Today we’d like to introduce you to Conor Britain.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always liked making things, and after a few years in the digital advertising world I was ready to take on a project that was both tangible and captured something meaningful. It took me a while to figure out what that would be, but in 2016 inspiration struck after going on a baseball road trip with my dad.
I wanted to do something to commemorate the special experience and had been experimenting with screen printing, so I decided to take the photos of stadiums we’d seen along the trip and screen print them onto the leather covers of a baseball, which I then gave to my dad as a Christmas gift. His reaction to the gift was really overwhelming, and I realized that I wanted to share that experience with other baseball fans. Expanding a gift into a business involved finding a new, more reliable method than screen printing and traveling the country to photograph more stadiums.
I started selling on Etsy, but since have been to a few craft fairs, as well as done some work on commission. It’s incredibly rewarding to meet other baseball fans who have that same instant connection to the product that my dad did and to get chat about their personal memories with the game. That’s by far been the best part of the whole experience.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest challenges I’ve faced have all involved transforming a hand-made product into a business. Price points, packaging, quality control, framing options, accommodating custom orders; all of the business aspects are really new to me, but I’ve enjoyed the challenges that have come with it.
The other major challenge is that I do all of this myself, so on the rare occasion when I get a large order, such as 40+ prints, I have to find time out of my day job to get it all done. They say necessity is the mother of invention, though, and I’ve had to get creative as I’ve learned on the job. For example, I used to flatten the covers of the baseballs with an iron by hand, but the time it took to do it was far too long, and occasionally the iron would get too hot and actually shrink the baseball leathers. Then I found a heat-press machine normally used in t-shirt production and was able to flatten many covers at once at a consistent temperature — the perfect solve for my baseball-flattening logjam. Finding these sort of make-shift solutions has been a real fun part of the experience.
Please tell us more about your art.
I create works of art out of used baseballs. I start by removing the leather pieces that make up the over of a baseball, flattening them, and then print my photography on leather itself. The baseball leather often has a number of dirt and scuff marks from its life on the field, so each print is a little unique, and the result is a vintage-looking relic of the game. I specialize in panoramic portraits of stadiums, as they are a perfect fit for the unique shape of the flattened baseball cover, but can also do custom photos, player profiles, box scores, and other designs.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My dad definitely deserves a major shout out for being the source of inspiration for the project. My wife has been extremely supportive in this effort, and I could not have taken this on without her. I’ve met a ton of truly nice and helpful people at the various craft fairs I’ve started going to, and it’s really amazing just how supportive the other vendors are at these events. It really keeps you going.
- Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Game6Art
- Instagram: game6art
Katie Silberman (my wife)