My name is Michelle Christensen and I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. My shop is called My Little Belleville.
My father is a diplomat, so I grew up scouring markets all over the world, but mostly in Beijing, China. I got very good at picking out unique items – and bargaining for them too. My house is like a museum with all of the items I’ve collected over my lifetime of travel. I feel like my shop has been a natural evolution of my illustration background paired with my love of discovering hidden treasures.
I have always drawn, and I knew at a very young age I would do art. I received my BFA in illustration from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After school, I moved to Paris, and then back to Utah again. About two years ago, when I first started My Little Belleville, I discovered this French porcelain paint that I could just bake in my oven, and began experimenting with it on dishware I found in stores and thrift shops. I started selling these pieces at this local market here in Salt Lake and that’s when it began.
My dishes and housewares are just another surface medium for my illustration work. I love drawing people; we are all such interesting, complex beings, and so my shop kind of revolves around this theme of a “persona.” I free-hand most of my dishware and illustration work, though I do sketch out ideas in sketchbooks. I like my lines to be authentic and natural. Sometimes when I redo a drawing, I look at the old drawing and prefer it because of the spontaneity of the lines.
Since starting my Etsy shop, I’ve sold my work worldwide. I now sell wholesale locally and nationally. As for future goals, I definitely have high ambitions – I want to do more internationally, but I also want to make sure I have a good solid base with my customers. I am looking into hiring more people to help me develop more products because it gets a bit crazy with only me at the helm. I feel very lucky to have this as my full-time job.
All photographs by Matt Clayton.