Jane Kelsey was facing the problem of many emerging artists - how to find time for her art practice while working to fund her creative pursuits. Her decision was to set up an online shop, Dot & co., to sell pieces that she has created in her Melbourne studio. This way she gets to spend every day  being creative in some form. The range includes artworks and homewares such as planter pots and ceramic spoons. Jane says she’s been overwhelmed by the response so far. 

Which five words best describe you? Creative, stubborn, quiet, determined and curious. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied fine art at RMIT and after finishing my degree I was finding it difficult to find time for my artistic practice while I was working other jobs. I think it’s something a lot of artists struggle with – balancing time to be creative and being able to make money to survive. I wanted to be able to do something creative full time and be able to work for myself, so I decided to open Dot & co. - an online store selling unique handmade pieces. I had seen many other creative people take on the challenge of setting up a small business and I thought, hey, maybe I could do that too! It has taken a lot of hard work but I was really surprised how receptive people are and how successful it’s been so far. Tools like Instagram have allowed me to connect and learn from other makers in the community and have helped my career grow. Opening Dot & co. has really allowed me time to explore and play with different materials and to continue my exhibition work. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Take on the challenge, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Dot & co. is really only in it’s beginning stages so I can’t really highlight a key achievement but I have been really overwhelmed by the support and response I have had so far. Being approached by magazines, stylists and stores has been a great surprise and motivation to keep going. Apart from that I am just really thankful to be able to get to do what I love every day. It takes an enormous amount of time and dedication but it is incredibly rewarding. 

What’s been your best decision? I think my best decision was to set up the Dot & co. online store. I didn’t really think it through or let it get overcomplicated I just went with my instinct and it all happened rather quickly, but I am so glad I did it. 

Who inspires you? Too many people to name. I am constantly inspired by many artists, makers and friends, anyone who is passionate about using their hands to create. 

What are you passionate about? Cooking and eating. I am also passionate about craftsmanship and supporting other makers. I think there has been a great shift towards local handmade products over mass-produced items, and I hope it continues.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? William Kentridge, Tracey Emin and Otto Kunzli

What dream do you still want to fulfil? My partner and I have a dream to build a shelter from scratch on a rural property in the Otways. The idea is to create a sustainable habitable shelter that is entirely built, inside and out, by hand. At the moment it’s just an idea and is a long way off but I think it would be a great challenge and learning process. I’d also love to write and illustrate a children’s book. 

What are you reading? Burial rites by Hannah Kent – highly recommend it. And I love anything by Tracy Chevalier.

images courtesy of dot & co. 

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