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Featured Seller: SueQuigley

Mar 19, 2006

by SueQuigley handmade and vintage goods

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Sue Quigley and I live in the DC metro area in Arlington, VA with my husband, Jon and our three cats, Ollie, Tiger and Rasputin. I spend my art time in the basement of our circa 1937 bungalow, creating new pieces and firing the kiln. For my day job I am an Art Director for AOL, so I am fortunate to make a living from my creativity. Still, I design with pixels all day long, so it feels nice to come home and create something tangible with my hands.

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
Any major holiday would send me upstairs to hide away in my room making special cards for my family. I think I was the only 3-year old to create a pop-up “heart-in-the-box” card for Valentine’s Day! My Mom still has it.

What first made you want to become an artist?
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
I gather the most inspiration from everyday wonder and the greenery in my own yard. I am drawn to forms in nature and borrow these shapes for my art–flowers, leaves, buds and more. Nature is such a wonderful designer I barely have to do much work!

We have a big oak tree out front that I park under everyday. Acorns kept plunking down on my hood, forcing me to notice the magic of their form. I brought a couple inside and tried to capture that perfectly comforting and appealing shape in a tiny pendant. And now I wear one myself. I usually make jewelry items that I enjoy wearing personally.

What are your favorite materials?
I trained in traditional metalsmithing, but was frustrated I could not easily create the organic forms that I love using fabrication techniques. I was so excited to discover precious metal clay! It can be sculpted and worked like clay and holds impeccable detail. I like that my fingerprints show in many of my creations–a signature even more unique than the Q I inscribe on all my pieces.

I fire my finished clay pieces in a high temperature kiln at 1650 degrees for 2 hours and the organic binder burns off leaving just fine silver .999. The pieces actually shrink about 30% when fired which enhances the detailing. I finish the metal using traditional metalsmithing techniques.

This is the ideal material for me and enables me to capture the magical essence of nature in fine silver! My Hubbs gave me a lump of 22 karat gold precious metal clay as a holiday gift. Look for some gold pieces soon in my Etsy store!

Any tips for selling handmade stuff?
Consistent visual identity is crucial to success when selling handmade stuff. Everything related to your product should share the same look and feel, including your photography, branding and packaging. You should seize every opportunity to reinforce the essence of your art.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I enjoy coffee, books, yoga, photography, roller blading, travel and camping at the beach. Sharing these things with friends or family is good too. Ahhhhh–and I love food! The eating part that is–my husband is the chef in the family and very talented–I’m lucky. There are also tons of tasty restaurants in Washington DC–yum.

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