As you are probably aware, a website is a very important part of showcasing a product and connecting with customers. So, now that my website – www.sarahkayarts.com is a year old – I thought it was time to take a fresh look at it!
I have decided to redesign the homepage, possibly to include a 360° video. My website also includes a shop and sold page to show what is currently available to buy and also show what has sold (there may only be one of a certain style, but I can make similar pieces if someone loves one in particular.)
Having a good online presence can be a vital tool when trying to sell a product and advertise what you make. Creating a worldwide possibility for customers also requires a commitment to post regularly, have high quality images and be consistent.
Most importantly, it is necessary to select the most suitable social media platform to suit your product and focus on that, as it’s unlikely that you would use them all effectively. I use Instagram, where you can find me as @sarahkay367 and Facebook – “Sarah Kay – artist” as well as an Etsy shop – Sarah Kay arts and my website and blog.
I hope you enjoy my efforts as much as I do following other artists and interesting people, who always inspire me to think up new ideas.
One of my favourite artists to follow is Hope Blamire. She paints landscapes, mainly of the Western Isles, and her Facebook page is full of colourful photos of the scenes that inspire her, as well as her work.
Beachcombing – Challister, Whalsay
My favourite hobby, if you hadn’t guessed already, is beachcombing.
This probably started when I was a child, at “the Bug”, the local name for the small beach just below our family home at Challister, in Whalsay, where I grew up. It’s a special beach to me.
On this small section of shore line there was everything you could hope to find – fine sand, rough sand, shell sand, whelk beds, rock pools for finding small fish, crabs, sea urchins, shells and unusual shaped stones of every size.
There are unusual yellow coloured shells and some with stripes not found on many Shetland beaches. These is a larger pool of water affectionately known as ‘the crabby hole’ which offered unlimited play time for my mum and her siblings when growing up.
It was also where I found not one, but 3 messages in bottles as a child! The one which had travelled furthest was from Newfoundland, Canada, and had been sent by a boy who was the same age as me at the time. He had sent it while on a fishing trip with his dad, which I found out when I wrote to him from the address in the bottle.
The Bug is definitely one of my favourite beaches. It is hidden away, but worth a visit as it has unusual shells which I use for my artwork.
So much of life today is designed to be disposable. As someone who regularly visits the coast and beaches, the evidence for this throwaway society is sadly often to see.
I feel it is really important to re-cycle where possible. I do this in my daily life and try to reduce the amount of waste we throw out, and its no different in my artwork.
In 2014 I won an environmental award for the garden I built, around our home, which is open to the public to visit. It has a strong theme of recycling, and I used various objects such as tyres, pallets, kerb stones, re-used slabs, plants from skips, net and wine bottles to create areas of interest.
I carry this through to my work, and am delighted to use discarded pieces off wood to paint in. I collect up bags of ‘firewood’ from a local company and discover off cuts of fantastic wood such as solid oak.
Even my work desk is reclaimed – it is actually an old door fixed to a small desk! It’s great and gives me a perfect large workspace. It would have made no sense to throw it out and spend hundreds of pounds on a new desk when it works perfectly.
Although lots of my work features repurposed items, my most well known re-cycled artwork is possibly my re-used scaffolding boards, which are simply large chunky planks of wood which get dumped periodically to comply with various health and safety rules. I re-use them, cut them up and paint onto the raw wood, which has an even more interesting texture when it is marked, chipped or gouged into. Surely a smooth canvas would be pretty boring in comparison.