Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I am a scientist who re-started doing crafts a few years ago to deal with stress and anxiety.
Ever since when I was a kid I had always liked to draw, paint, make paper crafts, decoupage, scrap-booking, and whatever weird idea that came to my mind, usually to make gifts to my loved ones, I always wanted to create something that they would love.
Over the years I stopped doing crafts and art overall due to my excessive load of work once I started college, at some point the work was too much that I barely had time to eat, sleep a couple of hours and take a shower every day to then go back to keep on working. I started having anxiety issues, and stress all the time due to being a workaholic until I fell into clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome. It was during that very hard time when I realized I had to escape, and my escape method ended up being to focus at least few minutes a day on something that would make me happy, like drawing or making paper flowers, and I re-caught my love for it. Later I started trying to forget about work for a few hours every week to attend to artwalks with my little pieces, my friends started noticing them and started saying I actually had talent, this encouraged me to continuing experimenting in a variety of art techniques, and then thanks to a friend the idea of making necklaces was born.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
After some time I had started making necklaces, friends started asking me for them, as custom pieces or to buy the ones I had made. Then a photographer friend suggested me to open an Etsy shop because she actually owned one at the time and had found the Etsy community to be great on encouraging artists of all types.
So a few days later I opened my little shop and things started to make more sense artistically speaking. I started to connect with experienced people and to find more and more inspiration.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My necklaces are all just pieces of my imagination that have come to me to help me get out of the maze an anxious mind is. Thanks to focusing on art I have been able to overcome my psychological issues and to find a balance in life where I can keep up with my science job, plus continuing my art every moment I can (which nowadays is every day!). They have been handcrafted with a wide variety of materials: from paper and wood, to vintage metal pieces I have found in antique stores (I love antiquing!), stones I have picked up from my different travels over the last years, or cool materials I have bought on markets everywhere. In one same piece you may find natural gemstones I picked in from South America, combined with a metallic accent which was part of a vintage clock in Texas and put it together with a Gothic or Renaissance style inspired on my trips to Medieval Fortresses.
What inspires your work?
How can I start to describe what inspires me? I guess is the beauty of different cultures, the magnificence of old literature, the bright minds of past thinkers, the wonders of travel and the fascinating science of rocks and minerals that lately have gotten me so in love! I love all types of science and I sometimes make pieces inspired on that, then later that week I can’t stop thinking on a Shakespeare drama and so a new piece might be born from there, then I find among my drawers some stones I picked in the rocky mountains and I remember the landscapes and think “I have to do something just as amazing with this!”. Every piece has a story from which my mind careful thought of it, and took some time until it could materialized.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
For this year, although I love to do art, I am planning on keeping it as a hobby for the moment. It makes my life complete to continue with my scientific and analytic job and world, then come back home and enter into my creative and free land. My dream would be to at some point be able to sustain myself with my art, but it may take me some time for that, I still need to fix some stuff in my life before I can dedicate myself 100% to it. But time will tell, and hopefully will tell it soon!
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
The variety of styles that I sometimes have in my shop. Depending on my mood, on what I am reading, listening to, studying or working on each day, is the type of piece and the style of it that will come up. Most shops tend to have a particular style that is their signature, I on the other hand, enjoy having variety in between my pieces, because I truly like every single piece and style i have used. Sometimes I may have native, earthy pieces made, then other days I just want to make something renaissance styled, then next day I may be doing some sweet and pastel colored Georgian item, then I may be doing a gypsy beaded and colorful necklace and that same day an all black Gothic one. People have actually criticized this, but I want to be free with my creativity, and this is the way I am, so I will probably keep on doing it unless my head gets stuck in a single mode.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
Right now my work space is a little desk in my apartment, I try to keep everything well organized (not always works!) in different bins depending the types of materials, and being honest some of my stuff is still in bags (the handpicked stones for example). The space I use to work is just a little corner in there but it is full of light because I have a great window, plus is by the side of my love’s desk where he plays video-games, so usually you will find us in a lazy day each doing something we enjoy while talking and having fun.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
To appreciate my items, I still sometimes think my pieces are not worth anyone’s attention but over the time I have thanked for the group of people who have actually followed me already for some time supporting my crafts, they give me strength every time I doubt.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Don’t be shy, believe in what you can do and see how the world takes you in.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Actually my crafts in Etsy are my greatest hobby right now. I love to travel and while at it I do a lot of photography and besides that I love to play with my cats, watch a really good movie all together (me, my fiancé and our two cats). I love to sing, go antiquing in other towns, go hiking in nature and read.
What is your favorite quote?
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare
Where can people find out more about your business?
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.