Are you all tired of hearing about me and my work? I do apologize, my blog has been a little 622-centric lately! In an effort to correct that, I present a new series of artisan interviews. I hope you’ll learn as much about their craft as you do about starting an etsy shop for yourself! I’ve gotten a lot of requests for advice for beginners lately, so I hope between my writing and recommendations from experienced etsians, you’ll learn everything you want to know!
First up, the lovely and talented Isabelle Abrahamson, a Boston ceramicist who somehow makes solid clay forms seem light as air.
Tell us about your work—why do you create what you do?
My current body of work focuses on incorporating patterns of negative space into functional works of art.
Tell us about the business end of things.
I discovered Etsy by reading an article about Etsy in the New York Times Magazine. I had just started making selleable things and it seemed like the perfect venue for me. I opened my shop that day.
I still sell all of my work myself. In addition to my Etsy shop I also have a website www.isabelleabramson.com , which usually has a little more of a selection of new work than my Etsy shop. My things are so time consuming to produce that it’s never worked to split the profit of a sale with a store. I’m working with Viridis 3D to produce limited edition reproductions of my pieces. These might be available at stores someday but for right now I will sell them on my website and probably on Supermarket HQ (I’m pretty sure Etsy is not down with 3D printed pottery).
How has your work evolved?
I think that my work has gotten more elaborate as I’ve gotten more comfortable working with clay. You can do anything with clay. It’s just like clay :)
What is your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge has been to keep up stock. I don’t like making the same things over and over, and I tend to be sold out of popular items while I experiment in the studio with new things. I think it will be a huge creative relief to get over the hump of having to make any particular thing just to make money. When I’m focused on being creative my work is always better, though it may happen slower. This has been the draw of getting set up to do 3D printing. When I really nail a design I’ll be able to put in a couple thousand dollars to get it set up as a limited edition print, and it will stay available for a while without me having to try to recreate it over and over. I’ll be able to move on to the next thing and, overall, my collection of work will be much better.
What advice do you have for new etsians?
I would say to any new Etsy shop owner that having good pictures is incredibly important. Partly it draws customers to your item, but also it gives you the opportunity to sell the idea of your item to customers. I think a good picture can even make customers feel better about something after they bought it…. they get to remember falling in love with it. I try to take pictures that seem like they could be in your home. If you look at the earliest pieces that I sold they’re all taken in a photo tent and came out weird shades of pink. At some point I found a place in my house (my bureau in my bedroom) that has the perfect light in the afternoon and a couple spots near windows in the studio and the pictures became so much more inviting (in my humble opinion).