Monday, August 1, 2016

Avril is this week's Monday Maker from the label Avril Bowie

Hello Avril,

Were you creative as a child?
Yes!  My siblings and I sewed, knitted and crocheted our way through Brownies and school craft stalls.  Crafting and making was always there in our lives.

And do you come from a creative family?
One grandmother was a talented painter and the other a tailor and excellent seamstress, my mother sewed and my father liked to dabble across a lot of mediums but his final one was leadlighting.  

How would you describe your work?
My jewellery pieces are elegant yet simply designed using beautiful big glass beads that pack a wow into any outfit.

How has your work evolved since you started?
I think it's becoming more colourful, which is nice.  

How did you start selling on Etsy?
A friend mentioned Etsy to me years ago, 2007 or 2008, and it sounded great.  So I signed up in 2009 but I really didn't use it to its full potential until a little while ago.  I've also set up my own online shop finally which has been a great learning curve that I had been resisting.  Looking back I now ask why did it take me so long to do that!

Who or what inspires you?
I grab a lot of inspiration from other creative mediums like textiles, textile patterns, ceramics  and even architecture.  Looking outside of my medium gives me huge amounts of colour inspiration and design elements that I can ponder on for days trying to think how I can utilise it in my glass work.   I collect a lot of fashion and interiors magazines for inspiration. And I mean a lot. One book case shelf broke and 2 more are threatening to go.  Oops.

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process? 
I've recently learnt that my small glass chips can happily go into resin work, so I'm collecting the smaller bits in jars for future projects.  My larger beads and broken bits get donated to a friend's plant pots to dazzle them up.  And also I've found someone needing colourful shiny glass bits to decorate a sculpture in a mosaic style.  So that will be great to offload the numerous containers taking up space in my studio. 

Is your art eco-friendly?
I've recently installed solar panels so I make sure I make during the day to take advantage of them.
Every little bit helps.

Can you describe your workspace for us?
I have a purpose built home studio with ventilation and safety built in which is great.  I get the morning light in my studio which is lovely and lights up the glass so it's easy to get distracted with the colours at that time of the day.  Right now it's tidy and I'm loving it this way.

What is your favourite thing to make?
I love making hollow beads.  I can't stop making them.  Big glass beads can be heavy so making them hollow lightens up their weight.  And I love big beads.  A bonus to making transparent beads hollow is that the light passes through the bead and highlights the clarity and colour of the glass.  Pure beauty.  Distracting, but very beautiful.  :D

How did your business name come about?
I use my name as the business name as it seemed creative enough as it is!  
Thanks, Mum and Dad!

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?
I'll still be creating and designing new pieces. The possibilities with glass are almost endless, so I'll be there thinking up something new.   I think I'll be even more colourful. And I'll definitely have bracelets in my line up by then.

Do you have a top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade creative market?
Make sure you're paying yourself as well as paying for your materials when pricing your work. It's nice to make something that you love, it's even better when you're getting paid for it.

Describe your typical creative day?
After dropping my daughter off to school, I'll get changed and jump into the studio and start melting glass to take advantage of that time that she's away and to take advantage of the natural light.  I might take photos of finished pieces or beads in that time too.   Once my daughter is home again I'll clean beads, string necklaces or do computer work so she's not in the studio with me.  I try to fit it all around her, so I may even do some computer work after she's gone to bed, too.

Do you have a favourite quote?
I love the one that's plastered on the underpass on McLachlan St in Fortitude Valley.  The more I think about it the bigger it gets.  I love how "it" can mean anything to anyone at any given time, changing the perspective on whatever you're thinking about.  I never tire of that one.

Do you like to listen to Music or watch movies while creating?
I like Podcasts best because I found that listening to music while making beads is detrimental  as I start wiggling or singing the words and that just throws the flame around and I can't keep the beads in the flame. So podcasts it is.  I love getting wrapped up in a good story.  Hello, Serial and Undisclosed. I ruined 5 beads one day because I was so focused on that story and not on the flame melting the glass.But usually I'm listening to Radio National segments - The Science Show is a favourite. This series, Plants: From Roots to Riches from the BBC is a good one.  It made me want to become a botanist!Jess Van Den at Create and Thrive is a good Aussie crafting business podcast that I'll listen to.  
So it's a mixed bag really.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?
Oh, that's tough.  I bought a Tiff Manuell clutch recently.  I love her paintings - they make me happy.  I have a small selection of gilded ceramic pieces from Jennifer Orland and Bridget Bodenham in a cluster with a Liana Kabel sparkly resin vessel on my desk that I love to gaze dreamily at when I'm supposed to be working.

Where can we find you online?
You can find me:


How long have you been a member of BrisStyle Avril?
3 years

How did you find out about BrisStyle?
I found out about BrisStyle through the Etsy newsletters when they mentioned a Brisbane team.

Why did you become a member?
Because of the shared information and the helpful community.

And my last question, which is always my favourite one to ask is, Why do you craft Avril?
I craft to express myself artistically and technically. Glass is part craft and part science, so it ticks all the geeky and arty boxes that I need. The beads become my canvas and also my personal science experiment. A total win win situation for me.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us today Avril.


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