Concept and Design
Every new product starts with an initial concept and then with a pencil and some paper. If I'm designing an animal, I will start with sketches from photos of the real thing and then start abstracting it down to create a design for a decoration. I also like to use a lot of principal geometric shapes when I design - particularly circles - so I often have my compass to hand!
Trial and Error
The second stage of creating any new product is to make my first sewn prototype, using a pattern taken from my final drawing. It never comes out perfectly first time - there are always improvements to be made with the shape, fabric, design, colour etc.
Typically, I will make at least three different versions before I am happy with it.
After finalising my sewn prototype, then I can get to work creating multiple versions. In some cases each version is unique e.g. my owl decorations, which have a unique blend of colours, fabrics and embellishments for each one. For other products, each decoration is using the same materials and design but as I hand stitch each one there are always slight differences that makes each one special in its own way.