“I’ve always done something creative or crafty, but this is what I love.” -Marsha Wilson
Anthem: To start us off, just tell me a little bit about yourself; where you’re from, any hobbies you might have, etc.
Marsha Wilson: Well I have been crafting since I was old enough to remember; my mother always had some sort of crocheting, knitting, quilting going on. As soon as I was old enough to toddle after her, she would give me something to do; she taught me everything she knew. I started out with needlepoint, dabbled in cross stitching, and eventually moved to wood crafting and making small crosses. I noticed they looked a little plain and could use a little decoration, so I broke out this wood burning kit that my husband had tucked away for years and I just fell in love. So I decided to stick with it because it didn’t take up much room and I could work on it with four kids running around the house. I’ve always done something creative or crafty, but this is what I love.
A: You have kind of answered this already, but how did you come to think of the company.
MW: Sure. Like I said, I loved it and it actually sold well. I’ve ventured into several different businesses and I’ve found about 20 different ways to lose money, but this one proved to be different! This is definitely the first craft that I have gotten this far with in regards to business.
A: What lead you to Anthem?
MW: I had been at another venue near the Praetorian and I admired your building and it’s big windows every time I drove past and always wondered what was in there, so one First Friday I decided to stop in and just knew that this is where I needed to be. I thought to myself “Alright! Yes! These are my kind of people!” and got in there as fast as I could. The atmosphere of the market was really well suited for my pieces, especially in regards to color because other places had work that was very brightly colored and my woodburnings just didn’t stand out.
A: Where do you draw inspiration from on a daily basis/ who or what inspires you?
MW: Honestly, scanning the internet. All of the pictures I have done I have found on there, until recently. I have a friend who is a photographer, so now I am starting to recreate some of his photos as well.
A: What does your day-to-day kind of look like?
MW: Ha! Well it depends on if I wake up first or if the kids do. If I get up before them then I can go burn for a while, but since I homeschool them I have to make sure their schooling is done if they get up first. But once everything is said and done for the day I can spend the evening burning, so I typically do that.
A: About how long does it take you to finish a piece?
MW: It generally takes about 20 hours total to complete pieces on average, but since everything is broken up it takes about 2 to 3 weeks to get in those 20 hours. Some things take less, and others take even more; but on average that is about how long they take!
A: What is your favorite and least favorite part of your job?
MW: My favorite part is actually how tedious it is. I love watching images arise from the darkness; when it is just lines on the wood it looks so flat, but once the dimension is added through shading it is just amazing to watch the image pop out. The nature of the process itself actually lends to this sort of ‘coming out’ process because I start on one side and work my way across and everything just starts falling into place.
My least favorite part is probably marketing; it is just a difficult process to be your own cheerleader and promote yourself and your business. I’m currently operating on Instagram, Etsy, Pinterest, and Fine Art America, so it is just a lot to keep up with.
A: So what kind of products do you offer?
MW: I have the pieces that I created from photos I either found on the internet or the ones my photographer friend gave to me. I also do custom pieces whenever people need them as long as they don’t go against some sort of belief of mine because I have young kids running around my house and it just wouldn’t be a great idea. It essentially needs to be appropriate.
A: What is the average price point for your pieces and how do you come up with that?
MW: I used to average about $10 an hour, but I have gone up. That has been a very difficult process to judge; how much my time is worth and what not. On Etsy things are still based around the $10 an hour range, or priced by the size of the piece. The pieces that I create for sale at Anthem and other gallery settings are a little higher because its a set price that has to account for profit cuts and other expenses.
A: Where do you hope to see your business go in the future?
MW: Nationwide. The goal in my mind is for my work to be as well known as Norman Rockwell; humble, I know. I would love to have gallery openings in major cities like New York or Los Angeles, and hey if somebody takes interest internationally that is fine by me! This art form is not very well known, but I feel like if I am really really good at this then it could be.
Thanks so much for reading! Join us for more Artisan Spotlights in the near future!