Makers to Know: Danielle Folkerts | The Traveling Artisan

Danielle Folkerts is a mixed media artist with a true passion for her craft and travel. Her artwork is crafted beautifully and thoughtfully, and I'm happy to have her on the blog this week! Read on to find all about her inspirations, goals, and advice for folks just starting out.

Being a small business owner myself, I love to hear the origin stories of other makers. When and how did you decide to start your own business? What is your creative background?

Your heart knows what it wants, you just have to listen. Art, art history and travel are the things I’ve always had an ambitious passion for. So I jumped in, only knowing what felt right. I completed my Visual Art Diploma at Red Deer College and finished my Bachelor in Fine Arts at the Alberta College of Art + Design. After 4 years, I came out majoring in Painting, thinking “cool… now what?”  I worked odd jobs, travelled as much as I could, and painted in between.  It was really a painting course in Italy that made me realize I could not imagine a life without art, despite how unclear my direction often felt. So I spent a year working at an art store in Calgary, which turned out to be an incredibly knowledgeable experience; I recommend it to any artist. Meanwhile, I worked on occasional private commissions, showcased work, and instructed art workshops at schools in my hometown. 
I eventually moved back home to help out with my mom’s antique shop, and with a flexible schedule, it seemed the perfect time to really get down to business. I had participated in a number of art markets in the last few years, but this year I decided I wanted more. Naturally, I applied to everything, started an Etsy Shop, created a larger online presence and started painting regularly.
I am presently busy prepping for an event every month and loving it. Only in the last year did I really start to realize that I am evolving into my own little business. It’s still a work in progress, but I am very happy with the direction of things

How did you decide to focus on your medium & style?

As a mixed media artist, I love combining a variety of mediums and techniques.  I work with painting, drawing, photography and collage. I am always collecting odds and ends. I’m inspired by architectural textures, natural landscapes, colorful textiles and historical cultures. Additionally, I’ve started to compliment my intricate mixed media work with a softer series of work in watercolor. I am enchanted by their color and simplicity. Overall my whole studio process continues to be organic and I am starting to see things fall into place.

Have you set any exciting goals for yourself or your business for 2015? What can we look forward to seeing from you! 

My biggest goal for myself this year is to continue to develop and balance my art practice. It’s a big year, with lots of upcoming events. I love representing my artwork and meeting local artisans and customers personally. Additionally, I look forward to teaching more adult and kid’s art classes in my hometown. I want to see my local arts community thrive and grow. I am eager to create opportunities for all ages to come learn, paint, share and enjoy the possibilities of art. Lastly, you can expect to see more work coming to the Etsy shop, as it’s a great opportunity to reach a broader and international audience. The Etsy and Instagram community have truly been a huge support.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their own self-made business? 

My advice to you is to spend time creating quality work. Research your materials, develop your process, and be passionate about what you are sharing with the world. Plus, network and engage with your online and local community. Put yourself out there, be genuine, and work hard.   

When you're not creating, what do you love to do?

When I’m not creating, I’m travelling or thinking about travelling. I’ve been lucky enough to travel recently around North America, Central America and Europe. When I’m home I’m usually spending time with my partner in crime. He’s the best. Besides art, I love bike rides, snorkeling, photographing sunsets, watching the Mindy Project + Game of Thrones, yummy yoga classes, mountain adventures, running at the lake and eating donuts. 

Lastly, can you share three of your favorite artists, bloggers or makers?

Here are a few ladies worth checking out on Instagram, they are ambitious and innovative. Firstly, the wonderful Nicole of @saltwaterteajewelry – a fellow ACAD graduate, her jewelry is stunning and she rocks it at local markets. Secondly, Andi, from @thedreamjobshop - a Calgary blogger with a focus on advice + tips for makers and shakers, I just got her new business planner! Lastly, see Khristan of @gypsy_lamb - her work will knock your socks off and inspire you, she’s one of my favourite artisans!  

Want to follow along my studio mischief, travels & events?

Instagram | @thetravellingartisan

Shop | www.thetravellingartisan.etsy.com

Website | www.daniellefolkerts.wordpress.com

Facebook | www.facebook.com/dkfolkertsstudio.com