What To Do... Meet Heather Moore {Skinny LaMinx}

I can't believe we've finally reached the end of our discussion, What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do. I hoped that it helped our dear friend Nathalie over at Design Undercover, the inspiration behind this series, along with Marisa at Creative Thursday and our friend Erin at Design For Mankind and of course, readers out there that may have wondered how creative types find their calling in the design world. It's a tricky topic and there's no easy answer. It's been a lot of fun for me to read all of the submissions from creative types who so willingly offered to help build this series. So a big thanks to everyone for participating! To conclude the What To Do... series, I've asked Heather Moore, a surface pattern designer and writer from South Africa who also goes by the name Skinny LaMinx to offer her insights. This lady has a huge fan base from all over the world, people really seem to respond to her handmade designs that she sells on etsy and many flock to her blog daily to see what she has to talk about next. She also blogs for Elle Decoration South Africa. So with that, let's chat quickly with Ms. Moore, shall we?

How do you think a person can find their spot in the world of design -- your true calling?

I think the first thing to do is to find out what you like and why you like it. This is quite fun because it's like window shopping, but with a degree of self-awareness. So take note of your own reactions, seeing what it is that attracts you, and start to understand this. By doing this, you'll get a sense of where you belong in the world of design, and the kinds of other people who will like your things. When I was very attracted to comics, I used to often copy the work of artists that I liked. It was just for my own amusement, but often helped me understand what it was about their lines and shapes that I liked so much, and it improved my own practice enormously. Copying is not encouraged in a professional capacity (obviously), but it can help you grow.

Any other tips?

The next thing is to trust yourself and the things you make, and to stop second-guessing your own decisions. I used to do this, but the point at which I gained the confidence to make my own way was when my husband told me that my first ideas were usually my best. This passing comment made me realise I could trust my decisions and my own sensibility, and through this, my confidence in my own designs grew. Confidence builds on confidence, and the more positive reaction I get to the things I make help me feel like I can take more risks with my designs. It's a very exciting feeling! Oh, and the other thing is to take risks. I was too scared to spend money on making things happen at first, but when I broke that barrier, it was fantastic, and immediately led to more exciting things.

Do you feel that you found your calling and if so, how did you get there?

I spent so many years doing illustrations for schoolbooks, feeling desperately unhappy about the work I was doing, largely because the final product was almost always cut-rate and shoddy (in my humble view!). Now that I'm able to spend my time making things that I know to be high quality and pleasingly made, I feel a lot more fulfilled, and happy with what I do all day. It's so hard to answer this question about design being a "true calling". My Protestant upbringing and living in Africa makes it hard for me to think of this fairly frivolous occupation having such a lofty title! Nonetheless, it is true that my own design work gives me loads of satisfaction and seems to make other people happy, so maybe it is my true calling (although I do still dream of starting a community veggie garden!)

Add any other thoughts that you think may help others?

Finding your spot in the world of design will involve helping others do the same. I have found the experience of others to be so useful to learn from, and am always happy to share my small experience with others. Blogs are one of the most generous media I've ever experienced, both in terms of friendliness, helpfulness, and also in the way people share their process and discoveries.

Thank you, Heather!

If anyone would like to ask Heather any questions, please do so by commenting below.

{If you'd like to read words of wisdom from our creative panel, you can click here -- I can assure you that the time will be well spent because if you're searching for your creative calling I think you'll have a better idea as to how to find it after reading the What To Do... series. I'll follow up later on with a quick summary highlighting some tips collected from everyone's entries in case you'd like to hang onto it for your own self-discovery.}

(image top: altered by me, original photo by Ez at Creature Comforts, bottom image from skinny laminx)