Sunday, August 25, 2013

Buy Handmade vol 71

This week we travel to Scotland..

Name: Emily Raemaekers
Age: 27
Etsy Shop: Talented Apple

Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm Emily and I run my fabric printing and accessories business, Talented Apple, from my home studio in Edinburgh. It's a great place to live during the festivals in the summer, and the mountains are only an hour or so away when I need some space. 

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
As I child I was always drawing and rummaging about in the dressing up box. I studied at Performance Costume Design at Edinburgh College of Art and spent a few years working as a freelance Costume Designer before I began teaching myself to print on fabric. I loved making pieces with my own prints on them, and Talented Apple was born! I opened my Etsy shop in October 2011 and I've been nurturing it ever since. 

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
Yes! It's from an odd family saying. Before I was born, my parents lived in a forest in Thailand, in a hut they built themselves, and some they still use some Thai words. They say "Talented Apple" when they mean to say "me too". Because "me too" in Thai is "pom doo-ay" which sounds a bit like the French "pomme douée", meaning "Talented Apple". It's a bit obscure but I wanted a name that was personal to me as well as unique, and it makes me laugh to try and explain it!  

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
At the moment I run my Etsy shop part-time and work elsewhere part-time, and I feel that gives me a good life balance just now. To be involved in creative pursuits all the time would be wonderful and I'd love to be involved in more craft events and markets. 

How would you describe your creative process?
I use my own hand carved lino cuts and screen printing to create my fabric designs and my ideas usually start with a new print design that I evolve in a sketchbook. I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to organising things and I really enjoy working out a germ of an idea through all of my planned stages, and sewing it into something beautiful and practical that's all packaged up and ready to ship. I still get that excited feeling I used to get as a child using potato stamps at school when I try out a new print design for the first time. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I'm constantly inspired by the nature and wildlife of Scotland which is a strong theme in my print designs. My love of whimsy and colour influences my designs, too, and I'm forever on the look-out for images and fabrics that catch my eye.

Do you also sell your work at craft shows?

• What shows have you taken part of, and do you have a favorite? 
I attend a few local arts and craft markets in Scotland including the regular Out of the Blue Arts Market in Edinburgh. In April 2013 Edinburgh's first Mini Makers Faire came to town and I had a brilliant time at my stall, selling Talented Apple products and running free lino printing workshops for adults and kids. I have just come back from a my favourite craft show so far: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Arts and Craft Market where I had a stall for a week. The city was buzzing with festival-goers and the atmosphere was just fantastic. 

• How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready?
If it's just a day-long show then I usually have what I need in stock and I keep everything stored ready to pack up in the car, so an hour or so the night before to sort out last minute things is all I need. A show that lasts several days or weeks means that I do a lot more planning ahead, gradually making stock a month or so ahead of time and working out all the logistics in the week before I leave. I like to be prepared! You never know when that dream customer will pop up and want two of everything.

Describe an experience from a show (good or bad) and why that pushes you to continue with your work 
There's just nothing better than having a customer tell you they love your work and handing over their hard-earned cash so they can treasure something you have worked so hard on. I've had so many lovely comments standing behind my stall and if I'm having a bad day, or a bad month, those comments help me to remember that it's all worth it and go out and do it all again.

What is your most cherished handmade item?
My apron. It was the first garment I ever made when I was at school and I was so proud of it. It's not very fancy or even very pretty but it started me on my creative journey and it's lasted me all this time. I wear it almost every day, whenever I'm printing, so it's streaked with hundreds of colours of ink and I have a badge pinned to it that I made at the Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire. 

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
Outdoor pursuits are what keep me sane when things all get a bit hectic. My parents used to take me hillwalking every weekend and holiday (and still do!) so getting out into the countryside has always been a passion of mine. I love camping, climbing, cycling, wild swimming, all of it! I also love to travel and explore new places. 

Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?
When I was little I wanted to be an explorer, not exactly a real job but I like to think I use some of the same skills in my current work: persevering, being hands-on, having an enquiring mind, nature-loving.

Five years from now you will be…
In my studio, finishing off a large order of bespoke purses, drinking a cup of tea out of my favourite mug. 

Describe yourself in five words:
Imaginative, organised, active, eager, a trier

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <MP3 player>, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
Paolo Nutini, The Chair, The Vaccines, Billy Joel, Basement Jaxx

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
Start small and build your way up, learning from your experiences. It can be hard to know what advice to listen to, so try to take a step back now and again to get perspective on what you're doing and you will usually see what the right way to go is. Immerse yourself in your field, go to local craft shows and shops to gain practical ideas. Enjoy yourself!