This months etsy interview sees me chatting with Julia Staite.
I recently came across her etsy shop and loved it straight away.
Julia is an illustrator turned designer/maker, and using collage, pen, paint and pencil, she creates whimsical artwork which she then uses to make soft toys, prints, cards, cushions and other items to sell in her etsy shop.
So, have a scroll down and lets get to know Julia and her beautiful artwork...
1. Can you tell us a bit about your background...
I did my degree in illustration and worked as a freelance illustrator after graduation until my first daughter was born.
While taking some time off with her I started making things which developed into products so I set up an Etsy shop!
I found it a much more flexible way of working and being at home with my daughter.
Its now the main part of my work, although I do still do some freelance design and illustration work - such as my craft project page in preschool magazine DOT.
2. Describe a typical day for you…
Well my youngest daughter is only 3 and only does two mornings at nursery so I have to work around her most of the time!
As a result I probably don't have an obvious routine - I hop about from one job to another depending on whatever is most urgent, in-between jigsaw puzzles and colouring in.
When the girls are in bed I get to sit down and work in peace for a few hours!
I usually only work on new designs in the evening when there are no distractions!
3. Can you give us an insight into your creative process?
All my designs start as pencil drawings - I have to work things out on paper rather than the computer.
When I am working on designs to print onto fabric I then digitally trace and colour them. My favourite bit is turning the fabric into products - seeing the idea in my head become a real thing!
4. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a illustrator turned designer-maker?
I get to create every day!
And I get to make things that other people like enough to buy for their children.
5. What made you decide to open an etsy shop and when? And whats been your most popular item sold in that time?
I decided to open an Etsy shop as I was designing and making things any way and thought earning some money from it would be a bonus!
That was in 2011 and things have changed a lot since then as the business has grown. Overall my most popular item has probably been the personalised alphabet blocks as they were one of my first products but these days the softies are most popular.
6. Have you always been interested in designing children’s products?
My illustration style has always had a leaning towards the children's market but it wasn't until I became a parent myself that I became interested in designing for children.
7. What are you currently passionate about/ fascinated by and how is it inspiring your work?
I think inventing characters has always been my main passion, and my children are my main inspiration - and chief product testers!
8. What books/ magazines are currently on your coffee table?
I only wish I had time to read a book or magazine!
I do like to flick through Mollie Makes when I get the chance!
9. What art do you have on your wall?
Surprisingly little, its mostly photos of the kids!
We do have two lovely early 20th century Japanese wood block prints on the living room wall though which I will never get bored of.
10. What are your favourite books from your childhood?
Enid Blyton mostly!
The Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair especially!
11. How would you describe your designs?
Unique, whimsical and fun!
12. The best things in life…
1. My family (of course)
2. A full nights sleep
Its always nice to see the work spaces of designers, and Julia very kindly sent over some snaps of hers...
Thanks to Julia for being part of the etsy interviews.
You can follow her here:
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