I stumbled onto the Cornwall Arts and Crafts Directory (CACD) the other day. It appeared on the first page of my Google search for ‘Cornwall art’ and I was intrigued to find out more. I’m always inspired to see people reaching out and pulling together a community – to be able to do this successfully you need to be visible – and this website is. I immediately sent a request to join the directory. I received a very quick and friendly response and my listing is as below.
However following on from this I wanted to find out more about the owner; what was the thinking behind the website, how and why does it exist? Below is an insight into the creator and owner of Cornwall Arts and Crafts Directory; Jayne!
1. Your web site is a Cornwall Arts and Crafts Directory (CACD) – what inspired you to create this web site?
I created Cornwall Arts and Crafts Directory(CACD) about 10 years ago. I had just been made redundant and was offered a web design course for free with Digital Peninsula Network (DPN) in Penzance. The only criteria was I had to produce a ‘business’ web site at the end of the course to qualify for the funding. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do as a new job yet so I decided to create a web site for my handmade cards.
I was part way through creating it when my friend asked if I would include her on it, then another friend and another. I done a PHP web programming course, also with DPN, and I opened it up to anyone who was a creative in Cornwall. It’s really nice to be able to give something back to the community.
I retired from web design this year to concentrate on doing my own art work and run CACD site purely as a hobby now.
2. What do you hope that people get out of visiting CACD?
There doesn’t seem to be any other web site yet that caters for the diversity of creative talent here s Cornwall. I try to include anything which is relative from arts and crafts to web design and music. So if someone is looking for something in Cornwall there’s a good chance it’s on there. If anyone wants to advertise their group, organisation or business, as long as it is relevant I will try to include it.
The site is effectively split into three main sections directory listings, events and news. I seem to do very well in the search engines probably because the site is updated so often. I spend quiet a lot of time rejecting submissions from all over the country, in fact I have had requests from all over the world.
Over the years I have got to know quiet a few of the people that advertise with me. For example, Tamsin Dearing, artist and teacher extraordinaire. Tamsin was one of the first people to sign up to CACD through the web site. She tells me that she still gets a lot of referrals through CACD (see her testimonial below) and I often go to Tamsins excellent workshops myself when I can.
“As a local artist and teacher, Cornwall Arts and Crafts Directory is invaluable for me. The online directory is an excellent resource, and since I have been listing my portraiture workshops on CACD. I have had interest and bookings from people countywide. I highly recommend using CACD as both a practitioner and a creative individual, you will find a wealth of like-minded people, and Jayne’s professionalism and dedication to the site is second to none.”
3. How can people interact with CACD?
The best way to interact with CACD is simply to visit the web site and “browse”, there’s a lot of content on there and hopefully something for everyone.
You can also follow CACD on Twitter, but I generally only post when new news or business listings are added to the web site. Or sign up for my mailing list which I use to send a simple alert of recent updates to the web site.
If anyone wants to promote a group, organisation, business or event please use the correct forms via the submission page.
The site is regularly updated, its a lot of work but I love to see what is going on.
4. Do you get involved in other creative activities?
After taking a “personal development” workshop on my 50th birthday with Judith Kingdon I decided I wanted to learn to draw and paint. The following day I joined my local art group, Wesley Rock Art Group, in Heamoor, Penzance.
Now I belong to a number of art groups, and go to lots of workshops. I love trying new things – I’m trying stone carving next month. This year I have taken part in a number of exhibitions but will be putting on an Christmas exhibition of art and craft myself at the Redwing Gallery in Penzance for myself and four of the groups I belong to in the first week in December. I’ve never put one on myself so I am both excited and nervous. (See poster below).
I also have my own arty web site, Jayne Herbert Art and sell my creations through a number of my own stores through an American company, Zazzle. With Zazzle you can design products, like cards, mugs, calendars and even ribbon and gift wrap on their web site and they do the rest. I just get a small commission on each item sold. I initially had problems completing their tax exemption forms but now I am selling my creations all over the world.
5. What’s next for CACD?
CACD is a site built using Dreamweaver and PHP and driven by a database. The Internet is changing so fast now. To be honest I am struggling to keeping up with the software versions of the programming language I am using. I’ve had a number of problems with submission forms stopping working this year – although none with the actual front end yet.
My hosting provider will stop supporting the version of I am using in a year or so, so I am going to have to look at moving to another hosting provider / learning a new version of PHP / moving to something like WordPress or giving up the site completely.
I really don’t want to give up doing the site, I really enjoy doing it – I know it supports a lot of local people. I would love to go on and make more improvements too. I really don’t know which way to go at the moment, I need to do a lot more research – I just hope that technology doesn’t completely overtake me.
6. What’s the best way for people to contact you to find out more?
What I love about this interview is that it shows you can create something from humble beginnings; a free web design course. You start out on a journey and when more and more people want to join you on this journey, then you know you’re doing something right. We don’t have a team of web developers behind this directory – just one amazing person putting their effort into allowing people to stay in touch. I think it’s brilliant and I can’t wait to see how this website grows in the future.