- BC Games
Bowen artrepreneur finds success selling perfect moments
Last winter Jenny Anstey was riding down the escalator at the International Arrivals area of the Vancouver when she looked over at the waterfall, and the light was just perfect.
“There are moments like that,” she says, “When I just freeze. I reach for my sketchbook and just need to draw what I’m seeing.”
She snapped a series of photos on her phone for reference and got to work. She added, for fun, her friend Barb who is a flight attendant and her two daughters coming down the escalator where she was when inspiration struck. She named the drawing, “BC water flowing over rocks when you come home from a trip,” and made it the ten of diamonds in her second deck of place-inspired playing cards.
When she sold her first 100 decks of Bowen-themed playing cards, she thought she’d hit upon a nice way to pay for art supplies.
One year later, she’s sold 1000 of these decks, and has embraced the possibility that she can keep drawing and make a living for herself at the same time. To kick off this new phase of the project she’s heading to one of Vancouver’s largest craft fairs, with a far greater number of playing card packs than she feels comfortable with.
“Let’s just say it’s keeping me awake at night,” she says. “But people in the craft world say that if you’ve been picked, your product will sell, so I just keep telling myself that.”
An average of 35 thousand people walk through Circle Craft Christmas Market every year, and before being accepted Anstey had to submit nine examples of her work, a photograph of her studio, a biography, and an essay outlining her process.
The show runs from November 7th - 11th, from 10am - 9pm, at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
“My son offered to help me out selling at the show,” Anstey says. “He’ll miss a day of school but I think it’ll be worth it.”
“I see this as a family business, and I want to be a part of it,” says Perry, 16.
Anstey’s husband had enough confidence in the project to help finance this stage of the project. He also spent two days, with Perry’s help, building the sales booth.
Anstey also plans to sell her cards at the Vancouver Gift Expo at the PNE in Feburary. If all this goes well, she’ll start working on a new set of playing cards.
“Whistler, I think Whistler’s next,” she says. “And you never know, I have lots of family in Toronto and Ottawa so maybe those cities will come after!”
The possibilities are endless, but Anstey says that first and foremost she considers herself an artist.
“In art school they say you have to do a drawing a day to stay in practice,” she says. “And for me, that’s where the magic is.”