In the run up to my next beginner weaving workshop, I was recently interview by Jenny who runs Hill Street Design House. I am based in her beautiful studio where I share a sunlight studio with 3 talented ladies. Read my Q&A on my maker journey...
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do.
Hello, I'm Sarah & I am the founder of the Squid Ink Company, a contemporary craft business which focuses on handmade gifts and hosting craft workshops around the UK. Originally from Aberdeen, I've been living in Edinburgh for the last 5 years in Portobello by the sea.
We love that your products are a mixture of concrete, wood and wool. What inspired you to start weaving?
Having been introduced to weaving from my mother I took up the craft a few years ago. I am 100% self taught, using books & online tutorials to hone my skills.
Was there a particular piece that made you decide to start selling them online?
Yes. A black & white stripe wall hanging with chartreuse yellow fringing. I photographed it for my Etsy shop and it sold within a few days to a lovely lady in Australia and it carried on from there.
Can you describe your working process to us?
I am a lover of materials and enjoy learning through making, which is also what I try and in-still in those I teach. I enjoy getting my hands on things and enjoying experimenting, it can be chaotic at times but I am a believer in getting stuck in and seeing where it leads. An abundance of concrete forms have become the basis of my jewellery collection and continues to be integral to my practice.
Who / what inspires you to make?
I have always been a creative thinker and my father is an artist and art lecturer, so I grew up in a very creative home. I have always loved to draw, paint and make, and I'm sure this is all thanks to an artistic upbringing.
Are there any designers you particularly admire?
I follow many designers/makers/crafters on Instagram which is a daily source of inspiration for me. Maryanne Moodie is a self taught weaver in Brooklyn, NY, and her work and success story has been an amazing journey to follow.
What's your most treasured possession?
My big weaving loom that my partner made me from scratch.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about hand-making products to sell online for a living?
I recently spoke at The Fruitmarket Gallery on this subject as part of the Creative Scotland 'Tales of the Trade', speaking to a group of budding entrepreneurs about how to get to grips with e-commerce and selling online. The first step is thinking of the product that you want to sell, creating it to a high standard and working out how much you want to sell it for. I recommend to anyone who's new to selling online to try a platform like Etsy to get themselves up and running. Take time and care on your photography, keep it consistent with a good range of product shots and lifestyle photography.
What's the best thing about your job?
Freedom, I love being my own boss and the chance to hop from one project to another. I work on a lot of freelance design projects, collaborating with local businesses to help them bring their creative ideas to life, whether it's logos and branding or full website redesigns, I enjoy the variety of my work and that each day is different.
Can you describe your workspace to us?
Based in Hill Street Design House in Studio 3, I share a beautiful sunlight space with 3 other creative ladies and a Daschund called Olive. My studio space is as eclectic as my work, with a mix of wool, paints, jewellery components and half filled sketch books.