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Handmade Seller Interview: Deshca Designs (Metal Sculptures)

Deshca designs horse

This week’s interview is with a UK-based sculptor called Shaun, from Deshca Designs, who creates amazing (mainly copper) metal sculptures inspired by nature and wildlife. His creations would definitely made an eye-catching statement in your home or garden, especially the horse sculpture (pictured above), which I think is particularly spectacular.

Now it’s over to Shaun for the interview…

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started in your handmade business?
Hi, my name’s Shaun Jeffrey and I make copper sculptures. I started crafting a couple of years ago after I stopped writing fiction, which is something that I’d done for over twenty years as a hobby. I had a few books published by small press publishers, but having never made it as the ‘next big thing’ I became disillusioned with the writing scene.

I still needed an outlet for my creativity though, and I sort of stumbled into sculpting. I often saw items at craft fairs and online, and was always impressed with them, and it was a case of “I’d like to have a go at making something like that”.

I originally took design in metalwork as a subject at school, which admittedly was over 30 years ago, but it was always one of my favourite subjects, so it felt natural to return to something I’d enjoyed before.

Deshca designs lilypad

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I’ve always been creative, and I love the process of making things, so becoming an artist was a natural progression as an outlet to channel that creativity. Obviously that passion is contagious, as my other half makes greeting cards (mainly handmade anniversary cards) that she sells through our brand on Etsy at: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DeshcaDesignscards

Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Although my spare time is mainly taken up with my metalwork and my family, I also do self defence in the form of Krav Maga, which is Israeli in origin. I do that at least four times a week, for a couple of hours at a time. It’s a great form of fitness and you come away hopefully being a little more adept than you were before. Until recently I’d also done Tae Kwon Do, which I did with my son for over nine years.

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I’ve been creating for just over a couple of years. I’d always intended trying to sell, so after teaching myself the process of making them, and when I felt the standard was high enough, I started selling them, so that’s been around two years too.

Deshca designs flower

How many different places do you sell from?
I sell via the following venues online:
Etsy: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DeshcaDesigns
My own website: www.deshcadesigns.com
Folksy: folksy.com/shops/DeshcaDesigns
Amazon.co.uk: www.amazon.co.uk/handmade/DeshcaDesigns

How did you come up with your shop name?
The name Deshca Designs comes from the first two letters of my family’s first names. De from Debra, sh from Shaun and ca from our son, Callum.

Do you have another job? What is it?
Crafting is only a part time hobby, and my full-time job is as a signalling and telecommunications engineer on the railway.

What is your favourite part of your handmade business?
I find the actual process of making something the most satisfactory part. When you start with a flat piece of metal or pipe, and then start to work, something starts to take shape, (hopefully) turning into something recognisable, that’s where the magic happens, and the sense of achievement comes from. Of course not everything turns out great, but the more you persevere, the better things often turn out.

Deshca designs hummingbird

What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here?
I hope to eventually be in a position where I can make my sculptures full time, but I realise that’s ambitious. But it’s always good to have a target, no matter how high that target may be as it gives you something to strive for. I’d also love to have an exhibition of my work some day.

What would your dream job be?
My dream job would be doing what I’m doing, but on a full-time basis. Hopefully dreams can become reality.

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Handmade Seller Interview: Tanith Rouse Jewellery

Me in workshop back view

This week’s interview is with a UK-based jewellery creator called Tanith, from Tanith Rouse Jewellery, who dyes, paints and prints onto aluminium and then transforms it into modern necklaces, earrings, brooches and cuffs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else use this technique, and as a result, all of the items look so unique.

Now I will hand over to Tanith to find out a bit more about her life and her craft ….

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Tanith Rouse and I make colourful jewellery from hand dyed anodised aluminium. I live in a small city called Hereford which is close to the Welsh border.  I live with my husband and two children aged 9 and 12.

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How did you get started in your handmade business?

I started my business in 2012 setting up an online shop on Folksy and eventually adding another shop on Etsy.  At first, sales were slow, but then I developed a wider range of work and this seemed to get me noticed on Folksy and the sales came in more steadily.

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

Art was my best subject at school and my parents were always encouraging of my creativity.  They weren’t the sort of parents who worried about paint splodges on the carpets or scratches in my desk from craft knives. So I naturally progressed from school to Art College where originally, I’d wanted to study Graphic Design but when I was introduced to the Jewellery workshop I was hooked. After specialising in Jewellery Design I went on to the Birmingham School of Jewellery and gained a degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery.

Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to listen to music; I’ve recently become a fan of Elbow and am currently making my way through their albums.  I like to take my children roller skating and have been known to have a go myself.  I also like walking, particularly on the nearby Welsh mountains. I also read when the children are in bed and like all genres but particularly like more imaginative books such as those by Neil Gaiman.

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How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I’ve been creating jewellery since I was a teenager.  In the days when Sundays were really dull and nothing was open, I would entertain myself looking through my mum’s jewellery boxes. When I eventually bought my own jewellery, I would often take it apart and alter it to how I felt it should look. I stopped making jewellery in my 30’s due to having full time work and life generally getting in the way of creativity.  In 2012 I was made redundant and saw it as an opportunity to go back to my creative roots. I felt there were lots of opportunities for selling on line and did some research into the different platforms.  I liked the fact that Folksy was a UK based website with a strict hand-made only policy and tried it first.  Not long after, I opened a shop on Etsy. Etsy is a much bigger market place and therefore has more competition so I have struggled to be seen on it, but am slowly improving my viewing figures.

How many different places do you sell from?

My online shops are:

 www.folksy.com/shops/TanithRouseJewellery

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TanithRouseJewellery

and my Facebook  page is:

www.facebook.com/TanithRouseJewellery

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Do you collect anything?

I go on holiday to St. Ives in Cornwall at least twice a year.  There are several beaches in the town and the harbour beach has an abundance of sea glass.  I can often be found with my head down scratching around in the pebbles for bits of sea worn glass.  To me it’s like finding treasure.  I tend to just put it in a nice bowl and admire it, maybe one day I should try and make some jewellery out of it?

 What’s the most difficult part of your craft?

Anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram will know that I find riveting tricky.  It’s not possible to solder aluminium because it has a very low melting point.  If you need to attach anything to it, the best way is with a rivet which joins two pieces of metal together. I make the rivets from either aluminium wire or silver tube. The nerve wrecking part of the process is the last part when you hammer the wire or tube into a hole; that’s the point where it can all go wrong.

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If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?

I love Steve Martin films and my favourite one isn’t so well known.  It’s called “LA Story” and is about a man who is disillusioned with his shallow LA life style.  One day his car breaks down next to a digital road sign which ends up giving him advice about what he should do. There’s a great mix of humour, magic and thought provoking moments.

Do you have another job?  What is it?

I work two days a week for a local charity.  We are based in the city library and deal with health and wellbeing issues which cover anything from finding exercise classes to referring homeless people to housing agencies and mental health counselling.

 What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?

My hole punch, which I made on a lathe whilst studying in Birmingham.

My piercing saw, which I have had for over 20 years.

And my MP3 player, which is full of inspirational music that helps me switch off from the world and create my jewellery.

Rivets necklace 2

 

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Handmade Seller Interview: Striped Pebble

striped pebble lino print cowslip

This week’s interview is with a UK-based printmaker called Jane, from Striped Pebble, who produces beautiful linocut prints. I just love the natural feel of the prints, the presentation of the products, and the texture of the papers that have been used.

Now I will hand over to Jane….

How did you get started in your handmade business?

My next door neighbour gave me some offcuts when she had a lino floor fitted in her kitchen, and I was off! The lino tools came out of a dusty box having not been used since art college and I discovered a new passion.

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

Even at age eleven I made and sold soft toys to friends at school, I made a little catalogue with design options! It was something in me that was always there.

Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family and a gorgeous hairy dog called Marvin, who, between them, take up all my spare time.

striped pebble lino print goldfinch

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I have now been creating linocut designs and selling online for about six years.

How many different places do you sell from

I sell from three shops in the South West as well as my own website, my Etsy shop and my Folksy shop.

If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?

It would be Snow Cake, a film with Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver. Everyone should see it, brilliantly acted, about loneliness, grief and autism, it is warm, funny and enlightening.

What’s your biggest non craft-related ambition?

One day I will finish writing a book and get it published, there, I’ve said it, now it has to be done!

striped pebble lino print chamomile

How did you come up with your shop name?

My sister Vicky came up with the business name, and I accidentally stole it. We started selling together, and when she moved on, I carried on using it. She was living in North Devon at the time, by a beach that is full of striped pebbles.

What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here?

I have recently been joined in my studio, aka the kitchen, by my good friend Becky, who has given up her job to help me grow my business, so my hope this year, is to increase the income to provide us both with an income.

striped pebble lino print shells

If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?

I would love to learn carpentry, to be able to craft something useful and beautiful out of wood.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I would like to be able to control time, slow it down when I need to get twice as much done as I’m able, and speed it up when I can’t wait to go on holiday.

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Handmade Seller Interview: Pods & Plunder

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This week’s interview is with a UK-based jewellery maker called Caroline, from Pods & Plunder, who produces gorgeous jewellery from copper and silver. I particularly  like that the pieces are mainly inspired by natural plants and other objects, and my favourites are the fern frond earrings (pictured above).

Now I will hand over to Caroline…..

pods-plunder-2

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I have always been interested in the Arts and have always been making things . I did a degree in Fine Art and went on to teach Art and Design. Looking at beautiful paintings, sculpture and ceramics, or being involved in any making process – for practical or decorative purposes – simply makes me happy…… mostly (when it’s going right!)

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

  Attracted to silver jewellery and constantly admiring and buying bits and pieces, I decided to learn to make something myself. I began building up books, tools and skills about 10 years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed the learning process and the world of silversmithing.

Whilst I was practising my joining and sawing skills, I used copper to experiment with and discovered I really  liked the combination of copper and silver, so I have  continued to use it with all of its colour surprises.

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How did you get started in your handmade business?

After selling some of my jewellery at work and at a couple of craft fairs, I investigated interest in local crafts shops and was pleasantly surprised with positive feedback. I continue to have my work in a shop in Cardigan.

  I decided to look at online selling too. I wasn’t at all sure, but I’ve had such good reactions from people.

I set up my Folksy shop in December 2016. It’s called Pods&Plunder because I seemed to be deriving a lot of inspiration from seed pods, and I was also incorporating bits of ‘plunder’ from the nearby beaches in West Wales; which is bits of worn sea glass.

In ten years, where would you like to be?

In ten years I would like to still be alive and have a dedicated workshop in the garden, which is warm, dry, has space for all my stuff and wall space to put up all my inspiration. At the moment I am still on the end of the kitchen table, which is ok, but isn’t that practical…although it is handy for taking a second to peel the spuds/check the oven/stir a pan; when jewellery making is higher on the agenda than dinner.

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Have any pets?

We have two lovely dogs; an old black Lab called Meg and recently we gained a smaller dog, a cross Lurcher/Bedlington terrier, called Moss. We are lucky enough to live near the Preseli mountains and have a hill behind our house called the Frenni. We walk the dogs up there just about every day or we go to the coast; with loads of gorgeous spots to choose from. This allows me space in the day to collect thoughts (or bits off the beach) and be inspired, which is essential, as I also go to work in a College of Further Education for 4 days a week.

What is your favourite part of your handmade business?

The favourite part of making my jewellery is the bit where I have had an idea, have done a scribble and have a few free hours ahead of me to see how it’s going to work in practical terms. I love the creative process with all of its difficulties, surprises and joy; and when I am pleased with something, it is even more joyous when someone else likes it.

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Handmade Seller Interview: Bluebell Woodturning

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The Handmade Seller Interviews are back, yay!

And to start us off, we have an interview with a UK-based woodturner called Mel, from Bluebell Woodturning, who produces beautiful products including live edge bowls, fruit ornaments, bottle stoppers and necklaces.

Now I will hand over to Mel…..

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Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m Mel, I’m married and I work from my home-based workshop in Dudley, West  Midlands, England, creating  turned items on my lathes… and when I’m not doing that I like to play Crown Green Bowls all summer long, go for walks and grow my own vegetables.

How did you get started in your handmade business?

Woodturning has been my hobby since 2003, and, having been asked at craft events if I had a shop, I opened up on Folksy in October 2014 and – to my surprise – sold three fruits and a bowl only hours later.  I was hooked – and humbled that complete strangers wanted to buy my stuff!

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

 I’ve always liked to work with wood and, having joined a local club (Black Country Wood Turners) in 2003, the joy of revealing what is under the bark has never left me.

 Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I do all my own DIY except electrics, and I enjoy reading crime novels and quizzing as part of a local pub team.

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How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I’ve always made things, right from a model cooker when my two daughters were young to now producing turned items and display stands for craft fair days. I’ve been on Folksy since October 2014 and opened an Etsy shop on 21st February 2017.

How many different places do you sell from?

 I sell on Folksy and Etsy, as well as at Bernies Café’ (4 Main St, Ingleton, Carnforth LA6 3EB) which sells great food and has been stocking my work since June 2016. This is working out really well, since he gets a lot of tourists being in the Yorkshire Dales.

What’s your biggest non craft-related ambition?

I would like to win a Bowls singles competition with my family watching, including our grandson Lewis who I hope will take up bowls in four or five years time – he’s only 18 months old now.

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How did you come up with your shop name?

I love Bluebells and it seems to evoke a sense of wellbeing for people and is easily remembered.

What is your favourite part of your handmade business?

Wrapping up orders – I get a real buzz sending things out, receiving feedback, and the walk to the Post Office gives me some exercise.

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?

 My lathes, turning chisels and Dust Bee Gone mask because fine dust particles can give you nasal cancer.

bluebell-woodturned-fruit

Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?

Yes, Dew Drop Crafts on Folksy – Julie is a lovely girl who gave me great support when I started.

More Tea, Vicar? on Folksy – Natalie makes lovely knit wear

JAustenJewelleryDesign on Folksy – Jacqueline makes beautiful one-off pieces.