Client Story: Hayley Mills-Styles, Thread Artist

Hayley approached me about working together after recognising that her own creative practice had taken a backseat. Her time was filled with community workshops and she often felt at the whims of other people’s creative needs.

Hayley is a thread artist specialising in story-telling through textile art. She has a distinct and beautiful visual identity – but despite having successful exhibitions in 2018, she felt something was lacking.

As a freelance artist and tutor, a large proportion of my working week has been focusing on repetitive tasks such as workshop planning and preparation. Working with Eleanor, I wanted to find new ways to market my skills as a tutor, reducing or eliminating negative elements of my process.

 

I wanted to find a new project to work on with a view to exhibiting in 2019 – finding ways to develop my creativity and focus my creative energy into something that will help me market the work I do to new and existing audiences.

To start with, Hayley and I worked together to establish what sort of new project she could create, and how she could adjust the commercial side of her practice so it facilitated her own art – rather than holding it back.

One of the key things we looked at was ‘control’: who was in charge of her workstreams at the moment? How could she better control the commercial work she took on? What resources could she use to make sure she was in charge of her own time and energy?

I find our sessions really positive. When we first met, I described it as art counselling and that’s the best way I can sum it up. It’s great to talk to someone who has an understanding of creative practice and offers practical solutions.

 

The sessions leave me feeling really energised and inspired; I have a list of actions to work towards and the weekly check in helps me to keep on track.

I love your approach of asking difficult questions in a really friendly manner, helping me to reflect on what I can do to help me achieve my goals.

With Hayley, just as I do with all my clients, I work on four areas: Mindset, Organisation, Operations and Communication. Some of that involves challenging questions about how Hayley perceives her work, creative output and professional relationships. Other times, it’s giving her tips and tricks on how to adjust her ways of working so they have greater impact for less stress.

In our first session we talked about how I’m really passionate about what I do but that it doesn’t come across in my social media posts. I’ve switched to doing one post per day, adding more images and details so that people get an understanding of who I am and what I do. This has already created more conversations on social media with audiences old and new.

A big part of what every artist, writer or maker often needs to do is reclaim their time. Other things always seem to get in the way – because we let them! Working together, Hayley was able to get ‘permission’ from me to prioritise her own creative practice.

I’ve given myself two days a week to focus on my own practice where I don’t respond to teaching or commission emails and just spend time in my studio.

 

For the first time in years I have emails left in my inbox at the end of the day which is huge personal growth for me!

Hayley and I will continue to work together over the next few months as she develops a unique body of work for a solo exhibition conceived, created, curated and led all by her. To find out more about her work, follow Hayley on Instagram.

Keen to work with me? Find out how and book an initial chat here.

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