Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers

september wildflowers

Hello everyone.

Today, we have Ruth Speer who creates the most wonderful art under the moniker of September Wildflowers.

Her work is just so beautiful and it’s impossible not to say, “Whoa! You painted that?!”

She also strikes me as a person who really loves what she does- and works hard at it. Also, she works with different media: pencils, oils, acrylics and watercolours-so there’s variety and exploration in both her work and journey as an artist.

There’s something striking and just kinda awesome about it all- read on to hear what Ruth has to say!

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Ruth, and I’m an artist, learner and all-around creative dabbler who loves flowers, tea, being outside, books and listing off things I like.

What sparked your interest in art in general? How long have you been practicing?

I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I can remember! Really, I always knew I wanted to be something creative when I grew up.

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

How do you interpret the presence and significance of art in your lifestyle?

I truly believe art can be found anywhere and everywhere, if one is only interested in discovering it. In a person’s freckles, or the way they take their coffee, or the combination of colors and textures in a building, or ivy creeping around a window, or even pretty words like “effusive” and “scintillating”. Finding beauty in the little things is a favorite lifestyle choice of mine.

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

(photo by Ashley Rose Productions)

What is your general process while creating an art piece? 

I usually begin with an idea or several elements I want to put together. For example, I might think of bird wings and gold paint and brown paper and wistfulness and come up with the piece below. As I didn’t have any large pieces of brown paper, I found a paper bag and trimmed it. It’s now hanging in my friend’s living room!

The last example was a spontaneous project that I completed in a few hours, but typically, especially when working with oil paint on canvas (which is what I use for most portraits), I’m a very slow painter. It can take months to finish a piece as I add layers and ideas. It’s like embarking down a path you’ve marked out and going off-route every two steps to enjoy the scenery. Time-consuming and worthwhile!

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

How do you balance running a creative business along with maintaining your natural creativity?

Remember why you started! I wanted to bring more beautiful, colorful, thoughtful things into the world, and every once in a while I have to remind myself of that fact. The logistics and business and marketing sides are fun, but it can become a distraction when all I need to do is sit down without a plan or strategy and just play with colors. Artists (myself included, obviously) can take themselves way too seriously – art can be serious and contemplative, but it’s also play.

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

How much time on an average does it take to create a piece?

It actually depends on the medium and purpose!

Commissions, which I usually do with watercolors, take longer because I like to make sure the client loves the piece; and this requires a lot of back-and-forth emailing for different stages. It usually takes several weeks, or up to 2-3 months if I’m busy.

My own pieces, when I use watercolor, ink or pencil, take only a few hours. As I mentioned above, however, when I’m working with canvas it’s a different story! On average, oil portraits emerge over three to six months.

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

 

Just out of interest, what was the first (or your favourite ) piece of art you remember creating?

I have several favorites! One of them is this orange-haired lady. Last September, I was in Europe for two weeks, and in a little London art shop I bought a 6B graphite pencil. The day after I got back home, I sat down and drew this piece with my new pencil. I mostly remember the sunshine through the window and Edith Piaf playing in the background.

I’ve since lost the pencil, but the portrait is still hanging in my studio.

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

 

What do you do in your free time (when not drawing)?

I love music, reading, exploring and picnicking in the woods near my house, spending time with my wonderful friends and Jesus, and finding new coffee shops and book stores. I’m also a freshman Studio Arts major at George Fox University in Oregon!

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

 

How did you create a more or less consistent style with which you draw?

Personally, I don’t think I’ve developed a totally consistent style yet – it’s still in flux a bit. But I do think having a consistent style all comes down to creating and drawing and making consistently. If you make one or two pieces of art a year, you won’t get very far with recognizing what you love to draw or make, which I think is the key element to developing your personal style.

Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?

On most weekdays I have several classes at my university, which, including homework, take up a lot of my time and energy (as they should – I love learning!) I try to get my assignments for coming weeks done fairly early, so that I can take time to paint and draw and not feel like I ought to be working on something else! It’s a bit ironic, as I’m going to school for art.

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

What’s your outfit staple and flower and colour?

I love so many colors! I love pale periwinkle blue, deep orange and shades of green and rose. I love peonies and daphne. I like wearing dresses!

 

What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?

People and their stories, always. I’ve been wanting to paint wings – bird wings and dragonfly wings and butterfly wings. I like the color violet. And I’ve been wanting to use metallic gold oil paint.

 

What are some of your favourite art supplies and art media  you use?

Vivid oil colors are always my favorite! I use Gamblin and Blick for the most part. I also use Schminke watercolors and have recently discovered the magical properties of gouache through my art classes.

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

I love your colourful canvases and the precision with which you draw! Could you share any tips for aspiring artists who want to make original and distinctive drawings?

Why, thank you! I would still describe myself as an aspiring artist, so this advice is for myself as well: look at a lot of art and see what inspires you the most. What catches your eye about it? What makes you think “Dang, I want to run home and make something now!” Don’t try to replicate it in your personal style (though you can practice by recreating a particular style, and it’s really fun, and it helps add stylistic tools to your mental tool-box). Try to recognize what you love about other art (bright colors! Human subjects! Peaceful landscapes!) and see if that’s something you want to work with.

Most importantly; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times more: make things. All the time. As much as possible. Make things you despise, make things that you come back and change, make color palettes and experiment with the same compositions, make a billion and one paintings and drawings and your style will reveal itself.

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

What do you think makes a good, satisfactory piece of art (which the artist feels happy about the end result)?

Feeling happy about the end result is really a personal thing, and I think it depends on what the artist was originally setting out to do and whether they think they achieved that end goal, or even reached a different, better one. As an art student, I’ve been gaining wonderful insight into the technical part of what makes art look like a good art; but in the end, I always come back to this quote from Amanda Palmer: “You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”

Art with Ruth of September Wildflowers - a creative interview via Opinion9.com

A little insight about your name ‘September Wildflowers’?

I was born in September, and I love wildflowers! It’s pretty simple – I chose that username a lot time ago for something inconsequential, and it’s stuck with me ever since!

Thanks Ruth for sharing! You can find Ruth over at her instagram and on etsy.

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Discussing Design with Zoe

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Today on the Inspiration series, let’s welcome Zoe from ZRA Designs!

She’s a bright and aspiring graphic designer, who combines her love for creativity and design in her work. I like the bold colours, and vitality in each piece- whether it’s a logo, a pattern etc. I also appreciate how open she is to learning new things in her chosen field- being open to absorb knowledge is so important for a designer to progress!

She answered some questions about her creative process and how she operates her biz while juggling university at the same time! It’s quite a good read – especially if you’re starting out in your artistic endeavour, or you’re struggling with what you have on your plate, as a designer. Zoe might just make you rethink your process.

Read on to hear what she has to say!

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Zoe. I am from Melbourne, Australia and I am 18 years old, turning 19 very soon. I have a love and passion for all things design and art. I work part-time as a graphic designer, designing logos and stationary for people as part of my ZRA Designs business; I also do a lot of ‘home projects’ and small DIY jobs for myself. I am currently at Monash University studying interior architecture and learning so many amazing new skills with a great group of people.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.comHow did you get started in graphic design?

In year 11 and 12, I studied media and visual communication and design. I completed my certificate 3 in media and was eager to learn more. I have always had a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning, by completing the media course and watching endless tutorials on how to improve my digital skills I discovered how much I loved graphic design, however, ever since I was young I have had a love for interior design and architecture, which is why I am studying at Monash in order to pursue both of my dreams.


Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day in your life?

On a regular day I wake up in the morning and start on some graphic design work for a client or for myself, then I catch the train to uni, I then spend about 3 hours there for a design studio class, I then make my way home and continue working on my interior architecture tasks and once those are finished I continue on with my graphic design jobs. I often will have dinner with family or friends chatting, catching up and spending time with them, and then head to bed and get ready for another day.

Where do you see yourself in a few years?

In a few years, I would love to be working as an interior architect at an architecture or interior design firm; whilst also running my own graphic design company.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What motivates and inspires you the most?

The things that motivate me the most are definitely the people around me. My sisters, parents the rest of my extended family and close friends are all such important parts of my life. They constantly help to motivate me and keep my spirits up. The things that inspire me the most are great design and my friends from university, they constantly give me ideas – whether we are collaborating or working individually and they also recommend other artists and designers I should look up.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

How long has making and designing been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

I’d say probably from the age of about 14 I began photography classes and design classes, and this fostered a love of art. Also, at this age I started going online and creating floor plans of different ‘dream houses’ I would like to live in. I used an online program, which enabled me to see my house in 2D plan form as well as 3D. At the end of my year 12 year, I decided that I would convert my hobby into a business. I created a Facebook, Instagram and website in order to spread the word amongst my friends, with the support of those around me, I have been able to make my dream a possibility.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What are your favourite food, colour and flower?

My favourite food is pasta, my favourite colour is turquoise and my favourite flower is a lily.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Some favourite themes and art topics inspiring you at the moment?

Some themes and topics inspiring me at the moment would have to be technology and the idea behind the ‘virtual world’ and the way in which so many people are engrossed constantly by their phones. Another one is the idea of transition spaces and thresholds (referred to as heterotopia), which I find very intriguing.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

How do you balance your creative business along with regular life?

Balancing my creative business along with regular life can be very difficult at times, especially because my university workload is quite heavy, but I manage it because I’m doing what I love. I try to make sure I talk and catch up with my friends and family and organize to do things with them when I can, even if it’s something small like going for a walk or to the local coffee shop. I find that because my family and friends help to motivate and inspire me if I didn’t have the work life balance my work wouldn’t be as successful.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

 

What are some brand values that you convey to every customer?

Some brand values include ZRA Designs being unique, original and innovative, but also reliable and secure. In graphic design, you are essentially being hired to create a visual identity for someone else’s company and it is very important that as a designer I become someone the client can trust to do a good job and to listen to their feedback.Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What would an ideal day be like for you?

An ideal day would be a nice sleep-in the morning and then getting up and going for a walk or run, then experimenting with some new graphics on my computer, going to uni, seeing my friends, then to finish off the day I’d have dinner with my family and read a book before going to bed.

 

How would you describe your design style?

I would describe it as innovative and contemporary.

 

Any advice for aspiring designers out there?

My biggest advice is just keep working hard, you will get there eventually it’s a tough industry but if you love it you will never stop learning, you will discover so many new skills and amazing people (artists, designers and friends) who will help keep you inspired and motivated.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Who are some of your biggest inspirations in the field of design?

I am inspired by so many different types of artists. My ultimate favourite artist is Jack Vanzet, his work is incredible and he works with a lot of musicians which I love. Another inspiration for me is James Turrell, who works with colour, light and space. Also, another inspiration to me is Sarah McCloskey who draws and paints portraits – but with her own unique twist.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Does the city you live in inspire your work in any way?

Yes of course, Melbourne has been named the most liveable city in the world for the fifth year running and I am so grateful to live in such an amazing place. There’s beauty everywhere and therefore always something to take a photo of, a sunset, the ocean, a lovely park etc. Nature and the environment around me inspire my work. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be based.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Thanks, Zoe, for giving us a glimpse into your creative process! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria

Find Zoe and her work on her website, instagram and facebook!

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Imaginative Art with Daniela


Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Hello! Today I’m talking to a very talented and imaginative artist. Daniela paints watercolours beautifully, but that’s not all- she has a very imaginative side to her creative process! She uses everyday objects- oranges, paper, fruits, the sky, origami, eggs, tic tacs, spools of thread, candy, you name it!- with her drawings and the effect is just so colourful and pleasing. You have to see her instagram feed to get the full scoop!

As artists, what happens to a lot of us, is that we get limited by our own knowledge and stick to what we know when it comes to painting/ drawing. But not Dani! I like how she transitions so smoothly between her beautiful watercolours she makes and her innovative doodles. She uses her imagination and steps out of her comfort zone overtime- to create her wonderful artwork.

So, let’s hear what she has to say.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Daniela M. Lima; I am 28 years old. I’m an architect and I work in an office. In my free time, I love to draw and paint.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

I love how you add different objects in your drawings! Do you plan these or does it happen naturally?

I usually use food, especially sweets, and objects that can associate the shapes of objects and characters. This process is something not really planned, ideas come and I make them happen.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What makes you happiest in your creative process?

I just love when I’m relaxed, eating, watching movies or anything else, and I think, “I could do something using this!” The fact is the whole creative process is something that makes me very happy.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?

Basically movies, series, music and books and sometimes manga and comics.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What is your usual process for illustrating a piece?

At first, I sketch with pencil on paper, then I use nanquim (indian ink), erase the traces made the pencil and use colored pencils or oil pastel. I really like to use white ink pen. For my watercolor paintings I do the same process, only without nanquim and only with watercolor paint.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

How do you balance your creative pursuits as well as your regular life duties?

I usually do my arts on weekends and sometimes at night when I come home, but if I had more time I would do more work.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What inspires you to keep illustrating?

Nature, beautiful landscapes and starry nights will always inspire me.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

What art tools and materials do you use on a daily basis?    

I usually draw free hand, but use the tablet to see references. Sometimes I use rulers, triangles and a compass. My favourite art supplies are watercolours and coloured pencils.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

How long have you been drawing? Just out of interest, what was the first thing you remember drawing that made an impact to you?

I started drawing between 14 and 15 years, and I painted a lot of canvases. I took a break from my creative process when I was in college, but I did architectural sketches. I do not remember very well the first impactful drawing I made; I think it was a self-portrait when I was 15 years.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Do you have any advice for artists out there?

My advice is: To let the imagination flow, try to create more and copy less.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Just for fun: what’s your favourite food and colour?

It’s to difficult to say this, because I love so many foods, haha! I love pizza, yakisoba and acarajé (Brazilian food). My favorite colour ever is red, but I like violet and green very much too. 🙂

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Since you live in Brazil, has the place inspired you and your art in any way?

My hometown is Brumado. It’s a peaceful place, there I feel so good and inspired.

Imaginative Art with Daniela- an artist interview at Opinion9.com

Thanks for sharing Dani! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria

Find Dani and her clever art here on Instagram.

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Dreamy Watercolours with Bee

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Hello! Today we have Bee who makes some pretty amazing watercolour work. I really like her consistency in creating different pictures, but all with the same colourful and slightly ethereal quality. Her work was so captivating that I had to ask her a few questions about her creative process and how she works on her dreamy art! Her pastel themed and sparkly landscapes are just a watercolour dream. She also posts videos of her art process on Youtube.

Read on to hear what she has to say.


Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Bee, and I am 19 years old from South Australia. Currently I am a full time uni student and I work two part time jobs. I have always been creative since I can remember. I remember when I was little I was always creating things with paper and glue, trying to sew, knitting and crocheting. My mother always sewed my dance costumes so I can say I was highly inspired by her to make art a big part of my life.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

What sparked your interest in art in general? How long have you been practicing?

Hmm, I find art very emotional. The mixing and blending of colours, and how mistakes can creatively be turned into blessings. The way of art is symbolic for me, in a way of living a happy life. I have been painting with watercolours for about 3 years now; I have fallen in love with the way that the colours spread and blend into each other in a calm and peaceful way.
Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

How do you interpret the presence and significance of art in your lifestyle?

My lifestyle is very busy, but at the same time a little lazy (because I get so tired!). I have to try and juggle two jobs and a full time course, plus time with my other half, family, friends, and other lifestyle choices like working out at the gym. As a natural and intense introvert, these activities can be insanely overwhelming and I will need to spend a lot of time on my own – and this is where painting comes in! Painting allows me to spend time with myself and relax easily. It gives a great balance to my life because its something I really love doing and I can just chill out.
Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

What is your general process while creating an art piece?

I start by making sure I have enough paper to paint a lot of pictures at once. I also love getting my pet cockatiel out so he can sit on my shoulder while I paint. I start by painting the ideas I have with masking fluid, setting them aside to dry, and then I start on my more colourful pieces. I tape the borders of about 4 pieces of paper at once. I find working on more than one painting at a time allows the others to dry, and at the end I have lots of paintings.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

For watercolour I like to work in layers, I start by setting a background colour and making sure that I use lots of water! I let that dry and I add more paints, layering them up. I will use black watercolour with less water for trees or other details. Then I use a toothbrush and white acrylic paint to spray a ‘starry’ layer.

What keeps you motivated to draw and paint?

Probably the satisfaction and self worth that my finish products make me feel. Looking at my art allows me to appreciate myself and appreciate my talent. My other half also motivates me a lot, especially when I am feeling lazy! Haha. I also get a lot of positive feedback from my valued followers on Instagram, which makes me want to paint more.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

How much time on average does it take you to create a piece?

Well I work on many at a time, but separately I would guess around half hour to an hour for each piece.

 

What was the first (or your favourite) piece of art you remember creating?

Okay so, very first, when I was in pre-school we had those tripod painting stands (obviously very short because we were so small!). We were given spray bottles which had different colours of translucent ink that had been watered down. The colours were so vibrant and so beautiful when sprayed and I remember I was the first to create the ‘butterfly’ pictures by folding them in half. I was so proud because everyone wanted to do the same!

 

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Do you plan to pursue a career in art? Or is art just a hobby you love?

I love sewing and fashion was going to be a huge career decision for me. However, to get the most and highest possibility of a successful career out of it, I would have had to move away from family and start in a completely new city. Art is just a hobby I really love, like I mentioned before, it gives my life balance from all the other things.

Can you share a glimpse of a typical day in your life?

Sure, go to sleep at 2am, have some funky dreams, wake up at 10am. Skip breakfast in a desperate rush to get to uni, get in my car and endure a stressful 35 minute drive. Buy some lunch, sit through lectures, rush home to get ready for work. Work a stressful waitress job, come home by midnight, spend time with my bird Charlie, go to sleep at 2am.

It sounds so boring! I do get a couple of days away from uni though, but when I have a whole day free of uni and my jobs, I will spend the entire day painting.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

Whats your outfit staple? And your favourite flower and colour?

Outfit staple would have to be anything black with a pop of colour/sparkles. I don’t know why but I really love wearing black in all styles, whether it’s formal, party, or one of my favourites: sports luxe. I swear I’m not goth! Haha.

I love all flowers, but I especially love peonies and carnations. My favourite colours are all shades of pink, and mint green.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

I spy a cockatiel! 

His name is Charlie, born November 2014. He enjoys head scratches and inspecting jewellery and other shiny things 😂. I hand reared him from a very young age and weaned him myself, which in turn gives us a stronger bond because he sees me as his true ‘mother’. Birds are very adaptable to their owners so Charlie knows that he spends most time with me late at night (since I work a night job). Oppositely, my friends cockatiel goes to sleep as soon as it gets dark because he has adapted to his owners life. Charlie is happy to just sit on my shoulder while I paint 😊

 

What are some fun themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?

I love painting scenes. I remember I used to binge watch anime, and Toradora was one of my favourites. The scenes (especially snow ones) gave me a special feeling, warm but calm. I try to go for this feel in my paintings.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

What is your favourite art tool you use?

Hands down masking fluid.

 

Could you share any tips on how to be good at watercolour?

Be generous with how much water you use. A lot of people don’t use enough water! Make sure to let things completely dry before you add layers of depth. I always remember that with watercolour, you can paint dark on lighter colours, but you can’t paint light on dark (however you can paint light on dark effectively with gouache!)

 

What do you think makes a good, satisfactory piece?

Being able to feel the emotions that the painting exhibits is a good sign. I also think a good border really puts someone at ease when looking at a piece of art.

Dreamy Watercolours with Bee - an artist's interview via Opinion9.com

 

Thanks Bee for sharing! Wishing you all the best ahead in your dreamy, ethereal world of watercolour! -Aaria

..

You can find Bee on her instagram here.

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Coastal Ceramics with Katie

ceramic

Hello! Today we have the very lovely and talented Katie Robbins on this edition of the Opinion9 Inspiration series. Her work is just so mesmerizing, and peaceful. Katie makes ceramics inspired by the sea and its beauty. There are shades of azure blues, quiet indigos and serene whites, if you can imagine the colours in your mind. I love the simplicity with which her work really captures the essence of the coast – with just the form, texture and colour speaking volumes. Katie’s photography and her vision with which she creates her designs are also very impeccable and distinctive.

Read on to hear what she has to say.unnamed-3

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Katie from KT Robbins Ceramics. I make a variety of porcelain vessels and accessories for the home as well as individually designed pieces of jewellery, inspired by the coast natural world. I love working with clay to produce mainly functional as well as decorative forms and shapes.

 

I love your minimal and naturally cool style! Do you have a particular theme for each batch  of ceramics you create? Is it planned or more spontaneous?

A lot of my work is influenced by patterns in nature, often relating to the coast and sea, such as the crest of a wave, sea-foam and even the raised circles on a sea urchin. I have done collections relating to the coast, which is a theme that I am still exploring.earthy ceramics with katie robbins

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What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?

The hardest part of starting a business was having the courage to start and give it a go. But I had (and have) lots of creative ladies in my circle, as well as a supportive partner, who encouraged me to give it a go. I used to work in PR and marketing, and had some interior design clients, but felt that I didn’t want to continue with that after having children. The easiest part of starting this business was having that knowledge and the inside track of knowing the importance of having a strong brand, as well as some of the styling tips I gained on-the-job to create good photography and support material. But ironically I haven’t written a single press release about my ceramics since I have set up on my own.
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What makes you the happiest in your creative process?

I love it when a new idea works. I slip-cast most of my work which means that I build an original shape and then create a mould of it. I can spend several days creating a new shape and it is not until it has come out of the final firing that you can be sure how things are going to turn out.  I also love the chemistry of glazes – which in combination can produce exciting and unexpected results. There is always an element of chance during the final firing, and there is nothing more exciting then unloading the kiln to see if what you had hoped for has happened.

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(Katie’s workspace is just beautiful. Love the wood, white walls and all the little elements that work so well here – the potted plants, the pictures, the storage too!)

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Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day at work?

I must admit that I don’t have a typical day as it really depends on what needs doing. I am normally juggling working around family life. This means that as soon as I get up I am checking emails, and am actively promoting new or existing products on social media. After school drop-off and finishing any household chores then I have around five hours of studio time, which is located next to my house. My priority is to work on shapes that I have cast on a previous day as the clay dries out and there is an optimum time to shape and decorate it. I will also cast up new shapes, sand down my work ready, and glaze work ready for a final firing.

I also have some afternoons where I work in a collective studio as I find it really helps to be able to have a peer group, which you can ask for advice or just be a little sociable with.

I leave the house at 3 to pick up the children from school and in between making them tea and helping with homework I am finishing off any projects from the day, packing up goods, or taking photography for my shop or blog pages.

And after the kids are in bed later in the evening I will quite often spend time writing features, catch up with more admin or join in Twitter chats as a way of self-development. As a sole trader there is always so much to learn about how we can market ourselves and improve our business.

By the way I always make time for lunch in my working day. I can’t concentrate on an empty stomach.

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What qualities are needed to keep up and also enjoy running a creative business?

I think you have to always want to learn and self-improve. I quite often take part in courses, on-line and in person to always be taking myself to the next level. Running your own artisan craft business it’s essential to take good photographs and I’m just about to go on a course to improve this. This term I’m also doing a course in wheel work, as I love the simple shapes of hand-thrown forms.

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Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I would like to see my brand grow in recognition and I would like to be stocked by more art galleries and independent shops. Up until now, I haven’t had a chance to concentrate on building a range specifically for these markets.

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What motivates and inspires you the most?

I find feedback immensely motivating. Also, talking with my friends who are passionate about ceramics – about their projects as well as my own.

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How long has making ceramics been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

I have been interested in ceramics since my school days; and often did courses at night school whilst I was working. I thought I could convert my hobby into a business after entering and selling a vase in an open exhibition at the MAC, a local arts centre. I realized then that people would pay money to buy what I could make.

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Just for fun: What is your favourite: colour, food and flower?

My favourite colour is a tricky one. I think it has to be blue – the colour of the sea, the sky and agapanthus which covers off my favourite flower too. And my favourite food has to be crab.

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What are some themes are particularly inspiring you at the moment?

I love the revival that we are seeing in houseplants and macramé. It is so beneficial and beautiful for us to have greenery in our lives and I’m really championing this in my creative work at the moment.

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Thanks, Katie, for this glimpse in your creative process! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria

You can find Katie and her beautiful work over on her website, etsy and on instagram.

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