my weddings that I create and seeing the gorgeous bride smile with excitement as to what we are looking to achieve.

I also love meeting other fabulous people within this industry and working with them and their creative talents. I have met some amazingly clever people through my line of work, and continue to do so on a regular daily basis.

Vintage styling by Janey
S - Is there anything you dislike about your job?

J - No nothing at all......I love it all !! x

S - What has been your proudest moment as a designer?

J - My work is often featured in fabulous glossy magazines and this always makes me feel very proud. I have been featured in Brides Magazine, Cosmopolitan Bride as well as Country Living Magazine with my favours and gifts.

I think though for me the proudest moments are just seeing how a wedding I have been working on for months and months all comes together on the big day and to see the brides and grooms elated faces at how beautiful everything looks....That always makes me feel very proud and very very happy.

S - If you could offer one piece of advice for someone wanting to make it like you what would it be?

J - Enjoy what you are doing right at this moment. Do well in your studies but always remember that you have a lot of life and time ahead of you and to not get too bogged with worry about things.

Enjoy this time of your life and focus on the studies you really love. This will stand you in good stead for the future.

Always be courteous and kind to others as you never know who you may well bump into or need in the future. (You are always lovely and courteous honey so no worries there !)

Love life and follow your passions

S - Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I really appreciate your time and can't wait to work with you in May.

J - Me too darling xxx

Thanks for taking the time to read my blogpost and thank you to Janey for providing the wonderful photos and answering my questions.

As I am using this interview for my Bronze Art Award, I would really appreiceioate it if you could post your own comments about who inspires you and why? The more comments the better as it will all help towards my Bronze Art Award.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Knowsley Vinvolved Awards 2011

Last week, Me, Cousi, Carole and Anna were invited to attend the Knowlsey Vinvolved Awards 2011. There was a superhero theme on the night and we where invited to attend in fancy dress or formal wear. I went for formal wear. Although some volunteers did attend in fancy dress, there was even a giant kangaroo (i think) and scooby doo. I had been told in advance by Carole who I volunteer with that I had won an award, she very kindly nominated me, but I was unsure as to how I would recieve it and what it would be. Anna, Cousi and Me were also going to recieve a certificate to recognise the hours we have given whilst volunteering.

Cousi and Me being escorted down the red carpet on arrival by a Superhero!

The night was presented by a group of young volunteers, in fancy dress of course and they did a wonderful job. It was really nice to know even the running of the event had volunteers involved. As an active volunteer within Knowlsey and Liverpool it was great to get to meet other young volunteers and here about all the other projects going on.

Since June 2010, I have been volunteering within Halewood Arts Association and National Museums Liverpool. I think I am on 400+ hours at the moment. Volunteering is something I love doing and I especially like giving something back to the community I have grew up in and to gain recognition for the work I have done at Halewood Arts Association was lovely.

Anna, Cousi and Me recieving our certificates from Jackie Davies, Chief Executive of Knowsley CVS

Awards were presented by Colin McKeown, TV/Film Maker and Producer of Independent Production Company LA Production and Jackie Davies (pictured above). The award ceremony was decorated very nicely, with each table themed under a different superhero. We were on 'The Incredibles' table and as an 'Event Designer' I spent a lot of my time looking at the table decorations and event styling. Which I really liked, huge cocktail glasses filled with different coloured lighting where on each table and there where cute bat decorations around. 

There was a caricaturist at the night too, giving free portraits to all attending and we were entertained by the brilliant Kirkby based dance group Performance Studios, local band Major Major and singer Jay Norton (who was really good!)
Carole, Project Manager of Halewood Arts getting a free Caricature 

The night was brilliant and it was lovely to receive an award. I was not expecting to get a real award at all and I also got £30 worth of vouchers which was lovely. Overall there was 9 of us who won Youth Volunteer of the Year and after hearing why we all received an award, every one was really deserved.

Cousi, Carole, Me. Halewood Arts Association.
7 of the 9 Youth Volunteers of the Year 2011
My lovely award

I am very grateful for my award and would like to thank Carole a lot for not only nominating me, but also giving me the opportunity to volunteer within Halewood Arts Association. I have learnt so much there and recieving some recognition for the work I have done there has been wonderful.

If this is the first time you have read my blog, feel free to browse my portfolio on my website.

Thank you to KCVS  for the photographs. You can read the official press release from KCVS for the awards here.