Welcome to the ninth artist interview on miscellany!
(1) Tell us about yourself:
I am a graphic designer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. When I’m not on my 9-5 grind, I love spending time at home with my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Jasper (affectionately nicknamed “Snuggle Baby” or “Mr. J”), and following my true creative passions. I’m really into kayaking and basking in the joy of summer weather (I am not too keen on the cold winters here in Minnesota!). On the weekends (or any day that I’m not at the office), I love painting my signs outside, or rolling up my sleeves and getting into my dyeing process. It’s very relaxing!
(2) Tell us about what you create:
I have been making art since before I can remember. I have always been a creative person, and my parents always nurtured my desire to explore every medium possible (no matter how much my supplies took over our house!). I do use my knowledge of graphic design to make the prints in my shop, but before I studied graphic design I was very involved in more physical art-making processes. My hand-painted signs stem from my education in and love for drawing and painting, and my fabric dyeing is a newly discovered passion of mine. I have always loved color and working with my hands, so I was hooked immediately! Besides what I do in my shop, I am also a printmaker (mostly intaglio etching). There is something about making art yourself that is deeply satisfying, and I am drawn to that energy and the feeling of making art. I love macro photography, and I draw a lot of inspiration from looking at the little worlds on earth that most of us pass by every day. There are so many fascinating patterns and colors hiding in plain sight!
I love my hand-dyed scarves most of all in my shop, and I think they stand out because I make what I would want to wear. I am a huge scarf fanatic (just ask my closet), and I always love finding unique and vibrant scarves that are a statement on their own. Each scarf is completely unique, even when using the same dyeing technique over and over. I think that is absolutely beautiful, and speaks to the life that is found in art.
For now my art is a passion/hobby, but I would absolutely love to make it full time at some point. In my heart it already is!
(3) Tell us about your handmade art business:
My shop gets its name from one of my sorority’s colors, azure blue. I originally started Shoppe Azure to help fundraise for my chapter’s future housing (50% of my shop sales go towards this fund), but it quickly grew into a full-blown passion in a few short months. I love that I can pursue my passions and also give back to an organization and a group of women who changed my life so much.
My creative space is far from professional, but I still love to be there. I mostly create in and around my house, outside, and at the sink (for dyeing). My house has a screen porch that I love to sit out in and paint my signs or design my prints. I love to be outside, so I soak up every opportunity that I can! In the winter months I usually just move inside to a table or other quiet space, put on some power music, and create!
(4) Tell us about your customers:
I love to think about people who are conquering the world while retaining a good sense of humor and style. Vibrant colors, inspirational phrases, natural accents, and one-of-a-kind fashion!
(5) Tell us where we can find your art:
For now I am holding down the fort with my Etsy shop, but next summer I am going full-force into farmer’s markets and craft fairs! I have received multiple invitations to sell at farmer’s markets this season, but I am starting next spring to make sure I bring my A-game and have plenty of prep time. I am also starting to contact local boutiques to partner with, so stay tuned! For my printmaking passion, I sell my prints at www.amykmathews.com (also my graphic design portfolio website).
(6) Tell us about your support:
There is an insurance radio commercial here in the states that highlights people who did things solo, but were never alone. I believe that is exactly where I fit in. I run my shop by myself in that I am the sole creator, but I was never alone. My sorority sisters and friends who encouraged me to open my shop, my family who run emergency stock errands for me, and the people who have been following and cheering on my shop on social media. I would be nowhere without the support of my friends, family, and shop fans/followers, and I am eternally grateful for all of them!
(7) Tell us about your favorites:
Eliseblaha.typepad.com and andthenwesetitonfire.blogspot.ru are my two favorite blogs to follow, and I love so many of the shops I follow on instagram! Go to my “followers” or “following” pages on instagram (@shoppeazure) and you will find some seriously amazing makers. Some of my favorites are @aromasoy, @merybradley, @fiveacredesigns, @eternalbirdjewelry, @bycharlieshand, and @ohmyheartembroidery. There are countless others, but these come to mind right now!
(8) Tell us anything else:
I give each package a little hug when I send it off to its new home. I know it seems silly, but each piece of art is like sending off a little piece of myself into the world. I want that art to have a great and positive energy when it reaches its destination!
Some advice that I want to give is to be patient. Everything will work out how it is supposed to work out and things will be amazing if you give them time. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but little by little it does happen!