Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Team Member Profile: Jangie

This week's featured Artsy Danger Lady team member is Jangie.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Angie Johnson and I live in the suburbs of Chicago. I love Chicago in some ways but in other ways I want to be anywhere but here. Preferably in the country like in Western Massachusetts. I lived there for awhile and loved it. However, my life will probably take me to the quiet of Indiana where my fiance and I hope to have our sustainable farm sometime in the future. It may be years away but it's still a goal. Right now I'm in school on the edge of Chicago finishing my degree. I'm in an art league and I'm going to have my first show at my local library in March so I'm pulling together some fine art stuff for that. I'm pretty excited.

What first made you want to become an artist?
My brother told me when I was little, sitting there doodling at the kitchen table, that if I was really good I could get into the Art Institute. Of course I thought he meant right then so all afternoon I kept showing him my furious drawings like, "how about now?". I think I took him by surprise. I've always had talent for art, all my classmates would ask if I could draw their assignments for them. It was more a question of what I'd end up doing with it.

Briefly describe what you make?
I make everything that starts with the letter "c". Crochet, ceramics and cards. Smiley

How did you get started and how did you progress to work you are creating today?
I started ceramic classes in high school and I've taken classes on and off since then. I've been crocheting in earnest since I was 19, and doing that off and on, and I've dabbled in computer/digital art and cards since that time as well. I started out just doing beginners stuff in all avenues. I made wonky blankets for my cat. I made loopy scarves. I made off kilter ceramic pieces. It's all a process of learning and being inspired by what other people do and what is possible that got me to where I am now.

What mediums do you enjoy working in most?
Clay, yarn, fabric. The computer. My camera. I like photography on the side. I have never taken a class but I certainly like to dabble. I have quite the Flickr collection going right now of random shots.

Please describe your creative process.
I love looking at books, Etsy, other people's blogs, anything where I can see what others are doing and may have interpreted something I got stuck on in a new way. People are so creative. I love seeing how people see the world and use it to fulfill a creative need.

What artists have influenced you, and how?
Ceramic artists Ruth Duckworth, Eva Zeisel and Eva Kwong. All for their sense of form and function. Zeisel's work is just classic. She has a dinnerware set at Crate and Barrel that was recently reissued and it's easy to see why. Her line is impeccable. I appreciate artists who can elevate their object to near perfection. It's lovely to admire.

When do you decide to turn your craft into a business?
I found Etsy in December of '07 and decided to take the plunge of selling in July of '08. Part of it was a wonder if anyone else would like what I have filling my house. So far people have enjoyed it.

How do you market your business?
I have an Etsy blog, I hang out in Etsy chat and forums, I have business cards wherever I go, I work on crocheting in public a lot. Word of mouth in real life.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of running your business?
Hearing feedback from buyers and other Etsy sellers. Etsy is a fabulous community and I'm so thankful for all the help I've had along the way and that I'm able to share this learning experience through my Etsy team and greater community.

What are your business goals and vision?
I would love to keep working on crocheting, expanding to quilting and sewing projects and just keep making practical and beautiful things people can use and will buy and admire and cherish.
I'm in the market of making items that people will enjoy for a long, long time. My fiance and I have a hope that someday we'll have a sustainable farm where we can own sheep and I can spin my own yarn. It would be awesome to be completely sustainable in my life and work. I will die happy if I make it to the front page of Etsy as a featured seller. I'll probably die happy even if I don't, but that would be extra icing on my cupcake.

What are your favorite products to make?
I love making scarflettes. A fellow Etsy seller turned me on to this and I'm totally all about them. My customers seem to be too.

Where else can we find you and your work?
I have a couple blogs:
http://jangiesetsyshop.blogspot.com - I feature my favorite sellers on Etsy during the week
http://adam-angie.blogspot.com - this is my personal blog that sadly doesn't get that much attention now that I have been keeping track of my Etsy blog. But I try.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jangievarnsen/ - my photos, both Etsy related and otherwise

In ten years I'd like to be...
Happily married with a kid or two, pets (which may or may not include sheep if we have the farm by then), learning new crafts and still having a successful Etsy business. Smiley

To see more of Jangie's lovely crocheted creations, cards, and ceramics, please check out her Etsy shop here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Team Member Profile: Our Side of the Mountain

This week's featured team member is Artsy Danger Lady and Etsy seller oursideofthemountain, creator of modern and stylish crafts for children and women.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a simple country girl living in upstate NY with my husband and son. My day job is computer programming for a local university. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family. Starting this spring we’ll be building our modest new 1000sf home (mostly building ourselves), which we designed. I can’t wait to break ground! My husband is a bit concerned about having enough room for all my crafts. Smiley

Where does your shop name come from?

My husband and I grew up in upstate NY in the same area where the book “My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George was based on. It is a favorite book to both of us. A few years ago we bought property on a mountainside overlooking our current city, so “Our Side of the Mountain” seemed fitting.

Where did you start and how did you progress to the work you are creating today?

I’ve done various crafts all my life. Several months after my son was born, I felt like I was missing something. I hadn’t been crafting since he’d been born and really missed it. Since he was a big drooler, I hauled out my old school avocado green sewing machine and decided to try to sew some bibs. I’d had little sewing experience up until then, so I’ve been mostly self taught. After I got the hang of things, I found Etsy and started with the baby stuff. Since then, I’ve had fun coming up with new ideas and designs. I also do basket weaving and hope to put some items on Etsy down the road.

What is your process?

For my baby gift sets, I like to do everything in stages – cut fabric, sewing & ironing, then the finishing touches (snaps, hand sewing, stuffing, etc.). I do most of my work at night after my son goes to bed, which doesn’t always leave me much time. I usually have to keep plugging away each night to keep from getting too behind or overwhelmed.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

My favorite handmade item is the quilt my grandmother made for my high school graduation. She is an artist and has since gone nearly blind, so it was one of the last projects she did. Taking up sewing I now realize how much work it must have been.

What inspires you?

It’s always so exciting to try out a new design and see it come to life. Custom orders are fun. Once I ship items out I obsessively watch my feedback. I love hearing from my customers how they (and the recipient if it was a gift) enjoyed the items. When I’m making gifts for others, I try to make them personal and fitting for the recipient. It feels good when I get it right!

To see more of oursideofthemountains beautifully hand-sewn items, check her shop out here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Team Member Profile: Peaches & Juleps

A new year and a new profile from one of our newest Artsy Danger Ladies team members, Peaches & Juleps.

Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
I am Alianor, located just outside Atlanta proper with my toddler, husband, and wild beasts. I affiliate with hooligans, goody two shoes, large breed dogs, a few former retail employees, and fans of sushi. It is an exciting suburban existence.

Briefly describe what you make?
Currently I have just been focusing on standard photography prints but I will be releasing photo cards and postcards in the next month.

What first made you want to become an artist?
When I was eight my parents started taking our family to a new church where the Sunday School classes met in the room where Boy Scout meetings were held. On one of the walls was this god awful poster promoting some Boy Scout shenanigan or another but all I can remember was how bad the art work was. I clearly remember thinking to myself ‘I can do better than that!’.

Turns out that I would need a better camera than a Kodak disposable, but I can actually do a better job. Bad advertising made this artist.

Where did you start and how did you progress to work you are creating today?
I started with a crappy, crappy 110 camera and eventually graduated up to 35mm. I gave up taking pictures for a while and then got a real 35mm SLR and an art degree. Art school made me do what I do now. I went digital in the last 2 years so I am slowly working on that. It has been a rough row to hoe. I go through periods where I hate everything or love everything.

What is your process?
Grab camera. Press button. Upload to computer. Tinker in Photoshop. Print.
It sounds easy but it is quite arduous to think of things to grab the camera for.

What inspires you?
Light and lack of light get me out of bed in the morning. My husband teases me all the time about my obsession with lighting.

What are your favorite products to make?
Post cards. I like the idea of art traveling.

What are your favorite materials?
My camera is of course my favorite material but I think vintage do dads are my second favorite. I just got two new suitcases and a typewriter that will be making appearances in my work in the near future. I love decaying and old things.

What artists have influenced you, and how?
Get a cup of coffee. This will be long.

Cindy (mother fucking) Sherman: She has the simplest concepts but there is so much emotion in them that they seem much more complicated than they are. And Jamie Lee Curtis collects her works. I see that as a plus.

Nan Goldin: I don’t see as much Nan in my work as I used to but I love how she elevated the snapshot to an art form. If anyone would like to donate The Devils Playground to my library I would be very appreciative.

Tim Burton: I think he speaks for himself.

Sally Mann: Her printing process is meticulous and the prints in real life are breathtaking. She is not of this world and neither are her artworks.

Kojo Griffin: He is a local Atlanta artist who paints and draws with an incredible mix of graphic elements and natural but unnatural elements. I have had the pleasure of speaking with him at a few galleries and he has got to be one of the coolest people I have ever met.

Where does your shop name come from?
I wanted a name that reflected where I am and what I am about. I don’t think anything could possible reflect the southern U.S., and specifically Georgia, more than peaches and mint juleps. Southern ladies like their liquor.

What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
Everything Will Be Okay- I love that print. It really needs to become a card soon.
Baby Hands- I really love eggs, birds, and most of all my kid. All 3 in one print. Hurrah!

Where else can we find you and your work?
Etsy is it for now. I do have a blog - peachesandjuleps.wordpress.com - that links to my flickr page.

What is your real life like?
Most of my life is spent creating something or another. My life outside of the internet is conducted at full throttle. I work in the camera industry during the day, parent in the late evening (school, not neglect), and go to school for graphic arts and website design. On weekends I bake, clean, and jump on my trampoline. It’s a good life.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A hand sewn learning book my mother made me when I was a baby. It has pages where you learn how to tie knots, lace things, or snap bit together. It is such a sweet book and she put so much love into it.

In ten years I'd like to be...
Snowboarding with my kid. I have been dreaming about this for a while.

Check out more of Alianor's stunning photography here and check back next week for another team member profile!