Monday, May 17, 2010

Eight Questions with...Sue Pariseau

Meet Sue Pariseau. Sue lives in a the south metro suburb of Farmington, but she also spends a great deal of time at her farm in SE Minnesota near Lanesboro. If she didn’t have a day job in the metro area, she'd be at the farm all the time. Sue & her husband Kevin have four adult children & three grandchildren. Kevin helps Sue tote all her heavy pottery around & calls himself her roadie; without his assistance she would not be able to participate in the quantity of shows she currently does. And he works cheap – all she needs to do is buy him pie or ice cream and let him take a nap in the shade and he’s happy. When not making pottery or selling at shows, Sue is a project manager for an electric utility. You can find Sue on her Etsy store, Sue Pariseau Pottery, & her blog of the same name.

1. What type of items do you sell in your store?

My Etsy store features a sampling of the wheel thrown and hand built functional pottery pieces I create. Most items are available immediately. However, some items, like dinnerware place settings, are made to order listings. Because pottery is so heavy, shipping costs are pretty high so I see more sales of smaller items and try to keep a greater inventory of small items in my store compared to larger items.

2. Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from many sources. One of the foremost is necessity. I make pottery for people to use in their everyday lives rather than something to be collected and used as art pieces. So, when I think of something I could really use to make my life easier, I consider if it is something I could make from clay. If I have a need for it, someone else probably does too.

3. Do you have a specific space where you do most of your work?

Making pottery takes up lots of space and is messy. I am very fortunate to have studio space in two locations. At our house, my studio shares a portion of our garage with daughter Gabby’s work space, two vehicles, all the usual garage storage stuff and a pet or two. It’s a little crowded and my husband mourns the loss of his “man cave”. At the farm, we’ve built a studio space called Old Crow Studio and a separate shed for a wood fired kiln. Old Crow Studio is my preferred workspace and I hope one day soon, it will be my primary studio.

4. When did you first start crafting?

I don’t remember not crafting. My Mom was a crafter and crafting was always an integral part of our lives. I first remember selling crafts in elementary school when friends and I would make chokers with ribbon and buttons and sell them to other students. Does that statement date me?

5. Do you do any crafts or art beyond what you sell?

Working full time and being a studio pottery part-time, I don’t have a lot of extra time left for other crafting. But I try to do a little of anything that sounds like it might be enjoyable. Does Christmas decorating count? – I love Christmas decorating.

6. What are your favorite places to buy supplies?

My favorite place to buy clay supplies is Continental Clay in Minneapolis , their employees are extremely helpful and friendly. They also have a great display area in the store featuring hundreds of donated pots from other artists which show how different clays and glazes can be used. Seeing all the various shapes and purposes is very inspirational. After that, I’d have to say my favorite place to buy pottery making tools is any kitchen store. My favorite tools are repurposed kitchen items; pastry cutter, turkey baster, wooden bowls and a strainer all make great pottery tools.

7. What is the best thing you’ve ever done to promote your Etsy store?

I don’t think I can nail down a “best” thing yet. To me promoting your store is about finding a good combination of efforts rather than one really good one. I’ve found membership in HandmadeMN and Etsy Mud Team to be invaluable. Every communication tool I use (e-mail signature, business cards, Etsy purchase thank you cards, etc) have my Etsy store address on them so people can find my store again. Like many Etsians, I use Twitter and Facebook social networks where I promote my store and my blog. And then I use Google Analytics to see what is effective.

8. What other Etsy store(s) do you really like?

My daughter’s store, Cannibal Candies, Scrub Your Butt Soap Co, because you've gotta love the name. Margotbianca because batik bandanas keep the mud out of my hair .


Evie's Tool Emporium said...

Nice to get to know you! Love the area where you live!

Sue's daughter, Gabby said...

... I think Kevin's claimed back some of his "man cave". I don't have a work space anymore. :)

Denise said...

Great interview , Sue! I LIKE the picture!!