Selling online as an artist didn't come easily for me. In 2009 when I started my business it was little more than a way to make some extra cash to pay for more clay so I could keep my hobby going. I was still a college student working multiple jobs and attending part-time classes watching as all of my peers began to graduate. I felt left behind, directionless, and broke. On Facebook I'd seen a college friend mention she was beginning to sell on Etsy, and not knowing what it was about I looked into it. That same afternoon I opened my Etsy shop.
I had plenty of pottery sitting around that I could sell... in theory. But I didn't know how to sell online, or how to take a halfway decent product photo, or how to write about my work objectively in a compelling way. I didn't let any of that stop me. I learned every single thing the hard way through sheer determination.
Early on I met fellow just-getting-started artist, Allie Dattilio. We met through Etsy and began exchanging emails. We shared the highs and lows, and encouraged each other over the years as our online art businesses grew.
We didn't set out to start a business together. That happened very organically. We recognized a need for a community for artists selling online that not only offered support, troubleshooting, and feedback but one that also got right into the nitty gritty of being a successful online entrepreneur.
Running a growing art business isn't only about the feel-good creative side of things. There are important business tasks too like bookkeeping, taxes, diversifying revenue streams, and understanding business acronyms like ROI, SEO, and TOM and how they relate to your business. Considering we'd both created thriving online businesses as artists we decided to create that community ourselves: The Studio Source.
This upcoming week on Thursday, 1/17 we're opening The Membership for a limited time (only until 1/22) and we'd love to have you join us! All the details about The Membership are here. Be sure to join The Waitlist for an email notification right when The Membership opens!
photo credit: Jacob Buwalda
Sometimes inspiration strikes and it doesn't totally align with our mantra of "Making Mealtimes Beautiful" and that's okay. Usually this comes in the form of my painting practice at home, an avenue of creative expression that I don't bring into the commercial side of Suite One Studio (well yet anyways!).
Right now I'm utterly fixated on making porcelain tiles to create a faux-wall to live behind my pottery wheel now that I've moved that into the commercial studio and out of my garage where it's been living.
Why a tile wall? There's the practical side that it'll be very easy to sponge away clay splatter messes while keeping the walls in the studio that we painstakingly painted a year ago looking fresh and new. And then there's the answer that basically any Millennial-run business probably considers: It'll look super good on instagram.
Not to mention I'm really enjoying the process of making the tiles and my little throwing corner needs some personality! By making the wall on removable panels it becomes movable and impermanent, which factored into the thinness of the tiles. If I ever make tiles for a permanent wall I'll make them thicker and heavier. (Just putting that out there if anyone wants to explore that project together in the future! I'm game!)
On instagram I've been sharing process photos from this project including this one above of those same glazed tiles before they were glazed, right after unloading them from a bisque firing.
Originally I planned to glaze the tiles all the same color, but while in the middle of glazing I felt inspired to mix it up a little by playing with my rose and white glaze. As more tiles come out of production I'm excited to rearrange them until I get the layout just right. I'll share the project as it unfolds right here on the blog and on instagram-- which if you're not already following I'd love to have you join me there! I share daily in my stories and feed, and you can catch all kinds of behind the scenes happenings!
No surprise here, I'm a visual learner. Having inspirational visuals in my workspace provides direction and reassurance when I'm designing and it's a big part of my artistic process. I like to start each year by making a fresh moodboard to reflect what's currently inspiring me. It's kinda like my Pinterest boards but in real life.
At this point I'm already weeks into working on my first two one-of-a-kind collections for 2019 (I'm changing the way we restock here on the site and will have more details about these collections later this month!) so it may surprise you to read that I haven't yet visually mapped out my inspiration boards for the new year. As a small studio, we're all heads down working in a blur through the holidays and I'm still too in it to start purposefully reflecting on my inspiration for the next year until after Christmas. Sure, I have general ideas of where my next year of work is heading, but I really need a little down time to work it out visually. That's exactly where I am today on the first day of 2019, magazines at the ready to start clipping out that inspiration!
While I work on my 2019 moodboard I thought it'd be fun to share with you the 2018 board I've lived with in the studio this past year and to analyze how that inspiration did or didn't make it's way into my work last year.Color:
The color palette on my board started out fairly minimal-- just look at the above photo as I was first starting my board last year. Lots of white, watercolor washes, gold details. Sounds pretty spot on for Suite One Studio. By the end of the year my board was filled with color, and notably a LOT of blue! I wouldn't have said blue was a big color for my work in 2018, but I happened to have just checked my "Top 9" posts on instagram last night for all of 2018 and to my surprise this blue photo below was my most-liked photo of the entire year! Pretty interesting, right?
This is another surprise to me, and something I haven't fully seen realized yet in my work, but wow there are a lot of dynamic lines and angled geometrics on my 2018 moodboard. My forms tend to be softer, rounder, organic shapes not the diagonals seen on my board so this was pretty interesting to reflect on! I'm interested to see if this will make it's way into my 2019 collection.
I started painting again last year, informally but with more purpose than I have in years. It all started with the label I painted for our seasonal candle released initially in Fall 2017. That project got me thinking about pattern design and how to incorporate my aesthetic into a product that wasn't ceramic. I haven't been able to shake this fascination and expect to see more painting and pattern designing in my 2019.
Foliage and leaves are trending in decor and I got the memo. My mom has always been a gardener and I grew up spending a lot of time around plants. Since buying my own home I've been aware of a desire to garden more, and to actually keep my house plants alive instead of just replacing them with newer, greener ones like I used to (so embarrassing to say that out loud.) I think those personal elements combined with the greenery trend made a big impression on my 2018 moodboard. We did make a Fiddle Leaf Fig Cheeseboard this year as a limited design, so it's fair to say this inspiration made it's way into my work last year. (We have one more of these coming before the design is retired. Click the pink Waitlist button on this page to signup for a restock notice if you want to make it yours!)
I wonder if there will be any big surprises on my 2019 board! Right now I'm suspecting I'll be playing more with texture in 2019, and making some slight shifts to the palette I've become known for. I don't know exactly what that'll mean yet, but it's a feeling I have about what's been catching my attention lately.
That gets back to one of the reasons I love to create a moodboard to begin with-- by getting all of your inspiration out in a single place it becomes possible to step back and really look at it and the common elements become so apparent!
Pinterest preforms a similar function for me digitally and I love that I can store my inspiration on the go on my Pinterest boards. Two of my favorite boards right now are this Art board and this Making Mealtimes Beautiful, but there's something so immersive about physically cutting the inspiration and organizing it both intentionally and intuitively that really speaks to me.
Do you keep a moodboard as part of your creative process? Come talk about it on instagram!
Cheers to an inspirational year!
Thank you all for supporting our growing studio this year! 2018 was big year of growth for us and we couldn't have done it without you! From moving into our very first commercial space 10 months ago, to hiring our first employee (hi Caroline!), and my new venture, The Studio Source cofounded with my friend (and incredibly talented oil painter, Allie Dattilio) this year has been filled to the brim with possibility. I can't wait to continue developing these potentials in 2019!
To celebrate our growth and prepare the shelves for all the new designs coming in 2019 we're running a 30% off sale on all orders $50 and up! Use code: ENDOFYEARTREAT at checkout to enjoy your special treat! Shop here! (Code ends 12/31/2018 at 11:59 PM EST.)
Just like every year, with the closing of a year comes the retirement of some designs. If there's something in stock that you've had your eye on all year now is the perfect time to make those coveted pieces yours before they're gone for good!
xoxo LindsayShop this post:
This was one of the most exciting projects to land in my inbox all year! I had the opportunity to create an extra large Baroque Platter for Bon Appétit magazine to showcase their impressive holiday ham.
The project came with a few welcome challenges: A nearly unheard of in handmade pottery 6 day production lead-time from start to finish, and the platter needed to be able to comfortably hold an 18" ham. Our usual Baroque Platters measure at 14" long by 10" wide, so the customized version had to be much larger, which meant freehand carving the form instead of using the template I usually work from. I love to push the accepted limits of ceramics, so I was all in for these challenges!
The platter needed to make sense as a larger form, meaning it needed to proportionally increase in size, not only length. I started by working with a massive amount of clay, more than double the size I usually work with when making our standard Baroque Platters. This resulted in an adequately thick form that could be enlarged in all directions without composing structure, function, or design.
I made the form as an oval first to ensure my proportions could work within the size needed by the client. Please excuse the phone quality photos. I was so excited and in the flow working on this piece that I didn't grab my camera for a proper in process shot.
An 18" ham would need room on all sides to properly serve, and I needed to account for the near 13% shrinkage rate my porcelain undergoes from wet clay to the finished product three firings later. This platter was gigantic! Thankfully our largest kiln could accommodate it!
Below is the platter after carving, still very damp and drying on a plaster slab-- one of my tricks to dry the bottom of the thick clay at a faster speed to keep up with the tight deadline.
After completing the platter within record time, I shipped it up for the Bon Appétit team to style and shoot. I'm thrilled with the final product! The platter looks perfectly at home in this glorious feast and I now think I need to make extra large Baroque Platters a product in our shop! Would you use one for your holiday entertaining?
If you'd like to see this in person, pick up a copy of the December 2018-January 2019 Bon Appétit Holiday Issue!
Happiest of Holiday Wishes to you all!