Emily Hutchinson never dreamed of being an artist. In fact, while growing up, she only took art classes because she knew they would come in handy when doing medical diagrams in veterinary school, despite her art teachers telling her to pursue it more.
However, after graduating high school early to attend community college, she quickly pivoted her dream of working with animals to working with people.
“I grew up with a brother with special needs, so being a certified nursing assistant came naturally to me. I didn’t want to be a ‘starving artist’, I always wanted a dependable career.”
After about ten years, Hutchinson found herself switching directions again, and instead of working with patients, she found herself running the business side of a home health care company. She moved around industries on the administrative side, but found that there wasn’t much room for growth no matter what field she was in.
Above: The painting that started Hutchinson’s art career
All the while, Hutchinson continued to do art as a hobby. While renovating her late grandmother’s home for herself, she just wasn’t able to find a meaningful art piece that would fit in her home. Her fiance, Mike, suggested she try painting her own large-scale piece. After posting the final product to her social media, she was happily surprised to be flooded with requests from friends and family asking her to make one for them.
While she loved painting, Hutchinson was concerned about the longevity of the pieces in the homes of family members. She started searching for a way to preserve her paintings, and discovered resin would be a great topcoat. But after looking through Instagram, she realized epoxy resin offered a lot more than just protection for her paintings.
Above: A set of Hutchinson’s first geode coasters
Growing up in Cape Cod, Hutchinson always found herself drawn to the beach. Though now well-known for her intricate lacing technique of resin waves, she actually started off making geode art.
Above: A shot of Hutchinson’s early wave work
“I’ve always been drawn to recreating the natural world. I want every piece to feel connected to the earth, to spark a memory or emotion.”
She started with her local community, signing up for art fairs and festivals and teaming up with local businesses to sell her work. To her surprise, it all sold – and fast. Hutchinson’s dreams of running her own business was finally seeming like a possibility, but taking the plunge of quitting her day job was understandably daunting.
Above: A serving board Hutchinson engraved then coated with TotalBoat TableTop Epoxy
Working all day, being a mom, and then doing resin art until 11pm just wasn’t sustainable. So in January 2020, she decided to take the plunge and put all her efforts into resin art and creating her own business. She signed up for every local art fair and vendor event, collaborated with consultants to help her grow her social media presence, and worked tirelessly to make art for the shows. Just a few months later though, all of events shut down and she was worried she had made the wrong decision.
Above: Hutchinson at a local Cape Cod art fair with a geode whale she created with TableTop Epoxy
“I was terrified! But it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Everyone was shopping online and wanting to support local businesses. I always dreamed of running my own company, but I wouldn’t be here without the community support during that time.”
She ran a few giveaways with local Cape Cod pages that got national attention, and started gaining followers at an unprecedented rate. However, she learned quickly that having more followers doesn’t correlate with more sales.
“It’s crazy how social media exposure can determine an artist’s future. I focused on making content that was relatable for customers, not necessarily other artists.”
In February 2020, when Hutchinson switched to using TotalBoat TableTop Epoxy for her waves, she noticed an instant difference in quality.
Above: A few of Hutchinson’s Cape Cod pieces, created with TableTop Epoxy
“I don’t want to be making pieces that won’t last in customers’ homes. TotalBoat’s high quality allows me to make art that’s long lasting for this special, handmade piece.”
Above, Top to Bottom: Hutchinson’s new Landscape art pieces. Each element is intricately engraved with her laser cutter, then filled with TableTop Epoxy
Hutchinson is also drawn to the variety of products available for a wide range of applications. While she always uses TableTop Epoxy for waves, she also uses it in her new landscape pieces and as a protective topcoat for her floral blocks.
She uses TotalBoat UV Cure Resin for all her keychains, which are unique small gifts. From big commission artwork to small pieces, each one has a TotalBoat touch.
Above: Hutchinson’s cool epoxy keychains
Since the base for her business has always been in building friendships with her customers, Hutchinson felt relieved finding TotalBoat to work with as a small, family-run business that was responsive to her questions and supportive of her work.
“TotalBoat’s engagement with makers on social media makes a massive impact. They’re always doing a good job of commenting, liking, and reposting, even ‘smaller’ makers.”
Hutchinson’s short-term goals aren’t lofty, she just wants to be able to pay her bills, keep a roof over her family’s heads, and take care of her son. The fact that she’s able to do all that while loving her work is just an added bonus.
Above: A clock Hutchinson made with TableTop Epoxy
While she still sells out of her wave boards during her restock sales, she has expanded her work to deeper pours, signs, and working with a laser printer to create detail.
Above: One of Hutchinson’s 3D pieces filled with TotalBoat epoxy
Her biggest advice for others? “Listen to your audience! I want to be in tune with knowing what will sell. I use polls for my followers, watch what sells out faster, and keep a detailed list, even down to the colors and shapes.”
Most importantly, Hutchinson wants to make what makes her happy! While she’ll still be working on commissions through March, 2023, she’s taking the next three months after her November drop sale off to try new techniques and expand her niche, and she’ll decorate her own home for a change.
Above, Top to Bottom: Hutchinson enjoys using an ink technique for her mugs with TableTop Epoxy
“I have all this leftover product that I haven’t gotten to put resin on yet, like mugs, geodes, and boards. I am such a business person, I’m always selling what I create, even if it feels like mine. Maybe I’ll decide not to post it next time I have that feeling.”
“The first painting I made gave a connection to so many people, I want that feeling to last for every piece.”
Above: Hutchinson’s latest, and more well-defined, epoxy waves on coasters
Article by Leah Kossak, TotalBoat Social Media Specialist