Rachel is an artist, creating stunning tree-forms as jewellery and sculptures from wire and gemstones. Her dream is to create a life-size memory-tree installation for a public space in her home city of Birmingham, UK, whose leaves will be tokens dedicated to victims of Covid-19.
The idea came from a conversation with a business mentor at Digital Boost, who provide unlimited one-hour mentoring sessions, as well as workshops and extensive digital training. She is getting to grips with the multiple roles small business owners undertake, learning the value of free expert advice and making time to put it into practice.
Akers of Art ran as a side-line until a couple of years ago, when Rachel decided to dedicate herself to it full-time. An art teacher for fifteen years, she specialised in teaching young people on the edge of exclusion, helping uncover potential in those with few academic prospects.
So, it was a natural extension to start out by offering art workshops, the first one being a clay workshop in partnership with a local charity. When the pandemic hit, they went online, sending out kits in advance, focusing on very specific projects and setting up a camera to show her hands at work.
But that took some time and the pandemic nearly destroyed Rachel’s dreams. She struggled to keep her head above water. As a single mum of a nine-year-old boy, she was worried she would have to give up and find a job. Her amazing mum jumped in and gave her the six-month breathing space she needed.
Setting up a website and a social presence was new to Rachel. That’s where her Digital Boost mentors, two from Google and one from RSG Consulting, have been invaluable.
Her hard work paid off and demand for her online workshops grew. But workshops alone weren’t enough for Rachel. Her passion is to create sculptures as installations for public spaces.
She loves those that allow her to explore the therapeutic nature of art. Like the care home in Warrington where she created three ‘snapshots’ of the Warrington Golden Gates to remind residents with dementia where they are and give them a sense of home.
Setting up a website and a social presence has been new to Rachel. That’s where her Digital Boost mentors, two from Google and one from RSG Consulting, have been invaluable.
As well as the idea for a community-based memory tree, she has discussed creating an online gallery on her website, investigated the price points for her art and who she should be targeting, whether B2B or B2C customers.
Rachel said: “I can’t believe all my hard work is finally paying off. I’m my harshest critic but am finally beginning to believe in myself. Digital Boost is fantastic. I’m so grateful the experts there are willing to give up their time free of charge. I’m now focused on making my memory-tree installation a reality.”
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