For today’s interview please welcome Joanne from StitchArt.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? Hi I’m Joanne of StitchArt.co.uk I live in Manchester, U.K in a house very much like on coronation street for those who are familiar with the show.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your craft/design based business. I’m predominately textiles as the name suggest but over the last year or so I have evolved and branched out to mixed media.
3. How did the idea for your business come about? I’ve been passionate about art ever since I can remember so after school I went to college to study art & design. Life drawing was never my strong point, for everyone who doesn’t know its drawing naked people and if you can master that you can call yourself an artist in the most traditional sense of the word. My tutors pushed me towards textiles which turned out to be no bad thing. I left collage and studied textiles with the desire to combine both art with textiles. The year I graduated I held my first solo exhibition, it all started there.
4. How long now have you been established? Since 2002, back then I was very much textile and stitch art pictures and I did lose heart for a while until my friend got her own shop and asked to sell my work. Ive only really branched out into craft scene since the handmade boom a couple of years ago.
5. How do you decide what to make, and how do you come up with your great ideas? Unless I’m working on a commission I work from all the images and ideas trapped in my head clawing to get out. I use my work as an escapism in which I live in a land full of whimsy not a back street terrace.
6. Do you undertake your business on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? I also do office work to bring in a steady income. It never came as shock, while studying I did work experience with a talented and well established textile artist who also had to bring in another income.
7. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business? I’m mainly running around in a blind panic wondering how I’m going to get everything done. On week days I reply to messages and emails, despatch orders and do all the practical stuff. Then at weekends I solely focus on the creative side, although two days is never enough. My handbag is actually a weekend bag as I needed something large enough to carry my projects around to do them on the go.
8. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft based business? Rome wasn’t built in a day, learn from your experiences and don’t let the bad ones put you off we all start at the bottom. Networking is crucial and not just online I make friends at craft fairs and ask about their experiences with other fairs and share my own, that way I weed out the best fairs to apply for. I’m a member of AIR (artists interaction & representation) and a great face book group called Craft Soup open to those in & around the Yorkshire area, I think its important to keep yourself in the know.
9. As this is Art of Crafts I have to ask, do you enjoy any crafts yourself in your spare time? If so, please tell us more. Oh yes lots but I wouldn’t say I had any spare time 🙂 I experiment with all sorts of mediums, clay, jewellery making, resin, a bit of wood work. I’m not sure if there’s a craft out there that I havent tried but it’s only really textiles that holds my enthusiasm.
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a web address, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can find out more ?
My facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/StitchArtcouk/90940789669
I just opened a folksy shop http://www.folksy.com/shops/StitchArt
My website is StitchArt.co.uk although I recently took it down as it looked dated. I hope to have a fresh new site within the next couple of months.
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