This week we talk to Liz of The Flying Teapot Shop! She creates lovely laser cut accessories which you can see by clicking HERE.
Where did your artist name come from?
The name of my business comes from an album by the band Gong. I'm not especially a fan of theirs, but I liked the name when I came across it years ago! I'd like to run a cafe one day, selling all different kinds of teas, and I always thought I'd call it 'The Flying Teapot'. It would have a painted wooden sign, and be full of bookcases, teapots and art works. So I decided to use the name when I opened my Etsy shop. I thought it had a nice ring to it. And my first design was a wooden teapot brooch, so it seemed appropriate.
What is it that makes you work with laser cutting?
I started making laser cut jewellery about a year after I got a job as a laser technician, in 2011. I work for a small company who mostly manufacture wooden and acrylic letters, as well as designs for other small businesses and individuals. I became aware of the possibilities of laser-cutting and tried making some of my own designs. My boss is very accommodating and lets me use the lasers in the evenings, and it's great being able to be in control of the whole process - from the first designs, to the actual laser cutting. Doing it all myself also means I can play around with the laser settings and experiment a bit, which is really good. Designing things for laser cutting doesn't really come naturally to me; I'd usually prefer to make things by hand. I had to learn how best to design things for the laser - what would work and what wouldn't. But there are so many possibilities with laser cutting, and I love how you can combine something that still looks hand-drawn and organic with something produced using computers!
What inspires your work?
My work is inspired by all sorts of things: by nature, by literature, by everyday objects. I look for things that have character, and that would lend themselves well to being rendered in laser cut wood. And I make things that I would like to wear! I start with sketches, and if I think it would work as a brooch, I'll think about how best to produce it - whether it should be pre-painted and etched, which etch settings to use, what colours, the type of wood that would work etc.
Which is your favourite piece?
My favourite piece is probably the John Keats brooch. I decided to make a little wooden tribute to the poet as I've loved his work ever since I studied him at school. Although I also designed brooches with Shelley and Byron on, as a sort of Romantic Poet set, it was the Keats brooch I originally felt inspired to make. It's a bit more complex than my other designs, and takes longer to cut due to the etching on the back. It has a extract from Keats' 'Endymion', which reads in part: 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever...'. It's quite a well-known quote, but lovely, I think, nonetheless.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
The biggest challenge I've faced so far is probably in becoming involved with pop up shops in Bristol, though it has been a good sort of challenge! To go from selling just a few things online through Etsy, to manufacturing a whole range of products ready to sell in a shop environment certainly requires some hard work. Just the logistics of selling your products in shops where the standards are very high, and all your stock is on display all the time, take a lot of organisation; sourcing packaging, deciding on presentation, keeping up with sales etc can be a big job. But I've definitely learned a lot along the way, and am delighted that a year after opening The Flying Teapot Shop online, I'm selling my brooches in the kinds of shops I love to shop in myself!
What do you think of Liz's work? Drop us a comment!
Objets De Désir xoxo