Today the spotlight is on glass painter and illustrator Louise Poulsom:
Being a crafts maker
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I am a hard working mum of five children/ glass painter/ illustrator. I work daytime with the children and nights with my paintbrushes.
When did you decide to pursue making crafts as a career?
I decided to start glass painting professionally as a form of relaxation after a couple of very intensive illustration projects which consumed months of my spare time. I had been painting glasses for friends and a few had suggested selling the glassware. Now, during breaks in my illustration commissions I race to paint the glasses as each glass order may be completed in a short space of time and the instructions for each are so wonderfully diverse. When I work on my illustration projects I have very steady business relationships with my clients and I really enjoy working on the commissions but the glassware is a breath of air because it’s like going out to a party after work while you’re still in a suit but are really letting your hair down. Creating items for pleasure is seriously fun and to get paid for it is a real bonus!
What training did you have?
I have a degree in Graphic Design, specialising in Illustration.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
A year on from building my website I have seen a steady increase in traffic to the site and contact from buyers. The high point has to be the fact that I know now exactly what sells and I know that I can flippantly list pieces that may not sell immediately but enjoy them sitting there on my shelves for my own enjoyment until they are bought while I can also list my most popular wine glass designs which always move incredibly quickly. I only wish that I could afford the time to paint a set of wine glasses for myself to actually use rather than to simply look at!
Who is your favourite artist?
Ronald Searle, Kathe Kolwitz, Oscar Kokoschka, Quentin Blake,
What are you aiming for?
To keep improving and to continue to create work for people to enjoy.
How will you get there?
With the help of many online artist communities that I visit and the encouragement of my children, clients, customers and friends.
Is anything holding you back?
A lack of time! I only wish that I could devote all of my time to my artwork but I’m sure that will be the case one day. Right now my family is my priority and I simply have to sacrifice rather a lot of sleep.
You and making crafts
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I want people who see my work to enjoy the colours and fun that I try to convey.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
My glasses take from 2 to 10 hours a piece.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I rarely listen to music. I have Iplayer or catch up TV on the computer as I work or LBC on the radio.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I’m increasingly working with high-end premium glassware as well as my usual glasses. I do have a big time constraint at the moment and commissions are on hold but I will continue to list my own creations, all of which may be personalised.
Being inspired by making crafts
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
I’m eternally inspired by my Mum who had six children and managed to keep us all inspired and optimistic and also my Dad who is so excitable and interested in the world.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as a crafts maker?
The creative drive to achieve something. There is a huge satisfaction in creating something that hadn’t existed before.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
The last piece! Every piece of work that I create is always my favourite until I work on the next. All of my satisfaction is in the creation and I make sure that I’m equally as happy with each piece that I create.
a crafts maker’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for making crafts into a career, could you give any advice?
Set a website up for your work then generate interest in the website by selling a few pieces on sites like Ebay or Folksy and send business cards with your website on pointing them to your website. Repeat orders tend to come directly to the website.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
I have created a couple of videos of montages of my work which are on You Tube and I maintain a shop on Folksy so that my work can be found elsewhere and brings in new customers. I attach a care card to my products with my website address on and a business card for the buyers. I also use Vista Print who often have special offers on postcards and business cards to throw extra things into the parcel. These tend to get circulated around buyer’s friends and workmates and certainly generate more business.