Making your art your day job isn't necessarily a conscious choice for some. When you ask an artist what made you want to become an artist, most will tell you that it really wasn't a choice, it just was, since as far back as they can remember. Likewise, when some artists decide to become their own boss and work for themselves full-time it's not just a choice, but the way they've always envisioned it to be. Common perception is that artists as have a fun and easy job, but most artists we know are also some of the hardest working individuals out there. It's hard work making it fun. One of these self-employed and driven artists is Laura Childs, the creativity, the thread and needle behind childsPLAYdesign. We asked Laura a few questions to see what her full-time art business is like so we can peek into her handmade days.
Name: Laura Childs
Your shop: childsPLAYdesign
your web links: www.childsPLAYdesign.etsy.com
how long have you been doing this full time? about a year and a half
1. What inspired you to start your very own handmade business?
I made a career change & needed to find work that was more fulfilling. I had always been an arts & craft consumer (I actually had my own weaving business back in my 20s) & have a house full of yummy things I've bought over the years. One day I happened upon etsy & frankly got caught in the swirl of its energy and creativity and uniqueness. I have always had an eye for good design, loved to fondle fabric (in a good way!) and knew how to sew, so the planets seemed to align and away I went! The business has evolved, been edited, and swerved occasionally to what is now essentially quilts and home accessories.
2. What's your daily work routine like from morning to night?
I typically am woken up by 2 hungry dogs willing me awake by staring at me between 5 & 5:30 a.m. They get fed, I catch up on the news (newspaper, tv, NPR, internet) and do computer work (email, etsy, etc.). Take dogs for a walk, pick up/clean up and am at work by 7:30/8 a.m. "At work" could mean at the sewing machine sewing or planning and cutting my next project or taping and basting a quilt. It could also mean applying for craft shows, listing work on etsy, photographing items and even paying bills. Typically work til lunch, play with the dogs, catch up on blogs and then back to sewing at 1 with music at full blast. Continue until about 6 when dogs are staring at me again for dinner. Back to computer, mail, tv and any hand sewing. In bed by a delicious 10 pm.
3. What new projects are you working on right now?
Lovely new baby and lap quilts with some gorgeous fabrics with an occasional picnic quilt using laminated cotton. Also just saw a new pattern to make a fabric kite (just for looks--not for flying) that I'm dying to try out. Oh, and a stuffed patchwork dog. And then there's the houndstooth quilt that I saw in pink that made me drool....and so on and so on!
4. Why do you feel it's important to buy from handmade artists like yourself?
I always say, it's an optimistic thing to do and it's a small and easy way to support creativity and the arts and reconnect with humanity again. With budget slashing, foreclosures, wars and uprisings topping the news every day, and technology replacing face to face interaction, buying handmade suggests one believes in the individual person, the individual spirit of entrepeneurship and that, yes, one person can impact another person's life for the better. Have you ever seen anyone buying handmade not happy or smiling?
5. Why do you think the Dallas area is a good place to be an independent handmade artist?
Because of Etsy Dallas (of course!) and the great support it gives its members as well as the handmade movement in general. But also because there are pockets of arts & craft groups around the city that help publicize the effort. Additionally the city's investment into the arts downtown can only increase the public's awareness of the need for culture and art or craft in one's life.