Craft Britannia Shop of The Week #75, blindcrowcreations
Our final CraftBritannia Shop of the Week of 2013 is blindcrowcreations, and we talk with Rebecca, who creates polymer clay jewellery and fimo beads in gorgeous colours.
Describe your “typical” working day or week
After the usual email catch up, to see if any of my clients need me, I check-in with Craft Britannia to see what my fellow teamies are up to on the monthly chat and promote thread. Then if I have freelance work in hand I will edit for a few hours. At this point I usually realise I have worked right through lunch and am ravenously hungry, so I will have something to eat and think about my shop. I do something for my shop every day – I might spend a couple of hours making items or if I’m not cross-eyed from spending all morning on my computer editing clients’ work I might set up my week’s promo on Fanchimp, or network with other UK crafters on Twitter and Pinterest. I find it relaxing and very rewarding to do something with my hands after a day spent thinking about other people’s grammar!
Round Cufflinks by blindcrowcreations
When you are not doing Etsy related things, what are you doing?
I recently became self-employed as a freelance editor, so when I am not doing Etsy-related things I am doing things related to editing and building my business. On a typical non-Etsy day I might be editing a client’s project, meeting up with a client either in person or over Skype, or working to develop my online presence.
What was the first piece you ever sold?
The first piece I ever sold from this shop was to my Mum – she saw my bandana bead bracelet and decided that she had to have it. I seem to remember I was pretty ruthless and charged her full price for it too!!
What advice would you give someone taking up your craft for the first time?
If you’re totally new to polymer clay, find a guild in your local area and go for a session there. You’ll meet lots of friendly people who have been making things with clay for a very long time, and most of them will be only too pleased to help you find suppliers and recommend books and DVDs. There may even be a discount for guild members with some suppliers, so it is worth asking. Most guilds also have a demonstration at the session, so check the calendar to see if there is anything coming up that you are particularly interested in and would like to learn more about. Sometimes the demos are given by other guild members, and sometimes they’re by very well-known polymer clay artists.
If you don’t have a guild near you, the next best thing is the Internet. Pinterest has literally thousands of free polymer clay tutorials and YouTube is packed with videos. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to the polymer clay tutorials that you can follow for ideas. With so much information available for free online, it really is mind-bogglingly easy to pick up a new skill these days and to meet and learn from other people too.
XL Plus Size Women’s Bangle by blindcrowcreations
What material do you most enjoy working with?
I suppose I have to say polymer clay! I love working with it because it is so versatile. If you can imagine it, you can make it with polymer clay. I also love how colourful it is, and how there is no waste. Although it is a plastic and so non-biodegradable, it can be recycled and is completely non-toxic. Baked clay can also accept raw clay and can be baked many times, so pieces that might otherwise be thrown away because the pattern or colour isn’t right can be used as the base for a new piece.
If you could try a new craft, what would it be?
Just one new craft? Wow, I’m not sure I could narrow it down to just one! I love to try new crafts and am constantly trying new things out. Some of them stick, which is great, and some of them I enjoy having a go at but decide not to do them again.
I am currently learning how to throw on a potter’s wheel. One of my editing clients – a ceramics artist – has recently opened a studio and is building up her business and she pays me in studio time rather than cash. I love this because it feels like a great exchange, and means I can practice my throwing guilt-free whenever I have built up enough hours.
Which piece of equipment would you be helpless without?
My pasta machine – it is my workhorse tool. I use it to condition clay, to blend colours, and to quickly roll out uniform sheets of clay. Without it I would have to use a rolling pin and thickness guides and roll the sometimes very stiff clay by hand. My pasta machine saves me hours of work 🙂
Spirits of fire II twisted bracelet by blindcrowcreations
Tell us about what inspires and motivates you
I am motivated by my need to create. I have had many hobbies over the years and they have all had the same impetus – to do something productive and absorbing that allows me to channel my creative vision into a physical object. In terms of my designs, I am motivated by the world around me. I love colour and form, and I take inspiration from nature and from travel. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to inspiration for polymer clay and it is filled with colour palettes, patterns, textures, and photographs that I love and am inspired by.
Tell us about one handmade item that you own and love
I have a small platter that I made recently in my client’s ceramics studio. It came about when I was trying to throw a bowl and the sides flopped. I kept going and ended up with a flat platter with a neatly turned edge. I liked it and my client let me keep it, and now it is fired it looks like I set out to make a platter! I have decorated it with coloured slips and a clear glaze and I love it. It reminds me that sometimes the material knows what it wants to be better than the artist does.
What plans do you have for your shop in the future?
World domination! Joking aside, I would love it if I could reach a stage where people would recognise my work if they saw it. It’s a daydream of mine that someone somewhere will see one of my necklaces and say: “isn’t that one of Rebecca’s?”