Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a member of the Cabbagetown Clay and Glass Works, a co-operative artist-run studio established in 2002. I never could have dreamed of becoming a full-time potter without the support and encouragement of my awesome studio-mates. Thanks pals!!!
What you should know before you ask me out to a nice restaurant is that I have a loud laugh. The kind of laugh that some people might be embarrassed to be seen with. The kind of laugh that stops people in their tracks at the grocery store. The kind of laugh that some people might find charming and others might find obnoxious. A quick honk like a donkey might make. Or so I’ve been told.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I think about creating things. Out of paper. Or maybe out of wire. I dream of someday hauling my sewing machine out of the closet and transforming my stash of fabric into something other than a stash of fabric that I move from apartment to apartment.
I observe and look. I’m quiet and standoffish. I walk. I go swimming. I wish that bills and laundry and dirty dishes would just take care of themselves. I make hot tea but than wait until it is almost cold before I drink it. I don’t always answer the phone when it rings.
What first made you want to become an artist?
Art supplies. Is there anything more inspiring than an art supply store? Or an pad full of crisp drawing paper? Or a fresh bag of clay? Making things has always been something that I do. Becoming a full-time artist really wasn’t something that I considered until I lost interest in my job and began dreaming about spending my days in the studio. So I worked toward that goal for a bit and then jumped in with both feet and try to keep my head above water.
Please describe your creative process.
Working with clay can be a love/hate relationship. You have to have patience to see it through to the end. And it’s a lot of work and time invested to go from a nugget of an idea in your head to final product coming out of the kiln. Only to decide that you really didn’t like that idea after all. Or that you wish you had glazed it a different color. But I find that the more I make, the more I want to make.
I enjoy just about every step in the process of making pottery. So it is not hard to get me into the studio. But it does take some discipline to make what I need to make rather than making a new idea or spinning off into a whole other direction. I try to give myself a day every couple of weeks where I can play in the studio. This seems to help keep things fun and fresh. I never want to process to be a drag or feel like an obligation.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I am lucky to have a life that has always had handmade. From my small ceramic animal collection to Kenn’s screenprinted poster collection. We are just drawn to the handmade and like to support it as much as we can.
But I think I most cherish a small painting by my Grandpa. He died shortly before I was born, but through this little framed canvas I feel like I got to know him. At least a tiny bit.
Name your top five books, movies, musicians, and websites besides Etsy.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Know that for most artists, this is not easy. It takes work and patience and time. Don’t worry if you don’t get there right away. I am constantly evolving my shop and looking for ways to improve (seriously, go look at the photos of my first sold items… yikes!) I think that is just part of the process. And hopefully you find at least some tiny bit of enjoyment in that part, too.
I also get a lot of encouragement from my Etsy Team- Vegan EtsyIf you can find a team that works for you, they are great resources for information and friendship.
While I am no longer a member, the Etsy Mud Team is a wonderful team for potters and ceramic artists.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love the opportunity that Etsy has allowed me. I went from not knowing the first thing about how to build a website, to having my own little storefront literally overnight. Once I discovered Etsy, I was pretty hooked. Etsy has made it so easy and accessible for people like me to pursue our dreams.
Browsing other people’s shops and snooping in other people’s favorites, is a great way to kill a few hours. The amount of creativity is astounding and inspiring. It is really wonderful to watch my favorite Etsy artists grow and change over time.
I would really, really, really wish we could use coupon-codes. And a shipping calculator or postal zones for the U.S. I use several of the Etsy hacks and would like to see those integrated into the site. Particularly, copy listings and sold orders plus.
How do you promote your work?
I have a pottery blog. I don’t really think of it as promotion, so much as a way for my mom to see what I have been up to. I tend to hibernate in the studio, so having a blog, flickr and facebook is a good way for my friends and family to keep tabs on my where-abouts.
I have been very fortunate to be featured in several blogs and am grateful to everyone that has taken notice of my pottery. Thank you!
In ten years, where would you like to be?
Let’s just see how everything plays out, okay? But happy, healthy and a shared studio space with K. would be a good start.