Creative Introduction: Three By Sea


{Images courtesy of Nicole}

Today’s Creative Introduction is Nicole of Three By Sea.

I met Nicole through The Creative Empire, and became a fan of her Wide Sarcasm Sea range on Etsy – nothing like a little tongue-in-cheek humour, I say!!

Nicole has willingly shared a bit about herself and Three By Sea with us here today.  Be sure to read all the way to the end of the post to find out what goodness Nicole has to offer to readers as well…!

1.    Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m a late-in-life artist/part-time creative entrepreneur (at the moment). Growing up, I was the “smart” one in the family, not the “artistic” one (that was my brother), so I never considered art as a career until my late 20s when I took my first art class. That resulted in adding a fine arts degree to the English degree I already had, but teaching positions for English are easier to find, so the art degree sat, collecting dust, so to speak. After the birth of my son though, I realized I hadn’t been happy teaching in the public school system, loved being home with my son, and wanted to be self-employed in some sort of creative capacity. And so began the journey…
I say “part-time creative entrepreneur” since I am home with my son and work happens in chunks of time I carve out throughout the day. Pre-K and kindergarten are just around the corner (and with it, more time to work), so I’m soaking up this time with my son and let this period of my business be about exploration and experimentation.

2.    How did you come up with your business name ?

“Three By Sea” is named for my family (my husband, our three-year-old son and me) and our coastal location. Technically we’re “Three By Gulf”, but that just doesn’t really roll off the tongue, now does it?
I know more folks are moving towards using their name for their business, and I toyed with the idea for a moment. But the reality is, without the support of my husband and the motivation and inspiration I get from my son, I don’t know when or if I would have ever started Three By Sea.

3.    How long have you been in business?

I started blogging as “Three By Sea” about two and a half years ago. I started an Etsy shop shortly after that, selling random sea-inspired craft items- mirrors, screenprinted onesies for babies, upcycled stationery sets. I really had NO IDEA what I was doing, Etsy-wise or blogging. I was “babble blogging” (blogging whatever came to mind), creating stuff for my Etsy shop based on the “Oh, I can make that” philosophy (similar to the “You know, you should make XYZ” business advice friends & family like to offer.) Admittedly, it’s been a meandering sort of journey to find my direction.
Lately it seems I’m settling into surface design- creating surface patterns for paper and fabrics. I’m creating stationery & other paper goods, designing patterns for Spoonflower fabrics, and launching a new line of editable printables called “Print It Yours”. I like the idea of creating and designing products that others can take and make into something of their own (the fabrics and printables), while still continuing to produce goods for those who want a ready made product such as stationery, digital prints, or textile goods for the home.
As time goes on, I’m getting clearer about what I want to be creating and what I want to encourage/bring out in others, so I try to trust in the journey and give more attention to my thoughts and feelings on it all.
(Side note: I also have another Etsy shop, Wide Sarcasm Sea, a snarky card and gift shop. I opened it after creating some cards as morale boosters for my former co-workers. But I see that shop as more of a line of products within Three By Sea, much like Shoebox greeting cards are to Hallmark.)

80s Hair Band
4.    Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?

(I totally copy and pasted this from my About page!) Growing up in Kansas during the 70s & 80s, COLOR!, a desire for order and simplicity, a love of coastal living and Mid-Century Modern ANYTHING (illustration, graphic design, furniture, architecture), ocean and shore life, mixes of hand drawn and digital elements, people with a wicked sense of humor. (I’d also add design blogs & my son’s ever-changing interests)

5.    How would you describe your style?
I don’t know exactly how I’d describe my style. My inspirations (listed above) reflect what I’m headed towards for a style, I think.

6.    What are your favourite materials/techniques?

These days, I’ve moved away from hand printing and more towards digital designing and printing. I use Adobe Illustrator for much of my design work. Designing patterns is so much fun and I love how easy it is to manipulate & experiment with lines and compositions. My drawing skills have always felt weak to me, so I’m trying to incorporate pen & paper into more of my design process as a way to build confidence and push my designs farther.

7.    What does being creative mean to you?

Being creative means letting yourself consider and experiment with possibilities. SO many people don’t consider themselves creative and it drives me crazy! Somewhere along the way folks came to view creativity as a blessing bestowed on some and not others. Creativity is a skill that improves with practice, just like reading or playing basketball. The more you do it, the better you become at it.
While I was unhappy teaching public school, I find that I miss the encouraging and nurturing that teaching involves. I would love to develop something to help others FIND and BELIEVE in their own creativity, especially since I found my own so late in life compared to those who had a creative childhood. A book, a e-course, a website…something to help folks laugh and have fun with it. It’s one of those ideas constantly rattling around in my head.

8.    Can you describe the time when you first realised that creating was something you absolutely had to do?

Creating became something I had to do when I decided not to go back to teaching and I needed to stimulate and stretch my brain. When I finally allowed myself to think of myself as a designer/artist/indie maker, the ideas and need to create started flowing. These days I’m constantly thinking of new ideas and translating them into new designs and products.


9.    What’s your favourite thing that you’ve ever created?
I don’t know what I could pin down as my favorite thing ever to create. I did an ocean mural for my son’s nursery that was my first attempt at a mural and has a lot of sentimental value for me. (I only have pictures of it now since we sold the house and moved.) As far as shop items, the “Floral Flatware” Tea Towel Calendars I did this year were a fave of mine. It was a project I’d wanted to do for a long time, so I was excited to see it come to fruition.

10.    What medium would you love to pursue but haven’t as yet?

I’d love to learn Photoshop so I could incorporate it into my design work and do some photo experimenting. It seems so confusing to me, but then I read Photoshop users who find Adobe Illustrator intimidating, so I think it’s just a matter of what you started off with.

Thank you Nicole for sharing Three By Sea with us!  And thank you too for your generous offer of the Print It Yours Sampler for readers!!

Love Nicole’s work?  You can find more of her goodies at the following:
Twitter- @ThreeBySea

Contact me View my portfolio Visit the shop

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