by Madison Pitsch
Senior studio arts major Sarah Johnson has found an alternative to the typical college job. Johnson runs Sarah Beth’s Studio, an Etsy shop that sells her original artwork, from the comfort of her dorm room.
Etsy is an online market where people from all around the world can buy and sell handmade items. Etsy shops have always been in the cards for Johnson; in fact, she has already created two shops on the website. Her original shop began as a place to sell vintage clothing, which she later closed. She decided to give Etsy a second try in the form of Sarah Beth’s Studio, which focuses on selling more original art such as handmade ceramics and jewelry.
“Ceramics is super enjoyable for me and I just love the functionality of it. I love that I can make a mug… and then I can have my morning coffee out of it and no one else in the world has the same mug,” Johnson said.
She finds her inspiration for jewelry in things like artifacts, little collectables and shards of memories.. All pieces are handmade and go through several steps before they can be considered jewelry.
“I like the process,” Johnson said. “I like the outcome too. I choose to sell the things that I do because they are the kinds of things that I like and would buy. Maybe others will too.”
The developmental stages of designing artwork involves a fair amount of brainstorming, she said. The brainstorming process is pivotal to the development of her art because without it she “gets excited and creates a whole bunch of random stuff,” Johnson said.
Currently Johnson sells only original art in order to create her own brand, but plans on opening up her shop options to custom orders in the future. She plans on adding more ceramics, jewelry, prints, paintings, handmade home decor and anything else she makes and thinks other people might enjoy to the shop’s lineup of items.
“The shop is barely started, but I’ve got a lot of plans for it and I’m excited to see what happens,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s past art classes have been instrumental in the developing stages of her shop, and according to Johnson’s advisor and Art Department Chair Don Robson, the real world art experience will be useful in the future.
“It provides student artists with a real world sense of the challenges artists face,” Robson said. “It also helps in networking.”
Sarah Beth’s Studio has been a fun experience for Johnson.
“You feel a great sense of accomplishment when orders come in, things go right and people are happy with your work,” Johnson said.
Johnson wants to encourage others artists to open up art shops, suggesting that artists can be successful but that it takes time. Johnson said that it requires patience and research to run an art shop, but there are resources out there that can help one to begin their own.
“If you appreciate art/handmade goods, you don’t have to buy anything,” Johnson said. “Just a little encouragement goes a long way.”