Creative Business Interview - Rebecca Brown - Ceramics and Drawings

I can't tell you how excited and pleased I was when Rebecca said that she would agree to be interviewed for the blog.  I really love Rebecca's work (I'm still regretting not buying a plate that had the most fabulous scruffy cat on it!)  and am sure you will love her work too.  She is a relatively new business and is, like many of us juggling it with other jobs. I'm also really pleased that we will be both exhibiting at Art& in York in October so I'll get chance to buy a plate and this time I won't be hesitating!

Be sure to go give her a follow over on Instagram here

1. Tell us a bit about your business?

I make decorative hand built and slip cast ceramics, combining drawing, painting and printmaking to build narrative on the surface.  It still feels as though I'm just starting out but I graduated in 2014 with a degree in Textile & Surface Design which was where I started working with ceramics.  I then wen on to study for a Masters in Illustration and kept making ceramics throughout.  I moved to Sheffield in 2017 for the Ceramic Starter Studio at Yorkshire Artspace and thats when it feels like things started moving a bit more quickly in terms of picking up more erratic knowledge and gaining an understanding of running a business.

2. What is your typical day like?

Most days start really early because I work part time as a childminder too, so I usually start the day with two small people, making breakfast and worrying about getting them to school on time, then head to the studio and try and cram everything in between 9.30 and 3.00pm before school is finished. It sometimes feels hectic but forces me to plan the day on the walk in, and means I actually get work done instead of dawdling.  These days are good for making a big batch of pinch pots, rolling slabs, glazing etc.  Fridays are my favourite day because I can stay as late as I like at the studio, don't have to plan and can let my mind wander a bit so they feel better for drawing and planning.

3. How do you market your business and what works best for you?

It is very lazy but I tend to use Instagram and not much else.  At the moment, I find selling through galleries is probably the best for me in terms of marketing as I'm not really sure about it myself and find it a bit awkward so I try to avoid it.  But I realise I cannot avoid it forever, and pan to set up an online newsletter to reach out to people.

4.  If you were starting your business again, is there anything you would have done differently?

That's really hard to answer!  The number one thing I'd probably do is give myself more time to rest, because I think it has taken a really long time for it to sink in how important that is.  And I'd make time to go to more exhibitions and other interesting things to fill my brain - I'd call them "research days" instead of thinking I have to be in the studio absolutely all the time.  And finally I would try not to be too hard on myself if thing's don't go to plan.

5.  What's the best thing about being a creative business owner?

Looking forward to going to work.

6. What's the toughest thing?

It can be all consuming.

7.  What's the best piece of business advice you've been given?

Probably "make what you want to make, not what you think people want you to make", which sounds obvious but can be so difficult to remember this when self doubt takes over, so I'm always trying to keep this in my head.

8. What advice would you give other creative businesses starting out?

Make sure you have some time to rest!  I think especially when you start straight out from university because of the fast pace of the final year, it can feel like everything should be happening really quickly but there's really no rush.  So don't feel like you have to take on too much all at once.  If something breaks, or doesn't go to plan (thank you ceramics!) or I'm really excited about an opportunity but get a rejection email, I keep reminding myself 'it's not the end of the world'.  Putting it like that seems like such an understatement, but when you frame it like that it kind of helps to realise how insignificant it is in the grand scheme of things.  In the same vein, if you miss a deadline for something, keep in mind that there is always next year, just make a note of the rough time of year so you don't forget.

9.  Do you have any exciting plans for your business in the future?

Yes!   I have just moved in to my own small studio with Yorkshire Artspace and it feels really exciting.  In the longer term I'm hoping to make some larger pieces and take time to draw on the surface as well as making time to draw and print on paper again too.

10. Where can people find our more about you?

I have a website here as well as Instagram here. and will be opening my studio on the 16th ad 17th November as part of the Yorkshire Artspace Open Studios event.  I'm doing lots of shows in the run up to Xmas, including the Sheffield Ceramics Festival, GNCCR, Art& York and Lustre.


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