Friday, September 4, 2009

Artist Crush: Crafterall

I love it when the Etsy Finds email brings me something truly unique and delicious! A short while ago it delivered a beautiful image from an Etsy shop called Crafterall. It was love at first sight and I immediately contacted the artist to ask about her perfect packaging. We got to 'talking' and she was so lovely as to answer a few other questions so that I could introduce her to you properly.Tell us a little about yourself ...

My name is Marnie, I'm a native Minnesotan, and I share my home with my hubby, our two young daughters, and a retired racing greyhound. I have waited tables at a pizza restaurant, greeted guests at a hotel, worked at a scrapbook store, and taught English to high school seniors. My favorite job is that of full-time Mommy and part-time crafter. I'm able to sneak in bits of work here and there throughout the day and then dive in at night after the girls go to bed. My husband telecommutes from home so we live a pretty darn idyllic life. It is sweet.

Have you always been a crafty gal?

Yes, absolutely. For me, crafting is the necessary and logical next step from my "Pack-rat-ism." For years, I would keep virtually anything with the firm thought that I could "make somethin' outta this someday." I've been able to cut back considerably on my collecting of stuff, but my collection itself is still too large and still too "precious" to cut into. I think the inherent re-purposing of most crafts is what has appealed to me the most over the years. Being able to either repair something or to make something new for myself using materials I have around me is surprisingly liberating and inspiring feeling. Frankly, it's a bit addictive, and I love it.How in the world did you start making art with cut paper?

I have always enjoyed working with paper. For a while I was obsessed with origami, then it was on to making my own cards to send to pen pals. My high school art teacher, Mr. May taught me the proper techniques for using an X-Acto blade and it was like I was given a new drawing tool. I learned how to hold a pair of scissors and move the paper to cut more intricately, and, working at a paper store allowed me to experiment on paper styles and thicknesses. The topographic designs of much of my work began as a happy accident that gained a decent following. Even though I've cut through nearly a million layers of cardstock over the last two years, each piece has been different and that has afforded me enough creative freedom to maintain that delicate balance between art and business. Still, I continually strive to make my designs more intricate, interesting, and innovative.

What things inspire you?

I'm inspired most by little masterpieces, natural or designed. I love finding little interesting details in nature: the tidy little hands of a squirrel around an acorn, the perfect symmetry of an emerging seedling, the curve of the long whiskers over the eye's of my dog. I also get inspired by the work of others: artist Andy Goldsworthy, composer Gustav Holst, and so many of my colleagues on Etsy. I tend to carry a big "net" with me at all times, and mentally capture little details like this as often as I can without being too "spacey." I love my little camera and bring it with me practically everywhere for this same reason.Where is your 'happy place'?

I try to make any place my happy place. Life is way too short to be grumpy about anything. Still, there are a few places that I suppose are a little more sacred: a certain little glen in the woods on my parents' property up north, being sandwiched between my daughters with a book on my lap, my bedroom on a sunny Saturday morning, a moonless night in February while walking the dog, and my studio downstairs when it's way too late and I'm just getting my second wind.

Where have you found your biggest financial success so far? (Etsy, wholesale, craft shows, etc)

Over the long run, Etsy has been a steadily growing source of success for me. I've made some great connections and contacts through it and I sincerely value the entire setup of the program. It is an increasingly complicated system to learn, and each step has helped me understand more of what it takes to be a successful independent artist. It is because of Etsy that I have had wholesale orders, invitations to craft fairs and other business-related ventures.

Marnie, it was an absolute pleasure finding you. Thank you.

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