Friday, 12 April 2019

I Buy Small Too

I've been meaning to write this blog post for a while, but somehow never got around to collecting all of the things together to photograph! If you follow my Instagram and Facebook accounts I'm afraid I do go on about this sort of thing all the time but I wanted to show you that it isn't all just talk and that I do practice it myself.
I'm talking, of course, about buying from small sellers, independent shops and local artists, whether that be through their websites, Etsy, Folksy, Not On The Highstreet, at markets, craft fairs or through Facebook. Being a small seller and independent artist myself I can really appreciate how time consuming it is to run your own little business. You never switch off and will be answering emails at 10pm, editing prints over breakfast and taking design work with you on holiday. Everything comes back to you and it's amazing the skills you have to pick up along the way; it's not so much multi-tasking as MEGA-tasking!
When I can I try and support others like me by purchasing something from them and also sharing what I have bought on social media, tagging the artist/seller to spread the word about them. Sadly I don't have the funds to be able to buy original pieces all of the time but most people will have different items to suit all budgets and prints can be really high quality!
The above image is one of my very first big pieces of art, bought at the Penshurst Place Craft Fair from watercolour artist, Sheila Gill. She had used the cows on a banner to promote her stand and I absolutely fell in love with them and their characters, immediately asking if she had a print left. Luckily for me, this was the last one (although I have noticed that prints of 'A Moo or Two' are available on her website, linked above)!!

Last year at the Kent County Show, I had a stand opposite my friend (and designer of my logo and blog banner!), Emily Richards who is an amazing illustrator of animal characters. The little alpaca on the left was winking and smiling at me for the entire first day of the show so on the second day I hopped over and bought him! Now he smiles at me as I walk up the stairs.
On the right is a little print from Kate Brazier who I follow on pretty much all social media fronts. She paints the most darling little house scenes and has so much texture in her work. I want everything she makes really but I recently settled on this lovely 'Sunshine On A Rainy Day' print as it reminds me of days spent down by the beach (and looks very much like a Stitchscape don't you think?). I bought it via her Etsy shop and can I just say, I've even kept the packaging the print arrived in! The envelope has a little house drawing done by Kate before posting and her business card was so beautiful it could be framed on it's own.

I often share my work and items listed in Etsy to Pinterest because it's amazing what you can come across on there! During a (procrastinating) flick through Pinterest last year I came across a gorgeous framed needlefelted landscape with cute little sheep. On a closer inspection of the origins of the image I found the artist, Maxine Smith of Tilly Tea Dance, and, more importantly, her Etsy shop! I treated myself to the sheep art on the right side and, for Christmas last year, The Mother bought me the absolutely stunning Sea Pinks frame on the left hand side (top marks for present buying there Mother!). These are very reasonably priced little originals and there is no glass in the frames which means you can have a good old fondle.

Another artist I follow closely on social media is Julie Dumbarton who specialises in enormous and fabulous oil paintings with so much colour and depth you could quite literally fall into them! I wish I lived closer to her because her studio is in a converted church and is regularly open for you to pop in for a cuppa lose yourself in her paintings.
I definitely cannot afford to buy her originals (although I so, so want to!) and content myself with prints of her work which still have the most amazing colour to them! I treated myself to a second print recently (I already have one bought for me by my university friends several years ago) from her website as I saw it pop up on her Facebook page. It's glorious, don't you think? The reflections and sunshine and pops of colour in the moody woods.

I don't just buy prints and framed artworks (there is a limit to the wall space I am allowed). I recently discovered a jewellery shop on Etsy called Curious Owl Shop run by Christine Levis, and really liked these handmade textured stacking rings (set of three). They are really well made and I love the different textures in them. I may also have ordered a couple more which will be dispatched shortly once she has finished making them.

Of course if you can't afford an original, or don't have the space for a print, most artists will also have a range of greetings cards as they are a great multi-functional product. Not only do people buy them from the artist but they will then send it to someone else who will like the image on the front, automatically advertising further afield and potentially creating future sales that way (sneaky I know). I visit the Sussex Guild shop in Lewes quite often and really love the work of Annie Soudain who is a linoprint artist. Her use of colour is really interesting and I love the perspective in her landscapes, the way the fields and hills fall away or drift off to the horizon. I have given a couple of her cards to friends and family but generally I just buy them for me to keep and am thinking of getting one of those collage mount frames so that I can display them all together.

So, I hope that you have enjoyed seeing my little art collection. It's small but growing steadily as I create new contacts within the art world. It really interests me that although I don't particularly care much for painting and drawing myself, most of my purchased art pieces are watercolours or painted works. Still highly textured but, ultimately, flat (most unlike my own work)!
If you are interested in learning more about the reasons for buying from small sellers or independent shops, I am a humble promoter of the Just A Card Campaign which is all about this cause and is run by artists/designers/shop owners/makers etc. It's a growing topic and discussion but well worth following.

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