EnlightenedArtisan interviewed by fauxsure
What sorts of things do you offer in your shop?
Since I am a new seller, I only have a few items at present -- painted stones and origami boxes. I plan to broaden my offerings over the coming weeks and months to include altered art, a wider array of painted stones, maybe some origami box sets (marketed for storage of jewelry, keepsakes, etc), decoupaged origami boxes, and cigar box art and accessories.
How did you first start selling on etsy? How long have you been selling? Do you sell anywhere else?
This is my third week as an Etsy seller. I've known about the site for a few years, but had not really given much thought to selling until the past two months or so. I generally do projects as I feel like it, just for fun or to give them away, but I thought it would be fun to get involved in a selling community. In the past I have done small craft fairs from time to time, but nothing big.
Tell us a little about your typical creative process and how you go about making your work. What kinds of steps do you usually go through?
I've always loved to make stuff. With the exception of the Saturday morning "art lessons" (basically just seven-year-old me messing around painting flowers with oils) in the nutmeg-infused basement of a funky-cool artist lady, I don't think I've ever taken a class. It's not that I'm opposed to them, but rather that I've always been one to kind of just figure stuff out. I see something I want to do, so I go buy a couple of books (or in today's Jetsonian age, hop on the Internet), deconstruct it and try to figure out how it's done, or just get a general idea and wing it. It is for this reason, I'm proud to say, that I never produce a "perfect" product. If I wanted something perfect, I'd commission Martha Stewart...I prefer personality!
When I paint stones, I work in one of two ways. Sometimes when I go collecting, certain stones will catch my eye and I'll see something in them, like a strawberry or a turtle. Other ones I will pick up because they have a certain texture, shape or size, but I'm not sure what will work on them yet. I just think they're cool. I'm always coming up with new designs to paint, so I have a good selection to choose from to find something to fit each stone.
I get ideas all the time, and often in odd places. For this reason, I always carry my blue graph-paper notebook with me. There's also a legal pad and pencil in the bathroom...there seems to be something about a nice hot shower that gets ideas flowing. I have a lot of drive time to work and back every day, which counts as primo idea time for me.
I paint at the kitchen table, but prefer to do a lot of my other work, believe it or not, sitting in bed. This allows me to be next to my beloved while I'm working. We make a great team that way...separate but together as I make stuff and she writes. In the interest of trying to keep the floor on my side of the bed somewhat in line, I have a little system of rolling scrapbooking crate, Christmas gift bags, and various totes in which I shuttle my materials and in-progress works back and forth between the closet, the bed and the living room.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I like to work with natural stones. I've always had a love affair with rocks, stones and such, and am fascinated by the endless shapes, sizes and colors there are. Collecting and painting them gives me a sense of being closer to nature in a sense. I generally paint with acrylics, and use water-based varnish on most of my pieces. I also love paper...the older the better! I'm learning to decoupage with old papers -- sheet music, magazines, postcards, photos -- and find that there are endless uses for it all. I also love to try new things, so any material is a potential new favorite for me.
Are there other creative projects you are involved in outside of your work in your etsy shop?
I crochet in the winter; it's too hot around South Texas in the summer to be working with yarn! Otherwise, I kind of just pick up projects as I come across them.
Besides art/ crafty stuff, what else do you like doing in your free time?
I am working on the genealogy of my dad's side of my family. His father came from Greece through Ellis Island at the turn of the twentieth century, and I love digging through ancestry.com looking for family goodies. I also collect antique scrapbooks and Rushton dolls. I'm working in spurts on research for a collector's guide to Rushton dolls, because one doesn't exist, and I know if it would be helpful to me, it would surely benefit other collectors as well.
Does your queer identity come into play in your work?
Being gay is a part of who I am, so I think it does come out in my art just as any other part of me does.
What are your hopes for the Queer Etsy Street Team? What brought you to join?
I would love to become an active and involved member of the Queer Etsy Street Team. I actually came across the team via a post in one of the Etsy forums, and as soon as I clicked on the team profile, knew I wanted to join. And I made a great decision! Never have I felt so at home so quickly in this type of arena. Everyone welcomed me with open arms immediately and without reservation, and I love the openness and family-like atmosphere.