Who are you and where can we find out more about you? I'm Stephen, owner and designer for Soy of the North, (website: www.soyofthenorth.co.uk ; blog: www.soyblog.soyofthenorth.co.uk ; Facebook: www.facebook.com/soyofthenorth ; Twitter: www.twitter.com/soyofthenorth).
I seem to be all over the web :-)
What do you make? I make candles from eco-friendly soy wax in a variety of colours, scents and styles, (votives, chunk candles, aromatherapy candles, etc). I also design hand-painted, glass candle plates and candle holders.
Where does your inspiration come from? A lot of my inspiration comes from when I'm walking around, either in the nearby woods or down my high street. I just spot something out of the corner of my eye that draws me to it and I ge an idea from it. I also get some inspiration from images and photos I see when using the Internet. I was recently inspired in this way by a photograph of a bright blue poison dart frog.
What tips do you have for generating ideas for designs? The best tip is to keep your eyes, ears and mind open at all times. It may sound kind of spiritual but you never know when an idea may spring up. It also helps if you can doodle. Draw little images of whatever idea pops into your head and pretty soon those doodles may merge into a brilliant design.
How do you record your ideas? Most of my ideas are recorded in my mind, as once I get a new idea that I'm excited about, it tends to stick around there. Of course if I'm near a pen and paper or sitting at my computer, it helps when I write my ideas down, just in case my mind loses an idea or two. It hasn't happened yet though.
What tips do you have for motivating yourself? If I find I'm starting to lack motivation, I go for that great British classic - a cup of tea. A complete break from designing, where I can sit down in a quiet area, just me with my thoughts and a cup of tea, helps recharge me and brings back my motivation.
Do you have any time management tips? Whenever you think to yourself that a task is going to take X amount of time, double it. Time can seem to speed up, leaving you rushing to get things done. Always give yourself more time than you think you need. If you then end up finishing with time to spare, you'll feel a bit better about yourself and you'll have time for another all important cup of tea, (sorry to any coffee drinkers out there. I just don't like coffee : -) ).
Do you have any top tips for other designer makers? Don't be afraid to try new, bold or unusual designs. We live in a country where everyone is unique and has their own sense of style and design. That design you have been considering but have not made yet, may be just the thing someone out there has been searching for. We are a nation known for our quirkiness, so let that show in some of your creations.
Don't forget to pop over to Handmade Monday for a whole load of craft blogs to inspire you.