Monday, March 28, 2011
Featured Member: littlewrenpottery
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I'm Victoria and I live in North East England, I'm 25 which is relatively young (inexperienced!) for a potter. The North of England isn't particularly well known for its handicrafts more for its industrial coal mining and ship building past. The internet really helps me to connect with people who wouldn't otherwise come into contact with my work. I also really love a good curry, bad jokes and rocking out!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I actually have an alter ego, during the day I'm a mild mannered graphic designer and by night I'm messy clay strewed potter. So I spend a lot of time at work but when I want to relax I love baking, knitting, watching TV and reading the odd good book.
Sometimes I really wish there was a mystical extra day in between Sunday night and Monday mornings.
What first made you want to become an artist?
Like most people I was very creative as a child, I loved drawing and making things seemingly out of nothing. It was my ambition in life to own double sided tape so cardboard tubes could be magically stuck together. As I got older I moved into fine art but soon got jaded with the scene until moving into graphics when I was at Uni.
During my time at Uni I got quite heavily into the crafts movement and it wasn't until I graduated I discovered pottery, I think it was love at first sight.
Please describe your creative process.
My creative process tends to be quite haphazard, mainly due to the amount of time I have to spend crafting. I don't often sketch my ideas which is a bad habit of mine, strange considering I'm actually a designer!
I usually have an idea in my mind of what it is I'm going to make and with every piece I throw its trying to get as close to that ideal as possible. I only ever stick to one shape per session this helps to keep my mind focused as I work, throwing rewards repetition. I quite often get asked how much can I throw. Well, in 2-3 hours I can throw half a bag of clay so give me four hours and there goes a bag.
There are many stages in ceramics where something can go wrong, its a real challenge every time and I think that's what keeps me coming back.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I bought my grandmother a handmade glass swan for her birthday one year, she used to keep it in her presentation cabinet and she really loved it. When she died it was the only thing that I really wanted from her house, every time I look at it it reminds me of her.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I've been on Etsy about two years now and I'm still learning. If I was to give myself advice it would be improve and improve everything all the time. Photos, descriptions, keywords they can always be better.
Also sometimes buyers have problems and you've just got to roll with the punches, its difficult not to take it personally but you always have the opportunity to exceed expectations.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love the relatively new function of being able to search within your geographical location for other sellers, I sometimes leave buying gifts until the last minute and it helps if you can get it local.
I'd love to see the ability to offer multiple shipping options to different places in the world, for example you might want to have expedited shipping which costs extra in comparison to the normal cost.
How do you promote your work?
I spend an awful lot of time online - twitter, facebook, blogging, chatting on forums and just being on Etsy eat up a large proportion of my day.
I also occasionally send out email newsletters during promotional times and I try and connect with the press at large to get in magazines and newspapers. Recently I've been thinking about doing more craft fairs just to get myself 'known'. I have found that promotional efforts are cumulative, your looking to reach customers but they might not want to buy from you now - give them a reason to remember you when they do.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
I'd like to be spending less time at work and I'd also like a dedicated studio thats not inside the house. I currently work in the attic it tends to get quite messy and there's no running water or power points so there are plenty of trailing wires everywhere - health and safety be damned!
I'd like to be more dependent on me rather than my job and it sometimes seems to me that in modern life we're at odds with ourselves - trying to be self sufficient and having a happy life or working 9-5 and getting the money but no time to spend it. I'm sure there's a happy medium in there somewhere.