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April 24, 2019

Ettie Ink: From Bowerbird Design Market to main street

Establishing Ettie Ink at Bowerbird Design Market was an important step toward bricks and mortar for founder Michelle Fogden.

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  • Words and pictures: Geena Ho

CityMag sits with Ettie Ink‘s founder, Michelle Fogden, at a heavy, wooden table covered in paints and oils in the back corner of her studio on Goodwood Road. Set up in 2017, the Ettie Ink studio has become a space for Michelle to create and display her artwork.

“The idea of me getting my studio was I wanted to paint more,” she says.

“I was kind of outgrowing the office at home and people were wanting to come and view the artwork, so at home was just a bit of a nightmare. So I really loved the idea of separating the work and home life but being able to display my artwork in situ so that people can visualise it in their own homes.”


Bowerbird Design Market
Adelaide Showground
Goodwood Road, Wayville
Friday, 3 May: 4pm ’til 9pm
Sat, 4 May: 10am ’til 5pm
Sun, 5 May: 10am ’til 5pm

Tickets $5 at the door

Find Ettie Ink’s store at 89a Goodwood Road, Goodwood 5034

The Ettie Ink studio is divided in two: at the front is a clean-cut and bright showroom, adorned with some of Michelle’s proudest prints, artwork, and products, nestled in with pot plants and candles; divided by a wall, the back half of the studio is where Michelle creates. The table where we sit is splattered with paint, with stacks of notebooks and rough pencil sketches, and hundreds of tubes of acrylic paints and paintbrushes lying around.

“People do love being able to see things in real life and that’s probably a big thing. When people used to ring up, they’d always want to come and see something in real life but now they know that they can just pop in and see things on display all the time.”

Though the studio certainly impresses, Ettie Ink’s journey began years ago in markets. Originally a wedding stationery business, Ettie Ink started as a hobby while Michelle taught art and design at St Mary’s College. It was only when good friend (and a founder of Frock Me Out), Jen Weeks, encouraged Michelle to apply for her very first market stall that things became more serious.

“Jen and I started having our little stalls next door to each other at Wattle Street Market and Goodwood Arthouse and then, as it turns out, her shop’s now right next door in Frock Me Out. So she’s kind of been an encouragement the whole way through.”

Michelle Fogden at Ettie Ink’s first Bowerbird appearance. This image: Jacie Davis


As business grew, Ettie Ink started branching out into art, design and prints in 2013 before Michelle built up the courage to apply for the Bowerbird Design Market in 2014.

“Bowerbird honestly was something that I’d always dreamed of doing. Even way back before any thoughts of running my own business. I used to go along and be so inspired by all the stallholders and think they were so clever and think ‘One day I’d love to do this.’ So it had always been a dream,” Michelle says.

Now a regular stallholder, Michelle places particular emphasis on the huge role that Bowerbird played in helping her develop Ettie Ink’s audience.

“Even though I’ve got this shopfront studio, Bowerbird just brings in such a huge audience of people from all over Adelaide and stockists will come through as well, who may not ever know that I’m here,” she says.

“It’s just such a great platform for small businesses to showcase their work and get a nice cash injection a couple times a year. And it’s not just the market. It always generates that activity afterwards as well.

“People do enjoy just watching your journey and, for people who’ve been following you for such a long time, it’s really nice for them to see you grow.”

With a steady presence both at the markets and at her studio, Michelle is now looking forward to creating more exciting products including tea towels, wall hangings, fabrics, and even ceramics, which she hopes to be able to share at Bowerbird.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without Bowerbird. I’m just so grateful that someone runs a market like that, which is just organised so well – visitors love it, there’s such an amazing array of stalls, and it just gives us the opportunity to showcase our work in a beautiful setting,” she says.

The Bowerbird Design Market comes around twice a year in May and November. Say hello to Michelle at the next market coming up Friday, 3 May through to Sunday, 5 May at the Adelaide Showground.

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 with free entry for children.

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