Artists and designers often use their creations to tell a story, Miquette Breitenbach of the Strawberry Anarchy boutique is one such artist. We asked her how she started making her little clay creations and what inspires her designs.
On how she got started….
I got started on Strawberry Anarchy shortly after leaving university where I studied Computer Arts, when a friend told me about Etsy. I had never even thought about selling my art on-line before that, but it looked like so much fun so I thought I would give it a bash. It started with making jewellery from old toys, making the kind of thing I would like to wear myself.
On how her store has developed…
My shop has been through several changes since I started and it’s completely different now. I wanted it to stand out so I made sure my shop was very unique and had items in it that were original and exclusive to Strawberry Anarchy. One day I was struck by the thought that a shop which tells a story would be really exciting and cool, especially if it was about a surreal world, which is my favourite kind!
I had only ever seen shops created from stories or comic books, but not the other way around. This is when I decided to make my shop read like a story book. It makes reading the listings a bit more intriguing, even looking at the past sold items can be interesting because they all tell part of the bigger story! It challenges my ability in writing and poetry too which keeps things interesting as well as giving me multiple creative outlets. It took me a while to work out how to tackle the story elements and work out the details, but now I do my sections like pages and my titles like chapters in a book. I tell the story of strawberry anarchy through first person.
On her personal style….
Luckily on my Computer Arts course, my style and ideas were allowed to run fairly free and were encouraged. It was a huge difference from art class in school where doing graffiti and Manga was frowned upon and not encouraged in the slightest. The course gave me a bit more confidence in my work but also encouraged me to move away from Manga and do my own things, which was a wonderful piece of advice.
I realised I had been doing all these little creatures and characters for a long time. My creative process interlinks with work from years ago, even school art work. It’s like my brain is on a never-ending journey to connect with old ideas and develop them to make them work properly for new ideas. I also look at everything and imagine what would be different if I was in Strawberry Anarchy, its great escapism sometimes. One day I hope to make an animated film and a computer game about Strawberry Anarchy.
On her creative process….
I started using polymer clay at a very young age, probably 7 or 8, I then went through a stage of using it obsessively when I was about 14. I didn’t do it again seriously for a long time, but knew if I ever did pick it up again I would have to work hard to get much better and improve my technique. I am getting better at it all the time and even see an improvement from about a year and a half ago when I first started making the cutie pot heads.
On what inspires her…
So many things inspire me, I love graffiti, computer games, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Edward Scissor hands, Roald Dahl, wizard of Oz, Giant things and miniature things, toys, Junko Mizuno, Tim Burton, the labyrinth and I also love cute Japanese characters like San-x and Sanrio. My family and friends are very inspiring too. I am surrounded by creative people that I can bounce ideas off. Frazer Gibson my other half is a wonderful artist. He has been published on Threadless and he also did the pixel pot head and square strawberry on my banner which I adore.
On being a seller on Etsy…
Being a seller on Etsy is great, just getting to do art and know that people like my stuff makes life better and happier. It’s just such a lovely feeling when someone buys something and especially if it’s one of my more wacky or weird items. It’s a fabulous feeling to know I’m not alone in my weird thinking. I have so many new characters and stories to share in time which will open up the story of Strawberry Anarchy. I really want people to follow the story as time goes on and as more of the world is revealed.
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