Interview presentation by Kylie of SilentLotus
Meet Fran of Etsy's Hafandeg
Whimsical. Diverse. Portraits of life and of living, of the little details of the every day that make all of it beautiful and rich. Art that finds peace, gentle being, and a subtle joy in the familar. This is the work of Fran Caldwell.
Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?
I have always hand-crafted things, or painted, and I write. I can't remember learning to do these things - I've just always done them. I never understand the expression "I'm bored." How can anyone be bored with so many things to be made? My philosophy is simple. If we can, we must. Have you noticed how joyful the Etsy artists all sound? They must. And they love every minute of it. The one special thing about Etsy is the huge sense of belonging we have. We support one another. You don't always feel like that at other sites.
Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
Only my paintings.
Q. What are your creative inspirations?
Almost anything, from people on the street, to kids playing, to me looking in the closet for something to wear. I incorporate a lot of humor into my work, and if not humor, a sense of peace, I hope.
Q. How did you get started creating?
I don't remember starting. I mentioned that I always seemed able to make things. My mother and sister were both sewers, knitters and crocheters, so that's from them, but the painting and writing seems to have come from out of the blue.
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 look at something artistic for sale, and I know I can make my version of it, whatever it is. I am able to knit, sew, embroider, crochet, hook rugs, quilt, carve, sculpt, do woodwork, paint anything, and write. I once ran my own soft furnishings business where I created window treatments, bed coverings, sofa covers, and reupholstery. Because they were unique in design and fabric choices, I did quite well at it, until I was ready for something else.
Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?
A huge Trompe L'oeil mural. I've done small ones, up to 6 feet by 8, but I'd like to cover one whole wall somewhere. It would be a country scene, with water, trees, cottages, sheep, people working in the fields - a really Constable-looking image.
Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?
I'm just completing my second novel and the first is doing the agent rounds now. I am passionate about writing, and I'm afraid the painting is neglected when I'm in the throes of a book.
Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)
I've been with Etsy for about 16 months, I think (without checking), although I wasn't active the whole time. I'm not sure I'm an addict, but I do love to feature Etsy artists on my blog, so I'm constantly researching them. I have a small group I consider friends, but I'm not very active in the Forums.
Q. Is etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?
Etsy is the major outlet, although there are others in the UK and Australia, Artflock, and Zibbet, a print outlet called Imagekind. I have two websites where all my art is stored, a personal website, and a daily art blog that is promotional.
Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?
I have no further plans at present. When the economy improves, I'll reconsider then. For the time being, I think we must all do what we do best - create things - whether we sell or not.
Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?
I've been vegetarian since I was a young child, because I was always mad about animals. We kept chickens, and I couldn't bear it when my parents took one for dinner. I'd named those litte critters! I've observed over the years that I am drawn to vegans/vegetarians long before I knew about their concern for animals. I believe we are gentler, more sympathetic and empathetic, more sensitive than people who don't share our views. I think, on the whole, we live more simple lives, requiring less to make us happy.
Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?
My recipes are very simple, usually more Mediterranean than anything else. The last thing I made was a simple brown rice, which I served with a frizzled topping of mushrooms, tomatoes, green pepper, and pesto. I added Parmesam - I regret not the vegan variety.
I guess my vice would be really good bread. I can resist pastries, but good bread - mmm. And then, of course, it's what you put on it, too, right?
Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?
Care2 is a wonderful website that deals with all green issues, but has some wonderful cooking segments, and there are many groups within it who care about animals.