Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interview With SusanBrackett

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

Meet Susan of Etsy's susanbrackett

Susan seems as connected to the beauty inherent in soulful expression and the essence of people and animals through her art, as she is to Earth's own "expression" of gems and minerals through her jewelry making. Her work in both is lovely, grounding, moving, and anchored in substance and realness.

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 kinda just jump in with both feet. People always talk about what their inspiration was, but I have no idea. I just go with it. It just happens like osmosis. With a portrait, I do feel the emotions of the face, such as "War Child," where I tried to imagine and feel what she felt.

Q. What do you sell in your
Etsy shop?

I sell my original art and jewelry. My handmade beaded jewelry is mostly what sells, because most shoppers come to Etsy looking for handcrafted items like jewelry. As a result, anecdotally, fine art brings in a smaller proportion of sales on Etsy. I hear complaints often about how difficult it is to sell art vs. pure crafts, such as crochet.

I have to admit that what would be considered my "serious" art doesn't make it to Etsy. Those pieces are either too big for easy shipping (ex 36"x48") or based on subject matter that would likely be off-putting outside of a gallery environment. Most of my artwork is politically heavy in theme that would be less attractive to someone looking for a household decorative item. The exception is "War Child," which I listed to see if anyone would be interested.

Q. What are your creative inspirations?

In jewelry, I am kinda crow-like in the way I am attracted to shiny things. I always did well in gem and mineral ID in my Geology classes.

Q. How did you get started creating?

I started making jewelry because my daughter wanted to. While in San Francisco, we went to a number of bead shops, and again, being crow-like, I couldn't resist the gemstones. When we got home, she chose the designs, and I executed them mostly by trial and error. It would probably have been easier to Google the techniques, but I figured them out on my own. After that I became addicted! Making jewelry became a great escape from the Master's degree program I was in. Since then I've learned new techniques, also self taught, which I think makes for quality jewelry- I learn from mistakes very quickly.

"War Child"

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 want to get back into sculpture, which I haven't done since I was 18. Carving abstract stone sculptures is calling to me.

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

I've been on Etsy for 13 months.

Etsy actually came about accidentally. Everyone always told me that I should sell what I make, and I had accumulated so many finished pieces of jewelry- literally boxes of it- that were never worn. One night I was looking at The Guardian online and came upon an article that happened to mention Etsy. I clicked the Etsy link, looked around, and decided to give it a try.

I like to look at others' creations, but I'm an artist... need I say more? =D

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

I became a vegetarian at 14 years old, until I was 18. I then went vegetarian again for a year starting in January of 2006, and have been vegan since December of that year. I found the change effortless. It was just meant to be.

I have a "vegan dilemma" around what to sell in my
Etsy shop. I have a ton of shell and pearl jewelry and supplies dating back to well before I was a veggie that I now feel guilty for using. It's insane how many baggies and strands of pearls and shell that have been sitting in my house for years, not to mention the never worn completed jewelry pieces. I have a reoccuring debate within myself about whether I should throw these away or sell them. I'm currently selling them, because it seems to be a waste environmentally to add them to a landfill.

A Portrait of Susan's Daughter, "At Play"


FireHorse3 said...

A very talented artist - moving pictures and beautiful jewelry - wonderful!

JulieWebb Photography+Design said...

Nice to "meet" you Susan! :)