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.

- Patricia van den Akker, The Design Trust

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Jo Elbourne

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)

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Hannah-May Chapman

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 BCU

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Laura Mansfield - curator

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 Ambiguous Implements 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 confidante 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.

- Laura Mansfield, curator Ambiguous Implements

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Karen Lester

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

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Sarah Gilbert

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!)

- Sarah Gilbert, Box of Smiles Gifts

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Marian Ripoll

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

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Emily Stapleton-Jefferis

"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. 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 MA Ceramics & Glass RCA

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Harriet Elkerton

"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."

- Harriet Elkerton, ceramicist

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Aimee Bollu

“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. 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

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Anya Miles

"Wow just wow!  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. 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

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Rosie Deegan

"I recently had Melody's help with a application that I was quite nervous about writing. 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 editing my writing so that I didn't repeat myself as much and that the words generally flowed a-lot better."

- Rosie Deegan, artist & jeweller Hothouse 2017

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Isabella Mitchell

"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 and content creator for SCP

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Elle Maxwell

"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."

- Elle Maxwell, designer/maker 'Speckled Grey'

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