1. What is your shop name and what do you sell?
First off I’d like to say "Thank You!" for choosing me to be interviewed for the Team Blog. I am honored.
2. What long series of events led to you doing this?
Wow! I think I need a literal nutshell for this question! I've been painting, drawing, taking ridiculous pictures with whatever camera and writing since I was teeny weenie, and when I was at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston I had a double major of Illustration and Photography. I'm a gypsy soul at heart, (thanks in part to being a Marine Corps brat and living all over the country ....), and I worship Georgia O’Keefe, so I after college I moved to Santa Fe for awhile, and then my boyfriend at the time suggested we travel down to Mexico and Guatemala, and that's when the Foreign Country "travel bug" bit me. I wandered abroad fairly extensively over the next 10 years or so and here in the States I found myself tooling around with the rateful Dead for awhile, selling woven Guatemalan bracelets and making enough money to keep me in airline tickets. But nomadic lifestyles usually come to an end, as mine did, and I settled in Missoula, MT for a few years, dabbling in different art mediums (making hats was one!) and even owned a little Organic Cafe named "The Black Dog". Ooooops!, forgot to mention that I'm a pretty good, self taught "chef", after years of working in Restaurants when I wasn't "on the road". Now I'm living in Seattle with my husband, Kane, 2 year old rescued German Shepherd named Indigo and almost 16 year old "grumpy grandma kitty", Cosmo.
3. Who taught you the particular skills you use in your work?
You probably noticed that I didn't mention clay once in that long last question/answer! That's because I had never touched a piece of clay until about 5 years ago. I went to a "paint your own pottery" shop for a friend's bridal shower and I was hooked!! I loved the whole process of painting on a 3 dimensional surface, it was like a puzzle, and feeling the weight of the bisqued clay piece in my hands as I painted, whether it was a mug, vase or plate, was like connecting to the earth itself. It took me less than 6 months of painting on store bought bisqueware pottery before I wanted to learn how to make my own clay pieces. I sought out a studio space with other potters, took some classes, learned an amazing amount through many instances of painful trial and error, and here I am, playing gleefully in the clay and then spending joyous hours painting it!
4. How long have you been selling online?
I've had my own website for over 2 years but I have only been selling online for about 7 months. I hooked into Etsy with my shop name almost a year ago but out of intimidation I didn't list anything until last August.
5. What is your favorite thing about Etsy?
Freedom and Friends and Phenomenal Art! The freedom to have my own shop and not have to drive all over the place for Art Fairs. Lugging mass boxes of pottery and setting up a booth and working an art show is something I have done extensively in the past. I have a lot of fantastic memories, put many miles on vehicles, seen and own some intense art and now I can say "Been there. Done that." The friend’s part of Etsy is amazing!!! I have met so many incredible artists through conversations and threads ...it's an intense social network and I can be as much or as little a part of it as I want to be. And the ART!! With tools like the Treasuries (which I love to make), Shop Local and that cool "Color-wheel" thinga-ma-jiggy....It's all just mind boggling and very uplifting to know that art of all shapes and sizes, price ranges and talent level is getting out into the world. What great positive energy!
6. What is your favorite thing about what you sell?
My pieces tell stories. I'm in love with words, one word or a 1000 page novel; it's all beautiful to me. I try and incorporate text into some of my pieces, but even the ones that are strictly pictorial, my desire is for them to whisper stories to the viewer, whatever that may be, through the use of the shape of the clay and the colors and images I choose to paint.
7. What is your favorite item in your own shop and why?
This isn't easy, because they're all pieces of me and I feel a bit like Judas, betraying the others, but... it would have to be "EARTH'S MIRTH". Why? Mostly because this pitcher/vase combines all the variety of my art "vision" into one cohesive and joyfully functional "theme piece": the clay was a blast to manipulate into the "watering can" shape; the quote, "The earth laughs in flowers" by Emerson, is one of my favorites; and I love to paint big, colorful blossoms!! This piece is so blissful and I smile every time I look at it....an ecstatic watering can!
8. How does your work differ from the work of other artists in your field?
I'm not sure how to answer that as clay artists are all so different. I guess I'll just say that I approach my clay pieces as a painter, if that makes any sense. The first thing I think of when I'm working with clay is "Where's the image? What's the story?" For me clay is a big, bold, super fantastic 3 dimensional canvas, whether it's just a tiny simple trinket dish or a convoluted pitcher that's taken me weeks to get the clay shape right. It always ends for me with the pictorial tale, even if that's just black line doodles and big solid colors.
9. What teams do you belong to and what do you like most about them?
I belong to the Esty Mud Team and Design Style Guide. I love the interaction between members on the threads, the sharing of knowledge on all sorts of topics and the overwhelming support that we give each other in our art and in areas of our lives outside of our creative adventures.
10. What is the most fun thing you do to promote your shop?
Fun? Self promotion is fun? I'm horrible at it, but I love making Treasuries and chiming in occasionally on threads and talking up Etsy to all my family, friends, and strangers, so I suppose that's self promotion. I'd much rather be reading other peoples self promotion than trying to do mine!
11. What are some of your favorite finds by other sellers on Etsy?
Oh my, can I have 2 pages? There is just so much great art!
Everyone on the Etsy Mud Team.
I want all of these amazing beads [by] kerribeads.
And I'm absolutely in love with every single painting in this shop: Krystyna81.
And the Linoprints in this one: littlebirdesigns.
And the sculptural "stories" of oatmealcookie.
And I adore these baskets and soaps: thekeepershouse.
I won't even get started on fabric arts and it goes without saying that I'm loving all the artists in Design Style Guide!!
12. What do you do in your spare time?
What is that? Does sleep count? Indigo has massive amounts of energy and so I take long, vigorous walks with her. I love to read, write and watch movies, when I'm not painting or playing in clay. Oh, and cook!
13. Do you have anything else you would like to share?
My husband is building me a small "art shack" studio that will be ready soon (my communal pottery space isn't very conducive to painting and such) and I'd like to go back and explore 2D work again....I have a gazillion negatives/prints/slides from my travels and I think it would be fun to try and incorporate those images somehow. Who knows, maybe they'll end up being 3D clay photographic collage paintings....I could start a whole new genre on Etsy…..although there probably is work like that, I just haven’t seen it! Mostly though, I'd like to say....GO FOR IT!!! We are all creative channels in this world, so let's all create...with peace, with joy, with love....and bring hope, laughter and light to our world, one piece of art at a time!
If you make Handmade Home Decor Items, come and join our team by clicking on the image below.
Not only will you be able to network with us, but also you will have the ability to post your listing on our team website.
If you like this blog entry you'll love my blog, jn3 Hand Crafted Woodworks. Check it out. I'll be glad you did.