Friday, March 1, 2013

Sprouts Press Etsy Feature

-Start by telling the readers a little bit about yourself.

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! I do things like bookbinding, papermaking, printmaking, drawing and painting. I love learning new techniques and am always on the lookout for used books to save and repurpose into journals or book art. 

I went to art college here in Toronto and 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!

-Do you have a favorite piece that you have made?

I have a few favourite pieces, all for different reasons. I have favourite venting pieces, aesthetically pleasing pieces and then there’s also My Favourite Piece, I’ll talk about that one. 

It is an Artists Book titled O2, as in oxygen. This was an art college project and it was ‘my baby’. This was the first piece that I crafted entirely out of materials that I made myself. The pages were my handmade paper, the text I had researched and written myself. The images I drew and carved from lino as reduction cuts, reducing the image three times and to make a rich, 3 tone print. The subject matter was scientific and cellular, a fascination of mine, which made the images almost abstract-like, another love of mine. While I love the final product, I feel that this piece is one of my favourites for the fond memories of the process and satisfaction of creating something from scratch. There isn’t really a heartwarming story here, just raw love of craft, maybe that’s heartwarming to some? 

-Describe your workspace... (include a pic if you'd like)

As mentioned earlier, I work out of my home, which is a modest place. I have a little nook in the front with natural light and I try to keep it tidy but find it’s often not.

When you are not working on your crafts, what else do you like to do?

I have my hands in many pots and sometimes find that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew! That being said, I love the mix of activities in my life and find that I learn something everyday. So, to answer your question, when I’m not creating art or crafts this is what my life looks like. I have a part time job, I volunteer and have many, many hobbies. A bit more specifically, I am on the Artists Committee for the Artists Health Alliance, here in Toronto. I also volunteer with various not for profit local urban gardening/gleaning organizations, which leads me to my hobbies. 

I love vegetable gardening, taking photos of my garden and sketching my garden in a handbound sketchbook, of course. I take workshops in canning and preserving vegetables from my garden and love to trade and share my preserves. I suppose the common theme here is doing things the old fashioned way, manually with a bit of elbow grease and a lot of love. That being said, I am also fascinated with technology and it’s possibilities. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert but will admit that I’m kind of a tech-buff wannabe, ha! (Is ‘tech-buff’ even the right term?) 

I also love being outside and enjoy many outdoorsy-type activities like hiking, canoeing, cycling, walking and tennis. 

-Lastly, do you have any advice for fellow crafters/entrepreneurs just
starting out?

For those artists/crafters just starting out who really want to give it their best shot, I really recommend learning as much as you can about being a businessperson. I know, I know – boooring. But, chances are if you’re confident enough in your craft/art to start a business, shouldn’t you also be confident in running a business? This doesn’t mean getting an undergrad in business, just reading up on local laws and policies, learning what taxes you have to charge, getting a vendor’s permit and generally taking yourself and your craft seriously. Even researching other successful crafters or artists in your field is a great way to learn. You could ask them some questions about when they first started or what their tip to newbies would be. And, you’d be starting a network of peers, which is always a handy thing!

-Feel free to include any blog links you have, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I’d love to connect with you! Find me here: 

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