Today we meet Glasgow Etsy Member Katy and her beautiful mosaic company – Recycle Me Mosaics.
How would you describe your style?
Flowers in abundance feature in the majority of my exhibition pieces, as well as in private commissions. While many of my pieces are considered ‘decorative art’, I also enjoy making mosaics with a more practical purpose such as tabletops and garden items. My mosaics are often a bit quirky and very colourful!
What’s the first thing you ever made?
My first project was a table top for the garden – as my husband and I at first couldn’t decide on what table to have, he wanted a cheap picnic table and I wanted a teak one, but finally we did agree on mosaic – nothing like being ambitious! A friend of mine taught mosaic in the area, and after a weekend class with her to learn the basics, I was hooked. That was about 15 years ago, and I have not looked back since. I have evolved from a hobbyist to a professional, finally giving up our B&B in Crieff, to only doing mosaics out towards St Fillans.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on about 3 projects at the moment: the biggest for The Bield, a lovely venue with an exhibition space that hosts the Perthshire Open Studios Showcase Exhibition. I am creating seven spirals in mosaic, as if they are vines with flowers and birds, which will be incorporated into a pedestrian walkway. Not only is it way bigger than anything that I have worked on, but also is also the most complex. But they are very supportive clients, just the kind I like!!! I am also making a mosaic egg for a client who is writing a sci-fi book where the egg is a key feature, so he has given me a very detailed description of what he is wanting, a real challenge but very creatively stimulating. And finally, I am always creating mosaics on slate. These are usually made up of lovely bone china leftovers from other projects, that I just cannot bring myself to throw away, so turnthem into flowers and birds.
Which have been your favourite collaborations and why?
I worked with the art teacher of a private school to create a wall mosaic. She stayed with me and we discussed the project, and via email, I supported her in getting the pupils to make flower heads / birds / butterflies / leaves etc. Then I went to the school for a week and installed the mosaic onto the wall and created a tree. It was great to work with someone who I clicked with instantly, and working with the pupils was a real joy. We did long hours, working by car headlight one evening, but everyone was really pleased with the result. I would love to do more like this.
Where do you create?
I have recently moved to between Comrie and St Fillan’s in Perthshire, and have been enjoying looking out onto the wild goats, who were frequenting the field opposite my workshop in the Spring, and with the river Earn just beyond, and hills in the distance. Now there is a wild flower meadow growing away. I love it! Currently it is a garage, which is lovely when the metal door is up, but in time I will have a bespoke workshop.
How big is your crafting stash?
In my new ‘garage’ I have managed to bring together all my stash into one space, as previously it was scattered about my garden in various outbuildings. With my mosaics, I aim to be true to myself and my interest in recycling and sustainability by incorporating many recycled materials, using pique assiette – a style of mosaic that incorporates pieces of broken ceramics; plates, dishes, cups, tiles and other found objects into the design. Many items are sourced from friends or from Crieff/Comrie producers, giving the finished mosaic a sense of a ‘patchwork’ quality to it with provenance attached to each tessera. I also use tempered glass (broken car windows) with a sweet wrapper collage underneath in some mosaics.
I even have a large box of broken bone china from Etsy Team leader, Lynne, which is an exciting pick and mix for me!
What 2 tips would you give new Etsy sellers?
- Work on your shop bit by bit, constantly reading up via blogs / teams / forums as to how to improve and give it time to build up trade
- Apply what you have learn from the forums etc into other media such as your website & social media.
I have learnt so much about photography (I think I am on my 4th style of photography) and SEO which has then helped me with other digital marketing.
And if I could add a 3rd tip, it would be to plug away at social media, not just posting up links to new items on your Etsy shop, but also what makes you tick as an artist, and what your followers might be interested in (books you read, music, hobbies, inspiration etc), and engage with your potential audience. After all, it is SOCIAL media.