2013: On Reflection

By Taheerah | 31st December 2013 | 6 Comments

Hey everyone! I’m back with my third and final post of 2013! Please click here to see my favourites of 2013 and click here to see my final ‘normal’ post this year!

It’s been quite a year, and through my crafting I’ve realised quite a few ambitions and dreams. I’ve achieved a lot. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve had setbacks, disappointments. I’ve come out the other side. So this post is a bit of a summary of things that I’ve realised through the course of this year. Grab a favourite beverage and settle down as this might be a bit of a wordy one… *wink*

I began the year designing for a single Design Team, my first… I worked hard and did my best with the products. It stretched me to use their products in different ways, and I developed my sense of design and ingenuity, and honed my eye to see things in different ways. Whilst at times it was a difficult process, I found it taught me a lot and helped me grow as a designer.

I embraced CAS. A lot… though in my own way and with my own spin, of course. I learned by watching some of the best in the business through Online Card Classes, and by observing and visually dissecting the work of several artists and friends that I admire. I learned through doing and taking my first steps into what was a new design frontier for me. I learned to understand and embrace white space. I learned to accept in myself that this style is just as, if not more, challenging than other styles. There is nowhere to hide, often no layers to obstruct mistakes, I had to teach myself design elements to better understand the placement of things so that they worked.

Through hard work and improvement, my commitments rose to three Design Teams. What was wonderful about this was that I was asked, without submitting or audition. People out there were starting to see my work and appreciate it. I thoroughly enjoyed each position and learned to work, work, *work* my products. I stepped down from my first team, because I felt my work had now taken me in a different direction., it was not a decision I regretted. And at one point I had my remaining positions reduce to one and found myself constantly questioning, feeling like I wasn’t good enough, all over again. I learned to accept and move on from this feeling, and acknowledging and respecting that each position I have had in my time has helped me grow, learn and better myself. As luck or good fortune or providence would have it I found other teams that I would come to call home, and a brand new set of challenges that would accompany them too. And it would be negligent of me to fail to mention the many other Guest Design Team opportunities I’ve also been lucky enough to be awarded (please see my Design Teams & Recognitions Page to see all of them in full). For all of this I am truly thankful.

I became minimalistic. Not stark or harsh, but I learned that less really can be more in some cases, and can provide even more of an impact. Coupled hand-in-hand with this I really learned to appreciate stationery and design that was out in the industry. I blended the best of these into my own style, and it’s now a style that I feel has become my own.

I pushed myself to take creative risks. I tried things that were outside of my comfort zone. I submitted my work to challenges. Some I won, others I did not. I kept striving to be better each time, to try something new. Sometimes this was in the form of techniques (I remain a technique-heavy designer), or trends, other times this came from style or honing that eye again. I discovered more and kept that cycle going.

I had a lot of cards published this year. My creative resumé is growing, and to be included in some of the most highly regarded magazines in the industry gave me so much reward, satisfaction and validation. I learned to accept rejection and learn from it instead of taking it personally. I even had an ambition realised to be invited to submit to a private call, and had several projects published in it. Finally I feel like I am starting to be ‘known’ out there.

I took part in and helped organise what is probably the biggest Blog Hop in history. 285 participants and a huge amount of work saw us all come together to recognise and thank one of the true icons of our industry. I formed bonds, laughed, cried, tore my hair out, exercised patience and put my heart into my efforts, like I do with everything I have a passion for. To do something of this magnitude for someone so lovely was truly good for my soul too.

I wrote a piece that was published on the Moxie Fab World blog. A huge source of inspiration for me became an outlet for some creative and expressive writing, a huge honour and absolute pleasure to stretch my creativity in another way. I enjoyed this immensely, so don’t be surprised to see the influence of this on my work next year.

I learned, more than ever before, that our community is loving, giving, kind and a huge part of my life.  I continued to build on the friendships I had through my Gallery Idol group. Truly the best thing to come out of that competition was the wonderful group of ladies I have come to think of as family. Not a day goes by where we don’t talk, laugh, push each other, congratulate each other, be there for each other. I am truly thankful for this amazing group of ladies. And I also built relationships with many others outside of this group and my life has been all the richer for it.

I discovered other designers through their work and blogs. Not only was I absolutely blown away by the talent and absolute genius of these ladies, but it also helped me raise my game, get to know them, and above all come to appreciate them. I’m lucky enough to count many of them as friends as well. 🙂

I created and posted every day this year (more on that in my ‘Goals’ post tomorrow). Not only was this a seemingly impossible goal which I managed to achieve, but I also found that it helped me both personally and professionally (in the crafting sense). Creativity truly is a muscle which tones and hones with practice and stretching. I probably would not have accomplished half as much or learned anywhere near as much if I had not pushed myself to create regularly. A card/post a day may seem impossible for many of you, but I would actively encourage you to set some sort of ‘regular’ goal to keep that creativity stretched.

I haven’t sat still. I’ve kept that sense of competition and ambition going. I remain someone who wants to be one of the best at everything, and I know I still have light years to go in many areas. I have not and will not rest on my laurels. That juice, that drive, kept me pushing myself, learning, and bettering as much as I could. Undoubtedly this led to some of the successes I have listed above, but honestly, it’s just in my veins to be like this. I want to keep getting better, set other goals, achieve them – then set some more and keep going.

I worked hard and played hard this year. Creatively it’s been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced – and I have enjoyed every single moment of it. I hope that 2014 brings even more of the success, growth and learning that I have been lucky enough to have bestowed on me this year.

Happy New Year everybody. 2014, I’m ready for you.

~ Taheerah

6 thoughts on “2013: On Reflection”

  1. What a great trip down 2013 with you. Love how insightful and analytical you are, kinda rare with the creative types. I think your "favorite cards" post is up next … gotta see that one!

  2. Great résumé!
    Although you've done things with even more ambition many of your words explain how I feel. Especially the part on setting goals and keeping better, never getting enough 😉

    Have a nice and successful 2014!

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