Editor’s note: This is a series highlighting just some of the fascinating skills on SkillPages. Genevieve Blignaut is a craftswoman using SkillPages to showcase her portfolio of products and loves being part of an on-line community. We caught up with Genevieve to find out more about her skill, her experience of starting her own business and her advice for people wanting to make crafts full-time.
Hi Genevieve, how and when did you start making your crafts?
In a nutshell – I have a passion for jewellery making and I illustrate for fun! I started expanding my techniques in Illustration while studying Visual Communication. While working with paper it helped me to realise that I could do more with the skills that I had already acquired. I saw this as an opportunity with my sister to start our own little business and the crafts grew more and more from then on.
Is this your full job or more of a hobby?
This is my full-time job combined with freelance graphic design and photography. I also bake specialized cupcakes, but crafting always comes first.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to make crafts full-time?
I think you should make sure that you have your own working space that will inspire creativity and make you happy. Making crafts does take time, so if you have a full-time job maybe get someone to craft with you as this will motivate you to do more. It may seem hard at first, but keep your spirits up and enjoy the creation process. Be willing to explore new fields and constantly challenge yourself with new ideas and projects. Also it’s extremely important to build a network of people who can help you on your professional path so be afraid of nothing and no one!
How has your skill developed over the years?
My love for art began with my drama and dance days. I always thought that performance would be my creative expression. After ending my drama studies I had a difficult time trying to figure out the next step. I had a picture in my mind of sitting in a studio and illustrating children’s books and for the first time ever I dared to create with my hands. So my skills basically developed from nothing to design, to painting and drawing, to paper art and animation and finally crafting with different mediums.
Who has been the most influential to your skill?
Kate Slater and my sister Veronique inspired me with their daring approach to projects. My Illustration lecturer also played a crucial part, always pushing me to explore and expand every possible medium and every possible object or artwork.
What has been your most popular item you have made to date?
Definitely finger puppets! I think there is such an authentic and romantic aspect to telling stories while animating characters – how can you not get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside when you reminisce over memories like that?
What is your favourite part in the process of designing and making crafts?
My favourite part is admiring the final product. It still amazes me that out of nothing something that will last for generations had been made. Thinking of all the stories that every piece will come to know makes the process and the product mysterious and magical to me.
What is your best advice on getting your business noticed online?
Don’t be afraid to get your portfolio out there, create a blog or become a part of any network, more than one network is ideal. You should also try to post new ideas, inspirations and products frequently as you want to keep your followers excited and on their toes!
Apart from being a talented craftswoman, what new skills would you like to learn?
I would love to learn fire dancing, be able to express through music and do a yoga teachers course.
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