Here's what the lovely people I've worked with have to say...
"I asked for Melody's help when faced with a lengthy press questionnaire in preparation for my first trade show.
Our session involved a conversation in person and review of my initial attempt at the Q&A where Melody decisively, but sensitively, edited the text I had already come up with. I marvelled that from much rambling and repetition, she was able to introduce order and interest to each section, finding links between seemingly unrelated statements, and also adding where appropriate, some concise but essential observations about my work and process which I couldn't have hoped to articulate myself. A follow-up email summarising our meeting confirmed the level of careful consideration Melody had given to my responses. Since the show, the final text has continued to be an invaluable asset, as Melody had intelligently structured the individual answers to form a long, cohesive and versatile piece of writing, sections of which I have been able to use for interviews, press releases and my own website.
When Melody and I met initially it was not in the context of consultant and client, but as contemporaries, and I immediately felt, from her understated, intuitive approach and her clear and generous enthusiasm for the work of other creatives, that I would love to enlist her talents if the opportunity arose. Because Melody is a maker herself, as well as a skilled writer and editor, she is perfectly positioned to understand and give voice to a maker's mindset. Melody does not ask the obvious questions and this makes discussing your work with her an interesting and useful exercise in itself. I look forward to working with Melody again as my practice develops and there are (hopefully!) new areas to explore and write about. "
Jo Elbourne - designer/maker (winner of the 2017 Elle Decoration British Design Award for Best in Craft.)
Patricia van den Akker - The Design Trust
"Melody is a great communicator, and most of that comes through her careful listening and deep understanding of what makes creatives tick. She is quietly determined, with a playful undertone that really gets to the heart of what you are trying to say. Her webinar for us was full of practical tips and great insights, with a very calm and professional delivery. Great to work with her.”
Laura Mansfield - curator, Ambiguous Implements
"Melody’s eloquence about the work of emerging designers and makers is of benefit to anyone wanting to learn more about the processes and context of contemporary making. Melody’s insight has enriched the Ambiguous Implements exhibition project through both her participation in the symposium Re-thinking Domestic Design, held at the School of Jewellery Birmingham City University, and her written essay in response to the exhibition opening at Roco, Sheffield. Her insightful and sensitive response to the exhibition has given me a new perspective on both the participating artists works and the varied ways the exhibition potentially communicates to audiences.
Her prior expertise of being both a maker and a museum curator gives Melody a unique insight into creative practices from the perspective of artists and audience, production and exhibition, and practice and theory. During the Re-thinking Domestic Design Symposium Melody successfully hosted an in-conversation with four practitioners, fielding questions from the audience and encouraging the group to elaborate on their individual responses, moving the discussion in a structured and focused manner. She is highly engaging when speaking in public and very easy to talk to on a one to one basis, which means she has become a trusted confident of many makers, aiding and supporting them in their developing careers. Her close relationship to makers further gives Melody a privileged insight into their work and the current challenges facing creative practitioners, thinking on the ways and means these can be overcome.
Having met Melody through Ambiguous Implements I very much hope this is the start of our continued working relationship, she is professional, efficient and above all enthusiastic about what she does, championing the work of emerging makers. "
Laura Mansfield - independent curator & writer
Teaching at Nottingham Trent University
“I engaged Melody to teach year three students on the Decorative Arts course with the specific brief of writing about their practice. These sessions were well planned and made them think about their values and what this says to their audience. Feedback for these sessions was great. One student told me that they left each session on a high. I can only thank Melody for making this happen.”
Jude Wensley - Course Leader, BA Decorative Arts
Teaching at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery
"Every student on a creative course at university should have access to a Melody Vaughan! She’s helped me understand writing as a craft/creative process that I can relate to and get pleasure from. I definitely feel fully equipped for any written challenge now."
Hannah-May Chapman - student MA Jewellery & Related Products
The Creative Duck talk - insta feedback
Wow, we’re still buzzing from the passionate and inspiring talk by @melody_vaughan last night. So much to think about moving forward when doing a piece of writing. Do share any experiences of how it’s helped your writing. We love to hear from you. Thanks to everyone that was able to join us. Sarah, Nicola & Joey x
#thecreativeduck #henley #creativecommunity #henleyonthames #oxfordshire
@hannahdeaninteriors Yay, amazing night! Thank you.xxx
@danmdraws It was a really interesting night. Thank you
@hannahsceramicsIt was fantastic, interesting, inspiring and helpful. Thanks @melody_vaughan and the wonderful @thecreativeduck 💕
The Creative Duck talk - insta feedback
I recently attended a talk by the exceptionally passionate and knowledgable @melody_vaughan titled 'Find Your Voice' all about successful writing for creatives. Melody was captivating. Not many people can hold the attention of around 60 people in the palm of their hand for an hour and a half. It was as if she was telling us the recipe for making gold (or where to find an unlimited supply of free gin!). ⠀
One key area she touched on at the start was your involvement with your brand. She talked about two paths of communication; visible and invisible. I've generally opted for more of an invisible approach because it felt safer I guess but this year I'm challenging myself to boldly step out of my safe little comfort zone and try new things, mix it up a bit! What could possibly go wrong!? Gulp..⠀
So you might start to hear/see a little more from me from time to time but I promise you two things; I will always be 100% genuine and unashamedly honest. I might even chuck in the occasional anecdote for good measure ~ something to raise a smile and make you feel better about yourself. ⠀
Be interesting to hear your thoughts on being visible or invisible, especially if you're representing a brand / creating a product. Which approach suits you and why? ⠀
#boxofsmiles #visibility #socialmedia #brandexposure #challengingyourself #socialmediamarketing #smile #tryingnewthings #honesty #sundayvibes #marketing #pushboundaries #style #inspired #creativewriting #motherhood #motherhoodunplugged #smallbiz #smallbusiness #smallindiebusiness #shopsmall
@_gossipgirlpr Great post Sarah. I was also at the @melody_vaughan talk, it was a fab and you’re right, she sure had our attention!
@carolinegratrix_viva Sarah, I love this posts @melody_vaughan set a high bar that eve, her word are still in head as I rebrand and relaunch too. I’ve finally written a bio that actually sounds like me 🙋🏻♀️ (coming soon).
@boxofsmilesgifts@carolinegratrix_viva aww, can’t wait to read the bio! She had such a positive influence on everyone that night didn’t she.
Imogen Di Sapia
“I am absolutely thrilled with your writing, I feel that you really connected with my practice and made a huge effort to not only make a succinct yet detailed profile, but that you really shared your vision of my practice, and that is what I had been hoping for; that your voice and specialism as a craft writer would come through, whilst also being informative and conversational.
Working solo and at-distance as I have for (what feels like) such a long time, it was important for me to get a new perspective and a voice that was not my own. So, as much as your writing will be my professional craft profile, it will also serve as a reflective document for my practice, and help me see where I may wish to go and how to progress.
I’ll be using the full profile as is on my website and blog, and my next PR round will feature sections, and when I approach media and press, I will send selections from the text. It absolutely works as a whole and as sections.”
Imogen Di Sapia - weaver
“I contacted Melody for help with my Artist’s Statement as I was struggling to write one that was succinct while also describing my work and narrative which has a number of threads. Melody visited my studio where we talked through what I wanted the piece of writing to be used for and what my work was about. Melody asked many questions about the work and where I wanted to take it in the future. She recorded our conversation for her reference but also as an additional resource for me as she later sent me the files of the audio too. Melody has a lot of experience in working with creatives and offered advice and action points for me which she also included in a well laid out document - very useful.
The final piece of writing is just what I wanted and I feel that Melody took great care to fully understand my work and the motivation for it.
The whole experience was very positive and I not only now have a great Artists’ Statement, but it has also helped me feel more confident when talking about my work.”
Diane Griffin - ceramicist
"Melody has become an invaluable support in my artistic career. She has helped me numerous times with successful applications to various competitions and courses, as well as helping me with the difficult task of writing about and defining my own art practice.
Talking my ideas over with Melody helps me to clarify what it is that I wish to say, and helps me to actually begin writing. Once I have written something, Melody is then fantastic at proof reading, advising on improved structure, content and grammar. Her suggestions never overwhelm my own ‘voice’, but they help the whole piece to come together in a well-written and succinct manner, so that my ideas are clearly understandable to the reader. I believe that with Melody’s help I can represent myself as an artist in the best possible way, doing my artwork justice with my writing."
Emily Stapleton-Jefferis - ceramic artist
“Working with Melody on my website story continues to be an amazing journey, and is an instrumental piece in helping me find my voice as a fibre artist. I’ve particularly enjoyed her personal attention and insight as a mentor. Melody has helped me take a closer look at my creative process and structure and understand the key elements. This process gives me confidence and energy to embrace my creative business in a new fresh way.”
Tanya Robinson - fibre artist
“There are times when you need the help of a professional consultant and most artists like myself burn ourselves out by trying to do everything on our own and feeling insecure to reach out for help. I came to the point where I knew I needed sound help as I was in the process of applying for important funding. I was feeling tired, anxious and allowing my insecurities to fog up my thoughts. So I made the wisest decision and turned to Melody and I am so very thankful for Melody’s help.
She made the whole process so easy and gave me back my confidence in writing my objectives and aims for this particular funding application. She was able to pinpoint the weaknesses in my application, make strong recommendations for improving and clearing my thoughts in my writing and it didn’t take forever… she was very efficient and I was able to finish the application well before the deadline. I so much appreciated her support and positiveness. It made all the difference.
And more importantly, I will continue using her consultancy in the future because working together this summer, she has come to understand my practice and her clarity in writing and her insights will be invaluable to me.”
Chrisoula Konstantakou - ceramicist, research student RCA
"I recently had Melody's help with a application that I was quite nervous about writing. I completed the form in 2 days (which, normally would have taken me a good 2 weeks of waffling, deleting, re-thinking and mainly just being stressed!) Melody helped me to focus on what I needed to write, by talking about and structuring paragraphs (in the colours that suited me too - I'm dyslexic!), giving me the confidence to keep going at times where I was unsure, and most importantly (I hate this bit) editing my writing so that I didn't repeat myself as much and that the words generally flowed a-lot better. Thank you Melody, I'm really looking forward to your writing workshop and 'crafting' together an artist statement that I might actually be happy with!"
Rosie Deegan - artist/jeweller
"I have written a few statements about my work and practice but always felt that they weren’t expressing what I wanted to say. I decided to book a session with Melody on her artist statement writing class. I’m so glad I did. I had a 1:1 session and Melody put me at ease about writing straight away. We looked at structure of statements, target audiences and examples of various types of statements. Through handling and observing my work we generated key words which helped me build on my original statement. Melody was very friendly and encouraging and I now feel that I can write more confidently about my work and structure it for the right audience. I also received an audio recording of our session which has been extremely useful to revisit. I would definitely recommend her session for anyone who, like me, would rather make work than write about it."
Karen Lester - Jewellery Sculpture Design - Artist in Residence Birmingham City University 2016-17
"I chose to sign up to the Melody's writing workshop as I struggle to put my creative ideas and reasoning behind my work into words. I found the exercises to be very useful and the session well structured to get the most out of ourselves and the time. In particular I really valued the examples that Melody gave us of effective artist statements and identifying elements like tone of voice and structure. Since I took the course I have done some editorial work writing about other designers and I have often looked at my session notes for helpful advice and reference!"
Isabella Mitchell - illustrator & Marketing/content creator for SCP
“Having a piece written about my work from an external point of view helped to clarify my own ideas in my head, and also enabled me to propel the work to a professional standard. Melody’s intuitive approach to writing was accompanied by the meticulous detail in which the words were constructed to give strong visual imagery so I can use the writing without the aid of photographs, and have used the writing to form talks about my work too. The writing has featured, in parts, in magazines and blogs, and is used for my website too. I include this writing when applying for exhibitions, residencies and funding and have been successful with it so far. I can’t wait for the next piece of writing Melody does for future work!”
Aimee Bollu - maker, Hothouse 2016
"Thank you Melody, your writing elevates my work beyond my greatest expectations! Eloquent and beautifully written, there is nothing I am unhappy with! I would like to add it to my website, as a credit to your writing and critical understanding of my work. It all makes complete sense, and seems so obvious in many ways, yet I never would have been able to put into concise words my thoughts and feelings about it, or been able to explain it as you have done. Thank you for spending time and effort into writing about my practice."
Sophie Southgate - ceramicist, Hothouse 2017
"Being able to talk and write, to explain and express the story of one's work are fundamental skills; skills which are often neglected for seemingly more pressing elements, such as the work itself. But more often than not, having a beautiful piece of work is not enough.
My practice had developed significantly since leaving University. It had been a long time since I had had an intelligent and considered conversation about the work and my practice as a whole. I had two aspects to my work which were intrinsically linked, yet putting that in to words, I struggled. My functional wares had developed from the decorative, but I had reached a point where, although related they felt leaps and bounds apart, that my attempts to explain my practice as a whole were jumbled and lacking. Through discussions with Melody, the ideas became clearer, ordered but also her questions made me aware of and open to areas previously completely unconsidered. This was furthered with her written response, so eloquently articulated and in doing so helped with my own understanding of my practice.
Furthermore, my practice, and self, has been aided by joining the Oxford Makers Group (omg). Not only has it been a great opportunity for having a social aspect to being a maker but it has offered fantastic support. In particular, discussions with Melody: her considered and thoughtful perspective, she suggests ideas for your practice, avenues to pursue that I simply wouldn't have thought of. This is partly because it is an outside perspective, a step back, but also, Melody has an extensive knowledge of the current happenings in the industry."
Harriet Elkerton - ceramicist
"I love designing, making and even talking about my work, but I always felt that writing about myself in third person was a bit like cheating!
I met Melody at New Designers One Year On. A few months later she interviewed me for an article she was preparing and it was then when I realised that she was the perfect person to write that piece of text I needed.
Working with Melody is really easy. She not only helps you to put your thoughts in writing, but she helps you think about your own work from a different perspective."
Marian Ripoll - designer, maker, architect, New Designers One Year On 2016
"Becoming a member of the Oxford Makers Group has really helped me gain focus and direction. Being around such a supportive group of people with similar issues and questions has a very positive influence on me making well informed decisions within my own work. Melody has a wonderful sense of organisation and has done a great job of uniting us all to plan our first group exhibition at Oxfordshire Artweeks."
Elle Maxwell - designer & maker 'Speckled Grey'
"Wow just wow! I absolutely love both the 'artist statement' and the creative response. I couldn't help but smile and nod along whilst reading the artist statement - I feel it accurately puts across so much of what I think and feel about my work in a way that I would really struggle to put into words. Reading it is making me feel very inspired and eager to get making as well as feeling more confident and secure in my own practice as my thoughts and ideas expressed in your words seem to make a lot of sense. The creative response is beautiful - I feel taken on a journey. I cannot thank you enough for your writing - I am so overwhelmingly happy with it and cannot wait to use the artist statement."
Anya Miles - jeweller & teacher