Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Interview with KneeDeepOriginals

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

Meet Rebecca of Etsy's KneeDeepOriginals

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 think we are all born with a creative and imaginative spirit. Some of us get lucky and are able and allowed to develop that spirit, while others perhaps push it aside or have it squashed when they are younger. I remember that as a child my favorite gift was a new box of crayons… something about all the colors lined up so pretty in their rows. And though I have never worn makeup of any kind, I do love the little makeup kits with eyeshadow colors, just because they’re so pretty to me.
So color has always been a huge inspiration… I truly pay attention to colors everywhere… they are never in the background… always in the forefront of what I see. I believe they are the stepping off point for me as I go about creating. Sometimes I start with a few colors in a painting and watch what develops.

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

I have hand-beaded gemstone and glass jewelry and original oil paintings… everything is one of a kind since I don’t like to repeat creations, and I think every item is a special entity in itself and deserves to be unique.

Q. How did you get started creating?

I loved beading when I was teenager. Used to do embroidery and beading on my jeans and shorts… ah, back in the mid-70s! I never felt like I was an artist though, and I never took an art classes until a painting class in college, which was a disaster for me in more ways than one. So my painting and my style have basically developed on their own. I worked in stained and fused glass for a while- there’s that need to be surrounded by color again. That was quite a few years ago, before kiln-fired glass was as popular as it is now. But I decided I needed a medium that was a little easier to carry and set up for shows. Painting and jewelry definitely fit that bill.

Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have?

I am also a singer-songwriter. I’ve played guitar since I was 17, but only in the past 4 years, when I moved to the country and the kids moved out on their own, have I really been able to develop in that area. My voice has changed since I was younger; it does that sometimes when you age (LOL). So now I am able to sing different kinds of music… more blues and rock instead of the old Joan Baez folk standbys of my youth. Thank God! And my guitar playing has also developed quite a lot! My songwriting began during the past year, and it is probably the thing I am most excited about these days. My songs are always well-received when I play them at gigs. When a song comes into being in my head, it’s the same rush as when I watch a painting develop on the canvas.

Q. What are your creative inspirations?

Aside from color, which I already mentioned, the natural world just outside my home… most of my jewelry is somewhat organic and earthy in texture and color. Animals also play a dominant role in inspiring as so many of my paintings focus on or at least include animals. In my studio right now, there are 6 paintings in process… well, one is finished, I think… but four of them feature trees, two just have the underlying color layer and I am not sure where
exactly they are headed. But I guess I’m in a tree phase what with the woods surrounding my home and studio and all the deer in the forest and in the yard, nibbling on the leaves and shrubs.

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

I believe that volunteering in one’s community is valuable and important. I am an adult literacy tutor and have worked with my student for a couple of years. Watching him learn to read and develop more self-esteem and knowing that he is on his way to a better life is just incredible. Also, I sing a couple of times a month with the old folks in the local nursing home. I love listening to their wobbly old voices join in on the songs. It’s amazing that sometimes they remember so little else, but they sure can remember the words to a song… especially one that had meaning to them years ago. I also volunteer musically and artistically at fundraising events for organizations I feel strongly about… like the Humane Society and the local Animal Rescue group. On a lighter note, I enjoy birdwatching, gardening, reading (fiction mostly), and hiking. We are fortunate enough to live in a place where we can head out the door and up the hill and hike around the mountain with the dogs. Or we can drive a mile down the road and hike in a state park.

Rebecca's studio and home

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

I joined Etsy at the end of January this year, and I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know anything about the site, how large it was, how much was on it in terms of teams and community and forums. I’m still learning quite a bit of that. About a month or so after I joined, I got a convo from someone saying I’d been featured in a treasury. I didn’t even know what that was. Well, let’s just say it opened up a whole new addiction for me. It seems I can’t be stopped… at least that’s what my husband says. When he comes in the house from working in his barn/studio (he’s a custom knife maker), he looks for me and often finds me on the computer. He says, “Vegging out on Etsy again?” and jokes that our team name is an appropriate one for me because of how much time I spend on the site.

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

Unfortunately, I haven’t had many sales on Etsy. I’m hoping that when our economy picks up, so will online sales. I sell in a couple of local galleries/shops and I do a good business when I do craft shows and festivals. But I’m kind of picky about those. I really like the one-day shows, but I do some two-day shows, too. I stay away from three days. I also have a website that features more of my paintings, but there are pages for my jewelry too. I’ve made a few sales that way. Marketing is not my forté, and I wish I was better at it.

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

I recently joined Facebook and am thinking that I will make a fan page, but haven’t done that yet. I don’t want to end up spending so much time on the computer that it takes away from my art or my music. That can be real problem.

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

I stopped eating meat when I was 17 after seeing a show about factory farms and the meat industry on a PBS station. That was 33 years ago! I raised my kids as vegetarians too, although one of my sons has done a lot of restaurant work and occasionally eats certain meats… sigh. But he’s turned into a pretty good cook, and knows how to make a plate of food look like a work of art. Being a vegetarian allows me to help other people learn a little more about diet and the importance of being healthy, and I think those folks, though maybe not giving up meat, at least appreciate this kind of diet. When I first stopped eating meat, there were very few places you could go and get a good meal. It was always, “Well, you can have a salad, can’t you?” And back then, a salad consisted of iceberg lettuce and a few tomatoes! I’m so glad now that there is more awareness of a vegetarian/vegan diet and there are restaurants that cater to that diet. And also that there is an awareness of whole foods and organics as well! Processed food is so unhealthy!

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

I’m really a grazer. I don’t like eating big meals. I enjoy making organic smoothies with yogurt, soy milk, and fresh-from-the-yard or frozen fruits. That’s my typical brunch every day. When I am focused on a painting or another project, I am pretty bad about forgetting to eat. I am
fortunate enough to be married to a man who reminds me that I better take a break. He also tends to his own breakfast and lunch, but I do make something nice for him for dinner. I’ve been making and canning fresh salsa with our garden tomatoes and peppers. I posted a squash fritter recipe on the blog recently that I have enjoyed making this summer. And my husband likes my zucchini quiche and mushroom quiche made with homemade crust. And despite what I said earlier, I do love a good salad with organic spring greens, walnuts or almonds, cranberries or apples, and the usual tomatoes, red onions, etc…. yum! There’s nothing boring about that kind of salad.

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

There is a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Greensboro, NC about an hour away from where we live called
Boba House. My youngest son lives there, so we often go eat there when we visit him. They have wonderful, healthy food that even my husband (who is not a vegetarian) likes a lot!

1 comment:

FireHorse3 said...

Hi Rebecca! Thank you for sharing your wonderful and inspiring life with us! Best Wishes Julia :D