There is a lido in Bristol with a lovely long glass fronted cafe next to the pool.
I sat and treated myself to lunch and watched the swimmers outside in the rain, all shapes and sizes, different strokes and speeds. It was really great.
I wrote several cards and letters and then tried to formulate some ideas about the commercial potential in my figurative work. I would like to produce a range of bespoke products on the same lines as the Louise Gardiner 'Woodmansterne' greetings cards range ' In Stitches' which is coming out soon.
Yesterday, I did a couple of hours research and visited the Bristol Guild and the Cath Kidston Shop on Park street. There was a feeling of flowery mass production and sickly sweet, totally branded, assembly line products with expensive frilly price tags.
This was all very 'sweet' and ' feminine' but I actually felt really rather nauseous. After looking right around the shop looking at the endless pink, green and blue flowery and patterned products I wanted to drink a bottle of vodka, shoot up and listen to Marilyn Manson which is an urge I have never had before!
(For those of you that don't know me the only one of those three I am likely to do is drink vodka!!! Just in case anyone is taking me literally!!)
Individually, some of the items are lovely and I do own a lovely Kidstone purse to which people remark ' Oooh, is that a Cath wotsit's Purse? I love her designs!' I get a mixed feeling of regret for ever buying it mixed with a weird *****ed up sense of pride.
However, it's been done to death; spotty, pink, stripey, flowery paraphernalia to make us all feel that little more wholesome, feminine and old fashioned. The shops cleverly bursting at the hand sewn seams with it. I had the feeling that a lot of people, like me, would just walk straight out again for some well -needed fresh air having purchased nothing.
What kind of women buy Cath Kidstone I wonder? Am I their target market? If it wasn't for this new shop in Bristol I think I would possibly still like her designs. What's different about my work? Could I overkill like Cath? Could my work on a grander scale make people feel sick? Is that how far you need to go to make a brand work and become successful? At what point are you no longer a worthy designer? Does it matter anyway? What's wrong with producing a brand on such a massive scale and freeing your designs to a huge audience if they want to buy it and it earns you a good living? At what point should you start and then stop?