Sunday, August 24, 2008

Interview with SweetWolf

Part of an ongoing interview series profiling EtsyVeg members.
Interview by SilentLotus

Meet Cathie of Etsy's SweetWolf and UltraTrixie

The way Cathie tells it, she was pretty much born into craftiness. Her imaginative, funky, and intelligent creations are the perfect illustration of what nurtured talent and creativity can blossom into.

Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?

My philosophy is that everyone needs a creative outlet, and that everyone has an artist inside. I just think that some people repress the need to be creative. (We’ve all heard someone say, “I couldn’t do that!,” but we know they could if they really tried to!)

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Mostly bags and purses, but also other things I have sewn, and sometimes a bit of crochet. Also, ‘home décor’ items, like light switch plate covers, picture frames, or mirrors. I like the freedom of being able to sell anything I decide to make!

Q. What are your creative inspirations?

I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. Some of my best ideas come to me when I am waiting in line or otherwise ‘bored’ and I let my mind wander.

Q. How did you get started creating?

I have been ‘making stuff’ for as long as I can remember. My parents and Grandmas always encouraged us to be creative and never be ‘bored’ (boredom was not allowed at our house 'cause there *is* always something to do!).

My mom bought me my first sewing machine in second grade, and my first foray into business was not long after—making tooth pillows, which my parents took to work to sell. I stopped sewing in junior high (because it wasn’t ‘cool’) and then picked it up again in high school, and made my own clothes. I remember many, many hours of crafting as a kid, both at home and at my Grandma’s. I also inherited two big stashes of fabric and many unfinished projects from both grandmothers! (So fabric hording and not finishing projects run in the family, which makes me feel a bit better about my habits!)

Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?

Other artistic tendencies? Hm, I was in a band once upon a time. I got a D in a painting class in college (that teacher was something else, that’s a whole story in itself!) I dabble in all kinds of crafts, not so much ‘art’. I do decoupage/ collage, I bead and make jewelry. I crochet, I mosaic. I have made PMC jewelry with my friend’s kiln. I play with/ look at my supplies a lot. I collect ‘junk’ to make into other things.

I would love to learn how to make stained glass. And one of these days I’ll learn how to solder silver. (If I can weld, that’s gotta be easy!)

Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?

One day, I would love to build my own house. I love the idea of making a straw bale house or a house of glass bottles and concrete. (My dream house would probably resemble the Watts towers or something Gaudi made). Now, if I can just convince my hubby that he wants to live in a house like that… And some day I will talk him into letting me make our car into an art car!

Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?

Other hobbies (mostly done while crafting!): watching movies and TV shows on DVD, listening to books on tape. Reading. Playing with my pets and hanging out with my hubby. I love to go to live music shows or hang out and have a few drinks with my friends. I am addicted to thrift shopping and ‘treasure hunting’ at garage sales (and have been known to dumpster dive!)

Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)

Addict? Yes. I have been on Etsy since August of 2007. It would have been sooner if I had known how cool it was!

Q. Is Etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?

At this point, Etsy is the only place I really sell. I have been lazy about pursuing other venues or setting up my own website. I need to get on that! Occasionally I will set up at local weekend markets, but it’s so hot here!! I market through word of mouth, hang a few fliers here and there, tell my friends to tell their friends.

Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?

I have been a vegetarian since I was 8. I am the only one in my family who is veg, and for a long time my parents thought I was going through a ‘phase’. I have always been a picky eater, and they thought it wasn’t going to stick. But after I learned what hot dogs were made of and realized I was eating my pets (fish sticks + fish tank across from the dinner table), I decided I didn’t want to eat animals anymore.

Someday I may try to go vegan. I haven’t yet mostly because I LOVE cheese. All the other stuff I could do with out. Having been a vegetarian for so long, I don’t even really think about it anymore—it’s more of a big deal to other people than it is to me! I make it a point not to ‘preach’ to others about my beliefs, since I believe everyone is entitled to their own way of thinking. However, I was the influence that made 2 longtime friends go veg! I do use some animal products in my crafts (upcycled leather and wool), and I wear leather sometimes; but, I wouldn’t eat my shoes either!

Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?
Last thing I made was veggie enchiladas… yummy! Cravings? Cheese and chips and salsa. Thank the Gods for Tex-Mex, cause I couldn’t live with out it. I love fruit more than veggies (hubby says I should be a fruititarian).

Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?

Luckily for me, I live in a very vegetarian-friendly town. We have several Whole Foods and several great vegetarian/ vegan restaurants. I love Mr. Natural and Mother’s Café- both have all vegetarian food. Whole Foods is dangerously close to my house, and I spend too much money there. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at veg blogs or websites, but I probably ought to. I know I could stand to eat a better vegetarian diet than I currently do! Please let me know of some good veg blogs to read! (And I wish we had a Trader Joes here- I would love to check that store out.)


Crickets Creations Handknit Scarves said...

Yer amazing! Your stash is so organized, too...*sigh*

My fave pic is the one with the pups!
Celeste (Crickets)

Ultratrixie is said...

ha ha, thanks, but I just gave silentlotus a photo that made it Look like I am organized!!! that's about as organized as I get really...
here is proof, the other side of my craft room...

and that's one of my favorite pics too. too bad I couldn't get one with all 4 of my furkids!