Part of an ongoing interview series profiling EtsyVeg members.
Interview by Kylie of SilentLotus
Interview by Kylie of SilentLotus
Meet Julie of Etsy's JBirkemeierPhoto
Julie's fabulous eye for the intricate and deep appreciation for all of the tiny things that create true, remarkable beauty make her photos alluringly unbelievable!
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. Well, I'm first and foremost a photographer. I have been for the past 8 years, but haven't gotten serious about selling my work until this
year. What I love about photography (I especially play around with macro) is that it forces me to look at and study every day things that I would not have otherwise noticed. I have a planter of marigolds on my front porch that I used to pass by without a second thought every time I left my apartment. Then I put a macro lens up to the flowers and was amazed by all the contours and layers of the petals. I spent a good half hour with them, and then went back a few more times (I even found a tiny, tiny spider that I watched until the sun set!). Now I pass by that planter with appreciation for all of the beauty it contains. I hope that my photography will do the same thing for other people, in that they really take a moment to think about all the intricate things around them and how amazing our world really is.
Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
A. I sell my fine art prints, and I just launched a line of coasters handmade from my prints and ceramic tile. In the next few weeks I'll also begin selling handmade notecards, which I am QUITE excited about! After someone receives their note, they can hang the card on a bulletin board or frame it as a mini piece of art!
Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?
A. Every once in awhile I try to draw. I was decent in high school, but have lost the skill. It's frustrating, because I can't just let my drawings be what they are. I get too distracted by thinking that they're not amazing. Last year I reupholstered an arm chair, which actually turned out semi successfully. I want to take sewing classes soon, because I think it'd be really great to be able to make clothes, purses, skirts, etc. I also REALLY want to learn how to use a gocco--but, again, the drawing thing.
Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)
A. I have been on Etsy since March 2008 (sadly, still awaiting my first sale) and am a total addict. I love reading Storque articles (especially seller interviews), browsing random areas like the Time Machine, and seeing all the amazing things people are making--and there really are some amazing items out there.
Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?A. I am in my very first craft fair at the end of this month, and I'm so excited to explore that leg of my crafting career. If anyone lives in the St. Louis area, the fair is the Strange Folk Festival in O'Fallon, IL on Sept. 27 and 28! There is also another fair I want to try to get into toward the end of the year. I'm really hoping this will kind of jump start my online presence after I pass out as many business cards and coupons as I can! I have this fantasy that in a couple of years I can get out of the commercial photography world, where I currently assist and do digital clean up. I've always vowed to use my talents to help others, so I hope to do photography for local animal shelters and homeless shelters. And I would love to make enough from selling my work that I could donate to charities, too.
Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?
A. I've been vegetarian for a little over three years now. I actually maintain a vegan diet most of the time, but sometimes find myself in vegetarian situations. I eat dairy probably a couple times a month, so I guess I can't quite call myself vegan. I try hard though! Being vegetarian has made me a lot more aware of animal rights issues. Like factory farming--how can people actually support that filth? I remember shooting at a dairy farm one time. I expected the cows to be free range, and they weren't. The cows couldn't really move around all that much. I remember seeing documents charting when the cows were ready for artificial insemination again and thinking that they just seemed like little machines. I think about that experience when I need motivation to stay on the vegan path.
Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?
I don't love cooking, but when I do want to make something I like getting recipes from VegCooking.com. All of the recipes are able to become vegan, if they're not totally vegan already.
Julie's kitties: Francis and Sherman