Vet student’s painting hobby takes off
Sawyer Kermode started painting plates and bowls to brighten her home, never expecting it would become a business.
The veterinary student wanted something to counter the grey outdoors of Glasgow, Scotland.
She couldn't believe when it took off.
“My husband [Piers] and I had moved in together and we had mismatched plates and I wanted to pull them together a little bit. I wanted it to be a little more cohesive but still not matchy-matchy. I started dotting them. I really like when it kind of doesn't match, but something ties it all together.”
She found porcelain paints, brushes and tools at a nearby art store and got to work.
When friends started ordering commissions, she named the enterprise Constellation Kitchen.
“It took off from there. I never considered myself artistic, but I love it,” she said.
“I really just played around with it and I still play around with it. It's a break from vet school and everything that I do outside of my part-time job.”
Mrs Kermode is focused on veterinary medicine, while her husband is training to be an architect. When she's not studying or dotting, she's the out-of-hours nurse for an equine hospital.
Animals feature heavily in her designs: octopuses, seahorses, lobsters, turtles, elephants, lizards and longtails adorn her custom-made plates, platters, glasses and stemware.
“I adore the ocean [but] I did stags this year for some people in Glasgow; I did a rooster for my grandmother. For a wedding party, I did names. The wine glasses were their place settings and their favours as well. That was a big job but it was so much fun working with the client.”
She produced two larger pieces for a mermaid-themed bridal shower in Texas.
Her maps have also proven popular.
“I customise them and people put places they've been and places they've lived. I put little hearts where different family members live,” she said.
“They sometimes send me photos of the product and it's fun to see it all over the world, which is really cool.”
The 24-year-old sells on Etsy. Since setting up shop, she has sold ceramics and canvases in Turkey, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Brazil, US, Canada, Germany and Bermuda.
“I was surprised by how easy it was to set up an Etsy store, but all the things that come with it — teaching myself marketing — were complicated. It took a lot of work but it brings great satisfaction to have people really like what I do.
“I really like having that seller-client relationship and being able to work with them on what they want.”
She said that though she has no real artistic background, painting is now a treasured outlet.
“It became a place where I could go that allowed me to take a break from everything. You really can't concentrate on much else when you're doing tiny dots,” she said.
“Having an end product that you're proud of is awesome — and making a little bit of money for school is a bonus.”
• Constellation Kitchen products begin at $25 and are available at ESC, The Arts Centre at Dockyard and Etsy. Facebook: Constellation Kitchen