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In the Shop Window with Ailsa Black, Dumfries

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Our most recent ‘In the Shop Window’ is with Scottish artist Ailsa Black. Read a little glimpse behind the scenes of Ailsa’s successful business. Her back story, inspiration, previous jobs and Ailsa’s fantastic achievements.

Ailsa Black, Dumfries

My Business: I paint and from the paintings make prints, cards, calendars and a growing range of lovely goods. I sell these through my website and to trade. I work with galleries to sell my paintings, undertake commissions and license work for production.

Starting Out: I studied Graphics and illustration at Grays School of Art in the 80’s. After art school I moved to Edinburgh and lived there for 10 years and had lots of different jobs. In 2000 I moved back to Dumfries and Galloway and started working as a manager for a big charity. It was quite a hectic job and as I approached 40 I decided it was time to start being more creative and started painting in my spare time.

Previous jobs: Arts worker, outreach worker, photographic sales assistant, barmaid, fish processing assistant, administrator, support worker, charity manager … I could go on …

Ailsa Black

My “typical” working day: Up quite early about 6.30am and have breakfast and go out with my collie dog for a beach walk. I try to be in the studio between 8 and 9am. I check my emails and reply to any messages on social media. The mornings are generally spent doing admin tasks, packing orders, answering trade enquiries etc.  I try to have admin work done by lunchtime but in reality it often goes well in the afternoon. Ideally I try to start painting after lunchtime. I’ll have a break for tea and often go out again either for a walk or a bike ride. In the evening I usually carry on working and plan my next painting or work on small paintings at the desk in the living room.

Self employment highs: Making your own decisions!

Self employment lows: Not having a predictable income stream and the mortgage still needs paid …

Inspiration: I love where I live and this is my inspiration. I try to spend as much time as I can out of doors and watching wildlife and the amazing birds and sea mammals we have round here. From my studio I can see porpoises, otters, seals, flocks of birds, deer … you name it.

Ailsa Black

Find Me: All my stockists throughout the UK can be seen here.

Business Achievements : I do love seeing my work on cards with charity names like Oxfam, Marie Curie and the RSPB.

Longterm goals: I’m working with an agent who is helping me license some work in the long term I plan to take a step back from selling to trade so I have more time to spend being creative.

Ailsa Black

Promotion: In 2014 I was shortlisted in License This! which is a brand licensing competition. As a result I now have an agent and am working on expanding my range of products.

Popular and Favourite Products: Cards and prints never go wrong but it’s lovely to have a big mug of tea with my art on the side.

With Hindsight: Don’t try to do everything yourself.

At Home: I have paintings by Nikki Monaghan and Val Macadam and a print by Vicky Mount….I love them all.

In my Private Jet: St Kilda

Favourite Independent Shop: Loch Arthur near Beeswing.

Favourite destination in Scotland: Dumfriesshire

Favourite Scottish Tourist Attraction: Edinburgh

Favourite Scottish Restaurant: My neighbours are all great cooks!

Favourite TV Show: Still Game

Best thing about Scotland: Stunning scenery, amazing wildlife, big open spaces, deserted beaches, changing light…

Do you believe in Nessie? Yes, of course.

Favourite Holiday Destination: Scotland, but I love the Lake District too.

Ailsa Black

Shop Scotland profile page – Ailsa Black
Website – ailsablack.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/ailsablackart
Twitter – twitter.com/AilsaBlack

Big thanks to Ailsa for giving us a little glimpse into her world. Look out for another In the Shop Window interview coming in early 2017.

 

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