Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
I sell necklaces, earrings, pendants, cards, and paintings. That’s quite a variety, but hopefully my store still has some cohesion. A common thread in my work is that I try to upcycle trash and discarded items. I started by taking buttons my grandmother gave me and drilling holes in them with my husband’s drill. Something went “click!” in my brain, and I realized I could make them into earrings! Then I realized I could use larger buttons, glue pretty paper scraps to the middle, and have pendants! The rest has just taken off. Seems like the more I make, the more ideas I have. :)
Q. How did you get started creating?
I started getting messy with color when I was really young. In college, I got a B.F.A. in painting and drawing, and also did ceramics. I still paint and draw all the time. The jewelry has happened later, but then again, I was making jewelry with my grandma when I was little. I think the first jewelry I made was for my mom when my sister was born when I was five. I guess I just took a break from it and am back at it now!
Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?
My sister just got me a soldering kit, and I’m in love with that. I solder silver vintage buttons to jump rings and make pendants. I’d love to up my soldering skills and try to make silver jewelry from precious metal clay. You need a torch for that! :) I’d eventually love to have a kiln to fire silver and clay, but that is maybe 10 years down the road.
Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)
I am a complete etsy freak. I joined last year and shopped some. The addiction didn’t start until I opened my shop in February of 2008. Now I can’t get enough! I really love the “this handmade life” section of the storque; the stories are very inspiring.
Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?
I guess I’d like to sell enough to become self-sustaining! Since I don’t rely on this for income, I really just try to sell enough in order to continue to work and make more art. I was just accepted into my first competitive craft show, called Craft Attack, that I’m really excited about. It’s in Charlotte, NC on Oct 11th. More info at: http://www.craft-attack.com/.
Also, I’d really like to try to reduce the amount of new product I use to create things. I have a goal to someday try to only use things I’ve found or things other people have found for me. Right now, lots of my friends and family give me their trash or things they’ve found for my art. For example, my mother-in-law has boxes of extra cedar wood from a friend waiting for me. And my husband recently found discarded squares of plexi-glass on a construction site and snagged them for me. I’m not sure how I’d make pigments for painting, but I can see using only upcycled goods and reclaimed silver for my jewelry fairly soon.
Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?
I wanted to be a vegetarian ever since I helped “prepare” chicken for Thanksgiving meals at a food bank. My job in the line was to take out the gizzards from the chicken and separate them from the body. How horrible! The kicker was that I went home and my mom had chicken noodle soup waiting for me!! I didn’t go completely vegetarian then, because my parents were concerned about me getting protein for sports. I did give up red meat then, though, and gave up all meat when I left for college. I’ve been vegetarian now for over 11 years.
For me, being vegetarian not only means treating animals more humanely, but also potentially helping to increase the food supply to starving populations. The amount of grain we use to feed livestock is unreal. Also, I try to eat only certified humane dairy products. I think once I graduate grad school and have a good income, I will be able to afford a more vegan lifestyle. I do want to say though, that I know farmers who love their animals and do their best to treat them humanely before they kill them. I respect that lifestyle too, but it isn’t the choice for me.
Being vegetarian plays a large role in the rest of my life. I think being vegetarian goes hand and hand with being eco-friendly. Both not eating meat and reducing trash can help reduce our individual impact on the planet. The goals of both are very similar. I loved the quote by Howard Lyman on our blog that said, "To consider yourself an environmentalist and still eat meat is like saying you're a philanthropist who doesn't give to charity."
Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian
I haven’t found an awesome vegetarian restaurant in Charlotte, which is a bummer. The Penguin in Charlotte has a great soy dog, and Lulu’s has some good veggie items, too. I do love Ambar India in Cincinnati, Ohio, and go whenever I can when I’m visiting my family. BTW, my husband and I have a great idea that someone should actually run with. We think a vegetarian fast food chain would be successful and is so needed! I’m so limited on car trips and can only live off of Subway veggie subs for so long.