Monday, December 2, 2013

Artist Spotlight - Carolyn of Sprouts Press Designs

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Artist Spotlight."  Today’s artist is Carolyn Eady of Sprouts Press Designs.

Tell us a little about yourself and your creative business

Hello, I
m Carolyn of Sprouts Press. I live and work in Toronto, Ontario out of my home studio. I suppose you could say I’m an artist and also a crafter, a multi disciplinary creator if you will! Primarily I’m a bookbinder, which means that I hand cut paper for pages and cover my own boards (sometimes in my own handmade paper) for book covers. Then I hand bind these materials into books using a needle and linen thread and a carefully chosen binding stitch. I love learning new hand binding techniques and am always on the lookout for used books to save and repurpose into journals or book art. I’m also a printmaker, focusing on screen printing and block printing. I print onto both paper and fabric, then sew the fabric into things like tea towels and hankies. My screen printed imagery revolves around Canadian flora.

How did you get your start?

Well, I’ve always loved books. I was always reading as a kid and stapling together my own notebooks and filling them with notes and drawings. My first job ever, way back in high school, was in a library. Then at art college I got side-tracked from my pursuit of drawing and painting by printmaking, papermaking and book arts.

After I went to art college here in Toronto, I then studied overseas for a year in Italy. While there, I developed a real appreciation and love for hand bound books, fine Florentine papers and the artisans who craft these things by hand, with tools and passion. I returned to Canada knowing that this was the way I wanted to live my life! Since then I’ve been creating and selling my wares online, at brick and mortar shops and various book arts fairs and craft fairs. I also love to teach my craft through workshops and courses, I’d love to start making online tutorials – perhaps in the future!

Where do you get your inspiration?

From so many sources: everyday observations of shapes, textures and colour interactions. From my travels and the passionate artisans discovered along the way, from words of wisdom, both spoken and written. I think being a creative maker is almost a lifestyle, it changes the way you experience life and everything sort of comes together in a really harmonious way. Don’t get me wrong, it can be a bit of a roller coaster, but in my opinion it’s totally worth it.
To bring that paragraph into reality; my hand bound books are inspired by my own personal experiences with writing and sketching. I’ve realized that the functionality of a book structure and how it can be designed to suit certain activities, such as watercolour painting while hiking or hand-sized journals for toting along to the coffee shop, has shaped many of my book projects.

What has been your biggest successful moment so far?

Well, my biggest success is in the works, actually. And unfortunately I cannot spill the beans just yet! (I
m pretty darn excited though, stay tuned!)

Otherwise, I
d say success for me has been reaching the goals I set for myself and looking back to realize how hard I’ve worked and to see how far I’ve come.

What challenges do you face selling online?

I think my biggest challenge is the fact that books are not just a thing, they’re a tactile experience. Selling online removes that part, the discovery of what it’s actually like to hold a hand bound book, to feel its weight, to smell the leather, to feel the thickness of the page papers. I try my best with photos and descriptions, but it’s not the same.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy?

Someone else gave me this advice when I was just starting out on Etsy and I didn’t believe them at first and ignored it. (Yes, I was one of those newbies who merely listed my items and just waited for sales, then wondered why none came in).

Anyways, the advice was to make treasuries! Here’s why. First: it’s fun!! Second: it gets you into the Etsy community and lets you find where your items fit best. Then it connects you to other like-minded sellers, and then to their buyers (and vice versa, of course. We’re all in this together!) Oh, did I mention that it’s fun!

Interested in learning more about Carolyn?  Here are her links:

That wraps up another edition of “Artist Spotlight.”  Remember to check back next Monday for our latest featured artist.  If you or someone you know would like to be featured, please convo me or Zoica via etsy convo.
Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time…

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