Friday, 27 October 2017

Etsy shop find...a chat with Sarah Cray

This months etsy interview is with Sarah Cray aka Dandelion Paper Co.
You can purchase Sarah's beautiful handpainted artwork as either original pieces of art or as wall art prints or cards.
Her shop is full to bursting with gorgeous watercolour florals, custom pet portraits and whimsical typography designs.

**Sarah is very kindly offering readers of loveprintstudio a special promotion for 25% off any orders received, just enter 'loveprintstudio' at the checkout of her etsy shop.**

So lets get to know a little about Sarah shall we...

1. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background... 

I have always had an interest in art, I have been drawing and painting since I can remember, but I didn’t think of doing it as my career until I took my first art class as a senior in high school. 
I realized that I would love to be an art teacher, so I majored in studio art (emphasis on painting and drawing) at Sacramento state with the intent of doing their MA program so I could teach community college. 
Around the time I was graduating and applying for the MA program I started my own little etsy shop, selling fun watercolor illustrations. 
Although I was accepted to their MA program, I decided to decline and give being a freelance artist/illustrator a chance. 
It has been going great and I absolutely LOVE what I am doing! 
Recently I finished illustrating a book on Motherhood with Gibbs Smith (which will be released March 2018) and I am part of the West Elm Local Artist program, which means a few of my prints are available for purchase in California West Elms.

2. How did you decide on the name for your etsy shop and is there a specific meaning behind it?

My husband actually came up with the name for my etsy shop, he was taking a botany class at the time and they were learning about compound inflorescences (which means that one flower is made up of a bunch of a little flowers called florets) like dandelions and sunflowers. 
I knew I wanted something to do with flowers or botanicals because of how much I use them in my work and once Dandelion Paper was said, it just felt right.

3. Who are your design heroes and what inspires you?

Some design heroes are Iris Apfel, Mary Blair, Shannon Kirsten, Anna Bond. 
I think I am inspired by multiple things in different ways. 
Sometimes it’s really colorful or old architecture, or the colour of the rice fields by my house, or sometimes I think I am inspired by artwork in general, whether or not it is my preference of style or colour, seeing other people create and showing their passion makes me want to pick up a brush and go!

4. Tell us about a typical day for you...

Well I am a mother to two young girls, one of which stays home with me. 
So usually I wake up, get my eldest daughter ready for school, drop her off, run to the gym (which I found has extremely helped with my mental health), come home and work while my youngest daughter eats lunch and takes a nap. 
Usually I consult my calendar (where I have created to-do lists for each day) and I start painting whatever project is due that week. 
I also will do a mini “photoshoot” of a painting that I will post to Instagram either that day or the next.  
I run and pick my daughter up from school and while she works on homework I am answering emails and digitally editing work for customers. 
Because my youngest daughter is a bit on the high-energy side, I usually can’t pick up the paints again until my daughters go to bed around 8:30. 
After they lay down for the night I am finishing up on my to-do list for the day and answering any emails that are in my inbox, usually finishing up around 11 p.m. 
I also have a few other responsibilities, like meeting with the youth of my church once a week and doing some scheduling for my Uncles window shutter installation on the side. Basically, I just fit those in when I can, and all day, every day, I am on the go!

5. Can you give us an insight into your creative process?

I feel like my creative process is a bit on the slow side, if I have an idea for a painting, I like to ponder on it for a while. I picture in my head how I will address certain problems, and do a couple different versions just using my imagination. I have found that when I go straight to paper with an idea, I get frustrated because it is not turning out exactly how I want. I have found that I do better work when I have time to absorb the idea fully before actually painting it. 

6. Where do you work? Describe your studio/work area…

Right now my husband and I are saving for a house, so we are living in a little studio apartment that is attached to my parents house. 
My office/work desk is in the same room as the kitchen, the living room, everything! 
My work area takes up the length of one entire wall, and that is where I do my painting, printing, and packaging for all of my work. 
It is definitely tight, and I dream about having a studio, but for now this works. 

7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a designer/illustrator?

The BEST thing about my job is I know that if I somehow won millions of dollars, I would still be doing EXACTLY what I am doing right now. 
Sometimes I do custom work, but for the most part I am able to have creative freedom over projects, which is so amazing. 


8. How would you describe your style/ work?

I feel like there a few different components to my work, I guess I would describe it as bright, colorful, a bit messy, and a bit whimsical. 
I absolutely do a lot of florals and portraiture, but my favorite work is when I combine unexpected elements with flowers, like using flowers as a head on a body. 

9. What makes you laugh?

Oh goodness, I feel like I laugh at so many things. 
I guess my favourites are witty memes, compilation videos of people tripping (but not seriously injured) and my husband is literally the funniest person I have ever met. 

10. What are your favourite books from your childhood?

I was and still am an avid reader, the books that I remember loving as a child are Ella Enchanted, Island of the blue dolphin, a Wrinkle in Time, the entire Harry Potter series (which I still reread about every 2 years), and any Nancy Drew book. 

11. What’s the most popular item for sale in your etsy shop? 
And your personal favourite? 

I would say my most popular item on my etsy shop is my floral womb print and my personal favorite is the custom botanical silhouette. I love that idea of being able to see what you would look like if you were made out of flowers!

12. What are you currently passionate about or fascinated by and how is it inspiring your work?

I am currently fascinated with delicate flowers and really nice textured paper. 
I think it is a bit opposite to the work I create, so whenever I see simplistic flowers on handmade paper I just swoon. 
It doesn’t make me want to create work that looks exactly like that, but it gives me this light, airy feeling in my chest which is my body telling me that I need to go paint. 

A huge thanks to Sarah for taking the time to share a glimpse into her world.

You can follow Sarah here...

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