Jennifer Clarke: Maker

Jennifer Clarke, 27, is an illustration student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) and runs SPILTHdesign on Etsy (now She lives in Dundee.

(Ana Hine) How did you get into business?
(Jennifer Clarke) I started doing the knitted boobs last year around January, or at least that’s when I started the Etsy shop. DeeCon was my first crafty-selling thing, and that’s on again this month, so it’s about a year. I didn’t really have a lot of stuff, just nipple badges, but that summer I had more time to play about and that’s when I got going.

Nipple badges?
I was doing a module in second year and the theme was ‘X’, so I thought ‘X-Rated’ would be fun. It was a really quick project and we were just encouraged to make stuff and go with it. I made the nipples out of salt dough (flour, water and a little salt) and people were like, “That’s really great, you should sell them!” They went mouldy though, I guess I hadn’t sealed them properly. So I started knitting them instead. It was madness.

How much do you make in a month? 
Not much at all! Last year my Etsy made around £200, but with the craft fairs I probably made about £500, which, for the first year of doing it and not really knowing how it was going to turn out, I’m pretty pleased with. I tend yo get one order a month and if I get that one order a month then I’m happy.

Do you get any help with your business from the art college?
We’re doing a module this semester called ‘Design Enterprise’ so instead of a dissertation we will write a business plan. We don’t start it yet. We’re currently brainstorming and working through workshops and that sort of thing, which is really handy for me.

What about funding?
Because I’m not under 25 years old, a lot of the opportunities are reduced, but I haven’t really looked into funding because I still get my student loan so I’m managing to survive off that right now. I will definitely be having a nosy to see if there’s anything I should be applying for soon.

Who buys your knitted boobs?
My friend is a breastfeeding support worker and she’s bought a couple for demonstrations so she doesn’t have to demonstrate on herself.

Could you make boob hats for breastfeeding babies?
I can if someone wants one! I’m quite open to new suggestions for pieces. If someone wants something and I think I can do it then I say “absolutely!” A boob hat would probably be about the same as the large boobs, so around £20.

How can people find your work?
I’ve signed up to the Montrose Makers Market so that’s May to September, every third Saturday. I’m not sure how I will fit into it, but I will do the first one and then see how it goes.

How much are the boobs on the table?
[After a bit of calculation and cross-referencing with her Etsy shop] £193 for everything. *laughs*

Words and Image: Ana Hine


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