Founder of Little Blue Artworks Nicky Cairney is a master of all trades – but she had no idea a love of needle felting would take her down a new career path.
From the moment she started the method of crafting it turned into a “full on wool addiction”.
Now the mum-of-two has turned to online tutorials and a monthly mystery subscription service to keep customers crafting during Covid-19.
Ms Cairney, an artist, designer, animator and musician, first launched Little Blue Artworks in 2012 focusing on illustration, prints and animation workshops.
Up until the start of the pandemic she would hold in-person workshops. But, like so many, she quickly had to adapt to keep her business running.
Online workshops a lifeline
Ms Cairney said: “During the pandemic, I was in the middle of some major life changes and this made staying on top of a business difficult, especially since having to cancel and refund in person workshops.
“I started to focus more on what I could do virtually and launched some online workshops which was a great way to keep my customers social and crafty.
“I also began a monthly mystery subscription service, so I could keep customers creative on a regular basis, which has now grown to be my main source of income.
“The online workshops have been an amazing way to connect with my audience and socialise while we craft, safely from the comfort of home.
“I hope to also be starting them in person this year and reconnect with my regular crafters after all this time.”
The kits, which contain natural and biodegradable materials, have proved very popular with them being shipped as far as the USA.
Felting is good therapy
Ms Cairney said: “When I first started to make kits, I wanted to make sure these were the best they could be.
“I’ve been an artist and animator for many years, but never thought I would be specialising in needle felting to be honest.
“It wasn’t until I bought a kit one summer in 2018 to try and from that point I was utterly hooked.
“The felting took hold of my life quickly and before I knew it I had a full-on wool addiction. I was so excited about it, I wanted to immediately teach anyone and everyone that crossed my path to try.
“It wasn’t just good for my creative outlet, it became my therapy too. This then became everything I do now, so I would say it was definitely born with great passion and still a joy to this day.”
Ms Cairney, mum of 10-year-old Mia and six-year-old Rosie, intends to keep expanding her business and coming up with new ideas.
She said: “I just hope to continue to grow my business and inspire creativity to those who discover what I teach.
“It brings so much joy to see them proudly holding their finished woolly animals and knowing that I’ve provided a plastic-free service that supports their mental health at a time when it’s needed the most.”
“I’m also looking into doing more in-person workshops and crafting parties, as it’s a fun way to spend time together.”
The North East Now campaign has made it easy for people to support local firms in a wide range of industries during the pandemic.
For further information on Little Blue Artworks, visit www.littleblueartworks.com
To find out more about North-East Now, visit www.northeastnow.scot