Gretchen Verplanck, Burlington VTBig Girl Company
1. What is the name of your business, what do you create and sell and how did you get started?
Big Girl Company. I make anything I can, sandblasting glass, hand built and slip cast ceramics, as well as the occasional sewing,knitting or cooking project. I started selling objects at my local Art Festival as a kid, went to college for Art and started my studio about a year after graduating in 1993. I originally shared a space with 3 other ceramic artists, which was great because it kept me inspired by others but I saw the wear and tear on the people doing production style businesses and it scared the crap out of me.... is it better to do what you love for work or for yourself? Still working on that question.
2. What/who inspires you?
I get inspired by the things around me, patterns, color, fabric, yarn, interior spaces, walks in the woods, walks downtown and of course all the people in the world making cool shit.
3. Give us a peek into you work space. Where do you create? Describe your work space or studio.
When sewing and knitting I can work in my comfy living room (which I am totally in love with) when cooking I can work in my awesome kitchen (which I am totally in love with) and when blasting or working with clay I am in my Studio (which is dirty and dusty). My Studio is in a one car converted garage outside my house, which makes it really convenient, close but away. It has a lot of different supplies and projects jammed into a relatively small space, boxes of slip, boxes of clay, underglazes, glazes, molds, glassware, a kiln, raw materials, slabroller, sandblast cabinet, compressor and all the projects finished and not sold as well as projects not finished. Organization is key and it sometimes gets away from me.
4. Where do you sell and promote your work?
I sell mostly through Studio sales and Etsy, one of these days I might get my shit together develop "a line" and be able to sell to retail shops.
5. What are three things you can't live without?
I can not live without my slabroller, red and a cup of tea. I can make good things with those three.
6. What are your three favorite things about Vermont?
the lake, the people, the city of Burlington.
7. What does the term indie craft mean to you?
someone who is making things regardless of salability but they make them because it makes them happy, selling things and recognition is secondary. Although it gives you a rush to know other people like what you do.
8. Any new products, projects or news you want to share?
I am back working in clay after a year respite working with sandblasting glass. I love the immediate gratification with sandblasting, as well as the fact that the mistakes are few and far between... (since I just unloaded a kiln full of work that was totally ruined). But I am totally in love with the tactile feel of clay and they way you can shape it and the cracked bleeding knuckles it gives me are pretty awesome too! Oh and I am trying to create a set of dinnerware... plate, salad plate and bowl. I'm pretty amped up on that right now, so now that all my trials came out of the kiln ruined, back to the drawing board.