This is the part of the site where I tell you a little about me, my work, my plans and my inspiration. First of all, welcome to the online version of my studio, my lab and my shop.
Who Were You Again?
Yeah. That. I’m Elaine Robitaille. I currently live in Swift Current, a smallish town in southwest Saskatchewan, under the Big Sky of the Canadian Prairies. Before this I lived most of my life in Calgary, Alberta on the edge of the prairies and at the base of the Rockies. Our household consists of my partner in crime, an equally geeky but not so crafty guy, my tween sidekick (aka my daughter) and our mascot, Sam The Siamese Cat. And me.
I’m that weird mix of crafty and technical and you’ll find aspects of that in both my computer and art work. My professional training is in computer sciences and the other half of my life, the non clay part, is all about web development. Not that there’s a real distinction – it all rolls together. Which is how I like it.
So What About The Work?
Ages ago, my granny let me start selling my creative efforts at craft shows with her. I was hooked! There were people – mostly sympathetic friends of my grandmother, I’m sure – who were willing to pay me for my crafts. Something I loved to do made money! Like far too many lil creative people I had been told that you could not make a living doing arts and I’d fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
Like a lot of crafty types I made my way into jewelrymaking. I had a blast! All of these things you could do with tools and shiny rocks and fancy glass. Then, because like a lot of crafty types I suffer from crafty ADD, I got a bit bored. I wanted different beads. I wanted to make my own beads. Glass was out of the question so I went with what I’d heard a bit about in books. This was 1997. I bought a few packages of Fimo and started making bits and pieces. In 1998 I began incorporating them into my jewelrymaking.
In 2003 I found polymer clay online and saw what others were doing with it.I call that my honeymoon period with clay because I fell in love with the possibilities and most especially with millefiori or canework. The combination of little pictures and clay and beads thrilled me. It still does.
What Inspires Me
Inspiration is a funny thing. My ideas seem to hatch from a a bit of everything – fantasy novels, nature, spicy food, the colour blue. A turn of phrase. An event in the paper. A movie. My daughters laugh. I have more of an issue in getting the inspiration and the dang idea bunnies to slow down enough for me to write them down.
What’s the Plan Stan?
Right now I’m teaching classes to whoever holds still long enough to hear me ramble, writing tutorials to spread the clay and craft love, selling online to pay the bills, doing shows to meet people (oh and pay the bills), experimenting in my studio. I’m having fun with all of the crazy things that go along with the entrepreneurial half of being a non-starving artist. It turns out, I enjoy a lot of the business part of this.
Eventually my goal is to have my own little place outside of my house where I may hire minions, have a store front and class room of my own and preach the benefits of buying (and learning) handmade, particularly handmade local. I am a firm believer that the further removed from you are from the people around you, the easier it is to let bad things go by without notice. One solution is to improve the relationship you have with other, regular, normal folks so that bad things happening to them becomes as intolerable as bad things happening to your child. The Internet is a wonderful tool for this since you have the chance to meet the regular, normal people on the other side of the planet as well as the ones down the block.
And if that sounds insanely naive… well, you’ve read this far haven’t you? Perhaps about a small town artisan in a place you didn’t know much, if anything, about.