How I started making handmade, personalised wooden gifts:
Have you ever struggled to think of the perfect gift for a loved one? We've all been there. There's only so many mugs, candles or cases of wine you can buy before inspiration runs dry! I personally love receiving handmade gifts (if they can be personalised, even better!) and, as I've always been fairly creative, making them brings me lots of pleasure too.
The first truly personalised gift I made back in the early days of PYD was a wooden plaque covered in descriptive words. A friend of mine had seen something similar online as a print and asked if I would be able to translate it into wood as a birthday gift for his sister. I love working with wood. It's just so tactile and rustic. So I jumped at the chance to have a go! The finished product actually turned out pretty well and, after a little bit of tweaking over the years, these Clouds of Truth are still one of my most popular products!
It's such a privilege and pleasure to make something totally bespoke that I know will hang up in someone's home and bless them for many years. Plus I get to read all the amazing things people say about their loved ones and they are always so beautiful. Some of the descriptions are so eccentric that I find myself desperate to meet the person for whom I'm making the gift. I think it was the pole-dancing, 50-year-old impressionist that had me the most intrigued!
The Clouds of Truth started off an avalanche of personalised wooden gifts and I began branching out into more and more designs. Nearly all my lines use reclaimed wood as the primary medium and I love that this means everything I make is a little bit different. No two pieces are exactly the same. Choosing the right piece of wood has become as big a part of the creative process as designing the text to paint onto it.
Another friend saw a few of the things I was making and asked if there was a way I could pop a load of descriptions about her husband onto lots of different pieces of wood and somehow patch them all together. I found lots of little scraps of wood; cut, sanded and revived them; put them all together, covered them in the amazing descriptions she had given me of her husband and..... the Patchwork was born. It was the first patchwork I had made and, I'm not going to lie, I think it's still one of my favourites.
Since that day I have made personalised wooden patchworks for friends, family, customers, cafes, churches and schools; ranging from fairly small to absolutely huge and I still love making them. I love how different they all are. I love how you never know exactly how they are going to turn out as you begin to work on them (one of the joys of handmade). I love how the creative process can just take over. And I love that, at the end of it all, there is a totally unique, bespoke piece of beautiful handmade art hanging on someone's wall, making them smile. And that makes me smile. Which is why I love what I do.
So if you are looking for a gift and off-the-shelf won't do. If you like beautiful handmade, personalised wooden gifts....pop on over to my website (www.philippayatesdesigns.com) and have a browse. Hopefully you'll find something you love as much as I loved making it.