Margaret Dent: Animal Portraits and Jewelry – S05E12 American Bandito Art Podcast

Margaret Dent: Animal Portraits and Jewelry – S05E12 American Bandito Art Podcast


moving forward to set up the train car
and get it ready to use I figured the easiest way to go is just a basic set up
and work from there it’s something I’ve learned from working in web and software
development you just create a Minimum Viable Product I need to begin using it
and learn what I need to improve as of right now I have several things I’ve
been selling online and I need a place to store those items interview people
produce shows and create things and Merijoy has been working as an artist admin
for local artists and creators helping them figure out their books and taxes
and set up a process to manage their money those are all things that are
actually happening right now what we want to do is add a multimedia recording
and streaming studio to produce a network of shows and a retail space to
sell collectibles and source local artwork clothing music and comics but we
aren’t doing that yet so we can always build up to that and right now it’s just
a concept that we’re working up to it doesn’t need to slow down the momentum
of what is working we can always build up to that later so what we needed right
now was just to make the place presentable new floors cuz the carpet
was all gross in the car and it was nasty had a bathroom and patch up some
of the damage from over the years and we were figuring out what paint we wanted
to use in buying the floorboards and in a week or so I’d be working with an
intern to help catalog the collectable items that I’ve been selling I’m Tom Ray
and this is American Bandito so after picking out some of the paint I
went back to the house and did an interview that I had scheduled today my
name is Margaret Dent I paint animal portraits pet portraits I also am a
jewelry designer she had responded to my call out to artists that I sent to the
American Bandito mailing list and she’s the second person that I’ve spoken to
from Canada so we did our discussion online over facebook messenger you are
the second person I’ve talked to from Canada now oh yeah I know so whereabouts
in Canada are you I am in Hamilton area in southern Ontario okay have you always
been in Canada no I haven’t actually I was born in Poland really yes and I came
to Canada when I was 17 years old and have been here ever since
just family moved over here or how come you came when I was 16 years old was
when the whole thing with solidarity and everything happened in Poland and you
know all the unrest and and my mother was very uncomfortable with that and
thought that there was a possibility of war or civil unrest so she decided to to
the pond and emigrate and it was a pretty scary time Wow okay and so how do
you enjoy Canada ah to be honest when I came to Canada it felt like I came home
really yes I am a very bad Polish person I have for some reason I honestly never
felt at home in Poland it’s the weirdest feeling and when I came to Canada I was
like oh my god this is this is my home so how long have you been making the
stuff that you do well with art I am told that I started drawing when I was a
little kid basically you know drawing on any piece of paper I could find so that
basically has been you know most of my life with jewelry I’ve always had kind
of a liking to shiny things in fact my my grandmother used to call
me her little magpie because I would find you know pretty pieces of glass on
the ground or or glass glass gems you know fake gems now and I would collect
them like a mai tai yeah and then my one of my uncle’s actually was a geologist
and he had a few really pretty stones that he gave me so I kind of added them
to my collection so that that that part has always been somehow there
but I never really thought that you could make your own jewelry and then I
guess I just found some some groups on the internet and I realized oh my god
people are actually doing their own stuff and their own jewelry and and they
learned on there and then of course I discovered the YouTube videos and
instead of teaching myself so I have been doing that since my son was born so
since 2000 started learning how to actually polish my own stones things
like you know amethyst and making cabs basically cabochons what was the one
thing that made you go I think I should try making jewelry I I kind of fell in
love with opals opals have always been you know my favorite stone that I
absolutely loved knowing how how expensive real opals from Australia were
I was thinking you know I’ll probably never actually own a real stunt like
real opal jewelry and if I do it’s going to cost a lot or it’s gonna be really
really tiny and then I found I think it was actually on eBay I found people
selling Ethiopian wellö opals which are actually quite beautiful opals but
they’re a lot cheaper than the Australian ones and then I found a
couple of videos on how to polish them actually move out even any equipment
like an actual lapidary equipment you can do it with just water proof so paper
okay so I better try I mean it was a very crude stone I still haven’t it was
really a very very crude stone was just a couple of sites polished and it kind
of blew my mind because I was like oh my god I can actually buy my own opals and
I can polish them I’m going to do something with them that’s basically
where that started so I bought a little lap lap polishing machine and started
learning on online how to set them and and and that’s kind of how that involved
it just basically came from the love for opals you know that’s kind of spread out
to other stones as well and just love creating I think that that’s what the
whole thing boils down to is no matter what it is I love creating doing things
making things when did you start making them to the point where you’re
like I’m gonna try and sell these I think he gets to the point when you have
so many of these things at home then you’re like wow like there’s really no
point keeping you can’t justify having that many of them is what you’re saying
yes and of course there’s also the way that you have to find a way to pay for
all the stuff that you buy so you know I thought I think I’m going to have to
start selling them to to basically support my hobby up till now it really
has been a hobby because I work full-time in a field not related to art
at all so I only have you know limited of time
to be doing it but it’s always been in the back of my head some of that at some
point I would really like to either retire early or you know quit my job if
I can and actually do art all the time I agree with what she says about selling
to justify what most people would consider a hobby that’s why one of the
things I’ve been doing is selling collectibles and action figures because
I love finding that stuff and I needed more than one thing to bring an income
that wasn’t client based that I would like to keep doing and I like pop
culture crap and one thing that I can do is sell it online or locally any time I
asked Margaret about where she first started selling her work how were you
reaching out to people or were you going to shows or did you just go straight to
selling him online I think I started mostly on Etsy got ones that was my
number one platform and this was one as she was still actually pretty small so
it wasn’t global but it was definitely Canadian in US market I have also done
some shows local shows I’m not doing them as much right now because shows
really are very very hard physically you know hauling and yeah and when you’re
working full time plus I’ve you know I’ll tell now my kids were younger so
you don’t always have time and and many shows are not just you know one day show
they’re often two or three day shows you know if I wanted to go to bigger shows I
would have to go to places like Toronto in an area and that’s driving time again
and they’re usually bigger shows or the entry fees are so big that it’s just not
worth it for small you know small business you’ve been selling an Etsy for
quite some time I mean how well has that done for you over the years as he’s kind
of a love-hate relationship really Etsy wasn’t too bad
the beginning when it was a small small platform before they went public but
it’s never made me a lot of money but I also have to be fair in saying that to
sell on Etsy or any online platform you have to put a lot of time into it it’s
not like a store you know in a mall you can’t just put your stuff and wait for
it to sell you have to promote it yourself you have to have a big store
first of all you have to have a big shop you have to have a lot of items in it
and you have to keep adding things or changing things all the time to be mean
to be basically noticed and yours are all unique items they’re not like oh
here’s 10 pairs of this particular earring it’s here’s a pair of earrings
and here’s the other one yeah amazing fun to make so if you’re not doing it
full-time it’s really hard to put in that time so my store hasn’t been doing
very well and again I can’t I can’t blame it all on the fact that I’d cease
gone public and it’s huge company now but but it is also the fact that I’m not
putting a lot of time into it what do you think of the new changes that are
happening at Etsy just out of curiosity personally I really don’t like what
they’ve done you know looking through the forums of all the sellers the
prevailing feeling is that Etsy has basically changed from a company that
was working for the seller to the company that is just interested in
making money I think that was actually quite quite obvious when that happened
you could see the change they’re pushing really really hard right now for the for
the sellers to offer free shipping which of course you know it sounds wonderful
in theory right I mean a buyer definitely will be more likely to buy
something if the shipping is free but the fact is that to offer that you
either have to swallow that payment because you still have to ship a new
stuff to pay for it right I mean yeah that monster or US Postal Service do not
offer free shipping so either the buyer has to swallow that cost or the seller
does yeah and they have been pushing that very very hard and there are a lot
of sellers who are unhappy with that because again usually it’s a seller that
swallows the cost I think it’s unfair in a way that many sellers sell things that
are easy to ship so for me let’s say shipping a pendant it costs about nine
ten dollars just straight shipping with without signature or insurance or
anything like that so when you add shipping has been going steadily up both
in Canada and us and that’s one of the reasons why people are complaining about
it and it just occurred to me to you being one of the first people I’ve
spoken to in Canada that does this if I were to buy something from you that
would also mean that it’s from one country to another so that would be even
more right exactly yep haha yeah that didn’t even occur to me because I just
always think of it like oh I’m shipping it across the US but no I’m you went you
and I are in different countries right now actually sell quite a bit of my
stuff to us and I’ve had some sales to to Europe as well for a pair of earrings
what you could probably shipping could cost up to like eleven twelve dollars
right yeah yeah for the most part up till now I’ve only been doing print on
demand products and all of the shipping and things like that were done for me so
that’s why I started selling unique items when I started testing out
different platforms and carts so I could get a better feel for what it was like
to build a catalog where nothing was the same experiment was shipping different
items so that I could learn from doing it one thing I found was a great little
site called pirate ship it’ll let you enter your package details and it will
search for the best shipping methods and you can print that label directly from
that site at a discount I don’t know how they do it but it’s actually pretty cool
the website is pirate ship comm which I don’t know how they got that website
either and another thing that just about any cell that I have talked to and have
seen talking on the on the forums are very unhappy is that they do actually
allow resellers on the website right now Etsy started as a handmade market right
and that was their basically their tagline that was their their thing and
then of course although all these huge sellers from China came on and you know
selling duplicates and duplicates and duplicates of the same necklace and
obviously he’s made in a factory somewhere yeah and they were very very
instill are very slow and removing them and people will be complaining so when
you do a search when somebody’s doing a search for a kind of necklace instead of
getting the real handmade you know individual stuff they will get ten
listings of something that looks exactly the same or very similar and you know
and it costs five dollars because it’s been made in a
factory in China and those are the ones that will pay for the sponsorship that
gets the top of the search exactly exactly because they have no
because they have stores of two thousand ten thousand items because it’s all the
same stuff and and so people have been very unhappy about that that’s been you
know for many years now that’s been a big problem you bring up a good point I
mean that’s what they had is that they were a market where you went search
there because you were gonna buy handmade stuff and now with the new
changes they’re making they’re just basically becoming an eBay for the most
part but there’s also and I’m very curious about this one
Amazon opened their own handmade section of their platform so I mean at this
point it’s like well everybody’s evil now so why not go for the one that
everybody is familiar with yeah so people might be more likely to find
it on Amazon now you said you want to do try and build this up as you as you went
on with life that’s a weird way to put that but as you did what would you say
you would change if you decided to really amp it up and like kind of go
that direction I would probably put a lot more time in my own store is so my
own basically my own website are totally separate from Etsy and I do have one but
again because working full time I don’t have a lot of time and I’m pretty busy
with in my community as well so I don’t have a lot of time so my website sits
there but it really doesn’t do much work right now but I would definitely
probably put a lot more work in my own in my own website yeah you know if I
retired I would be going to more shows when you go to shows do you just bring
your jewelry or do you also bring your artwork that depends on the show there
are some that I’ve done in the past that we just artwork there were some that
were just jewelry and there were some that will actually allow me to bring
both it really depends very much on the individual show and how they’re set up
Margaret had mentioned that she not only makes jewelry but she sells art as well
and I needed to ask her a particular question about the subject matter
because it’s actually one that’s come up more than once on previous episodes that
I’ve done I was looking at your artwork and here’s the weird
I’ve talked to several people and when I asked them what they started drawing and
what they started doing a lot of them would say horses a lot of the work
you’ve done is horses so is it just you’re interested in horses or do you
actually like ride horses like what’s your angle with horses well the reason
that I started drawing horses was because I have always loved horses that
kind of has always gone hand in hand with my art I don’t remember the time
when I didn’t love horses I don’t get that so many people tell me this and I’m
like I don’t get it I grew up in an industrial town in Poland as well so
there was no countryside around that I had easy access to my mother tells me of
a story of going to a farmers market and when I was about 18 months old and
finding me under a big draft horse hediye yeah so that’s not a very very
early okay and I think because I couldn’t be around horses my biggest
thing was to basically collect any and all info that I could find about horses
so I started collecting books pictures and I started drawing them just
basically want to reproduce you know the beauty that I saw and I’ve done that
basically horses we’re the only thing that I drew literally till about this
the time that my son was born which is around again mm what happened was when I
was on maternity leave with him I found this wonderful group a Yahoo discussion
group at the time this was before the Facebook time that was Yahoo discussion
groups Wow it’s actually still there I think growing together and it was
basically a group for people that drew in pencil because that’s what I’ve done
up till that time was just pencil graphite and I joined this wonderful
group and it was just full of wonderful supportive artists from around the world
I think it was basically led maybe even started by a fantastic artist from UK
whose name is and I can’t remember right now Mike something he does absolutely
fantastic drawings in pencil of dogs and dog scenes so I joined the group and I
was you know quite awed by the talent that was in the group and I always
thought that I was just like a little you know backcountry draw or that kind
of dead you know stuff and I was actually met with
wonderful support and and I was admiring all the wonderful things that people
were drawing and everybody said well you know you can draw that other things too
and I said no I can only draw horses and I think it was actually Mike who came
back and he said basically honey if you can draw horses like that you can draw
anything because it’s basically all it is is just a play of light and dark it
has nothing to do with whether it’s a horse or a dog or a person or or a tree
it’s just dark light and you know he kind of made me think and I thought
actually kind of has a point so I decided to try something else and
the first thing that I tried was actually important with my son and my
daughter and yeah it was like oh my god he was right yeah but but I mean that’s
that’s how that happens so then I you know I branched and to other things and
then try different media and they just kind of went from there
well at Horsham yeah horses started everything and yes I do ride well not
presently but I do know how to ride well she did have a success with the Yahoo
group in the past how is she connecting with like-minded
people these days I think a big part of people finding my stuff it was from
Facebook from my posts okay I haven’t been on Instagram for a long time but I
think there is a few from the Instagram as well and you just link them to your
your Etsy posts from there you take a picture of it and it’s in your profile
or kind of do a mishmash actually think my Instagram is linked to Facebook
maybe it’s the other one no I think it’s the Etsy that’s linked to Facebook yeah
it’s something that I have to actually it’s unlike my my list to do I have to
figure that out because I’ve done some stuff in the past and I’m not sure if
it’s still linked properly but there it used to be that my Etsy was linked to my
facebook so if I posted on Etsy it would automatically post on Facebook oh right
I got you okay and with Instagram I usually have to do it manually so I post
an Instagram and then post on Facebook when people do see your stuff what do
you think appeals to them about it what do you think draws people in if they see
your stuff for the first time or what have people told you they liked about
your stuff but I think for my horses and my pet portraits it’s I’ve been told
that I have a knack to really capture the personality of the animal in the
portrait I I think I see me do it myself doing it I
have no idea how I do it but I but I can see that sometimes I will look at a
horse that I’ve drawn and and I realize that I can see its character because I
try if possible I tried to actually meet the horse that I draw if the if the
owner pulls by it makes sense yeah I mean if they’re far away obviously that
that’s not possible but the portrait that I’m drawing right now I’ve met the
horse and he’s just such a character he is fantastic
his name is Finnegan and he’s an off-track thoroughbred race or a passer
a racehorse I’m really not sure I mean people say they love it they don’t
always ask them exactly what they love about maybe I should good idea I think
many artists are almost in awe when somebody wants to buy their work oh yeah
I could see that I guess oh my god somebody wants somebody wants to buy
something of mine oh my god oh my god and you kind of freak out and and then
you you know you maybe later I think well maybe I should have asked them why
yeah you can visit Margaret’s website and
check out more work at Margaretdent.com if you’re enjoying this podcast head
on over to my website Americanbandito.com/subscribe where you can sign up for the mailing list or find all the links to the other stuff that I’m doing
go to AmericanBandito.com/subscribe The music for the show is by
my band Lorenzo’s Music thanks for listening and until the next episode so
long.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *