Thursday Showcase No. 7 Betsy Cat

Welcome once again to the Thursday Showcase. Today we have the very lovely Betsy Cat – someone who I should imagine in real life would be the perfect person to have a nice cup of tea and biscuit and proper chinwag with! Have a read and see if you agree…

1. Whats yer name and where d’ya come from?! Hello! I’m Vicky and i live in Exeter where I run my own business “Betsy Cat”, designing and making applique canvas artwork for children.

2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it? It all started just before i had my daughter Betsy in December 2010 – I made a few canvases for her nursery, wanting something personal, original and inexpensive, then when she was born i spent a lot of her nap times developing my designs and sewing skills – it wasn’t a conscious decision at first to start a business, it was more a therapeutic exercise as i adjusted to the mind-blowing world of parenthood.

3. What is the hardest part of your work? Being a mum, and having been a primary school teacher, I wouldn’t describe any part of Betsy Cat as hard! However the admin side of running a business has been the most challenging as I didn’t have a clue what to do when I started – I still don’t really!?

4. And what is the most rewarding? Definitely getting feedback from happy customers, especially when they send me photos of their canvases displayed in their children’s rooms. I know ‘handmade with love’ is a bit of a cliché but my canvases really are, i treat them all as if i were making them for my own home – i think when you put time and effort into making something yourself you can’t help but do that.

5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative? A bit of all of them, with a side of ‘bedraggled Mum’

6. Who from the creative world do you admire? Where to begin! Pip and Hannah from The Craft Hub are amazing – working, busy mums who founded a creative collective in Exeter a few years ago. They run the most incredible craft fairs, as well as pub nights where you can learn new crafts whilst having a natter and a glass of wine with fellow craft lovers. Pip and Hannah taught me how to crochet and i am now addicted. They have endless energy and passion for quality craft, it’s very contagious! Check them out at www.thecrafthub.co.uk

7. Where does your inspiration come from? Design wise I love to combine clean, simple silhouettes with pretty, quirky prints – i’ve never really thought about where my inspiration comes from but i think my canvases reflect my personal style in general – i love shops like Muji and Ikea for their minimalism, but also enjoy a bit of Cath Kidston frilliness.

8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what? Sometimes i do – i love women with power voices that i can warble along to, current favourite is Emile Sande – but i also enjoy the peace of working quietly whilst Betsy sleeps.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? More babies, more Betsy Cat and still sane? That would be excellent.

10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?! I only work on Betsy Cat whilst Betsy is asleep, so i haven’t had to sacrifice any precious time with her. I suppose time to myself, or with my husband, although he often gets involved with my work too and is incredibly supportive. I’m so proud of Betsy Cat and love the opportunity to be creative so it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all.

Why not pop over to Facebook and find out more? There is a brand new website on its way too, so keep checking Facebook for details of that.

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