Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spotlight Interview with Annette Tait

This month's interview is with artist Annette of dragonhouseofyuen on etsy. If you read her shop's profile page, you'll discover that she grew up in Maamba, Zambia, and Darwin in the humid tropical Northern Territory of  Australia, as well as the wild Scottish Highlands. Currently she resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

I asked Annette if she would mind sharing a few more details about her life before Scotland…

I’m Australian / Scottish.

 I lived in Zambia for 6 years, (5yrs to 11yrs old) then in '81 we emigrated to Australia, finished school there, I joined the Army, went to Uni at night to study Russian, then in '96 moved back to Scotland.

 So my outlook is more Australian than Scottish and my friends are all over there. I sure miss there too!

Our interview follows, hope you enjoy it and Annette's work!

Tell me something about where you currently live.

I live in a tiny old flat in Edinburgh, Scotland, with my two rescue rabbits Arabella and Wesley. We are a stone's throw from the North Sea and 10 minutes drive from Edinburgh Castle.

                                                      Her rabbits always seem to be multiplying...

Do you have a “day job” or do you work at your art full time?

ha ha! this is my day job! not necessarily by choice, but by circumstance. I have been lucky to have had fantastic generous customers!! thank you all!!

                                                             Arabella & Wesley Rabbit Bags

Have you had formal art training, or are you self-taught?

Yes, when I was in the Australian Army I trained as an Illustrator Reprographic - Army speak for 'graphic designer'. Mind, though, this was way back in the days before computers and everything was done by hand! 
All the rest - the stitching and sewing and mending and sticking and watercolours and all that, is all self taught.

Ok, that response piqued my curiosity, so she elaborated a bit...

After I finished my illus repro course I was posted to the School of Military Engineering where I drew mines and booby traps, tanks and bridges all day long for the Engineer instructors there! After a couple of years it wasn't enough stimulation for my brain so I transferred to Intelligence Corps! (I was also putting myself thru night school in Russian Language).

Where does your inspiration come from?

I'm inspired by animals and nature. And the biggest inspiration for the way I write my stories comes from the exceptional animal communicator Amelia Kinkade. She changed my life after I read her books and took her workshop.
                                                           Brown hare original watercolor

In what ways do you market your work?

I have always struggled with this concept of marketing, but I get lovely feedback from my customers that brings tears to my eyes and I get touching emails out of the blue from people who have connected with my work, so I think I may be doing something right. I love to blog the best, as it combines writing with lots of pictures.

                                In a recent blog post, Annette and "the gang" peruse a particularly riviting magazine article 

If you haven’t yet had the treat of reading Annette’s blog, I urge you to check it out. You’ll find you’ll leave with a smile on your face!

What is the biggest challenge you face in your work, and how do you manage it?

To keep an even momentum going. I do things in spats, whereas I could be more productive if I operated like a factory production line. But then again, that would take the spontaneity out of my work. And in spontaneity you get diversity and new ideas. I have to push myself to complete tasks, so that is good, making my own deadlines.
                                                                        personality plus!

What do you do for fun when you’re not in the studio?

For fun? hmmm, well I go the gym 6 days a week and train with weights (a little like body building) and to me that is great fun! I love the free weights and the loud, loud music blasting away! 
and on a quieter note I love to visit the country side and animal watch.

You can visit Annette here:


  1. you deserve all the success you can handle annette, you are a wonderful creative talented woman!

  2. One of my favorite etsians! Thanks for the great profile & peek behind the scenes :)

  3. Great interview - what a rich and varied life you've had so far. Can't wait to hear what you do/where you end up next.

  4. many thanks Betsy for interviewing me!
    and thanks Paula, Ruth and Debra :)
    - the animals keep me in check :)

  5. Enjoyed this very much, Betsy and Annette. thank you.
    I also highly recommend Annette's blog if you yet to have the pleasure.

  6. Love the way Annette brings her creations to life & am a big fan of her blog. What an interesting life story she has too!

  7. I know you're doing something right, Annette! How interesting and appealing! Thanks for sharing, and kudos Betsy for another great interview!

  8. annette-- what a treat to read your interview and what a fascinating career you've had. i love the fact that you're now surrounded by your soft sculptural world filled with sweet rabbits and squirrels--- a long way off from tanks and mines!!
    thanks for sharing!

  9. Annette, you are one fascinating person! I loved reading about you! Betsy, a wonderful job capturing Annette! :)

  10. Useful information like this one must be kept and maintained so I will put this one on my bookmark list! Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this!