Artfire Artisan Spotlight: Lois Nelson, ArtFairlyAware
Posted by pauljvguillaume on 07/29/2011 at 10:35:26
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
My name is Lois Nelson and my studio on artfire is called ArtFairlyAware. I'm married and have 4 children--all boys. I work part-time as a fitness instructor. I have been with artfire for about a year I think. I add a bit of fair trade coffee to everything I do--whether I knead it into polymer clay or mix it into paint. I consider myself an advocate for fair trade. I think it is really important that people be paid fairly for their crops/goods.
What role does your family play in your art?
My family is very supportive. They understand when dinner consists of grilled cheese and canned tomato soup because I'm working on my newest creation. My sister-in-law is my best customer--she must own over 20 pieces easily!
Where do you live and what is it like?
I live in Arlington Heights, Illinois which is a northern suburb of Chicago. It's close enough to enjoy the city when I want to, but far enough away from the crowds, bustle and traffic. It's been a great place to raise a family.
Where did you learn your medium?
I am self taught in clay work. I did take some oil painting and photography classes as an adult. Mostly I just do my own thing. Right now my main question is, "How can I put fair trade coffee into that?"
What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
My main goal is to design pieces that will create conversations about fair trade--some like--"This _________ has fair trade coffee in it!" "What's fair trade mean?" "It means the farmer received a fair wage for his coffee crop and can provide for his family, have enough money to keep his crop growing and have a decent life!"
How did you come to selling online?
I started selling online because I didn't want to do the whole craft fair thing. I like being home on the weekends. I canreach people all over the world this way as well.
How did you come to find a home on ArtFire?
When I was researching a friend of mine was on both etsy and artfire. I liked the idea of starting out with a basic account to kind of get my feet wet. I've been a pro for a while now and love all the extras I get.
What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
I guess the same advice I've gotten. Keep the faith, sales may not happen overnight. Network, network, network!
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
I feel when something is handmade, that person is pouring a bit of themself into that piece. It's really one of a kind, not something made by a machine that spits out identical items over and over again. I like the idea that my human hands create what I sell and others hands create what I buy. Plus it's a great way to do something we truly love and share it with others.