Sunday, 13 September 2015

Studio Move

I have neglected my blog; I started it quite some time ago and then forgot about it. While my Facebook and Instagram accounts are definitely meant to promote my Ragmaw bags, I wanted this blog to be about something entirely different. I wanted to use the blog to share my experience as an artist, crafter, and business person in order to encourage others who might be thinking about starting their own small craft business; or to, at least, provide a little peak at this journey.

Anyhow, I really hope I can be a more dedicated blogger... starting now.

I want to share my most recent experience in something that I do a lot of but, almost always, feel anxiety about... moving.  In July of this year, I decided that I needed to make a change for my business; I needed more workspace, I needed to move my studio. 


In December 2013, I set up my first 'official' studio inside the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation . It was an amazing opportunity for me to test out my dream of making a living from my hand-crafted bags! The studio space was about 12 x 10 feet with a lovely high ceiling, white-washed walls, and the sweetest view of 'the gut' (aka the tiny harbour of Quidi Vidi Village).  The Quidi Vidi Village Plantation itself is an amazing building, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and wildlife.  But, not only does it have all of that aesthetic jazziness, it is also a major tourist hotspot in the city. And so, I was guaranteed a regular flow of potential customers. Add to that mix nine other talented artisans and it was actually the dream spot to start up my little handbag business! 

But, a year and a half in, I felt really short on space. My once peaceful studio felt chaotic, jammed with WAY too much stuff, and I felt really unorganized. When I had more ideas that I had space, I knew that I would have to move on.

Finding a new space

And this was the hardest part. Seriously, I was checking Kijiji every 5 minutes to see if any new listings had been posted. I started off with a solid  list of must-haves and, after a month of searching, decided to go with must-find-anything-with-four-walls-that-doesn't-cost-a-small-fortune. I was wrapped up in the quest for the best studio and it was extremely stressful. Had I made a mistake!? Yikes, sometimes the cycling of decisions and possible outcomes can get in your head and drive you mad. How I finally found a space (after looking at some and running screaming from others): I asked around. I asked everyone I knew: 'do you know of anyone who might be renting a small space in the downtown area?'  And, finally someone  did know of a place. For anyone who is thinking about renting a dedicated studio space, this is a really good place to start. Just ask, everyone and anyone at all... something WILL turn up for you.

The new space and micro-meltdown

As many of you know now, I LOVE my new studio. A few of the best reasons:
-it's above my favorite local shop, Twisted Sisters Boutik
-said local shop also houses and serves the local Fixed Coffee, dandy hot beverages!
-it's on Water Street, a little (ok itsy bitsy) slice of downtown real estate
-I get a display room and a workroom (TWO SEPARATE SPACES)
-my third floor window still allows me a decent harbour view

But, back to the meltdown part. A friend of mine has recently moved back to Newfoundland; when I asked if she was happy to be back home, she said it was good but it also felt sad and overwhelming because she was still living out of a suitcase: the transition period.  And that was exactly how I felt when I moved my studio from Quidi Vidi to Water Street. Suddenly, the excitement about more space was dampened by my fear that no one would find me in this new spot. And, 'omg I didn't realize I would miss the high ceilings in my old space.'  And, 'what if I get lonely here without the other artisans and I lose my mind because I'm so lonely?'  These are crazy thoughts but I felt like I had definitely gone wrong. (Sorry to my boyfriend who was probably wishing he had booked a vacation away during the move). 

I hadn't gone wrong of course. In 1.5 weeks, I felt better. I was ready to settle in. I was finally digging my way out of the feelings that come with any change and I was able to remember why I needed to make the move in the first place. 

putting my logo up at 175 Water Street

I felt thankful for the space and got ready to make it my own... but I wasn't going to do it all on my own, let's not get crazy now. I recruited my DIY'er/designer/re-furb friend extraordinaire: Natasha,  from The Simply Inspired Blog

The studio makeover 

Natasha, please help me!! A few reasons that the space needed a face-lift:

-the lighting was, well, dim. 
fluorescent lights... sometimes they try to come on but only get to a halfway fluttering effect. I had a really sweet retro light fixture, dragged from my grandparents' basement, that I was dying to use anyways!! (If you know me well, then you know that I love taking old things from my childhood home and giving them a new purpose)

-there was a full wall of sunken storage shelves; awesome for fabrics but a hugely distracting element in a small room

-how do we make it inviting for customers? like a mini-shop?  I had lots of shelving but I couldn't seem to arrange it in a way that didn't make it look like storage

So, here are the BEFORE pics! 

You can find the AFTER shots at The Simply Inspired Blog

You can also follow Natasha, a local gal herself, on Instagram and Facebook

Thank you Thank you to Natasha

**for swooping in like a pro and helping me create a studio space that I love **

Monday, 27 October 2014

spirited rainy day, quick look back on summer

It's been a long time with no blog posts. But then, it's been a glorious few months of no snow here in St. John's. As the weather starts to get chilly and I haul out my rainy-day ensembles (black leggings, loose tops, knitted things, and knee socks), I have a feeling I will be blogging a lot more.

Goodness! What a spring and summer it was though....

I started a new line of purses, incorporating up-cycled tapestries.

Ragmaw products were picked up by a local entrepreneur extraordinaire and are now being sold at Whink on Water Street.
Lots of visitors from other parts of Canada and abroad visited my studio
at the Quidi Vidi Plantation.

My 17 year old cat "Tiny" made the move from his rural home with my grandparents in central Newfoundland to St. John's... where he now lives with me and (surprisingly!) has a slower paced city-life.


 AND, in July, I had a 1-year anniversary with my boyfriend, followed up by a last-minute trip to the Greek Islands in August.

The summer always goes too quickly and then I start to think about re-locating to a warmer city but I would miss the other seasons and I would even miss the fog...more on that next time!

'you do a nice smile and I'll pretend to do the same'

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Market + Organic Inspo

Such a lovely weekend!  Friday evening was spent prepping for Saturday's market here in St. John's. Some last minute fabric printing, sewing, and product labeling at home.

An early start on saturday morning and, thankfully, the weather was great! A balmy zero degrees Celsius and the sun shone down on the town. Setting up my display for Some Good Market (  at 9:30 a.m. and everything was good to go for the 10 a.m. start.  Thank goodness for my friends who helped me tote all my bags around during my first markets in 2013 and, nowadays, my boyfriend who is the builder and assembler of my more elaborate display.  A full day of meeting new people and chatting about local craft, it was fun!

Remember, my studio is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday 10 am - 4 pm.

squirrel, nest, Torbay Beach
Sunday has been time away from a typical work day but still working, nonetheless. A day of gathering photos for inspiration - organic shapes, natural images, color palettes that I'd like to use in new bags.

The woods around Torbay, NL are mostly covered in a sheet of ice, quietly sleeping through this winter warp. But, if you can brave the chill, it is well worth the slippery trek. Picture a tangle of gray (almost white), smooth branches. I get the sense that fairies and leprechauns love this time of year when the woods are silent and dream-like (I don't really believe in leprechauns anymore but, if  you know me well then you know that I used to believe!).   

Anyhow, the photo ops await you and I'd love to see some more photographs of outdoor winter gems if anyone has one to share.

Monday, 3 March 2014

A weekend off looks like...

Since Ragmaw opened its studio/storefront back in December and I became a full-time textile artist, free time is hard to come by.  I spend most days in the studio constructing new patterns, learning new hardware assemblies, and producing more product.  But, as often as true, art on its own is a tough financial gig (at least in the beginning).  So, I still work a part-time job on evenings and weekends.

Taking a weekend off seems unrealistic, unattainable... the whole idea of it is becoming increasingly moot.

At some point, around mid February, I was feeling like a zombie and decided that a break was in order. I reserved last Friday and Saturday, keeping all work-related items off the agenda.... and it was bliss!

Slept in. Took a little road trip to Bay Roberts to visit my lovely friend (Lindsay) and her crazy, hilarious Cocker Spaniel (Snoop).  Got quite car sick and then ordered pizza in for supper! Watched movies and went to bed early. Went to Chapters, bought some no-thought-required magazines. Sat on couch and looked through (but didn't read!) magazines. Drank lots of tea, drove to Cape Spear  and, watched my talented friend, Karyn, perform in Evita!

Welcome to Ragmaw!

Hello from Quidi Vidi Village in Newfoundland!

My name is Megan Jackman and I'm the artist, owner, creative director, and (aspiring) web designer behind Ragmaw.

Ragmaw is my small studio-based business which carries my handmade products: one of a kind bags and jewelry. I am in love with the idea of 'one of a kind'. I am fascinated by individual style. Through Ragmaw, I aim to offer products that remain unique to an individual, never being duplicated.

Currently, I am located in the scenic village of Quidi Vidi. And, just where is that; Quidi Vidi is a gem of a spot, located in St. John's, Newfoundland.  Newfoundland is a large island province in Canada with a rich and interesting culture, which is reflected in my products.

You can purchase directly from me (at my studio) or here at my online shop. Please feel free to contact me here at

And, also, I'd love for you to follow me here on my journey as I document my dreams to make Ragmaw a success!

Where I started. And, thank you.

I have been in love with making things as far back as I can remember.

Some people think that creativity is an inherent trait - something handed down by genetics. Maybe it's true... in my case, I do come from a handy family.  But, for me, creative talent starts somewhere outside of DNA.

As a child, I played in my mom's craft room every evening after she was finished work. I can't remember ever being scolded for playing with her supplies or tools.  In that room, no project was too wild or sloppy. Every childish creation was touted as 'art.'  I fell in love with colors, textures, and pack-ratting odds-n-ends!  My mom made art of our food and built me elaborate cardboard houses for my troll dolls.  She showed me how to love setting my mind free with art, thanks mom.

She wasn't the only one concocting creative inspiration. While mom made the doll houses, her parents were sewing the curtains and building the tiny beds to go inside!  It's my grandmother (nan) who taught me to sew, to love fabric and the sewing machine even as a teenager, when sewing wasn't the coolest thing I could be getting up to.  There were rules in nan's sewing room -- don't use the expensive fabrics, stay away from the rotary cutter -- but I broke them all and she didn't say a word. Sometimes encouragement comes from the things that you don't say. Thank you nan for always having an open door, a well-stocked kitchen, a smiling face, and a good laugh.

I didn't pursue my passion for textile art after high school though. I spent six years at university and got a science degree instead, always returning to art in my spare time. Now, I'm getting the chance to create everyday and I couldn't be happier about that.