Now I know my A B Cs

I first fell in love with Summerville‘s Alphabetty print when I was thinking about making some new throw pillows for my couch. I’m such a type nerd, why wouldn’t I want letterforms in my living room? I really admire her quirky illustration style and the colors she chooses to print them in. Enjoy her advice, fellow crafters!

Tell us about your work—why do you create what you do?
I specialised in print making at art school, and have always been interested in textiles and sewing, principally in quilt making. It made sense for me to produce fabric designs in small pieces for me and others people to use in their projects.

How did you learn your craft?
I learnt to screen print at school aged about 16. I took this skill with me to art school, then rediscovered it after i had children and decided to take it to another level by offering it for sale.

How has your work evolved?
The technique has evolved slightly – I still draw my designs using pen and paper, but now i tend to use photoshop to help me repeat the designs after scanning them in.

What is your greatest challenge?
Trying to keep off Twitter, haha. I find school holidays a challenge, but both my boys have grown up knowing they have an easily distracted mother, so they’re pretty good at letting me get on with things.

What inspires you?
Living on a farm, the countryside, leaves and flowers, charity (thrift) shops, old ceramics and fabric, good design, colours that clash a little, Elle Decoration UK & Living ETC.

Tell us about your etsy business.
I discovered Etsy after discovering the design blogs Decor8 and DesignSponge – Both Holly and Grace are big advocators of the site, and I was blown away to find it. I spent hours trawling through the work for sale, this must have been around 2006/07. At the time I was making paper collages and opened up an Etsy shop called ‘Lusummers’ selling them. I did this for about a year—juggling little kids with making—but once I started screen printing again, I shut that shop and opened ‘Summersville’. I don’t think I made too many mistakes although I didn’t know too much about photography, I quickly learned that to make good sales I’d have to have some great shots. I was lucky though – with both shops I’d only been open a day before having a sale. Etsy is my main source of income, but I wouldn’t describe it as totally full time. Three quarters maybe.

Where can readers find your work?
Obviously at summersville.etsy.com and I’m working with a web designer to create lusummers.co.uk where I’ll have my own web shop. Although I’ll still be shipping worldwide, I want to attract more UK shoppers as most of my customers are in the States. I also have a few things for sale at internet shops blueberrypark.co.uk and clothkits.co.uk.

What advice do you have for new etsians?
Just one piece of advice: Do awesome, clear images. There are hundreds and hundreds of tutorials out there to help you improve your photographic skills. Get that right and your work will sell itself!

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