It's time for another Friday "artists who blog" interview, and this week I was lucky enough to convince San Francisco ceramic artist Diana Fayt to participate. I fell in love with Diana's beautiful work on first sight. In addition to making gorgeous ceramic work, running her own online shop, and showing her art around the world, she also writes the lovely One Black Bird blog, which she richly embellishes with superb photographs of her work and studio.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I started my blog, One Black Bird two years ago when I was taking a break from San Francisco and was living in the Hudson Valley in New York. Where I lived was very rural and I began to feel a bit isolated so I started reading blogs to help stay connected to things. It was then that I thought I should give it a go myself. I really liked the idea of being the voice behind my own work. Before the Internet, galleries and stores were the interface for Artists and it was really refreshing to be able to speak for myself directly to people about my experience as an Artist and the work I made and get direct feedback from people.
How did you come up with the name "One Black Bird"?
People often think I am making a reference to blackbirds because of my blog name...I know it is a little confusing. But in truth the name comes from the fact that I paint silhouetted birds in black on my pieces. My icon is actually a baby wren (painted in black) and not a blackbird. Also the father of a friend of mine had suggested that I use the bird image and my insignia because he thought it looked like me. I thought it was funny because no one had ever told me I looked like a bird before. The "One" part of the name is because the number one has a lot of significance in my life (I was born on October 1st and when you add up all the days in my birthday it comes out to the number one. So I took all those little personal details, put them together and came up with the name One Black Bird.
How has blogging effected your work as an artist/designer?
It has turned my world around. For many years (before the Internet) I exploited the only available avenues to Artists to show my work (applying to shows...with yes, slides and handwritten applications!), participating in craft fairs and showing my work at galleries and high end boutiques. I had a good response to my work but doing things that way is really slow going and hit or miss. I had to have a second job waiting tables to ensure I could pay my bills. Now I am so busy I can barely keep up. Being able to have my own online store has also been made a huge difference I credit this to blogging. It is really a fabulous thing and has made it possible for me to live out my dream to be a self supporting Artist.
What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?
Okay, this is a little funny because the truth is my favorite blogs are not Artist blogs but food blogs. Though I do have a few favorite Art blogs amongst the many I read. Here they are:
Lisa Solomon. Lisa's Musings. I really like how Lisa intertwines her love and appreciation for craft and fine art and discusses this with her readers in a way that is inviting and also thought provoking. Not to mention she is an amazing talent and I adore her work.
Whitney Smith. This Artist's Life. Whitney writes a really fabulous blog about her experience as a professional potter. Whitney is smart and wickedly funny. She kicks your butt to the curb but will be there offering you a hand (and a drink) to help get you off your ass. Whitney's work is also stunning, extremely well crafted and I admire her commitment to doing what she loves.
For an all around Art Blog, I really like dear ada. Not only does she write about all kinds of Art and does not exclude ceramics from the pack she talks about Art in a way that is sharp and delightful. Her love for the Art she discovers and shares with her readers is infectious. She also shows a really nice variety of work that is always fresh and new.
One of my favorite food blogs is Orangette. Molly writes funny, honest and tasty entries. A combination that can't be beat.
Why do you think blogs have now become so popular with artists and designers?
Art is so much about communication. It is also about making, process and formal concerns. Most often the end result is an expression of an idea in the form of an object whether it is a painting, sculpture, a print, jewelry, a pot, photographs, a quilt, the list goes on... I think blogs are a great extension of that desire to communicate and share ideas and work. Plus it removes the middle person. Though I have a great regard for store owners and galleries (it is not an easy road for them either) Artists can navigate their own careers and have an audience for their work that is no longer dependent on the acceptance of galleries and the so called Art experts. It has cracked things wide open and it has been so delightful to see what people are doing out there. Blogs and the Internet has made it possible for that to happen.
Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?
Something I have had to deal with from time to time is people wanting me to share my process. This can get complicated (and time consuming). It is important to have boundaries when it comes to sharing information about yourself what you do. Don't be afraid to stand your ground if you feel like people are asking about things you are not comfortable sharing.
What has been the most positive/inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?
The amazing community of people I have come to know and become friends with because of blogging. Having a serious studio practice can get pretty isolating so having people to share your experience with at your fingertips is pretty damn wonderful.
Thanks so much for having me Stephanie!
Thank YOU Diana!
Have a great weekend!