Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Artist Interview: Lucinda of Luli Bags

I'm doing this interview a bit early because with full time work tomorrow (for just the day) and packing to leave for camping, I don't want this interview to fall through the cracks! Because, as with all the interviewees, Lucinda from Luli Bags has some facts and information that you wouldn't want to miss! Luli bags is a fun purse/bag shop on Etsy.
I asked Lucinda first what her favorite color was and she responded "As a fabric hoarder, I cannot possibly answer this question. I love fabric in so many different prints and colours, that my answer changes on a daily basis." I completely understand - my mother has always been a fabric hoarder and has the same mindset! Her favorite breakfast food is smoked bacon ("(as part of a full English breakfast). Fulfilling the stereotype..."). And on weekends she likes to do "simple things" like relaxing at home; watching films, eating, spending time with friends and family. And when I asked her what her dream vacation would be she said "A private beach somewhere tropical sounds good. On a more realistic level, I’d love to visit New York."

Then, I asked her about her art:

What started you in your art/craft?
I have always enjoyed painting and photography and did A-Level art at school. However, I had a creative hiatus for several years while I studied to become a Solicitor. I started sewing around 5 years ago when I found an old sewing machine in a shared house and decided to test it out. It wasn’t long before I was hooked. I grew up around some talented seamstresses, so I may have had a head start.

What are your favorite materials/tools?

My Janome sewing machine and overlocker. I had a false start with a sewing machine that wasn’t fit for my intended purpose (despite advice to the contrary). My current semi-professional machine is really powerful and can cope with a wide range of heavy fabrics, leather and suede. I find my overlocker invaluable; it adds neatness and durability to my work. I’m very protective of my scissor collection! A good pair can make such a difference (and prevent blisters when cutting out in bulk).

Who's your biggest inspiration?
My boyfriend is a talented musician and artist and has actively encouraged me to pursue my creative side.

How long have you being producing your work/How did you get started in it?
I’ve been making bags for around 5 years. When I bought my most recent machine, I made a lot of stock and attended various craft fairs in London. I made countless gifts and items for myself, building stock along the way. I eventually opened my Etsy shop in late April 2009, so I’ve been up and running for around 3 months.

Where do you hope your art will take you in the next year?
I would love to see my business grow into something which can help to pay the bills. It would be fantastic to have a busier Etsy shop and to establish some links with small gift shops, to ensure a steady flow of business. I’d like to set up a blog and promote my shop more effectively. Being the featured artist on the Etsy front page would be fantastic but I’m not holding my breath...

Is there anything you want people to get/take away from your work?
I hope I can share and enhance the initial impact the fabric had on me, by creating a finished piece of work for others to enjoy. I hope that buyers can also enjoy the feeling that they own something that either no-one else has, or that hasn’t been mass produced.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Think carefully about your product before you build up stock and open your shop. Try to creative a distinctive house style, so people can recognize your products at a glance. Perhaps consider limiting the types of item that you sell, e.g. specialize in a few styles of bags/clothing/jewelry. I notice that sellers who manage to do this are often more successful. I should probably follow my own advice.

She had this to say as her final words, "I’m currently working on a range of clutch purses with metal kiss-lock frames. I have a large stash of beautiful and unusual smaller pieces of fabric and I think this will be the best way to make use of them. I plan to ornament these bags with vintage brooches/buttons (if I can bear to part with them). I’d like to thank Melanie for featuring me on this blog, much appreciated!"

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