Sunday, September 16, 2012

Buy Handmade vol 22

This week we are heading to Colchester, England.

Name: Becky Kemp
Age: 31
Occupation: Creator

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live and work in the Southeast of England. It has taken me 10 years since I graduated from Art School but I am now exactly where I have always wanted to be, creating and working for myself. I couldn’t be happier.

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?

I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember. My mother has a battered old photo of me barely old enough to walk sitting in our back garden making a house from cement, bits of wood and stones while my dad was building an extension on our house.  Mum was sewing and painting watercolours and Dad was building model railways when I was a kid so I never lacked inspiration or encouragement.

I opened my Etsy shop at the end of March last year as a quick fix to sell some paintings which I couldn’t find room for. I sold nothing until September but 16 months later I’m now self-employeed. It’s still weird to think that my Sketchbook creations are walking the streets of places I’ve never visited on someone else’s cardigan or adorning a living room wall….I have to pinch myself sometimes.

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it? is simply a play on words to describe my creative process ‘Sketching’ and ‘Pen & Ink’.

How would you describe your creative process?

My Sketchbooks chronicle every doodle and idea that pops into my head. If I had to save one thing from my house in an emergency it would be my Sketchbooks. Although my Studio is a little  (very) chaotic at times every piece is planned on paper first. The usual refining process starts when it leaves the page but the end product more often than not closely resembles the original sketch. I am a Sketcher and Painter at heart but I would never define myself as either. There are so many fantastic mediums out there to express your self, I find it very hard to stick with just one or two. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

With my trusty Sketchbooks to hand I’m usually jotting ideas down from noon till night. The best ideas always come 5 minutes before I fall asleep so the bedside locker is always staked with paper and pencils. I doodle a lot and mess around with colour combinations and forms, I love Japanese animation, abstract expressionism, wrapping paper, textile patterns and anything else I can get my hands on. The nesting dolls where inspired by a girl in Russian Doll fancy dress on a night out which reminded me of my Grandmother’s Russian Dolls I used to deface with a marker pen.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows? 

No. But I love the idea of selling face to face with a customer and have been invited to some craft shows this December. If I get myself organized in time you may find me behind a stall on Colchester High Street in a neon rain coat, earmuffs and a hot chocolate.


What is your most cherished handmade item?

Hands down a beautiful Quilt made by my mother last Christmas. I found out afterwards that it had taken her all year to make. When I lived in North Wales I was constantly complaining about the cold and the Quilt became the perfect cocoon wrap for a Sunday afternoon on the sofa watching Downton Abbey repeats with a Hot Chocolate in one hand and a paint brush in the other.

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?

Creating takes up the majority of my time but I do love to roam vintage clothes shops and rummage through ebay for second hand clothes and make them my own. I have a not so small collection of Illustrations and Vinyl Character Toys, which is quickly taking over every shelf and wall space I have spare. I’m also that annoying friend who has to instagram evvvvvvverything!

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be and why?

I would love to study stop motion animation, sculpting the figures and building their armature, fascinating! I’ve always loved the old Ray Harryhausen movies (Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad) but I’m not sure if I would have the patients to create 25 frames per second.

Five years from now you will be…

Driving to the Post Office in a Mini Cooper instead of sprinting on foot (I am STILL learning to drive). Living in my own home rather than renting and successful enough to take a few holidays without feeling guilty.

Describe yourself in five words:


Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your iPhone, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?

Oh no! this could be really embarrassing…opening iTunes now!
In descending order…
1. Daniel- Bat for Lashes
2. Colorblind – Counting Crows
3. Underdog - Kasabian
4. You’ve got the dirtee love – Florence and the Machine (Brit awards 2010)
5. A Whole New World -Aladdin Soundtrack ( I knew their would be one geek track in there somewhere…doh!)

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?

Don’t give up! With every ‘paycheck’ job I’ve had over the years (and there have been many) I kept a sketchbook journal of all my creations in my back pocket/ handbag/ briefcase.  Don’t let your creative Monster go to sleep! Be honest and create what you love and hopefully someone else will love it too.