Sunday, 8 July 2012

Spotlight Sunday - Marie Fredriksson - Calligrapher

What’s your name?Marie Fredriksson

In what form does your creating take?I am passionate about calligraphy and have loved to use steel nibs and ink since I was 14. Lately this interest has branched out to include my lettering etched on various metals such as sterling silver, copper and stainless steel.

Describe your business?Currently I am making and selling my calligraphy on etched metals in the form of jewellery - pendants and bracelets - in my Etsy shop. I am very fortunate to have a husband with a well equipped workshop right here in our house. I also run calligraphy correspondence courses in Swedish and English with students mostly from Scandinavia, but also from other parts of the world. I also do original calligraphy on request.

What are you offering?In my Etsy shop everything I sell includes etched calligraphy in the form of various quotes and words. I use copper for pendants and bracelets, sterling silver for pendants and stainless steel for bracelets. The copper is a wonderful metal that can be oxidized to a warm, walnut brown colour that emphasis the etched words and gives the metal a rustic and slightly aged patina. When I work with silver I choose not to oxidize the letters black, as I feel an organic and subtle silver-on-silver design is more pleasing. Stainless steel can't be coloured at all as far as I know, but the contrast between the slightly mottled surface of the letters and the polished "background" work very well on its own. I make the bracelets from recycled leather waist belts or scrap leather from a nearby friend's leather workshop, and rivet the etched metal to the leather. The pendants hang from waxed black cotton cords, the silver ones being enhanced by a extender chain and freshwater pearl.

I want to letter and etch words that are meaningful - to me personally, or to friends or a wider audience (hopefully). I try to stay away from the most frequently used affirmative words going around these days, although I admit to have etched "Breathe" and "Carpe Diem" and "Amor vincit omnia" a couple of times. But finding the right words to etch is almost the hardest part of the whole process!

How did you get started on your present art/craft?I have practiced calligraphy for all of my adult life, but the metal etching is a fairly new interest. Although I didn't begin experimenting with it until January 2010, I've known about the methods used for quite some time. Anne Van Tassel - an online friend in the US - was the first one I knew who etched calligraphy on metal and I loved how it looked. Unfortunately she is no longer with us, but she shared her methods freely with me several years ago. And for some reason, in January 2010 I felt that the time was right to give it a try. I learned how it was done on my own, googled A LOT for more information and fine tuned the techniques over time. There's really no better way to learn than through series of both successful and less successful experiments.

In a word, describe your creative process?Experimentive! (I don't think this is a proper word, Sue - but that's what it's all about for me - to experiment and see what happens. "What if...?")

What inspires you the most?Words. Words I hear on the tv, on the radio, in the office, or words that I read in the newspaper, in books, on billboards...

Who inspires you the most?I draw my inspiration from many sources. Other calligraphers, Etsy sellers, old paintings, books, ads. One never knows when something interesting will show up!

Where does the magic happen?I work mainly in my office (lettering the designs, scanning and printing etching templates etc), the kitchen (preparing the metal and adhering the etching resist), the bathroom (the actual etching takes place here) and in hubby's workshop (sawing, filing, drilling, riveting etc). I would love to be able to do everything in one place though. Some time, perhaps...

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you can give someone considering starting up a business as a creator?

Don't give up! Be stubborn and persistent and believe in what you do. And be prepared that it takes a lot of time that is not 'creative time' - setting up a website and/or webshop, starting a blog and filling it with good content, getting a grip about marketing, doing the bookkeeping etc.

Any other advice?
Marketing is a MUST! And so is being "social" on the web, be it Facebook, twitter, your own and other people's blogs etc. No one will find you unless you let the world know where you are and what you have to offer!

Where else can you and or your work be found on-line?

Thanks Marie for such a wonderful interview and sharing your experiences and work with us.

If you would like to be featured in Spotlight Sunday....see the post on how to go about it.

Being a Creator is as much about sharing your experiences as it is about your work. Together we can help each other grow!

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