Designer (Mark 1)

I first came into the design industry through fashion. I owned a fashion designing company called Lemon Tree, although I later changed the name to White Swans for some reason. I had a pink plastic telephone, ran the business from my bedroom and all my customers were either my mother or my Auntie Kathleen. Mind you, I was only eleven years old at the time.

Teacher

Although I secretly harboured a desire to be a fashion designer, my real career was already mapped out for me as I'd known from the age of seven that I wanted to be a teacher. Unfortunately, on just about my first day in the job, I realised I'd made a terrible mistake. I stayed in education far longer than I probably should have done and only left when ill health forced me to look for a new career that I could do from home. Because I was good at English, had a vivid imagination and always loved writing, I decided to become a freelance journalist.

Writer

Considering that I'd never had a day's journalism training in my life or been a "staffer" first, I went on to write for some quite prestigious newspapers and magazines including The Guardian andThe Times.  However, like most journalists, although I'd also had short stories and poetry published, I really wanted to write books. I assumed that with my track record, I would easily get an agent and a book deal. How wrong I was. Then in 2010, my mother (who had always been the great champion of my writing) died and I experienced the worst case of "writer's block" that I'd ever had. Every time I tried to write, I'd just burst into tears.

Crafter

When it became clear that the writer's block was not going to go away any time soon, I had to look round for what I could do instead of writing and that's when I discovered the crafting industry. I'd crafted in one form or another since childhood (Remember those Blue Peter makes?!) but hadn't really done anything much for years. I was particularly thrilled to discover digital crafting as this opened up a whole new, wonderful world to me as suddenly I had all this incredible artwork to create with. I started making scrapbook pages and then moved onto cards and stationery items.

Designer (Mark 2)

I then discovered, much to my amazement, that I had a talent for designing. (Are you getting a sense of things coming full circle here?) Not only that, but the great passion and excitement I used to have for writing, and thought was lost for ever, had now been rekindled by designing. So, even though I was in my mid fifties and most of my contemporaries were starting to think about when they might be able to retire, I decided to become a designer instead. And although I had started to write again, it was now designing that had become the new love of my life.

Artist

But I still felt that something was missing. Deep down, I knew that I also wanted to be an artist but I was too scared to actually call myself an artist. I felt hampered by the fact that I can't draw, or at least draw things that I felt artists "ought" to be able to draw like kittens or bowls of mouldy fruit. I'd also hated art lessons at school, partly because we had such a battle-axe of a teacher and partly because I'd never been one of the cool "art crowd".

Artist, Designer, Crafter & Writer

Then, in the spring of 2020, coronavirus happened and the world changed. We went into lockdown and although that didn't impact on my life quite as much as it did on some people's, it still felt like a time to reflect, regroup and rethink what my priorities really were. After all, there is nothing like Death staring you in the face to make you worry less about making money, or what your parents and headmistress might have thought and more about how you would feel at the end of your life if you hadn't done something you really, really wanted to do. 

So here I am, embarking on a completely new creative life as an Artist, Designer, Crafter and Writer under the umbrella of Melissa Lawrence Creative. I'm excited, scared, exhilarated, optimistic and anxious but most of all relieved. As someone a lot wiser than me once said, "Wish for it, hope for it, dream of it, but by all means do it." And now I am!

5 Things You Might Not Know About Me!

  • I used to play the double bass.
  • I see the days of the week and months of the year in different shapes and colours. (It's called synesthesia.)
  • I changed my entire name by deed poll when I became a freelance journalist.
  • My favourite food is peanut butter and cheese.
  • My grandmother's closest friend was lady's maid to the sister of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, the one who discovered Tutankhamun's tomb