Sunday, April 06, 2014

Buy Handmade vol 102 PLUS GIVEAWAY!

This week we head to Brisbane Australia

Name: Belinda Stanton
Age: 39
Occupation: Artist/designer
Etsy Shop: Belinism (Blog:

Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Australia with my husband, our children and much loved ageing Springer spaniel. My nickname is Belin, clay is my thing, along with painting and drawing. Were possible I try to combine all three things.
When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
In pre-school I spent more time looking out of the classroom window, doodling on the back of work books than working in them. Later in high school, it was on the back of exam papers. Something to draw with and something to draw on and I am away…with the fairies, flowers, sunshine, clouds...
I have had an Etsy shop for over 2 years. It has taken me a while to ‘find my feet’ and I still have so much to learn. I am only just starting to make regular sales on Etsy these last few months.
How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I didn’t want to use my full name (Belinda Stanton) it was too long and not very memorable. When I first meet my husband, he called me Belin, which just seemed to stick. Over the years my quirky/whimsical way at looking at the world became labelled as a “Belinism”. So I guess using this as my business name seemed only natural.

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
I currently work part time as a graphic designer… and yes, I would love to be able to give that job away in the future. To see Etsy become a big part of my main income would be awesome but I also have my heart set on having exhibitions and continuing to do the occasional design market. I have an exhibition coming up in September to show some of my larger sculptural pieces. If I can keep the Etsy shop rolling AND develop a career as an artist I would be one very happy lady.
How would you describe your creative process?
I do a lot of sketching and imagining in my numerous sketch diaries. I’m not always in the studio so when inspiration hits I want to be able to jot it down. When I do eventually get time in the studio I like to make the most of it. There are quite a lot of stages for both my ceramic table ware and sculptural pieces to go through… after the initial concept, I have to work out how it will work in clay, build it, apply any surface decorations, fire it, glaze it, fire it again and sometimes even fire it a third time (if I want to add a lustre). Simple pieces usually take a month or so to make their way around the studio. Sculptural pieces can take months (and months and months…). Then there is the photographing, marketing, admin, bookkeeping, etc.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Anywhere and anything. From the kids, the backyard, conversations with people, books, music, experiences, etc. One of the more recent sculptural pieces I am working on at the moment is about the train ride I take to get to my design job. The day to day regularity of life. Inspiration can be found anywhere.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows? 
Yes. I think it’s important to get yourself out there on a physical level and see how people react to your work. I have been at a few big design markets like Melbourne Made:trade:design fair and the Finderskeepers markets but I am also a member of our local BrisStyle designer market. We’re a community of designers and crafters that also have a great Etsy presence.
I’m not sure I’ll make it to many this year with the exhibition happening. There is so much preparation to do when taking your work to markets, especially the bigger ones. They are more like pop up shops and carrying your stock and set up to other states can be quite challenging and yet can also be quite rewarding.
What is your most cherished handmade item?
That’s not fair. I am deeply in love with all  the little art creations I’ve picked up from other artists over the years.
Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
Spend time with my family, taking the dog to the beach, listening to music, daydreaming…

Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
No, with a mind like a butterfly, I always thought I would have a job where I could be creative.
Five years from now you will be…
Hopefully doing the same things but maybe on a larger scale.
Describe yourself in five words:
Whimsical, playful, imaginative, maternal, complicated

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your stereo, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
David Bowie
The beatles
Kate Miller Heidke
Megan Washington
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
Be yourself, be unique and keep going doing it!!
Something I have learnt from doing craft shows — Some people will not understand your work at all and will leave your stand unimpressed and vacant, that’s OK. Others will just love what you do and leave your stall thrilled, they’ve finally found you and your work! It’s exactly what they’ve been searching for! These are the wonderful people you should think of whenever you start feeling discouraged.
Do what you do because you love it and someone else will surely love it too. Just get it out there and consistently keep getting it out there.

Belinda has been gracious enough to give one of you lucky readers one of her prints!

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