Tell us about yourself. Who you are, where you live and a
little bit about you and what you do in your spare time.|
My name is Sue and I live in a little 200 year old cottage in Nottinghamshire with my lovely husband and crazy border collie Mac. I work three to four days a week as a Pharmacist and the rest of the time I spend in my little studio at the top of my garden. You can also find me dawdling along by the River Trent or local footpaths with my dog and husband in tow, or away for weekends in our new ‘old’ caravan. When at home I love to snuggle up with a good book or a film in front of the fire, glass of vino in hand, and possibly a cake not too far away!! I look cooking and have been known to russle up a rather nice carrot cake now and again! I love socialising with friends, spending time with my family, and also enjoy the moments I get to myself, when an evening with my ipod, some bubble bath and a cup of tea is just a dream come true!!
What do you make?
I make a variety of things and find it hard to classify my work, I think this is partly due to the fact I hated being categorised at college and having to work in one discipline. I love working with textiles, and have produced a range of free-machine-embroidered greetings cards, as well as a range of stitched and painted pictures. I also like to draw and my latest illustration work (ink illustrations) are available to buy as one-off originals and also limited edition prints. My love of tea and cake has influenced my recent work as you can see.
How & when did you get started designing & making?
I started drawing when I was only young, probably five. My earliest memory is winning a Road Safety Art competition at school and winning FIVE WHOLE POUNDS (a fortune back in the 70s!!) Unfortunately I left my art work behind at GCSE level as I couldn’t continue due to my ideas for a career in Pharmacy so I didn’t really come back to it until 2005 when I started my Foundation course. This was a bit of a change of lifestyle decision for me and I have never looked back. After finishing the course I decided to set up my own business and that’s what I have been doing since then, trying out new things and building up a portfolio of work, selling online, in a couple of local retails outlets and blogging about it all on my blog.
What venues / websites do you sell from?
I sell online at Folksy, and I also sell my work at Debbie Bryan in Nottingham, Studio 61 near Matlock, and Design Circus, West Bridgford. I’m aiming to get my work into more shops and galleries this year as well as trying my hand at a few competitions.
What / who inspires your work?
I am inspired by nature primarily, and love the changing colours and seasons and how this changes the world about us. Georgia O’Keefes flowers were a great inpiration to me when I saw them at an exhibition years ago. The colours and gorgeous flowing shapes really made me want to paint!!
Being at home and feeling at one with my surroundings also inspires me, I am lucky enough to have converted an old pigsty at the top of our garden into a gorgeous spacious studio (and not a pig in sight!!). I’m a bit of a home-bird and love the feelings of belonging somewhere, and living somewhere that makes me happy. I’m inspired by my sister, herself a graphic designer, who constantly gives me pep talks and advice, and a kick up the arse when I need it!! Wouldn’t know what to do without her!!
And finally, I love blogging and constantly get inspiration from the many talented artists out there who share their work via their blogs. Its; great to be part of a creative community and I have made many friends, some of whom I have met and many I haven’t thru blogging.
What is your favourite item from your shop & why?
Ooh, now that’s a difficult one, let me think… I think it has to be Amore, an original ink illustration which just happened to turn out right, it wasn’t really planned, but it just unexpectedly worked. It’s a versatile piece as it can be used as wedding stationery, valentines card, limited edition print… and who knows… maybe even screen printed??
What are your plans for Sooziebee for the next 12 months?
I have just applied for a place on Nottinghamshire Creative scheme, which is a mentorship programme for small creative businesses, I am really hoping to get onto this (so please keep all fingers and toes crossed for me) as I think it will give me some direction and lots of ideas for where I want my business to go. Ideally I would love to be able to earn a liveable income from my art so I plan to get my work into more retail outlets, start a structured marketing drive and hopefully pull in some more sales over the next 12 months. I’d love to try screen printing so hope to break the seal on my screenprinting starter kit and get experimenting with that, and maybe screen print some of my designs onto tea towels or aprons.
Who’s handmade shop are you loving right now & why?
There are so many… I love Lu Summers work over on Etsy it’s fresh and vibrant. Her blog is hilarious.
Some of my faves on Folksy are
Sarah Westwood, beautiful and unusual artworks,
Caroline Nash, contemp ceramics which I think are just divine,
Mengsel, whose coffee percolator teatowels I just NEED in my kitchen, gorgeous design,
Janice Jong, whose illustrations I would aspire to,
LinoKing Cards, who I featured on my blog not long ago,
Alexandra Ashby, again gorgeous illustrations I love her quality of line, and
Petal Textiles, poppy picture is just divine.