Interview by Kylie of SilentLotus.
An eye for color, an appreciation of simplicity, and a fondness of intriguing images make JenniferABoston’s work uniquely alluring!
Q. Your work (both photos and paper goods) is so pleasing to look at because you have an eye for softness, clean lines, and the beauty in simplicity... What are your inspirations?
A. I do have very simple taste. I don’t like very fussy, loud patterns or designs. I like everything around me to be soothing and calm. My mom always makes fun of me because I like everything so plain. When I got married she really was beside herself because I found the trees and grass and stonework to be decoration enough rather than fussiness and flowers.
I am inspired by nature. The simplicity and complexity that coexist in a leaf is awe inspiring. Just a simple leaf that has fallen to the ground has such a simple and easily recognizable shape. But when you pick up that leaf and look closely you find many little veins and patterns and colors. I like the simple complexity.
Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?
A. I make things that I like. Sometimes I stray a tad just to appeal to someone who might not have the same taste as I do. When I am shopping for supplies I am naturally drawn to materials that I like. Then I come home and use them. That’s it. I do sometimes let outside influences and suggestions of others influence what I make, but I mostly just stick to what I like and hope that someone else out there likes it also.
Q. Do you set aside time to create, or is it more organic (when you have the time and inspiration)?
A. I definitely get to it when I can, which is not often enough in my opinion. It is what I love to do most and when I can, I squeeze in some time to create. I do get grumpy and frustrated when I feel like I have not had the time to make things. It is what makes me happy so having a lack of it is detrimental to my emotional well being.
Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you would like to try? What is your dream project?
A. Photography is a passion of mine. Unfortunately, all I really know how to do is focus and shoot. I couldn’t set the f-stop to save my life! But I do enjoy it and I am actually currently shopping for a digital SLR to replace my film camera. Composition of photographs seems to come easily to me but the technical aspects of the actual camera are a foreign world that I know nothing about.
Along with photography I also enjoy painting and pointillism, cooking and gardening.
My dream project…what a great question! I could say that it would be anything that would enable me to stay home and work but I think that is the easy answer, albeit a true one. The first thing that comes to mind is being able to get paid for my photography. I would love to be hired to photograph either infants or flowers.
Every month I take photos of my little charge and at the end of the year I organize them into an album to give to my charge’s parents. I would love to be hired to do this each month of the first year of a little one’s life. And I also love to take interesting close up photos of plants and flowers, so I would love to be hired to photograph the plants in people’s gardens that they spend so much time and energy perfecting.
Q. From reading your shop info and blog, it’s obvious that you and your husband are quite the creative force! Is that part of what drew you to one another?
A. Insanity and loneliness are what initially drew us together. Literally. We were in a little counseling group at the college we attended. When it ended we agreed to hang out one day that we both were free. That night he emailed me and told me that he had very strong feelings for me. Two weeks later we were saying “I love you” and the rest is our future!
We both greatly enjoy being creative, although with different things. I am more of the crafty-put-things-together-and-take-cool-pictures type, and he is more of the design-cool-things type. He is also a musician, playing guitar and drums. I think it definitely helps that we are both creative, and like many creative types, are passionate, sensitive, caring, affectionate, and intelligent.
Our dream is to have our own graphic design firm. I fantasize of the day that we both work from home, completely working for and supporting ourselves.
Q. Your profile mentions that you are a nanny. How is that? How long have you been doing that, and how did you end up in that line of work?
A. I have always been involved in some kind of babysitting or child care for as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school I volunteered at a day care in the infant room and loved it, and from there have always seemed to get jobs involving children. Inspired by a Child Psychology course in college, I decided to get a higher degree so I could teach parenting, graduating with a B.S. in Psychology and Child Development. I was accepted to graduate school for Marital and Family Therapy, but wasn’t able attend due to financial constraints. Instead, I went with what I had been doing off and on my whole life and applied for a nanny position. Three and a half years later I am still with the same family.
A. I really wanted to start a blog but I didn’t know what it would contain. I figured I would just let it be about everything and I figured that “life” and “love” pretty much covered it. But I wanted to add something more. I wanted to express my intense desire to be my own boss which is where the “quest” came from. I desperately want to make a living from my creations and to work so hard every day for myself and my family, not for others.
I mostly want my blog to be a portfolio of sorts of what I have done and of my current projects but also for it to have small glimpses into my life so that those who do not know me personally can get to know a little about me. Although, finding the time to make it what I want it to be is another story.
Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)
A. I started my first Etsy shop, jenniferaboston, in September of 2007. My second shop, thecraftydragonfly, opened late February of 2008. I IMMEDIATELY became an Etsy addict and always come to Etsy first when I need something…whether it is a purse, a greeting card, or a book! The incredible talent here on Etsy is overwhelming. It makes me want to open my own brick and mortar store so I can buy and sell and share all the amazing things I have seen on Etsy!
Q. Is etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?
A. Etsy is pretty much the only part of my business! I do not market outside Etsy mostly because I don’t have any time to devote to it. I have gotten a few inquiries from people with brick and mortar stores because of my shop on Etsy. I had one wholesale sale to a woman opening a store in July and another local consignment inquiry from a store that opened in late June. I have items in both locations.
Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?
A. My husband came home from school a little over two years ago and said that he wanted to be a vegetarian. I was thrilled because I had tried a few times to talk him into being a vegetarian! He had been doing research that day on PETA’s website and saw some things he could not tolerate. We have been vegetarians ever since.
It isn’t very hard for me to be a vegetarian because when we go out I can always grab a quick cheese sandwich if I am going to be out for a while. My husband, however, doesn’t like cheese so it is definitely harder for him when we’re away from the house.
I get so frustrated when I go into any kind of restaurant, especially fast food, and ask for a whatever-sandwich without the meat and they can not comprehend my request. It blows my mind when I ask for “the turkey and swiss sandwich without the turkey” and they twist up their face and get confused! But that is a small sacrifice to make in the grand scheme of things.
Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?
A. The last recipe I cooked was a wonderful whole wheat pasta dish. I made a ragout of fresh sautéed zucchini and garlic and then added diced canned tomatoes and let it simmer for a while then added it to pasta. I finished it off with a sprinkling of shredded (not grated) parmesan cheese. Mmm!
My very bad, bad, bad food vice is cheese. I can’t get enough. Whether it’s cheap American cheese or the finest Epoisses, I just love it! It is for this reason that I try not to buy it too often or I will just eat it every couple minutes until it is gone.
Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?
A. There is a vegetarian restaurant in Boone, North Carolina called Angelica’s that is absolutely wonderful! I also have to say that I love going to Japanese Steak Houses and getting the rice, vegetables and tofu meals. Mmm!! I also really like Vegetarian Times magazine. When we first became vegetarians that magazine saved us with all the fantastic recipes! My husband couldn’t believe how easy being a vegetarian was. Whole Foods is also another favorite. I always feel so healthy and well taken care of when I leave their store with all kinds of awesome vegetarian food and fruits and veggies!!