A few months ago, I began researching into possible career options after I finish University as I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with finishing without any idea of what lies ahead! I knew that a masters was an option as I have looked into these previously, however, wanted to explore other opportunities and creative careers that I might be interested in. Therefore, I started to search around smaller companies that hosted art events, workshops and exhibitions and how this might be an interesting avenue to go down. I previously felt quite overwhelmed and nervous about the prospect of finishing Uni not having any idea of which areas I might want to explore, however, finding ‘CottonOnMCR’s’ website change my whole outlook on the possibilities.

Cotton On MCR is a Manchester based business owned and run by Domino and her amazing team of assistants who do everything from social media to workshops! They centre around everything Manchester based as said by Domino ‘I wanted to be more involved with Manchester’s art scene and get others involved too’. Not only do they host art workshops and exhibitions, they also run talks and are involved in art fairs too.

After reading thoroughly into Cotton On MCR, I thought I would send an email explaining how inspirational Domino’s website was to me, I wasn’t expecting a reply but thought I would do it out of curiosity. I’ve attached the email below –  

To my surprise, Domino replied with such a lovely email reassuring me there were lots more artistic careers outside of Uni that are mentioned and that she has also done a Fine Art degree at University of Lincoln. Her email was so encouraging and it made my day to think there are other career options possibly more practical and involved with people than I had first imagined. I have attached Domino’s email below:

After a few more conversations back and forth, Domino asked me whether I would be interested in being a guest blogger for the blog that initially Cotton On MCR began as! I have always loved writing so this was an amazing opportunity that I took to straight away, I had never written so informally before, however, once I had started it, I felt much more comfortable.

For my first blog post, I needed to come up with an idea that I could link to Manchester without actually being there as well as make an interesting read. I thought of the idea surrounding lockdown and how, personally, I knew many more people expressing their creative side because of this. After getting confirmation from Domino, I created a set of 5 questions for my social media followers and hers too. As well as this, I created different questions to send to 3 Etsy based artists to gather information on how they found lockdown affected them and their sales. From this the results were unanimous; lockdown had created more ‘artists’! Here are some of the polls/stats –

  1. During lockdown, have you been creative (painting, photography, sewing, anything!) for the first time?

My results: Yes: 56% No: 44% / Cotton On MCR’s results: Yes: 65% No: 35%

     2. Due to lockdown, and having more time at home, have you found you’ve been able to re-engage with your love of art?

My results: Yes: 61% No: 39% / Cotton On MCR’s results: Yes: 64% No: 36%

     3. Are you more likely to visit/take part in an art gallery/exhibition/workshop after lockdown than before?

My results: Yes: 59% No: 41% / Cotton On MCR’s results: Yes: 85% No: 15%

  1. Due to lockdown/furlough, have you thought about or created a small creative business?

My results: Yes: 41% No: 59% / Cotton On MCR’s results: Yes: 55% No: 45%

  1. Throughout lockdown, have you been supporting/shopping smaller? E.g. through Etsy, friends etc.

My results: Yes: 80% No: 20% / Cotton On MCR’s results: Yes: 92% No: 8%

Blog link: https://cottononmcr.com/2021/03/07/has-lockdown-created-more-artists/

The blog was posted on the 7th March 2021 and was my first blog ever written, however, knew I wanted to continue writing more so Domino asked me whether I wanted to attend on online Exhibition hosted by ‘MCRSewSocial’ for International Women’s Day on the 8th March. I knew how amazing this exhibition would be so booked my ticket online and listened into the many incredible textile women artists talk about their work and what IWD means to them. I focused on 3 artists in particular whose work stood out to me and contacted them to discover a bit more about their work which they hadn’t previously stated in the exhibition. Once again, all 3 women artists were incredibly kind and happily answered my questions meaning my research was much more in depth. This blog was posted on March 14th 2021 and is attached below, it’s the latest post I have completed for them although I am hoping to do more but want to think of another interesting idea first as well as prioritising Uni work.

Blog Link: https://cottononmcr.com/2021/03/14/mcr-sew-social-exhibition-review/

In the Summer, myself and Domino have talked multiple times about me travelling to Manchester to meet up, as well as for me to help with setting up future events and helping out where I can. This was so exciting to hear and great experience to see whether this career option could be something I am interested in. With family living in Manchester, this is very doable so I’m thoroughly looking forward to what the Summer might bring!

A video of Domino talking about ‘CottonOnMCR’s’ Open Call Exhibition – held on Friday 23rd April – Monday 4th May 2021.