Hayley Anderson - Creative Practitioner
What is your name?
What company do you currently work for?
Buff and Blue Prints
What is your job title?
Provide a brief description of your business
Freelance artist, printmaker and workshop facilitator. I sell my artworks, teach Printmaking classes through my own business and on a freelance basis for outside organisations. I also design and produce hand printed commercial branded goods for independent businesses.
Describe your career pathway after leaving school?When I left school I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do just that I liked art, so I enrolled at Moray College and studied Fine Art. I was not what you would call a perfect student and scraped a Dip He Fine Art after 3 years of study.
After college, I had no clue what direction to go in and for the sake of getting a job applied for an Assistant Manager job at a Charity Shop. Although it wasn't a conscious decision to stay in Retail I found that I enjoyed interacting with customers and the creative elements of the job such as displaying stock at its best. From there I landed a supervisor job with a large Scottish fashion chain which led to Assistant Manager at a Global Chain and then a Managers position. Over the course of my retail career, I travelled over the UK and Ireland as part of a merchandising team and really enjoyed the fast pace and constant changes.
After returning to my Managers role from Maternity Leave when having my son, we were unfortunate to hit the recession which had made a huge impact on the retail industry, and just 3 months after returning to work my store closed, and I was made redundant.
After a time, I found another role with a national fashion chain which I really enjoyed but after only 10 months I found myself being made redundant again as that store closed too. I struggled to find another job above entry-level so decided to take the time to retrain as a Beautician. I really enjoyed working in Beauty and had a job in a great salon.
In 2017 my husband was given the opportunity of a secondment working in Dubai which was too good to turn down so we packed our things and off we went. The Visa regulations and childcare frameworks are quite different in the United Arab Emirates. For me to be a Beautician, I would have to pay extensive license fees and employ a live-in Nanny which would have been more than I would have made, so the decision was made for me to stay home with our daughter who was only 18 months old at the time.
Before leaving Scotland I had purchased a beginner's lino printing kit and began to use my free time to experiment with printmaking. I started uploading photos of my prints to Instagram and after seeing the photos I was approached by a Dubai-based company that specialised in craft classes to facilitate Lino Print classes for them. The first was absolutely terrifying but I found that I really enjoyed teaching my craft. After a short while, I began holding classes under the Buff and Blue Prints name and had created a line of handprinted bags which were stocked by a local boutique as well as selling from my own Etsy page.
In 2019 it was time for us to return to Scotland and I made the decision to continue Buff and Blue on my return. I decided to upgrade my sales platform and created my own Buff and Blue website from which I could promote classes, sell works and create a commercial portfolio. Since my return I have taught classes in numerous venues, worked with some amazing collaborative projects, and designed commercial works for companies all over the UK and as far as Australia.
When the pandemic hit in 2020 the face-to-face aspects of my business halted and I was given time to think of what I wanted to do to enhance my business. I decided to return to education and will complete my BA (Hons) Fine Art in 2023. The opportunities and networking brought by my studies have already gained me a teaching opportunity at Moray Art Centre which I hope will just be the first of my expanded experiences at a higher level. It may have taken me a while to get here but I couldn't be happier with what I do and can't wait to see what creative opportunities arise in the future.
What school subjects would be helpful for your job role?
Art and Design are obviously key but a good grounding in Maths and English help and experience in Computing would be an advantage. In my role, I am not only responsible for creating artwork but writing class curriculums, invoicing, accounting, marketing, web design, basic contracts, and networking all come into the role.
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
My favourite part of the job is definitely teaching workshops. I tailor my classes to suit absolute beginners and seeing someone create and print their first design is always a pleasure, it never gets old.
Why did you want to work in this industry?
I've always been creative and this gives me the opportunity to highlight my own work as well as help others realise their design needs. I can happily combine personal, commercial, and social practice meaning that there's always a new challenge.
Did you ever want to pursue another career?
In the early years of High School, I had dreamed of being an Architect but it turned out I liked drawing houses just not the maths and physics that went with it. My terrible Higher maths grade meant it definitely wasn't an option by the time I left school.
What does a typical day in your role involve?
There isn't really a typical day. I could be drawing and printing commissions, filling out invoices and catching up on admin, updating my website, planning classes and ordering materials, or being out teaching workshops. There are so many different aspects that I never get bored. Having all of these different aspects within my role keeps me energised.
What skills are required to do your job?
The obvious one is an artistic skill. It takes years to hone a craft and it must be practiced and exercised as much as possible. I do get periods where I've been busy with other aspects of the business and haven't been able to actually carve and print and I do feel like I get rusty. As a rule I try to make myself do some artwork at least once a week to keep my skills sharp.
Social skills for networking and teaching are essential too. I'm not always the most comfortable in a crowd but feel the more I put myself out there the easier it gets.
What is your advice to young people who are considering working in this sector?
Keep your eye on creative opportunities in your area and even further afield. Sites like Craft Scotland and Creative Scotland are great to investigate creative careers and identify some of the more unique jobs that arise within the sector. Making the effort to get out and join classes, lectures, clubs and connect with like-minded people makes it so much easier to make your way into the creative sector as a lot of organisations and projects are interconnected. Locally we have Moray Arts Development Engagement, Moray Art Centre, Findhorn Bay Arts, and the Arts in Moray Collective to name a few. Look them up and get involved, experience is so valuable.
Don't worry if you're not sure what you want to do now, not everyone has to follow a linear career path, I definitely didn't and couldn't be happier with where I am now.
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Here at DYW Moray, we'd like to encourage those of you who are employed in Moray to share your career story with us so that we can promote these to Moray's young people. Go on, share your career story now!