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White Willow Art – Sunday Artist Interview

Over the next coming Sundays I shall be posting my own artist interviews with some of my favourite people who reside in this multitalented world of art… Today we have the the wonderful Naomi Palmer to answer a few questions… over to you Naomi!

First of all, who are you?

Hi there!  I am Naomi Palmer from Sutton Coldfield, just outside Birmingham. My ceramic business, White Willow Art, keeps me busy most of the time, where I make lots of quirky and nature-inspired ceramic gifts, artwork, decorations and cards.

When you were asked (all those years ago!), “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  What did you answer?

After seeing my dad play Sweeney Todd when I was 4 years old, I wanted to be an actress. So, I attained a degree in Drama and moved to London to follow that dream, but quickly realised that the erratic nature of the actor’s lifestyle didn’t suit me.  It was too stressful, and unpredictable, and I just can’t cope with that level of pressure.  Whenever I was resting I would often make gifts for friends and family – glass and silk painting, and paper mache. So my need to be creative continued, and clearly formed the seed of my current business.

What is the funniest thing as an artist that has ever happened to you?

I’ve wracked my brain for a funny moment, but can’t think of anything!! How very dull!!

What is the hardest part of being creative?

Running your own creative business has several tough parts to it.  Being solely responsible for everything gives a great sense of control, but also means you have to motivate yourself, organise everything, answer every query.  Self-discipline is vital – not only to get things done, but also to know when to switch off and relax. I’ve learnt a lot over the last few years – not only about how to run a creative business and how to make it profitable, but also how resilient and capable I am.  It’s done a lot for my self-esteem.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Find your customers. Creating things is great for the soul, but unless you find those people that like it enough to part with cash for it, then you’ll never be able to make it a viable business.  Sometimes, if you want to remain in charge of your own business, it can become work, and customers can be demanding. You have to be realistic and decide exactly what you want from your art. Sometimes it is just the same as any other job – you have to drag yourself in, and just get on with it. But, if it’s paying your bills, and you still get time to create what you want and feed your soul, then you’re on to a winner.

What subjects inspire you?

Nature inspires me, and my spiritual connection to it. I have strong spiritual (not religious!) belief system, that has evolved over the last 40 years of my life. Without wanting to sound cloying, there is so much sadness and pain in the world, that I love to focus on making something that will help raise a smile, or inspire a feeling of comfort.  My work includes lots of leaves, and daisies – lots of daisies!  I have a large range of products, from a simple ceramic cut out “with love” heart, to my more complex moon gazing hare pieces.

Who are the 3 greatest living artists in your opinion? (they don’t have to be famous!)

Only 3??!!   SALLY MACDONELL makes the most incredible ceramic female forms – she’s on my Christmas list every year! I love the elegance and colour in her work, and marvel at her creativity and expertise.  ALBERTO BUSTOS is fantastic for his incredible natural forms.   And HANNAH WILLOW, for her stunningly beautiful mythological artwork.

Who are the 3 greatest dead artists in your opinion?

Only 3??!!  As a Brummie, any of the Pre-Raphaelites, but especially EDWARD BURNE-JONES  – such elegant, ethereal beauty in his work.     I also love the wire shadow-play of ALEXANDER CALDER, VAN GOGH’s crazy colours; BARBARA HEPWORTH and her beautiful St. Ives’ garden; KLIMT’S stunning decorative style, and FRIDA KAHLO for her awe-inspiring resilience, (and her mono-brow – I related to her, even as a child….!)  Sorry, did I cheat there….?!

What is your favourite work of art you have ever produced?

It’s nearly always the current piece that I’m developing – the focus to improve it means you have no choice but to love it!  My leaf range is particularly diverting for me, right now, now that the leaves are finally sprouting on the trees.

What was the last piece of art you sold?

Daisies, always daisies!! Happy, cheerful chaps!!

And finally… Because this is really important….

What’s the best type of cheese?  (haha)

Don’t do that to me!!! After years of worshipping at the feet of the Cheese Goddess, I developed lactose-intolerance, so I can no longer sink my gnashers into yummy brie, delicious Stilton (with a glass of red, of course!), or a good old chunk of mature Cheddar…… hmmmmm!!!! Vegan cheese just doesn’t cut it!  *stomps of grumbling incoherently*

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