Sunday, March 29, 2009

A is for Awesome!

A fellow Etsian recently included one of my focal beads in a beautiful treasury she put together. As always, I checked out the curator's shop and was thrilled to find that she had all kinds of gorgeous handmade greeting cards. I like to keep artisan cards around for last minute sending, and was in the need. Maybe one of these days I'll write on why my life always seems to be all about the "last minute".

Angela is the "A" in "A is for Artistic", the name of her Etsy shop. Her cards have a modern, fresh look, and I found several I just loved, so I decided to interview her for my blog. I hope you enjoy learning more about the wonderful artist behind these cards.

Q: What is your favorite part of your creative process? For me, it's going out to the kiln in the morning after my beads have cooled, and opening it up to see all the treasures inside. I imagine you have a favorite aspect of your art too.

A: It's hard to narrow it down to one favorite aspect of the creative process. I love the mixing of colors and textures and shapes, and I like shopping for new images and supplies to breathe new life into the process. But I guess my favorite would have to be when a new design comes together and I love everything about it. I'm a perfectionist, so it's not often that I love every aspect of the outcome.

Perfect Plum Posies handmade birthday card.

Q. What is your least favorite part?

A. My least favorite part of the creative process is mass production, because then it's not creative anymore. Sometimes I make 6 or 8 of the same card, and I'm bored with it by the time I'm finished. And I don't know if it's really part of the creative process or not, but I vehemently dislike the photography end of things. I have no good natural lighting in my apartment and no natural talent as a photographer, so I really struggle to try to come up with clean, clear photos. It is endlessly frustrating for me, because the cards are so much prettier in real life!

Q. How long have you been making cards? Can you describe a little of the process? Are there a lot of supplies and tools involved?

A. I started making cards when I was the president of the women's organization at my church, a few years ago. My original motivation was to make them more cost effectively than I could buy them, so that I could send a birthday card to each woman. When I look back at those cards, it's kind of embarrassing because they aren't very pretty. It blossomed into a personal hobby, and I've gotten much better at it. Then last summer I opened my Etsy shop and started to take things a little more seriously to try to help pay some bills.

Blue Daisies and Dots Thank You cards.

Q. In your opinion, what does it take to be successful on Etsy?

A. I am SO not an expert on being successful on Etsy, but I think it really does boil down to great photos and great customer service. I've seen exquisite photos that make me want to buy, even though the item itself isn't very interesting. I think that's what brings customers in initially, and great customer service is what keeps them. Many of my sales come from word-of-mouth customers in my local area, so I've been lucky that way.

Q. Is there an artist that inspires you in your work? Who might it be and why?

A. It may sound cheesy, but my artistic inspiration really was my mother. She passed away a few years ago, but I remember her as constantly creating, in a variety of media. If I ever had a problem or felt discouraged, she would say "you need a project" and we'd come up with something creative I could do to distract myself and feel better. For me, creating something, even if it's as simple as a greeting card or a nice meal, gives me a little lift and I find myself grinning. I think my mom would have been a huge fan of Etsy. : )

Q. What (other than other artists) inspires you? Is there someplace special you go or look for inspiration in your card making?

A. I am constantly aware of color combinations around me. I notice them in people's clothing, in interior decor, in jewelry, in nature, on television and in movies, and then I experiment with those color combinations in the cards I make. On of my favorites combos, red and brown, came from an Etsy treasury that I saw once, and loved. I recently made a card in purples and blues because a friend said that was her favorite color combination. I wouldn't have thought of it, but it was a great combo!


OK, if that's not enough to get you off the email thing and thinking about sending mail the old fashioned way, there's no help for you! Get over to Aisforartistic's Etsy shop and check it out!

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