Thursday, November 20, 2008

Interview with Aktie9

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

Meet Heather of Etsy's Aktie9

Heather's shop of wonderful, vivid creations is a true reflection of who she is- vibrant, colorful, enthuisastic, and expressive. That she soaks up everything around her is evident, and her unique perspective on the world is both enjoyable and intriguing.

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

Being creative is a large part of my life. I'm constantly making something, whether it's art or cooking, or doing a project with my kids. So far I am homeschooling them myself, and we are always involved in something fun and educational. Every day we are creating something. I don't think it's possible for me not to. It's just huge part of my life, and persona.

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

I sell photography, polymer items, and digital drawings. The digital drawings I've done with my computer programs, usually an edited or over-edited photo of mine. My polymer creations range from pins and pendants to sculpture or decorative items for the home.
Q. What are your creative inspirations?

I find inspiration everywhere- from art sculpture in a museum to the kids' toys. For instance, some of my polymer pins are pressed into the indentations that are on a toy, such as a vintage lego. After pressing the polymer into it, I cook it, paint it, glaze it, and voila- a new pin! I also read a lot online or read books, magazines, etc. I find ideas all over!

Q. How did you get started creating?

I remember listening to the radio as a kid, and painting with water colours on paper. The song playing on the radio was 'Always a Woman' by Billy Joel, so it had to be around 1977. I would have been 3 years old at this point.

I recall painting with water colours first. I don't have a lot of really strong and clear memories, but, that one is very much so. I remember seeing a huge box of crayola crayons (the one with the sharpener included right on the box) at a friends house, and looking at all of the colours and wanting to try ALL of them right away. I was more interested in drawing or doodling what I saw than in colouring in a colouring book. I hadn't seen a box of crayons quite that large, and didn't know there were so many colours up to that point. I was super excited to get my own box, and when I did I had to draw lines and circles on a piece of paper to check each colour out and see which ones I liked and didn't. I remember leaving the silver, gold, and copper crayons alone in my box, thinking that they didn't look quite as spectacular being drawn with as they looked in crayon form. I didn't like them because they weren't "realistic" in my mind and weren't nearly as pretty as the "real" silver and gold. How's that for deep thoughts from a 5 year old? ;)

My mom & aunts were also creating all the time and making things with us. Both of my aunts have done art on a professional level. One is an art teacher and has art in a museum, and the other ran her own silkscreening business for years.

(Incidentally, I've seen Billy Joel in concert twice. I'm a fan of all kinds of music and love to listen to music while creating.)

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

I was born into the artist world, so it just came naturally, I guess. My entire family is into art in one form or another: painting, architecture, silk screening, drawing, working with clay or paper, and teaching. Everyone of us has a skill, and that spans into different mediums for many of us.

My Grandfather was the one with the creative gene. He had incredible talents, and was into everything from woodworking to making stain glass windows for his church. He renovated his entire Victorian home throughout his lifetime, and spent years making it a perfect home. It was a treasure in of itself, and a form of art to me. We also have a bunch of musicians in the family, and I also write short stories, and poems- in my opinion those are also forms of art.

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

I would like to build a darkroom, and get back into 35MM. I'd also love to do some silkscreening. Like I mentioned before, my Aunt used to have a silkscreening business. When she stopped, I should have purchased her equipment and taken the job over. That has been one of my major regrets to this day.

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

The arts, vegan/vegetarianism, writing, photography... Is that not enough? And animals-they are yet another passion. As a kid, I was always bringing home stray animals. We had a dog and a cat and fish.. and any animal I found out in the yard or wherever. My mom actually brought home the first stray, though- a cat named Pangie. Her name came from two two cats she'd had as a kid, Pan (a boy) and Gigi (a girl). My Grandfather always had cats when I was growing up, as well.

I got a job with the local vet as soon as I was old enough to. That catapulted me into Animal rescue and wanting to help more, and I went to Becker College for Veterinary Sciences. One of the first heartbreaks I had was a dog named Zoe, a "backyard breeder's" dog that was dumped at the college. I had planned on training her and giving her a head start, but they found out she had a heart murmur that was much too big to operate on and correct at the time. I fell hard for Zoe, and wanted to take her home with me at the end of school if no one else would adopt her. So it broke my heart that they had to euthanize her. I had held many a dog's paw at the Vet clinic I worked at when the owner's wouldn't be in the room, but I couldn't be in the room with Zoe. I took her for her last walk around the campus, said goodbye to her, and cried in the hallway. I made a pact right then and there that, as soon as I could, I would adopt a needy dog and do everything I could for her no matter the consequences or difficulties it brought me.

So many people adopt animals without making a lifetime commitment to them, treating them as objects rather than live beings. I would never do that. I will be vegan for the rest of my life. I will never eat another friend. I have three rescued dogs. and had a cat that passed away after a long long happy life last March.

Swedish cars is another passion, another one I received from my Grandfather. He had over 16 VW bugs, two convertibles and the rest hardtops. He was constantly tinkering with and working on them. I have three cars, two Saab's and one Volvo, one a "stray" and the others "rescues". I think of them as another form of art. And I do get greasy, but lately I've been too busy keeping the kids out of the toolbox while my husband works on them. I, along with him, am not that interested in attaining show room condition, but in the form and function of each car. The miles accumulated on them resulted mostly from driving for the sake of driving, I think. My 1988 900T has 220K on it, and is 20 years-old and still ticking.

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

I've been on Etsy a little bit over 1 1/2 years. And yes- I'm addicted! I love the site and the people. I was addicted to treasuries for quite bit and managed to get thirteen of them. My favorite features are "Pounce" and "Time Machine 2".

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

I sell on Etsy, mostly selling to friends and family or by word of mouth. I haven't used any other sites, at least not lately. I'm planning on vending at a craft fair this fall. What I have listed on Etsy is a just tiny portion of the completed works I have. I'm working on listing more in the coming weeks. I also sell to family and friends outside of etsy. When they express interest in my pins, I make them their very own versions. :)

Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?

Just to keep on keeping on. Sticking with etsy, and craft fairs I think. I'd like to have my own website at some point. But, I really love Etsy and the community here so I don't see myself venturing away.

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

I have been vegan only a short time, like 8 months or so. I read the Skinny Bitch book, and then quit meat cold turkey (sorry for the pun). Prior to meeting my husband, I was vegetarian, but I did that compromise thing and shouldn't have. There are some things one should never compromise on, and that is one of those things.

Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?

I made a vegan apple crumble this morning with my sons. We peeled the apples, they mixed the ingredients, and we put it into the oven together. I do have a craving for chocolate from time to time. Dark chocolate.. just in the bar form. I used to love caramel. I'm going to have to find a recipe, cause caramel apples are so yummy in the fall. I miss them. I crave pizza, too, but whole wheat bothers me so I have to make it myself. My favorite way to have pizza is when we make it together. I have lots of fun cooking, and my kids love to cook with me. I always involve them and let them help out with things like cutting the veggies (with a butter knife) and washing the fruits (helping is the best way to learn). We are a very close family, and every single second of my life involves or revolves around my family and doing things with them. I think it's the best way to be.

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

Websites: EtsyVeg?

My fav restaurant here in the Worcester area is Buddha Hut. It's an all Vegan Chinese food restaurant. I crave it all the time. They also carry some faux meats and vegan items for making things yourself. My sister made me some vegan "crab" rangoon the other day from "crab legs" purchased at the Buddha Hut.. yum! They were delish!


Lawrence said...

It's great she is planning to have her own website. It is actually one of the top strategies of this time. Having a website increases one's reputation, for it catches the market's loyalty and trust. A business is more legitimate if it has its own website. It only means that it is trustworthy.

Lawrence Spring

Kevin Beamer said...

It's also great to know that she's very much into writing and photography. If she plans on creating a website, being a writer and photographer can give her site personality and uniqueness visitors might find attractive. A successful website can also help her build branch out in business more.

- Kevin Beamer