Interview presentation by Kylie of SilentLotus
Meet Jennifer & Steve of Etsy's TheCommonMilkweed
'Walk' into TheCommonMilkweed, and experience Jennifer and Steve's deep respect for nature, awareness of the interconnectedness of everything, and remarkable sense of expressing these things through creating. An earthy beauty and simplicity that is inspiring, to say the least.
Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?
Our approach to creativity is many fold, but essentially we create handcrafts from nature and inline with the natural world... using natural materials that are found, reused, or repurposed.
Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
Q. What are your creative inspirations?
Nature, color, smiles and the desire to bring meaning to life and lives.
Q. How did you get started creating?
We both created in many ways as children, and then moved away from our creative sides as we delved into our scientific and exploration passions. Recently, the urge to create resurfaced, and our community of crafting friends and Etsy helped to motivate us to transform our inspirations into creations to share.
Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?
Jennifer knits and is currently learning much about the fiber arts (processing wool, spinning yarn, etc.), and plans to delve into metal-smithing and learning guitar. Steve can fabricate with metal, and plans to do this in a craft context - possibly integrating metal into woodworking creations. He would also like to learn black-smithing.
Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?
Jennifer would like to make an Andean-style project (such as a sweater) from wool, start-to-finish (from sheep to sweater).
Steve would like to make a guitar entirely from "waste" wood.
Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?
We both are deeply passionate about nature, conservation, music, reading, hiking, gardening, and cooking.
Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)
We have been on Etsy for about 3 months and, yes, we are Etsy addicts in that we find it fascinating to peruse other folks' creations and in that Etsy motivates us to create.
Q. Is etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?
We are just getting started, so, yes, Etsy is our main marketing at this point. But we did participate in a local artisan's holiday sale at a friend's farm this winter, and plan to do more such events in the future. Word of mouth amongst friends is also a source of orders and sales.
Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?
We plan to continually bring more of our latent ideas into the light of Etsy and to our local community! Our plans will firm and become clear as we settle into our new community after our move back to the southwest.
Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?
About 8 years. Being veg is simply how we eat, and is based in a desire to make as large a decrease in our impact on the planet as possible. It does bring us into contact with like-minded people, inspires us to learn more about nutrition, motivates us to garden, etc.
Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?
Last night Jennifer made the Chocolate Upside Down Pudding Cake from "How It All Vegan" by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. Steve made up some tart cherry topping to go on it (using cherries from our own cherry tree!). For both of us, this is the best darn chocolate dessert (per unit of effort) there is!!
Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?
Our favorite vegetarian store is our "ribbon" garden, which is a series of parallel but sinuous narrow planting beds separated by grassed walking paths (see photo below). We find this garden a deep source of inspiration (and food!)
Our favorite vegetarian restaurant is the Indian joint in Anytown, USA (we go for the buffet).
Steve and Jen in the inspiring Sangre de Cristo mountains near Santa Fe, NM.