Friday Interview: Fisk & Fern! February 11, 2011 12:21

Happy Friday, everyone! This week I'd like to introduce you to Laura Fisk, an artist based in Brooklyn, New York.  Read on to learn more about the artist behind the fun and colorful line of screenprinted goodies that we carry here at Craftland!

When did you start your handmade business?
It seems like it shouldn't be this long, but I started up in February 2006, originally with a friend of mine who has now gone onto other wonderful things. I would say though, that I only got really serious in 2008, which was around the time I quit my job in advertising to focus on Fisk and Fern full time. 

Describe your studio for us.
I work from home for all my illustration and "business work"  in a little nook of our apartment. It's small but works! I do all my screenprinting at a communal shop in the city since it's still a little pricey to have my own studio space. Someday I dream of having my own space but it's a little way off just yet. I really like printing in a communal space. There's nothing like printing with a group of people. It keeps it fun and keeps me from getting into my own head too much.

Does living in Brooklyn influence your work?
I've been in Brooklyn about 10 years now and I would definitely say yes! I see so many interesting and strange things on a daily basis it's constantly inspiring. I also see so many people doing so much, and doing so many cool things that it pushes me to keep working as hard as I can. Another great thing is there's a big craft community here in NYC. There's so many markets to get involved in, but most importantly an awesome supportive group of people.

Can you give us some insight into how you turn new ideas into new products?
Sometimes an idea will just pop into my head, especially for cards, and I basically have to sit down and draw and print it right away. Most other times, I know I'll want to expand on a theme of a line I already have, or try out a new product line. Right now I’m working on some new birthday and baby cards and a new line of nature themed dishtowels.I'll flip through my piles of reference books (a lot of old nature books and encyclopedias) for inspiration and do a lot of sketching to get the image just right. Sometimes when I draw a character, I have to decide where they fit in…would they best be suited on a card, or does it make more sense for them to be on an apron or a print…or sometimes all three! The printing process is a big part of it too. I'll experiment with different shades of color, doing tests to see what works and what doesn't, or realizing as soon as I print something that it just doesn't work like how I saw it in my head.


What are some of your favorite tools for getting the word out about your business?
There's so many options today, and I think that's the best part. I'm able to connect with people in the way they want to shop, or learn about my product. whether they see my items in person at a shop (like the wonderful Craftland!) or show; or through various places online through my shop, twitter, Etsy, Facebook, I'm happy that they found me. I try to take advantage of as many that make sense, without driving myself batty. 

What advice would you offer to someone hoping to take their crafting from hobby to business?
If it makes your heart ache that you're not doing it, then just go for it. There's a million excuses not to, but you can't listen to that. There are so many resources now and starting up an Etsy shop takes literally minutes. Take awesome pictures, take pride in your work, learn how from others along the way. I'm still figuring out how to do things better everyday. You have to be ready for rejection too, but keep at it. Things start to build…and despite all the hard work, it's super fun and incredibly rewarding, making it all worth it.

How did you first become involved with Craftland?
I had read about Craftland for a couple years and then finally applied in 2008, and was so happy to get in because it has a great reputation for not only having great craft people participate, but being so supportive in the craft community as well…run by and for artists you could say! 

Guilty Pleasure?
I have too many (does knitting count as a guilty pleasure?)! But at the moment, BravoTV's reality schedule gets me every time….oh the marathons of the Housewives or Top Chef…I can't help myself.