Meet The Maker: Eastern Sapphire Designs

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Rachel Smith is a pyrographer, maker and crafter based in South Wales. Rachel runs a small business called Eastern Sapphire Designs. I was lucky enough to interview Rachel about her shop and products.

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

Hello, I'm good thank you. I've just sat down with a cup of tea and some biscuits.

I adore your business. What made you decide to set up Eastern Sapphire Designs? 

Thank you. I started Eastern Sapphire about 4 years ago when I was living in Leicestershire. I was suffering with quite bad anxiety and this was a way for me to relax. I originally started off with drawing mandalas and patterns with sharpies and pens. I then started an Instagram page as a place to share my doodles. It was from Instagram that I came across pyrography and wood burning and instantly fell in love with it.

Why did you call your shop Eastern Sapphire Designs?

To be honest I don't know Haha! I sat down one day and made a list of words I liked or thought that would work. I then picked two random ones and came up with Eastern Eastern.

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How has your creative process changed since the start?

My creative process has massively changed since I first started. In the beginning I would just randomly doodle. But since discovering wood burning I now have to plan my projects and ideas. You only get one chance with wood burning so I always like to make sure I can imagine what the piece will look like and I know what I'm creating.

How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?

Practice practice practice. I started off wood burning with a basic pyrography pen off of eBay and have gradually worked my way up. Instagram massively helped me to learn the craft of wood burning. I would spend hours searching for other wood burning artists on Instagram and watch their videos and grab every so are moment I could.

Have you always been into craft and design?

I've always been a creative person. I studied dance and musical theatre. My family are also super creative. My nan used to make lovely handmade cards, My sister is an awesome knitter and embroiderer and my mum is a whiz  on the sewing machine. We all tend to have creative minds which I absolutely love.

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If there were no resource restraints, what would be your dream project?

I would love to launch a wedding range and a nursery range.

What equipment do you use for your work?

I use a razortip pyrograohy pen. You can get different tips that you can change.

What tools or materials could you not live without?

I definitely couldn't live without my razortip burner. I love it!

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

Social media has massively helped me to develop my business and find other makers. Its also been an awesome place for me to reach out to other makers and to ask questions. It's also a really good platform to reach out to customers.

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Who inspires your work?

I wouldn't say that a person influences my work, but more the environment around me. I love pulling inspiration from wildlife or botanical plants. I also live in South Wales by the coast so have plenty of opportunities to pull inspiration from the environment around me.

Do you have any favourite pieces of work that you adore at the moment from your shop?

I have just finished a super small range of hand burnt wooden ring boxes. I love the simplicity and rustic feel they have.

What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram and your work?

Hopefully there will be a wider range of products available. I am in the process of launching some lovely laser engraved wooden milestone cards. So I hope to introduce those into my shop.

What are you currently working on?

I'm currently working on designing some personalized wooden spoons and spatulas.

What’s your typical working day?

My typical working day is pretty busy as I also work a full time day job as well as running Eastern Sapphire. I'm at my day job 8.00-4.30 pm. Then normally do any Eastern Sapphire work that I need to do between 19.00-22.00 pm.

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What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?

I would say the biggest struggle has been finding time to fit everything in and not getting annoyed with myself when I can't get everything done.

Do you have any exciting plans for this year?

I have a few exciting plans for this year. But I'm in the saving money point at the minute so they are under wraps! haha!

What are your career plans with your online shop?

I would love to launch my own wedding range and nursery range in the future and be able to have a laser engraved range as well as bespoke hand burnt items.

What advice would you give to people looking to define their own style?

Just go with what you feel and don't compare yourself to others.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own online shop?

Take your time and make sure you have everything in place before you hit publish. It makes the process a lot more easier.

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What’s next for Eastern Sapphire Designs?

I have some big plans for Eastern Sapphire this year. But for now my plan is to keep developing new products and designs.

What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

The best piece of advice I have ever been given is to follow your own path and don't compare yourself to anyone else.

You can find Eastern Sapphire on ‘https://www.instagram.com/easternsapphire’ and their website ‘https://www.easternsapphiredesigns.com.’