29.10.2008 - 18.12.2008 12 °C
After having so much fun in Greece, it was finally time to get back to reality and back to work. For my remaining eight weeks in London, I worked Wednesdays through Fridays at Clear Creations for the internship part of my study abroad program.
On my first day I had the easy but fairly monotonous task of hand finishing the already printed cards. They needed glitter, Swarovski stones and pearls, and googly eyes, or some combination of the three. It was actually a lot of fun to just sit down and glitter for a while because I hadn’t had the chance to do anything “crafty” for a long time. The googly eyes were somewhat difficult though because they required the use of a hot glue gun and some fast hand movements. I never really mastered placing the tiny eyes on even tinier dots of glue before the glue dried, so I just stuck with the glitter and pearls instead. One thing I enjoyed about hand finishing is that although it became somewhat tedious after a while, it also did not require much brain power, meaning I could just sit and listen to the radio and chat with my coworkers.
I really enjoyed listening to BBC Radio 1 because I learned all the new, popular songs as well as getting my daily news. Another aspect I really enjoyed about that particular radio station was their involvement of the listeners in the show. For example, the DJ would ask a question or play some sort of game, and the listeners did it as well and then texted their responses to the station. The DJ read out many of the responses of course, and it was absolutely hilarious what some people came up with. We listened to the station online, so if you’re interested in hearing some British accents I certainly recommend tuning in!
Fairly early on we did a retail show called the Spirit of Christmas Fair. It was one week long, and we had a booth amongst many other crafty people trying to sell their products before Christmas arrived. Unfortunately, however, our location within the fair was terrible and we did not get as much traffic as many of the other booths down on the main floor. Even so, it was nice to be out of the studio for a few days and I got a bit of Christmas shopping done too! I liked the decorations as well … very festive …
Other than hand finishing and working at the fair, most of my internship time was actually spent designing! I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first began working there, but I was very surprised and happy to realize that I was trusted enough to work on the newest collection – men’s birthday cards! We spent weeks on them, much longer than usual, but the extra time was necessary because my boss had never done men’s cards before and we had to develop a completely new style. (All of her previous collections use watercolor elements and are very feminine, so more masculine designs didn’t come very easily.) We persevered, however, and slowly but surely developed a collection of twelve new designs, all involving musical elements. Looking at the designs all together, I think they just look so cool and I’m incredibly proud at how much I contributed to their creation.
And finally, a little mention about food in the workplace … Most of my friends at other internship placements often went out to lunch, but I brought mine every day in an attempt to save money. On one of my first days I brought some crackers I was trying to finish up, and in order to make them slightly more palatable I made peanut butter sandwiches with them. My boss asked me what I was having for lunch, just making friendly conversation, and when she heard about the peanut butter she burst out laughing! I must have looked slightly confused because she finally explained, “that’s so American!” It hadn’t really occurred to me before, but considering how difficult it was to find the few tiny jars of peanut butter at the grocery store, it makes sense that peanut butter isn’t as much of a hit in Europe as it is back home.
By the end of my eight weeks at Clear Creations I was very proud of both what I’d learned and how much I had contributed. I was also happy that I was more immersed in British culture, just by working closely with actual Brits and occasionally even drinking tea! I really enjoyed my time there, and if you’re interested in seeing the cards I worked on, keep a lookout for the music collection at http://www.clearcreations.co.uk/ - hopefully they’ll be available soon!