It’s my pleasure to feature Amanda Bosveld from Dear Musketeer on the blog. Make sure to check out her Etsy shop and leave her some love in the comments!
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your creative journey?
I’m Amanda, from the beautiful island of Tasmania in Australia. I’ve always been madly in love with creating, art and design. I’m a qualified graphic designer by trade, but when I got seriously sick with (what I now know to be) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome five years ago I resigned from my corporate job and have totally changed direction.
This illness has an extreme amount of challenges but it’s also given me time and space to grow the little business that is Dear Musketeer. I find so much happiness in the sweet distraction of creating – even on my many bed bound days I can still design or make. (It’s amazing how much you can still do whilst lying down, propped up on a sea of pillows). It’s wonderfully fulfilling to put my limited energy into something I love so much. I really do miss my old life as a graphic designer, copywriter and marketer. But I have always been drawn to the really artistic side of whatever I did more, so it’s been a beautiful, natural progression of my skills into this space.
My advice is to work with what works for you – don’t be pressured to do what you think is expected of you as an artist. You don’t have to create how others create or run a business in a similar way.
So many of us have unique challenges or limitations and there is no one way that is ‘the right way’ to be creative or to run a small business. My intention for myself this year is to focus on my 2019 goal of a ‘slow and joyous flow’ in my work. I know that I can’t push myself or be always on the go so I’m sticking with what works for me.
I wouldn’t say I have one preferred medium or style. My work includes digital art, painting, drawing and my latest love, fibre art (or ‘fiber’ for all you Americans). But my art for my Dear Musketeer shop is always based around it being wall art as I love interiors and offering pieces to make people’s spaces beautiful.
When did Dear Musketeer get started? How has your art business experience been on Etsy?
I started Dear Musketeer on Etsy in 2011 but only for a short while since my work as a full time graphic design job kept me more than busy. So I feel I really started just a year and a half ago with my current art range and style.
Etsy has been the most amazing platform. Many other small creative businesses I have talked to say they stay away from it since they think the fees etc are too pricey. But personally, I don’t know of any other selling platform that would give me the same exposure to new customers and therefore more sales.
It is also very user friendly and you don’t need to be some web genius to use Etsy to its full potential. For example, I still have times I can barely get out of bed, so when I feel like this, I change my shipping profiles with a few quick clicks to increase my processing time. Then I simply change it back once I know I’m feeling a little better again. All in all, I can’t recommend it enough.
What does your artistic process like? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My work develops as I’m taken ‘where the wind blows me’. Sometimes I’m super inspired by the colours I see around me and ideas just spring into my mind. On my recent summer family holiday to Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula (please Google it and possibly put it on your travel bucket list), I was totally inspired by the white beaches, blue water and huge granite blocks that are coloured orange by lichen. This led to my latest collection of watercolour leaves art. Other times I feel compelled to work with my hands and just experiment and get super stuck into tactile forms of art. I find inspiration all around me and always carry a little notebook to jot down ideas for later. I also find Pinterest a great platform for compiling (and finding) ideas and inspiration.
For other artists selling prints, do you have any solid printer recommendations?
My biggest tip would be to do your homework. Email a number of printers and ask all the questions you need to to find out it the company to work with is right for you. If possible find someone local or in your country that will deliver to you in your time frames and with your quality requirements. I recently changed printers since I wanted to upgrade my printing quality and paper stocks. I would say I was possibly annoying with the amount of questions I asked different printers. I’m fussy and with good reason – I want to give my customers the best! I knew the right people to work with would understand my desire for amazing quality and consistency, plus be able to work with my time frames. I therefore found a printer who I now have the best and easiest working relationship with. The quality and consistency of their prints are amazing, so in turn I’m then so happy and confident to sell to my customers. Win win!!
Are there any projects in the works for the coming year?
Ah there sure is – my work is always evolving. I’m currently in the process of creating prototypes for some unique style wall hangings. I’m also going to expand my print range plus offer gallery pack options and canvas prints with hangers too. Where else my art goes, I don’t know. We’ll just see where my ever inspired mind and whim takes me.