Today we talk to Glasgow Etsy Member Zoe Scott about her beautiful Etsy Shop selling concrete treasures – Zoe Scott Designs
How would you describe your style?
I call myself a concretist! I’m a maker designer who works in concrete. My style is very clean, paired back, modern minimalist. I’ve never been one for over designed, frilly or patterned things. I love looking at the simple geometric forms and surface textures. Less is definitely more in my book. But I also adore colour and textures so I love adding metallic strips, blocks and highlights to my items. One of the things I love most about working with concrete is the surface bubbles and textures that can be created. Some makers work really hard to get rid of bubbles, but I encourage them! It makes the item so tactile. I shop with my fingers as well as my eyes and I always encourage people to pick up my planters.
Where does your love of colour come from?
I’ve always been a bit of a magpie, I love shiny things! I love the interplay of really shimmery pink paint on brutal concrete. It just makes me smile. Living in Scotland I think we all get very use to looking at grey concrete. So by adding a metallic pop to the familiar dull palette, I hope I can put a smile on everyone’s face. I have a degree in printed textiles which has really taught me a lot about mixing colour, colour ratio and design balance. I love getting a custom order for planters. Like the one I did for hotpod yoga studio. They have a rainbow logo and wanted 7 planters to match. They were over the moon when they saw the results! 7 unique planters in descending amounts with perfect colour match to their logo.
I’ve been so lucky to have been commissioned by several cafes in Glasgow and Edinburgh to furnish their tables with my planters! 2 of my favourites have been the new Thomsons cafe in the refurbished Arches and Baba Rista in Edinburgh. I think it’s a real privilege to add my designs to their beautiful interiors. I always work to collaborate with them to decide the best shapes, colour and plants for their needs. And it’s great to know that there are people out there who want to support small makers and showcase new, unique design. It’s so easy to buy something cheap and cheerful from a high street store. So when someone chooses not to do that, it is very much appreciated.
Biggest craft Fail?
Impatience! I have broken so so many pieces from impatience. Each planter takes about 5 days to make. Most of which is drying time. But sometimes I have a new design or just want to get on with things and try and take the damp concrete out before it’s really strong enough. And of course it crumbles in my hands! I am trying to learn patience but it is a real struggle! I just get so excited to see the shapes. It’s even worse with the marbled concrete because each one is so unique and a real surprise when I tip them out and see how they’ve mixed. But nothing makes me sadder than throwing broken planters in the bin so I do try and resist!
Innovate, don’t imitate. I think it’s so important to be continually refreshing and updating my products. Over the last 18 months I’ve made things that have been hugely successful but also things that I’ve loved but haven’t sold so well. Just because one person is having lots of success selling a certain product doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to work as well for you. I try to always be thinking ahead to new products or a variation on an existing line. This year I’ve introduced my concrete hexagons inscribed with calligraphy, concrete hearts, new colour variations on my concrete planters, marbled planters and candle holders!
Favourite part of process?
Putting my work into customers hands! I love every stage of the process from finding new mould shapes to painting the concrete and choosing just the right plants for the planters. But it’s all made truly worthwhile when I get to give my products to a happy customer and see a big smile on their face. When I’m at a market and someone is just standing looking, trying to narrow the selection process down to just a few they always apologize. But I love it! What an amazing thing that someone could love my work so much that they can’t pick a favourite! No apology needed.
Currently working on?
Xmas! Sitting in this beautiful summer weather trying to think about winter colours, gift sets and tree decorations isn’t the easiest thing! Last Christmas I was really stressed trying to keep up with demand and getting concrete to dry in 2 degrees isn’t exactly simple. I even had to throw away a whole batch because it had frozen instead of setting. So this year I’m going to try and start earlier and stockpile while the weather is nice. I have lots of ideas that will hopefully make it out of my brain and onto people’s wish lists.