It's friday - and I'm happy to present a family of artisans next. Featured Artisan of the day:
The Big Yellow Chair team is made up of Carl Connett (me), my wife Amber, and our children. We’ve always had some sort of creative projects going, but Big Yellow Chair became our official creative outlet in 2008. Our first Big Yellow Chair products have been art mobiles. For my day job, I run a database programming business called Extra Mile Data.
Can I look you up on facebook?
Yes please - http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Big-Yellow-Chair/108979157273
What is it you're making and how did you get into it?
I saw my first large-scale kinetic sculpture soon after engineering school and was captured by the movement and how it interacted with the environment. A decade later, I discovered Alexander Calder and mobiles. It wasn’t until I had a family, though, that I tried making something kinetic myself.
We have a picture of Amber and me painting a large-scale wooden sculpture in the front yard, with our first son at 18 months old, “helping” us paint. When he was 5 years old, he drew an airport scene with crayon that became the pictures for the pieces of my first mobile. At age 8, he provided some drawings that were the inspiration for the pieces of the Space Mobile (our first Big Yellow Chair product), while Amber provided the whimsical design of the wires. I did the production work and everybody in the family helped with assembly. We’ve had other children along the way, and they also take part in discussions about what we make and how it should look.
What does your day look like?
Currently, we’re a home-schooling family with young children and I run my programming business from my home office, so we’re all together much of the time. That allows us to have a lot of creative discussions during the week, but it is still difficult to find time to produce. During peak periods of working on the mobiles, I set aside parts of specific days during the week that I can devote to production.
Any tips for other artisans/crafters?
We had an unexpected opportunity pop up in August. An artist friend suggested that we submit one of our mobiles (an exploded view of a mobile phone) for the “Art from Found Objects” exhibition at the Monmouth Museum in New Jersey. The mobile was accepted and we made our way to the opening reception in September. We received a lot of encouragement by the other artists at the opening, and the exhibition will give us a month to share our art with the public outside the Etsy shop. So my suggestion is to look for, and invest in, other kinds of opportunities beyond Etsy.