Introduce Yourself: Fusing my love of clay and painting, I create hand glazed artwork on pottery and ceramics that is both functional and eye-catching. My name is Isabelle Rowell, I am a potter-ceramist and painter and I use only food safe glazes as I believe it is best when art can actually be used every day. I also create more traditional artworks by painting acrylic on canvas and wood. The challenge of creating artworks on pottery and ceramic is that you never know exactly how it will turn out until the kilning is finished. Misfire occasionally happen and when they do, I upcycle the remnants into jewellery pendants or home decor items like blind tassels. All my pieces are one-of-a-kind and each is made with details and a touch of humour.
What is the name of your shop? The current name for my shop is 3 Teal Dragonflies Creations. The business name exists since 2008 (registered).
How long has your Etsy shop been open? In this iteration, my shop has been opened in February 2012. Since end of 2015, 3 teal Dragonflies is now dedicated to Ceramic, Pottery and everything home and kitchen. I am slowly working on two others shop in order to get my other products out. I design all my branding myself (banners, business cards, logo etc.) It practices my graphic artist talents. The two other shops (empty at the moment) are named : Freed Dragonflies and Dragonflies Song. Freed Dragonflies will contain all my paintings and some template or package to help people create their own branding as well. I am well advanced with this one. I will have a lot of little things that I hope will help my fellow artists, not just art. I am at developing a product that I keep for myself at the moment. It is planned to be release in 2016, all being well. Dragonflies Song will contain my jewellery and purely decorative for the body. I am developing some tattoo drawing that people could potentially print out and bring to their preferred parlour. I am at testing all I have already made because I found out some of my necklace could potentially contain less solid material and fall apart when wear. Not a good idea, so I pull everything off. I’d be really glad some real jewellery people will want my bead and pendant instead of me having to work in an area I am not comfortable with.
How long have you been doing your craft? Since birth? Seriously, I don’t know where I can put the line that say before I was not an artisan/artist? In painting, I earn my first reward when I was 7. I guess they really liked my painting because it never came back. So I have an original somewhere in France, whether it is still on display, I don’t know. I began doing pottery around the age of 10 or 11. It was a hobby most of my youth, even though through their great wisdom, mom and dad kept me busy in sport and music activities, even theater. If it comes with my first sales and customers base? It was 22 years ago. I still only was able to work on my art only a couple of days a week, but it was the first year I actually have to declare revenue coming from art and since then to keep track of expense and revenue. And then I moved to Saskatchewan 10 years ago, life became busy and my art fell somewhat by the wayside. For about five of those years, I just wanted to *fit in* . I still created, though. Only, when I made something, it was to give it away. I have been back at art on a fuller time since 2010. Although I still have butterflies calling myself an “artist”, I have to admit it is who I am.
How did you get started? All my career choices had been made to accommodate my art talent or used them, so there is no clear cut of when I started. My life is balancing act between fulfilling my artistic ambitions and “working for a living”. Everything I ever learned outside the studio helps me with my art business, not just the studio time! I am thankful for all these office positions I held. They allowed me to learn keeping my own book, market; draw my own logo and business cards, research for new products and shipping. From my first diploma (that was as a drafting person) through years as webmaster, support and computer graphic or multimedia down to communication and radio journalism, I accumulate enough skills to be a one woman show. I made it to university, still hobbying on painting, earning awards and I built (at the time) solid community participation with other artists. I also had enough customers to not need usual night shift to cover my education expenses.
Where can people find you online? For the moment, I am having a Facebook page under my first shop name: 3 Teal Dragonflies.
What do you like about selling on Etsy?
Exposure: It provides me an affordable international exposure and facilitated sales outside my locality.
Time management: Such a blessing that I can update my products at 2 am in the morning or while on a trip to Edmonton for other purposes, or during my lunch hours IF and WHEN I have a contract that is not art.
Community: Although I would prefer face to face local involvement, being able to encourage other artists is really important for me. Etsy allows me to do that in spite of being geographically distant. At least with Etsy, I can distribute hearts around, encourage on forum, help other artists, do treasuries, leave comments with the one we since connected on Facebook and instagram. I just love to see people doing what they are the best to do and Etsy empower me to do something for other people that might otherwise feel isolated.
Inclusivity: On Etsy, we have one color, one culture, one language: we are artists and artisans. Period.
Using my skills: There is no better way to show a potential customer that you can do what you are ask for than showing it to them rather than telling them.
What brought you to Etsy? I tried a few time prior to open a shop and dabbed in different platforms. Originally, I wanted to find an indirect way to show up that I work well and build a portfolio. My first shop was in 2008; I deleted it. I tried different venues. I mostly wanted to have a place that will not financially drain me by the month but rather at usage. It took me 4 years to get back to Etsy after I left the first time. It more comes from the fact that it is a way for the customer to get to know me for what I do.
What's been your best Etsy experience? So far? It ought to be the skull. Long story short, I created an Acadian French thematic skull... It was sold in a matter of hours! And that is when I realised how Etsy and social media can be powerful. The key to selling is not a one size fit all 1-2-3 big kept secret recipe you can buy from me (or anyone else) at $19.99 a month: the key to selling is being seen. Acquire your skills, have something you are passionate and competent at, put it out there and have as many people possible to see it and you will find a niche and sell. No other magic hocus pocus. It takes just one person, the right person to see your pieces. This would have taken years in conventional setting! For the skull: I had not even had the time to translate the description yet, in French nor in Spanish. From the minute it went online, I had 6 offers in convo, 8 on Facebook. Not all 15 of them ended up in other products sold because many people wanted that specific original or a copy of it. I do not do copy and of course I had only one original. The momentum it created gave me enough revenue to pay myself a retreat I was contemplating for a while and that in turn made me better at doing art. I mean, I am thankful for every single interaction I have on Etsy, even if it does not result in a sale: people are so supportive. They challenge you to be at your best too! Numerous times, I sold when I least expected it, items I was told will never sell.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us about your shop or yourself? Since moving out here, I have not really had the freedom to create exactly what I wanted. I am now looking forward moving back into doing more of my own clay and ceramic works to paint on. It has been on my mind a lot and I have space now. I have my own molds and kiln (out of storage). That will allow me more flexibility to customize the products I offer and to cater to a wider range of people in a more timely fashion.