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How to find your artistic niche

How to find your artistic niche

If you’re anything like me, you’ve dabbled in many different art forms, and if you have managed to find just one…. just one…. that does it for you, you may well have tried so many different ways of working with a particular medium, various designs and a wealth of concepts.

Ok, now here’s where we get serious.  Have you ever sat down and really wondered how to find your artistic niche?  Well… having spoken to a few experts, who really do know their stuff and have done very well in the arts industry, win awards, are renowned for their excellence, have won contracts for major works, exhibited in super-high-class galleries, one thing that seems to come up all the time is – stick to one thing.

Now, that can be hard huh?  I know.  I’ve been there, over and over and over.  I’m one who will always want to experiment with art and crafts, to explore, to discover new ways of doing things, to see how a paintbrush feels, to see what a particular design will do to a pot, to play with glue and paper and see what happens.  But…. what is that really stands out amongst all those discoveries?  For me, it’s one standard thing…. a Japanese influence.  For years it’s come out in my clothing choices, my arts and crafts, home decor and so much more.  As much as I’ve always known this, it’s taken me until now to recognise that this is really where I want to be and what designs I want to work with.  It’s the one style that appeals the most, the one that pushes all the buttons and just keeps coming up, over and over and over again.  For me to recognise this required me taking an expert around my home and showing her my work and for her to ask me what it was that really jumped out for me.  She also asked me why I wasn’t following that inclination, that urge, that passion?  It was unique and needed to be shared!  All the right things you want to hear huh?

So, how to find your artistic niche?  Do the same thing… that is, sit down and really think about what it is that seems to show up again and again in your work or choice of designs, whether in your art works or in your preferences generally.  What is it that appeals to you and why does it appeal?  What is it about that medium, or design, or colour scheme or method that makes you want to go back to it time and time again or scan the internet looking for any blogs you can subscribe to?

That’s one way to find your artistic niche anyway.  It works for me – it could well work for you too and I encourage you wholeheartedly to give it a whirl.

Clara Chan – The Artisoda Dream

My dream, Artisoda, comes alive as the home of Australian handmade fashion, lifestyle products and homewares – all online.

Clara ChanHi, my name is Clara Chan and I have worked in the fast fashion industry for more than 20 years! After all these years, I decided to follow my dream to start an Australian handmade brand/shop with good design input and great craftsmanship.  I wanted to ensure all products were made in small quantities to preserve their uniqueness and specialty.

I collaborate with local designers, crafters and artists to create each and every curated collection which is part of my dream to build a unique and socially responsible brand.

Artisoda 1Like all small business owners, the road to success is long and rocky. I tumble and pick up again so many times that I feel so blessed to have seen come alive.

A special thank you to Lauren who did most of the fittings with me.  Her delightful character added so much life to the photos.

Thanks also to Deanna Roberts for giving me advice and support. Without support from an artist and entrepreneur like her, it makes the Artisoda journey impossible.

I am looking forward to sharing the ups and downs, tears and laughter in the journey of bringing Artisoda alive.


Artisoda 2Keep an eye on this blog, more stories to come soon.

Artisoda 3

Clara Chan –

Denise McDonald – Potter

Denise McDonald - Potter - Think in Pictures Events

Thank goodness I came back to live in my family home! If I hadn’t I would never have
developed my flannel flower range of ceramic tableware. You see, I am obsessed. I am completely in love with a pane of textured window glass in this Federation home. Five generations of my family have lived here, looking at this window glass.  Nobody else besides my family have lived in this 100 year old home. It knows only us. The window has an amazing pattern of flannel flowers.

I reproduce this pattern on my ceramics by using an intermediate plaster mould. I don’t know much about who originally designed the pattern or who produced it. All I know is that it has always been here. For me, this flannel flower pattern has many levels of meaning. It speaks to me about family and home, and references broader ideas of domestic life – the role of women, the relationships within family. Further, I hope it offers something to those who don’t have the personal connections to it that I do – stories about conservation of domestic architecture, the history of our native flora depicted in the decorative arts, and appreciation for the natural world.

It seems the longer that I work with this pattern, the more I see in it and the more intriguing it is to me. I don’t really want to know all the details about the history of its original manufacture, that would somehow damage the fascination for me. So I continue to apply my craft with a simple aim; to give this window a new way to exist – a new way to be appreciated and interact with the world. Nothing pleases me more than when I can introduce a new person to this 100 year old flannel flower pattern through my ceramic art.

The Flannel Flower Range
Denise McDonald
DM Pottery

What’s a vision board?

Call them vision boards, treasure maps, mindmaps, hope boards, bucket boards, whatever you like – essentially they all have the same purpose – to remind you to get motivated and start achieving what you really want in life. Ok, let’s not get too profound – there’s enough of that D & M stuff going around on social media to drive you bananas.

Let’s keep it short and sweet. If you’re asking ‘What’s a vision board?’ Then you may not have one of those wonderful colourful boards where you’ve stuck up pictures from magazines, newspapers, articles and other glossies.  If you have, great!  Good on you!  I’m all for it.  It works for me. The more I see it, the more I want it, the more I’m determined to get it.

Imagine if you applied that principle to your speaking skills? Just imagine you took photos or images of people that you really admire as great speakers and presenters and put them on a vision board. What do they mean to you? What is it about their presentations that inspires you and makes you want to be so much more of a presenter than you already are? It may be that they’re a fashionista or have superb dress sense, it may be that they stand in a certain way, have a great voice etc. Then, easy peasy… find images that represent those exact same things, and image of someone standing the way you would like to, an image of someone with a great voice, a piccie of someone who looks brilliant, even in a singlet.

Spread the inspiration around and keep it around you. The more you see it, the more you’re likely to act upon it.

Remember, your vision board, doesn’t have to be a board as such.  It could be a poster collage, a photo album, a journal, a book with lots of blank pages ready to be filled, a group of sketches……. whatever works for you.  Just remember to keep looking at it.

Go for it. Start it today… right now 🙂

Michelle Potter – Visionary Artist

In early 2013 I was introduced to soft pastel.  At my very first class the teacher asked why I was there and what I wanted to learn. My response was simple ‘can’t draw people or animals’.  Over the coming months I practiced weekly, reserving my fun messy pastels to my Wednesday morning class.  I finally decided to set up a permanent corner in my living room so I could paint every day.  I have never been known for my patience and the fact that I can take a picture and create something beautiful in a short space of time really appeals to me.  I get excited at the prospect of starting another piece, so the sparkle of my inner child continues to feed my motivation.

When I am doing any piece of artwork I am totally in the moment.  Through personal experience I know nothing brings you back into your body quicker than pain or immersing yourself in your passion, and I know which one I would rather experience! To me, art is so much more than visual.  Being in that creative space gives my life balance and an opportunity to stop and just be. I am evolving from the inside out and it reflects not only in my work but throughout my life.  This medium has allowed me to explore acrylic paints and pencils in a way I never thought was possible, and guess what? I can draw people and animals, I just needed the right guidance and lots of practice.


Time Lapse video of Oreo the Cavoodle


Michelle Potter



Vicki Irvine – Potter

I had wanted to delve into pottery for a long time and only after closing down my own business relating to airbrushing did I find the time, and what a great time it has been.

I feel like a little child in a candy store, running from place to place, not knowing what to do. Sometimes, I do envy those that have found the niche that most excites them and enable them to build up wonderful businesses.

On the first day of my class, the instructor asked whether I wanted to learn hand or wheel first …… no questions …… wheel please.  For those of you having problems “becoming one with the wheel” and centering, you will be happy to know I feel your pain, but it has been fun.

Please keep your first piece, no matter what, make sure you finish off with the fire and glaze. Once you improve, you will laugh at yourself. I know I thought it was absolutely perfect.  I was too frightened to make it any thinner!

Just as I was becoming “one with the whool” I injured myself and am unable to use the wheel for about 12 months.  Sad, but now I can do some of the hand building I have been dying to do.

I have been looking through Pinterest for hours on end, looking at completed work for ideas and inspirations and there is just so much.  I have made my own private boards under different categories and pinned works that interest me.

Don’t just search for ‘pottery’ or ‘ceramics’, try ‘cake decorating’, ‘drawing’, ‘watercolours’, plus specific items, such as ‘angels’, ‘birdbath’ for great ideas and inspiration.

Since my injury I have made a platter using sgraffito (so much fun, you have to try it), slip amongst others and having a great play around.  I’m currently working on a birdbath which I hope all the locals will love to use.

Enjoy your art, look everywhere for ideas. Just imagine it and make it (sounds so simple).

Vicki Irvine

Vicki Irvine on Pinterest

Tracey Roberts – Artist

I am a visual and performing artist and a music-colour synesthete which means I see colours and shapes when I hear or create music.  Music is even more beautiful and colourful this way – and I use it to create my musically themed artwork.

I’ve always had synesthesia – I remember many incidences as a little girl but it is as natural and unremarkable as breathing so I never thought about talking about it or using it as a means to create art.  Up until the last 8 years I was primarily a musician, mostly drawing for fun and only ever in black and white.

When I discovered the word ‘synesthesia’, it meant I could research it and start to articulate what had been going on in my head.  For most of my life, I didn’t really know what to do with colour.  I found it a little confusing really and then suddenly, creating artwork in a really vibrant and colourful way started to make sense because I could relate it to music.  Now the relationship between my music and artwork feels complete with vibrant and richly saturated colours encompassing musically-themed imagery and my synesthesia ties everything together.  It’s all been a bit of an epiphany really and immensely satisfying.

I also do commissioned artwork called Your Story in Art, which has proven to be very successful and wonderful for many clients, both here and overseas – see

Art exhibition / music concert – Wyreena, 13-23 Hull Rd, Croydon 13 -29 August (concert 28 August)
Tix: $30 (includes supper and show)
Bookings essential: 9294 5590

Solo exhibition – Brunswick Street Gallery  13-26 November

Arts Link – Knox City Council


It’s really great when you can chat to members of your local community and discover that there is something out there for those of us who love what we do with our arts and crafts and vivid imaginations!

Arts Link is a Knox Council initiative and they’re compiling a register of local people who are interested in, or create art.  It’s all about linking artists with others and a great way to stay informed and up to date about what’s going on around town.

Become a part of Arts Link today – it’s free and you can get more information from their website.  Here’s their information:

Are you creative?

Knox City Council is compiling a register of local people who are interested in or create art. The purpose of this register is to link artists with others who are interested in or in some way participate in the creation of art.

‘Arts Link’ is for any artist who is interested in being involved in art projects, programs or initiatives including visual, performing or literary.

If you are an artist and interested in working on or being informed of creative projects, programs or initiatives please register your details. These details will be maintained by Council.

Further Information

For more information about ‘Arts Link’, please contact Jo Herbig, Community Arts Officer on 9298 8000 or email

See more at:

50 Ways to Feel Good – 2. Indulge in a Massage

Indulge in a MassageSo, isn’t it about time you indulged in a massage of sorts?  Could be remedial, deep tissue, head massage, foot massage, hand massage or all of the above!  Do you know someone who is studying such an art and needs a test dummy?  Guess what?  You’re it!  Take some time out for yourself and lift your feet up, remind yourself of how good it feels to get that blood circulating again.





50 Ways to Feel Good - Deanna RobertsLike what you see? Get your copy of ‘50 Ways to Feel Good‘ from Amazon today!

Why Think in Pictures?

Why think in picturesI get asked this question all the time… seriously ALL the time.  How did that name come about?  I needed something to tell my graphic designer when I was first planning my logo when she asked me “What is it you want to do?”  After much verbal diarrhea finally I said, “It’s about thinking in pictures!  I want people to be able to imagine how great things can be, to really imagine, to form pictures in their own minds and then make those pictures a reality”.   Finally, there it was, in living colour, in my own mind.

That was back in 2007.  Now… in 2014….my imagination is running wild.  It needs taming, and badly.  My head spins with ideas and I need 100 clones to make them all happen.  Thing is, that’s the impossible.  The reality is really to concentrate on what pushes the right buttons and what’s going to yield the results that I want most of all.

So, it’s a balancing act.  Money, passion, stability, consistency, fulfillment – they’re all factors.  What pushes your buttons?  What drives you bonkers?

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