Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity? I try to make everything out of recycled or eco-friendly materials. Photography is a major part of my art and my original Etsy shop, but I try to display my photos on, or mix them with, recycled or upcycled products. In my second shop, Hair of the Dog, everything is made from recycled materials. Rather than thinking of items I would like to create, and then finding the materials to make them, I try to think of what could be made out of anything before I toss it in the trash or recycling bin.
What do you sell in your Etsy shop? Aguavino features my photography, mostly of birds and nature/wildlife. I mainly sell recycled/upcycled light switch plates that are decorated with my photos and other recycled papers-- including many with whimsical collage scenes. I also have a few other items featuring my photography, such as greeting cards, jewelry and wood mounted collage pieces.
Hair of the Dog offers a wide variety of functional products all made out of recycled bar materials-- Pick Yer Poison Journals, Bring Your Own Coasters & Cozies, Bar Lighting (Soy Wax Candles & Switch Plates), Crown Royal Bag Hair Ties and Eye Pillows (the Hangover Helper!), Flask Jackets, and some more fun stuff in the works!
What are your creative inspirations? As I mentioned above, I like to think of what could be made out of anything and everything before throwing it away. So I guess you could say I am inspired by trash! Hubby gets annoyed with me cause I save anything that I might possibly find a use for in the future. And now that I have gone back to work part time at my bar, I am always bringing home more and more "trash"-- my craft room if filled with recycled beer & liquor bottles, bottle caps, 6-pack holders, etc. At the same time, he is supportive of the idea, too -- He is also a bartender, so he sometimes brings me home little "treasures". What's that saying? One woman's trash is another woman's treasure?.... that's why my Hair of the Dog slogan is "turning trash into treasures, one hangover at a time" :)
What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/
artsy skills that you already do or would like to try? I enjoy doing a multitude of DIY techniques. Part of the reason I opened the second shop was to give myself another creative outlet to put all of these techniques into practice. I get bored if I do the same thing for too long. Because Hair of the Dog is based on a broad theme, rather than a particular craft, it gives me carte blanche to include any old type of product I can dream up. So, on any given day you might find me in my craft room daintily sewing a piece of lace onto a pillow, or down in the garage wearing goggles and a face mask while I cut open and sand down a glass bottle with my power tools!
One form of craft that is highly unlikely to show up in either of my shops, is knitting. I did learn to knit a few years ago, but for me, knitting is like watching the grass grow. I like more immediate results, so I'll focus on the other 10,000 ideas in my head for now! Maybe if I get bored enough, I will get around to knitting for my shops. But even then, I will have to use secondhand yarn :)
What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?
I have a million ideas in my head that I would like to try, but being a full time mama to a one-year-old boy who doesn't sleep doesn't give me nearly the time I need to implement most of these ideas! A couple of projects that I have in my head: A lamp made out of a recycled liquor bottle; resin casting; and handmade paper. On the more grandiose scale, a friend and I have talked about the idea of opening a store for secondhand craft supplies and a craft gallery. She's got a two-year-old boy, so it may be many years before either of us has the time to fulfill that "craft dream"!
Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions? I am a huge Bird Nerd and a Clog Dancer (Appalachian style) with the Eclectic Cloggers.
How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :) I've been on Etsy with Aguavino for about 3 years, but I took about a year off for "maternity leave" last year. Hair of the Dog is a brand new shop as of about October, which is also when I re-opened Aguavino. I don't have time to be an Etsy addict!!
Is etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work? Etsy is the major venue for my crafts. Sometimes I have my greeting cards for sale at a local vegan grocery store/boutique (Sidecar for Pigs Peace). I also occasionally do local craft fairs. This year I will most likely only do one craft fair, the Wedgwood Art Festival. I love this festival because it features all local neighborhood artists, and is organized and run completely by the artists.
What are your future plans for your shop/business? Since I've only been back in business for a few months, I'm still trying to get caught up with listing products and promoting everywhere that I should be. For now I am just focusing on adding to my inventory and fine-tuning some of my techniques.
I've been vegan for about 14 years, and was vegetarian for 4 years before that. My hope is that I can instill a sense of compassion through my art, especially my photography, by showcasing the beauty of animals and nature. But I also like to have fun with my creations and offer a little levity. I used to be mainly surrounded by vegans and animal rights activists in all aspects of my life -- home, work and social life. That can sometimes get too serious and overwhelmingly sad (because of all the horrors animals are subjected to). But life changes, and now I am mostly NOT surrounded by vegans and AR people. It's an interesting dichotomy, but forces me to be more thoughtful and articulate about my beliefs (those meat-eaters are always intrigued and asking questions!) Being vegan definitely permeates all aspects of my life, but no longer consumes or defines it.
What are your food vices or cravings? Dark Chocolate. I think I eat chocolate every day! And the darker, the better -- I'm up to 91% now :) I am also now addicted to coffee. And I only started drinking it about 4 or 5 years ago. I managed to live in Seattle for 15 years without having a single cup of coffee. It was when I lived in New Mexico that I started to drink it. Since I have to be a responsible Mom now (and still breast-feeding), I can't imbibe the way I used to. So coffee is now one of my main pleasures in life (aside from my too-cute-for-words baby, of course!).
Posted by JFillustrations