We recently caught up with maker extraordinaire Joe Kang to ask her about her involvement in the current Paper • Scissors • Stone Temporium and her experiences as a creative living in Bristol.
Why is Bristol a great place to be a creative?
There's a real presence of creativity in the air in Bristol which for me means that I am always finding new inspiration around every corner. People in Bristol like to think outside the box a little with their creativity too. There is definitely a real community spirit and warmth about Bristol's creatives which means that in fact everyone's there to help each other out rather than being competitive, which I love.
What do you think makes Paper • Scissors • Stone special?
Paper Scissors Stone is all about supporting the local talent and artists in Bristol. It brings together like-minded people from all kinds of different creative backgrounds and allows them to thrive off one another in a shared space. It also provides Bristol artists with an outlet to showcase their work to the public who may not always have the opportunity to access the material in an open forum whilst also having the opportunity to meet the makers.
Do you have any advice to other artists wishing to sell their work?
Have faith in what you do and take the leap...!
What's the most enjoyable thing about your chosen discipline?
It allows me to express my creativity in many ways. I don't have one specific media that I enjoy to work with, I have many, so i'm always building new skills and learning new things about myself.
What has proved the biggest work challenge so far this year?
I think the biggest challenge for me this year has been to juggle my creative work with my paid and voluntary work simultaneously, and realising when the balance needs to be readdressed.
Where do you go or what do you do to find inspiration?
I love to travel when I can. To me that is one of my biggest inspirations because it opens my eyes and mind to the colourful world we live in. I love the smells, colours and creativity of other cultures that you just wouldn't experience being sat on sofa in front of the t.v. all day.
Are you planning any special Christmas creations?
Watch this space...
What new tool, skill or resource would have a positive impact on your business?
I'd love a new modern sewing machine & an overlocker. Sad I know, but the machine I have now is second-hand which I stole from my mum few years ago after 'borrowing' it. She hints every now and then that she'd like it back!
Describe your studio or workspace?
Hmmm...I am lucky enough to have a pretty nice second room which started off as my studio space with a fab trestle table that I work on and shelves stacked with goodies. Over time however, it has filled with much clutter and needs a clear out. Right now my sewing machine is naughtily sat on the dining room table where I have been working of late and seem to have slowly started taking over the living room too with piles of fabrics & boxes of things as my business grows! Luckily I have a pretty understanding boyfriend, but I'm sure he'd love to have his space back soon.
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram…describe your relationship/experiences with social media….
As much as I hate to say it, Facebook has been a pretty good tool for me in terms of social media. It allows me to make little updates about what i'm doing, I can upload photos of new makes, customers can send me appreciation photos, I can link in my blog and other peoples blogs that I like to read, and the big wide world is my audience should they choose to read it. I am yet to use twitter properly. I only registered last week and am still nervous about how to use it.
I set up a blog using blogspot quite recently, but am not very good at using it regularly enough, but I'm sure it'll come over time. I need to make a routine and set aside time every day purely for social media. I spend far too much time reading other peoples blogs and getting sucked in by all the interesting things there are to read on the internet. It's not uncommon for my computer to get annoyed and come to a halt as I have about 20 windows open of all the interesting things I come across.
Which is your favourite local independent shop or eatery in Bristol & why?
My favourite place to hang out has to be Cafe Kino. It's around the corner from where I live. It's a non-profit co-operatively owned business, operated by its workers, and run in part by volunteers. Their food is delicious, ethically sourced and very reasonably priced. They open quite late and regularly host creative events and music. It was my home when I was getting to grips with starting a creative business and didn't have internet at home. The staff there are absolutely brilliant!
Tell us a secret….
I have a new shaped cushion coming out soon.
Finally if you where a biscuit, what would you be and why?
I'd be a custard cream because they have a certain vintage appeal to them, they're good old fashioned, sweet centred and you always know where you stand with one!!
To read more about Joe Kang and what she is making next click here and do come and see the lovely products that Joe has made in the Volume 4 of the Paper • Scissors • Stone Temporium, located in Cabot's Circus, Bristol. We look forward to seeing you there!