This week’s interview is with U.K.-based Amandine from Fleur de Carotte, who creates tactile, unique & colourful jewellery and ceramics. My favourite pieces are the ‘female artists’ vases – especially Virginia Woolf (shown above).
I’ll now let Amandine tell you more about herself and her art:
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I am Amandine, I am French and I have lived in the UK for the last 6 years. I currently live in Brighton, ten minutes away on foot from the beach!
How did you get started in your handmade business?
My handmade business started with making and selling leather jewellery as well as handprinted textile goods. Then I fell in love with ceramics and started to sell my ceramic vases and jewellery, which is my main focus now. I am mainly self-taught and I have learnt these skills through experimenting. My jewellery is inspired by nature and the Art Deco movement. My ceramics are whimsical, playful and created from my own illustrations.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I love learning new crafts, and over the past seven years I have practised and experimented in embroidery, dressmaking, weaving, screenprinting on textile and ceramics. I think I found my medium with ceramics – the possibilities are endless and the hidden illustrator inside me can reveal itself on a more playful surface than paper!
Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I love to dance to latino music, go out with friends, have naps in the sunshine, read, do some weaving, sketch new ideas, learn a new language and travel!
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I have been drawing, painting and making things since forever, however I started to sell my designs online on Etsy in February 2015. Before that, I sold some jewellery pieces informally to friends and acquaintances.
How many different places do you sell from?
I choose to only sell from Etsy (http://www.fleurdecarotte.etsy.com) as it is easier, although I also have my own beautiful website showing all of my work in its entirety: http://www.fleurdecarotte.org
How did you come up with your shop name?
Fleur de Carotte means carrot flower in French. The flower part represents for me a connection with nature and feminity. The carrot part is because I used to dye my hair in ginger and some friends called me carrot! And overall carrot flowers are beautiful, wild flowers that live in many fields.
What is your favourite part of your handmade business?
I love the moment when I style and photograph my products – seeing the final result when you know that it all started with some sketches and clay only is very very satisfying! I also really enjoy all steps of the whole making process in general in ceramics and jewellery making.
What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
The first tool is my hands – I could not draw, paint, cut, or mould without them! The second tool is my banding wheel for handshaping and glazing my planters – the banding wheel allows you to turn your vase in any direction which is very useful when giving shape to something or painting some details on. The third tool would be my leather rotary cutter – I use this cutter to very neatly and carefully cut small intricate leather shapes like the leaves of my Twig necklace.
If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?
I would like to have a go at lost wax carving to make bronze, silver or gold jewellery. But I know that if I try, I will fall in love with it and that will be another addiction which will prevent me from staying focused on my craft!
What’s the most difficult part of your craft?
When it comes to ceramics, patience and not wanting to be in control is the key. I am fine with the fact that the results are a surprise and you have to satisfy yourself with the inherent little imperfections, however the worst is when a kiln breaks down and you have to fulfill a wholesale order by a certain deadline… I am trying to explain to stockists that deadlines have to be relaxed with ceramics!