Hola Mami feat....
Rebecca Bruton Textiles
Posted on 25th August 2018 at 21:13
Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I'm Rebecca, I'm a textile artist (wow it still gives me butterflies to say that) from South Somerset. My formal education is a BA Hon Degree in Fine Art, during this I developed a true passion for free motion embroidery, using my sewing machine and fabric stash to draw and paint. I followed my degree with a PGCE as I wanted to share my love of this art form and inspire others but equally as I had bills to actually pay. This is where my career took me, from teaching in secondary schools to a beloved job at college, I felt I could have done forever. I then became a Mum and my husbands job changed so we moved across the country and I had to leave that wonderful job. Turns out it was the best move ever as my new life as a new Mum working part time, meant I finally committed to creating myself. Oh my gosh I absolutely love it! I still have bills to pay and so work at my new local college but only 2 days a week. I balance doing my textile art alongside being Mum every other moment of the week. I'm also a wife to my hard working hubby and a step mum to my best little dude, he has Down's syndrome which is a challenge at times but blimey he is awesome! Sufficed to say I'm a busy gal but happier than I have ever been!
Why did you start your small business?
I always wanted to create my own work but I got stuck in the routine of a full time job which I loved but it meant I didn't have the time to do my own thing. My Husband's job changed, I became pregnant with our beautiful girl and so we moved across the country. I had to leave my job as it was too far to travel. I was so sad to leave it. When we finally moved into our new house, after living with my Mum and commuting back and forth to renovate it, my husbands job was wiped out across the board nationwide! We are now in an unknown area, jobless and not knowing anyone at all. It was really scary and upsetting but little did I know that huge shake up would lead us to being the happiest we have ever been! Somehow the planets aligned (well we worked really hard) and now my Husband and I are now following our dreams. He has a new career that he loves and I'm finally making myself.I had spent my whole working life teaching others and watching them go on to achieve wonderful things and now I was finally having a go at it myself with my baby girl at my side every moment of the way. Juggling work and her is a challenge but what a thing to say, that we have done it together. My dream now is to inspire her, be a strong role model and encourage her to follow her dreams when she is older.
Who/what inspires you?
I've always wanted to inspire others, that's why teaching was and is so perfect for me. I've held onto it a bit as I still have a part time job in my local college and I teach evening classes in textiles. If I can just have a small moment of inspiring just one person now and again then all is good in the world. My family inspire me now as I want to be a role model for my girl and step son and inspire them. I am inspired by artists like Grayson Perry who combine craft techniques with high art themes in the making of beautiful outcomes. I am also hugely inspired by the artists that I am now meeting around me. I have recently been awarded the Somerset Art works Creative Pathways Emerging Artist 2018 bursary, which means that I am crazy lucky in that I'm exhibiting in an amazing gallery, ACEarts in Somerton working alongside Lydia Needle which blows me away as she is a huge inspiration to me. Finally I am inspired by the many makers on instagram, I learn from them daily, we share in each others stories and successes and it's such an incredibly supportive community that I am so privileged to be part of. Alongside my artwork I make smaller gift items, commissions, prints of my work and greetings cards. I don't think I would have achieved any of this without being part of that instagram community of makers and creatives. We cheer for each other and keep each other sane as well. Many of us are Mums so we understand the challenges each other faces and the commitment needed to make a small business work.
What is the best thing about running a small business?
Spending time with my family! Being able to jig around what I have planned, to do it during nap times or after time together. It's also the biggest challenge to get enough hours of work in and keep my children happy and entertained but it's without doubt the best part of doing what I do. Second to that is doing what I am passionate about and makes my soul sing! Working with gorgeous vintage and retro fabrics, some that belonged to my Nan who first ignited my passion for textiles. Sewing and creating in my style and watching my ideas come to life, wowee! Just writing that down makes me realise how incredibly lucky I am.
What are your tips for balancing being a Mummy & running a small business?
Oh wow, this is hard and not something I am an expert in so I'll definitely be looking out for everyone elses tips. My daughter isn't old enough to get childcare hours yet so she is with me every minute of the day but we work it by having a strong routine. I dedicate my mornings to her, when she naps at midday I work and in the afternoons if I need to get more work done, I have activities that she can do in my work work space. She has her own shelf there with sticker books and drawing but to be honest the cbeebies story time app is a godsend! I then work after she has gone to bed. When we have my step son, work often slows down more so it's just scheduling in that there will be times of no work. I think my top tips would be to let myself off the hook, don't beat yourself up if you can't dedicate every moment to your child or to your work, something will always have to give and that's just human, think of your bigger long term goals. Mine is to do my business full time and work when my children are at school and have the rest of the time for them but that does mean sacrifices now. My other top tip is to become part of a supportive community of Mums that make, we cheer each other on and know each others hardships and totally just get it. We keep one another sane. It's invaluable to know you are not alone and that we are all in it together.
What did you do before starting a family?
I was an art and textiles teacher full time and absolutely loved it but not as much a I love being a Mummy. Being a Mum is the best job I've ever had, it's an absolute privilege and joy and not a day goes by that I don't think that. Of course there are challenging times but I truly do feel so very very lucky, being with my little girl is spending all day everyday with my best friend.
What's your favourite thing to make?
Without a moments hesitation I can answer this, my favourite thing to make is original textile artwork, I love it! However as I am early into this journey I also make word hoops which are often commissioned as gifts and I make prints and cards of my work as well as working to commission too. It takes time to get known and develop as an artist and I have a family to support and bills to pay plus I enjoy all these other elements to being creative. My artwork is also slanted towards the commercial currently but I'm planning future collections that will carry more thought provoking themes within them whilst still remaining aesthetically pleasing. It's a balancing act of making money to facilitate my artwork and also remaining authentic and true to yourself as an artist. I have to say there is no bigger buzz than seeing my artwork up in exhibition and I have been lucky enough to have shown in several group exhibitions and have had my own solo show in the last year.
Do you have any advice for Mum's who are considering starting their own small business?
Remember it is a job! I have some really talented friends that have made some fantastic products but then kinda just expect them to sell. Sadly it doesn't work like that, no matter how wonderful your work. You have to put in the time to the many different elements of a business like marketing, networking, advertising, sales, admin, all those not so fun things for it to take off. It's 100% possible, you can do this, I am inspired daily by mumpreneurs who are bossing it but you just have to know it won't come to you on a plate. If you are prepared to work for your dreams then do it, go for it because it will be the best thing you've ever done and we are here for you!
What do you do to chill out?
Again this is something that you actually have to factor into your life, it's important and chill out time is easily forgotten! I love the outdoors so my top chill out time is outside with my family, camping, walking, wild swimming and we have just taken up paddle boarding which is the most fun ever, we are hooked already! The other thing I do when I just need a half day out is take my little girl and go and take in some art, see other peoples work and exhibitions. There is nothing quite like it to escape and feed the soul but also to inspire and refocus.
For fun...tell us 5 random facts about you or your business!
I'm a complete water baby, I used to be a county level synchronized swimmer and lifeguard too
I'm a crazy cat lady but currently don't own any cats (soon I hope)
My Husband is actually super creative ( although his day job isn't creative), He built me a studio at the bottom of our garden,
I can't stand condiments, sauces are my kryptonite!
My day does not begin until I have had at least one cup of tea...seriously how does anyone function without it?!