The Adorned Article Fine Handcrafted Sterling Silver and Gemstone Jewelry

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Artist Spotlight-The Orange Windmill Handbound Leather Journals & Notebooks

Meet Shirley Lynne the artist and shop owner behind The Orange Windmill.  This talented creator of gorgeous leather journals, housewife and stay-at-home-mom, has graciously lent us some of her precious free time to tell us a little more about herself and her Etsy Shop-The Orange Windmill. Click on the link above to visit her gorgeous shop, drop by her Facebook Page & grab a coupon code or follow her on Twitter.

Lime Green Embossed Leather Journal Gift Set

 Please tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is Shirley, and I live in Hamilton, Ontario. I am a housewife and stay-at-home-mom to two extraordinary children. I started The Orange Windmill in August 2011 selling handmade leather journals. Before I became a mom, I worked in the administration field. My ideal job would be to work in an old library, full of classics and manuscripts, with the smell of the pages lingering all around... mmm...

How did you first get started making journals?
I wanted to buy a journal, since the journal I had been using was almost full. I started looking around, and then my husband said to me, "Why don't you make a journal, instead of buying it?" And that started it all! Although, I did take my time in researching the different styles of binding, covers, paper, etc. before I made my first journal. And after I made that journal, I knew I was going to open up shop, selling them - I LOVED it.

Shiny Black Embossed Leather Journal

Can you walk us through your creative process?
My creative process is pretty much the same for each journal, it doesn't matter what size it is. I play with what colour of leather I want to use, and which colour thread and closure I want to use, and how many pages. Then I cut the leather down to the size I need. The pages are then torn down to size. I measure and poke the holes in the leather and pages. Then the binding begins (my favourite part!). Then I make and "install" the closure. And, Voila! It really is sort of cut and dry.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? 
My inspiration really comes from the leather. Almost every day, you can find me looking at different colours and styles of leather, finding the pieces I want to work with. When I get the leather, I look at the piece I need to cut to form the cover, and it all blooms from there.

Small Mocha Leather Journal

What’s your favorite part about running your own business? What do you find most difficult?
My favourite part about running my own business is the enjoyment that my customers get out of the journals I make for them. There's nothing like that feeling of accomplishment, knowing that people will pay me their hard earned money for one of my journals!
The most difficult is finding time! My kids are 3 years old and 10 months old, and I don't have a lot of time for creating or networking or marketing, etc. So when I have that time, I have to be really careful not to let the time get away from me, and manage my time very well.

Blue Hardcover Coptic Stitch Journal

Do you have any advice or tips for artists wanting to start their own business?
I would tell anyone starting their own business (specifically a shop on Etsy) to get everything prepared first. Build up some inventory. Figure out your branding, your business cards, your shop banner and avatar, your policies, everything. Once that is all done, then open your shop.
Also, do what you LOVE to do. Don't create something just because it sells (even though that's tempting!). I could sell the items I paint. However, if they sell, I would have to make them over and over and over and over again, I would end up hating it! So do something you really enjoy doing, so that when you are doing it so often, it's not a chore.

Large Orange Handbound Leather Journal

Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you?
Here are a few things that I love: campfires (without the mosquitoes), burnt marshmallows, a good book, napping, classical music, and interior design.Thanks so much, Samantha, for giving me the chance to get to know you and your readers!

Turquoise Embossed Leather Journal Gift Set


Shirley said...

This is awesome! Thank you so much for interviewing me! :) -Shirley

TheAdornedArticle said...

You're so welcome-thank you for letting me use your gorgeous photos!