Meet the Artist - Marie of Pillowsophi
Interviewed by JeannieRichard
Pure obsession of all things Scandinavian and mid-century artifacts? No, I'd say Marie is an aficionado. She displays an exceptional taste when it comes to Scandinavian pottery such as vintage Denby, Royal Copenhagen/Aluminia Denmark. Soholm Stentoj, H.A. Kahler, Elle Norway, Michael Andersen & Sons, and mid century modern brass and glass – visit her shop, Pillowsophi and you'll know exactly what I mean :)
Meanwhile, let's enjoy an animated chat session with Marie, you'll find her as interesting as her vintage shop!
ISG: Describe yourself in under 50 words :)
Sensitive, smart, dorky, goofy, compassionate, forgiving, clumsy, awkward, logical, tall. Oh, and pottery-obsessed!
ISG: When did your love for all things Scandinavian and mid-century mod design begin?
It all started a few years ago, with a coffee set at my grandparents’ cottage. One day I realized that I was drinking out of what had to be the most perfect mug ever created. I decided I needed to have one of my own, so I did some research and found out that the pattern was Denby’s “Studio” (which remains my favourite to this day). I started hunting for pieces to start my collection...and as time went by, I branched out into other vintage patterns. Eventually, I realized I had more Denby than my little apartment could handle and decided to list some of it on Etsy. Soon afterward, I discovered my love for Royal Copenhagen Fajance (stoneware), which led me to start learning about Scandinavian pottery and mid century modern design. Now I have a shop full of vintage treasures!
Gorgeous Aluminia (Royal Copenhagen) Denmark bird whistle designed by Berte Jessen - rare and highly collectible
ISG: By official profession, you are an accountant - if given the choice and setting, would you rather go full-time with selling your vintage wares?
Actually, I’m a grad student! I’m working at an accounting firm this year, but I’ll be starting my PhD in philosophy in the fall. I love what I study and I love teaching, so I definitely wouldn’t want to give those things up... but I love my shop, too! I’m hoping to find a balance between studying/teaching and being a vintage seller; if I had to close my shop, I’d really miss the customer interactions, the Etsy community and the opportunity to bring so many beautiful things into my home.
ISG: How do you decide that "this" is the piece that has potential?
When buying for my shop, the three main criteria I use are:
1. Beauty, of course!
2. Quality. I only buy very high quality items, and I have a few favourite manufacturers. For example, I love to offer pieces by Denby, Wedgwood, Royal Copenhagen/Aluminia, Michael Andersen & Sons, H.A. Kahler, Arabia, Elle, Zeuthen and Dybdahl.
3. Vibe. If it won’t fit with the aesthetic of my shop, I’ll try to avoid purchasing it. Sometimes I just have to bring in an amazing oddball item, though!
Beautiful green Aseda Glasbruk Swedish glass vase, termed as "bone vase" is also known as "Jack in the Pulpit" in the 50's and 60's
ISG: You have a strong stand on vegetarianism, anti-cruelty to animals, etc. Why do you hold these principles and is there a message you would like to share on this subject?
It’s really important to me to try to cause as little suffering as possible, be it human or animal, physical or emotional. I think a lot of people feel this way; however, most of us never see the most disturbing things – like the awful scenes inside factory farms, slaughterhouses or animal testing labs – happen, so it can be easy not to think about the real consequences of our choices. To me, that’s a tragedy.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes:
"Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."
– Albert Einstein
A set of uber cool ombre liqueur glasses and ice bucket - impressive work by Luminarc/Arcorco France!
ISG: How long have you been operating your Etsy shop and where do you see yourself with it in another year?
I sold my first vintage item on Etsy in April of 2011; it was a “Studio” coffee set! Since then, my shop has evolved a lot and I've become more knowledgeable about vintage pottery and mid century modern design. Next year, I hope my shop will be even better and I’ll know even more! Also, I’ll have moved to Philadelphia by then, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what sorts of treasures the city has to offer.
Lovely white teacups decorated in gold trimming that surrounds sweet angels, by Bing & Grondahl Denmark in the 50's
ISG: Vintage is a very thick market, how do you propound yourself differently to your buyers?
With difficulty. ;)
I have a Facebook page, and I’ve done some advertising. I’m always trying to make sure people who are looking for the items I specialize in will be able to find my shop through Google, but I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I think many of my customers find me by accident... I guess my shop is still sort of undiscovered, in that sense.
ISG: Why do you think that every home should have a piece of Scandinavian/mid-century?
One of the wonderful things about mid century modern design is its versatility. Because the lines are clean and the shapes are organic, mid century pieces fit nicely with many other styles of decor. It’s hard to imagine a room that couldn’t benefit from a simple, elegant modern vase in a neutral color. On the other hand, lots of mid century pieces are real attention-grabbers! I have so many fun, colorful things in my shop. They make me smile, and I hope they make my customers smile, too.
V I S I T & F O L L O W
G I V E A W A Y
Marie will be having a giveaway tomorrow, do check back :D