Bread and Badger is the husband and wife team of Amanda and Sean Siska. Amanda creates the art and runs the online side of things, and Sean does the sandblasting. Together, we make original tabletop vessels to help express your personality through your housewares.
Read our interview in the ‘Quit Your Day Job’ feature on Etsy.com
About the Name:
The name comes from the term “bread and butter,” because this is my main source of income, but I added the word “badger” because I was inspired by an article in National Geographic about honey badgers. Honey badgers are fearless creatures that will not back down from a fight, and are impervious to venom. They can kill animals many times their size and they eat bees and poisonous snakes. Quitting my job and starting my own business has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I’m inspired by those tough little creatures that can take on so much that other animals fear.
I’d been selling shoes for a number of years before I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I needed to draw full-time. I learned about glass etching in 2005 and I’ve been scratching surfaces ever since.
Originally, I wanted to be a tattoo artist, but I found that glass engraving with a rotary tool was similar in technique, without the sterilization and possible regret. I’m still a tattoo collector and I use the idea of body art as an inspiration for my designs.
In 2008, demand for my hand-carved designs became too high to fill, so my husband, Sean, quit his day job to help me transition to sandblasting. We now sandblast all our glassware and ceramics in our garage, using top-notch professional equipment.
There’s nothing like the feeling of getting exactly what I see inside my head onto a solid object for others to share. I’ve spent my life finding new ways to make my ideas tangible, and I’m pleased to have discovered glass art.
Beginning with a rough sketch, I like to draw my artwork with pencils, permanant marker, or India ink and a calligraphy pen. Once the ink has dried, it’s scanned into my computer, where I turn it into vector artwork that can easily be resized. The digital art is then printed onto transparency film, which is used to create a photo-emulsion sandblasting stencil. Each item has a single-use stencil applied to its surface with a burnisher, then it’s carefully masked. The final etching step is a trip into our professional blasting cabinet, where high-pressure grit carves the permanent design.
I’ve been particularly drawn to the power that iconic imagery has on the psyche, and the way people react to it. Strong symbols evoke strong feelings in the viewer, whether they’re worn on a t-shirt, a body part, or across your household objects. Etched glass is a perfect medium to take the concept of self-expression to another level. Beyond just being sculptural art, it’s like a tattoo for your home.
Glass lasts forever, and each object has a history. As a human being, I’ve been very conscious of the excesses produced by everyday life. As an artist, I’ve tried to keep my carbon footprint small by reclaiming glassware and ceramics whenever possible, and using the least wasteful etching techniques available.