Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: EJ meets the Geese

EJ is my little 20lb terrier/chihuahua mix who thinks he is Rottweiler; these geese totally messed with his self image

Bless him. This was his first camping trip. He wasn't sure what to do with himself.

This is much more his style:

(yes he has to take his toy's to bed)
Anyone else seeing a common theme here?

Monday, October 26, 2009

***CLOSED***Meandering Mondays: Handmade Reversible Little Girls Pinafore Giveaway

Thank you for your interest. The giveaway is now closed as of Nov. 3rd, 2009 at 8 P.M. EST

Good Morning,
In her etsy shop at, Judy S. has many really cute handmade garments for both boys and girls in preemie, infant and toddler sizes. She was nice enough to donate an adorable handmade little girls pinafore for this weeks blog giveaway. In case you aren't familiar with this term, a pinafore is what is commonly referred to as a jumper. It is a  sleeveless, collarless dress intended to be worn over a blouse, shirt or sweater. The pinafore, that Judy has so graciously donated, is a toddler's size 2 and is reversible which means you are essentially getting two outfits in one.
One side is solid red with an adorable applique of a reindeer wrapped up in Christmas lights  and the reverse side is a red and cream stripe fabric with an embroidered definition of girl, which reads "girl, n.: curls with giggles". Both fabrics are 100% cotton. The red solid side is baby wale corduroy.  The pinafore has button closures on both the straps and the sides. You could pair this with a solid white or solid green long sleeve onesie to make an excellent holiday gift or keep it for your own little one as a perfect holiday outfit.

So now I know you want to know how to win this adorable handmade garment. Well here are the giveaway entry rules:

To enter visit Judy's shop,
ArtsyCrafty, and leave me a comment on this post telling me which item in her shop is your favorite and leave me a link to the item in your comment. 

Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you if you win!

EXTRA ENTRIES- Each of these must be left as a separate comment

1 - Follow my blog (if you are already following me leave a comment letting me know).

1 - Follow Judy' on Twitter
1 - Follow me on Twitter AND leave your twitter name in your comment
1 - Tweet this giveaway
1 - Blog about this giveaway and leave a link to the post here.
1 - Place my button on your blog.
1 - Post about this give away on facebook then leave me a comment with a link to the post.
1 – Become a fan of Misty Ridge Designs on facebook AND leave your facebook name in your comment
1- Sign up for my email newsletter for news once a month about new items in my shop, special promotions for subscribers only and other great bonuses.
1- Agree to donate an item and sponsor a future giveaway on my blog.
Please use the email me link in the left sidebar under Giveaway Stats. If you agree to sponsor a future giveaway you MUST accept the terms as listed at the end of this post under the heading For Potential Sponsors

***Special Bonus Worth 5  Additional Entries*** 
 If you make a purchase from Judy's shop between Oct. 26th and Nov. 4th you will receive 5 additional entries WHEN your payment clears. Leave me a comment letting me know that you purchased an item from ArtsyCrafty and once I verify with Judy that the payment has cleared then I will add your name to the "hat" 5 more times.

That allows each entrant up to 16 total chances at snagging this great prize!

Leave a SEPARATE comment for EACH entry you qualify for. You must have completed the first entry according to the instructions to be eligible for any bonus entries.


This giveaway is open to US and International participants. This giveaway begins today and will end on Teusday November 3rd, 2009 at 7pm EST.  The winner will be determined using the free random list generator at Your name will be added to the list one time for each eligible entry that you submit. I will post the winner here on my blog on Thurs. Nov. 5th.

Only comments containing all of the requested information will be eligible for entry. The winner must contact me to confirm they wish to receive the prize, and to provide me with the mailing address to which you wish the item to be mailed, within two days of my email notifying you that you have won. If you fail to contact me within two days of being notified of winning you will forfeit the prize and it will be awarded to the next person on the randomly generated list of entrants. 
The winner will receive the item directly from the giveaway sponsor (Judy). I will forward your mailing information to her and she will ship the item to you. 

 For Potential Sponsors
I never ask that a giveaway sponsor send me any merchandise personally. It is the responsibility of the sponsor to pay shipping charges and to ensure that the item is shipped in a timely manner. For this reason each sponsor determines if a giveaway will or will not be open to international participants.

Good luck to everyone!

***Note on the JaneasJewels Giveaway***
In my opinion, the last giveaway was a great success. We had 190 entries from a total of 73 unique participants. That means that the etsy shop owner who sponsored the giveaway and donated the free item received at least 73 unique visits to her shop. I will have more specific stats about the amount of traffic that the giveaway generated for last weeks sponsor in the next few days and I will post them in the left side bar. Please check back to see what effect the giveaway had on Janaes etsy shop. I hope others will consider sponsoring a giveaway as well.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fridays Featured Artist: Kiki from

Todays featured etsy artist Kiki from  Kikisthings. Kiki makes awesome children's  dress up clothes and costumes. As she says in the interview "They're not just for Halloween anymore", they are great for themed birthday parties, school plays and functions, or just for longs days of pretend and play. So take a moment to relax and meet Kiki as she describes her shop, her wonderful items, and how she got started in the Etsy community. Make sure you take a moment to check out her great shop too. Thanks and have a great day.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Please include your location)
Well, I'm currently living back at home, just outside of Philadelphia PA with my dad and my dog, Hemi. Right now I spend most of my time in the spare bedroom-turned studio. When I'm not sewing I love gardening and just being outside doing just about anything. I'm one of those "can't sit still" people. 

Tell us about your art/craft. What is it that you create
I make handmade children's dress up clothing and cstumes. Notice that I say dress up clothing--They're not just for Halloween anymore! 

How long have you been doing this? What led you to start creating your art/craft?
I've been running Kiki's Things since 2006. I started with winter hats. Stocking caps, character hats, just crazy pompom hats. But I really began making the costumes years ago. It was the summer after High School with nothing to do and my mom suggested I make up some costumes and sell them at the local community day. They were an instant hit! So I did that for a while but it was only at Halloween (pre internet) so I really couldn't make a living at it. Eventually I drifted away from that business and did other things. I came back to sewing in 2006. I was in a not so good marriage and needed something to do so I started Kiki's things. If you want to know how long I have been sewing... I don't ever remember not sewing...

Are you the only artist/crafter in your family or does it run in the genes?
NO WAY! Everyone in my family does something... One grand mom does hook rugs and is excellent at crocheting, the other grand mom does embroidery and ceramics, and mom is always coming up with some little crafty thing...

Is your art/craft your full time job? If not, what else do you do for a living?
As of June of this year Kiki's Things has been my full time job. I lost my day job and decided to give this a go. It's been so much better than I could have imagined! Its long hours but I LOVE it!

Who or what inspires or influences your work?
Well, I'm always looking to see what kids are in to. (I have none of my own) I look at the toy sections of the stores and also I just listen to what people are asking for. For example, my Mermaid Tail Towels, Last year was my first year on Etsy and I can't tell you how many times I heard "I'm so happy to have a Mermaid Costume- now I don't have to tie a towel around her to pretend" or something like that. That gave me the idea of the mermaid towel. Things like that influence me a lot

Is there anyone you would like to thank for being your biggest fan/supporter/cheerleader?
Well, that's an easy one.... My Family! Mom for giving me the idea, Dad for putting up with Kiki's Things being in his house, Aunts, Uncles cousins who help spread the word!

How did you learn your art/craft?
I learned from my mom at the beginning. When I was little she made a lot of my clothes and I was always "helping"

Do you have any formal training or education in fashion design?
I do. In High School we still had sewing class which I just about lived in. Then I went to The Craft Fashion Institute (a trade school) to learn Tailoring. I also attended the University of The Arts, here in Philadelphia where I majored in Photography. I'm much more of a Fine Art Photographer than a studio photographer. I think the study of Photography gives me the eye for detail that I use in creating these costumes. My art background, I think, gives me the ability to look at a cartoon and pick out the necessary elements to make the costume on sight.

You make and sell several different types/lines of children's costumes.  Which do you find yourself most drawn to and why?
I'm really proud of all of my works. I'm most proud of the things that are totally "mine" like the mermaid tails, the binkie-pahnts simply because they are my own ideas that people happen to like enough to purchase. That's an awesome feeling!

What is your favorite material or medium to work with?
Plain old simple cotton. It's so easy to work and you can make it do just about anything, it can be plain or fancy. It's my fav.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to try to learn your craft? Are there any hazards or dangers associated with your art/craft, for example working with certain materials or tools, etc.?
I would say that you just have to try it and start simple. Make a pillow first don't try to make a wedding dress your first time out. Sewing is pretty safe. I mean I do have cuts  from not being careful with the scissors and I stab myself with pins (not on purpose, of course) a lot but I'm not the most graceful so that's just me.

On average how long would you say it takes you to complete a piece?
Most of my pieces take about 1.5 -2 hours from start to finish.

What is your favorite item from your shop? Why?
I Love my Mermaids, both the costumes and the Towels.  I think I love the costumes because they were one of the first things I made way back when... and like I said, the tails are totally designed by me.

Can you describe for us your creative process and or what a typical day is like in your studio.
Right now my day starts around 7:30 am; I answer emails, do some online marketing and pull out items to be packed for shipping. Then I just sew, sew, and sew. Walk Hemi (my dog) at lunch time, then more sewing. I usually take a couple of hours off around dinner and just chill out. I'll answer more emails and do more marketing in the evening. I also get myself ready for the next day by cutting out and lining up items to be made for the next day.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.....

What motivates you to create?
 I have no idea. It's just something I feel I need to do. Like breathing for me...

Do you do custom requests for your art?
I do most of my work this way. I've made ghosts, candy costumes, dogs, cats, video game characters, you name it...

What is the most unusual custom request you have gotten?
Last year I was asked to make a Hurricane for a 6 month old baby. I pulled it off and it actually came out really cute.

How did you discover etsy?
Last year my mom gave me an article from, I think, the Wall Street Journal talking about etsy and a few other online venues for crafters (I told you this was all her idea). I read the article and checked it out. .The rest is history...

How do you promote your business?
Anywhere I see an opportunity to promote I do. On line (if it's free it's me) I'm on Facebook, Craig's list, Twitter. I post to the Etsy forums almost daily, I do craft shows where I make sure everyone who comes to my booth leaves with something with my web site on it. I even put up flyers on community bulletin boards.

Knowing what you know now about online selling and running your own business, if you could start all over from scratch would you do anything differently?
I would never have stopped like I did in the beginning. I wish I was a little more organized but that's just how I am. (I know where everything is!)

Do you have any advice for other artists?
No matter what other people say, just keep doing what you feel you need to do to express yourself. And never stop trying...

Where else can we find you online and/or locally (i.e galleries, boutiques, etc.)?
 In addition to Etsy, I'm on Artfire.
I have my own site as well as several consignment shops on line.
I'm always looking for new places and boutiques!!

Who are some of your favorite Etsy sellers or indie artists?
PEEKO apparel & vintage I love her clothes!
Carolhanna- She's on Project Runway- what's not to love!
HollywoodSpotlight- has great vintage jewellery!
There's just too many on Etsy to mention!

Kiki's Things

And The Winner Is...........(drumroll)

Thank you so much to all who entered in the giveaway for the gorgeous Pink Tourmaline ring from JanaesJewels. I really appreciate all of your support and participation. If we continue to have participation like that then we can continue to have great items donated for giveaways so keep it up guys you all are the greatest.
So without further ado, the winner is.......  

Deb - Two Cheeky Monkeys 

Congratulations Deb.  I will be in touch very soon via the contact info that you provided in order to get your ship to information. I hope that you will be so happy with this ring. Thank you so much for your participation. You are one lucky girl, you ended up having a 1 in 190 chance of winning so I think you did pretty well.

***As always the winner was determined using the list randomizer at I will be more than happy to provide a copy of the randomized list to anyone who wishes to see it. Just let me know and I can send it to you via an email attachment. Thanks***

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Education is the Path to Understanding and Tolerance

One of the great bloggers that I follow is Waterstone Jewelry. She also maintains a separate blog dedicated to Living with Chronic Illness. I found this on her site and borrowed it in order to help educate others about these debilitating and all too real, yet "invisible" chronic illnesses. Please take a few minutes to watch the video and then share it with others. Thanks

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meandering Monday: Quick Update on Whats Going On In the Shop

Good Monday Morning Everyone,
I hope this Monday finds you all well. Today's post is just a quick update on whats going on around here in the shop, studio, and some personal things. First of all as always I want to thank everyone of you for your continued interest in my blog and etsy shop. I appreciate each and everyone of the followers and the wonderful interest that you all have shown for the blog giveaways. By the way there is still time to enter to win the Pink Tourmaline and Sterling Silver ring from
Janaesjewels. You can click here for a direct link to the giveaway with the description and entry rules. Also I have another great donation for a giveaway from Judy at which I plan to start on November 2nd so check back for that one as well. Remember too, that each Friday I will be featuring an Etsy shop so take a few moments to get to know the wonderful artists that run these great shops. Ok, I think that is all of the blog related news.

As far as the studio and shop go, I have several new design ideas a brewing. I plan to add some new copper items soon which I think you all will like. For now I am keeping them a secret. LOL I know the suspense is just killing you all. However, I have added a couple of new pink items for the Think Pink campaign that I am running for the month of October to help support the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. I have other pink items on the way and will continue to add them throughout the month of October.

You can see all of the pink items currently available by using the search term Pink in the search box at the top of my shop homepage. I will be donating 15% of my total sales of all pink items during the month of October to the Susan G. Komen foundation so please help support this great cause.

This month is also my one year Etsy anniversary so I will be offering 15% off the purchase price of any one made to order item purchase in my shop beginning today October 19th and ending on Saturday October 24th. Just enter the promo code "happy birthday" in the message to seller box during the checkout process. I will refund your 15% savings to the card you use via paypal or directly to your paypal account. To see all of the made to order items that are currently available simply use the search terms made to order in the search box at the top of my etsy shop homepage. I will be adding additional made to order items throughout the month so if you don't find something you like right now check back often for a greater selection.


Ok enough with the business mumbo jumbo right. LOL. So we took a little vacation last week to sort of get away and recharge the old batteries so to speak. We had a pretty good time. The weather was a bit yucky on Wednesday but otherwise is was very nice and sunny and warm. Things have been so crazy around here lately with my dad's cancer diagnosis and my grandmother developing congestive heart failure that we REALLY needed to take a break and get away for a while. Things are going to get hectic again in early November. They finally set a date for my dad's surgery for the 6th so I would greatly appreciate all of your prayers for him. I pray that he will have an uneventful, successful surgery and a very speedy recovery. He also needs your prayers for strength and courage to face this trial. He is very nervous and  scared, as anyone would be, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I really appreciate it. Remember my mom as well. She is an exceptionally strong woman, but I know that she is worried and anxious as well.
Well I guess that's all for now. Thanks again for all of your support and interest. Catch ya later.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fridays Featured Artist: Jack and Deb of Jack’s WoodArt

 It still amazes me sometimes the quality of people that you can meet in the Etsy community. I have always known that artist/craftsmen (at least in my experience) typically have very pleasant, warm, friendly personalities, and the folks that I have met on Etsy just prove that more and more every day. Jack and Deb, a husband and wife business team, from Jack's WoodArt are a perfect example of what I am talking about.

Jack takes beautiful pieces of wood and creates the most amazing pieces of Wood Art. He specializes in wood inlay designs which he incorporates into awesome small treasure chests. Deb, Jack's wife is one of the friendliest and most personable people I have ever had the pleasure to talk with. She assists Jack with the computer and book keeping portion of running their small business. They are still pretty new to Etsy having just opened their shop in June of 2009. Please take a few moments to read their interview and be sure to stop by their shop and see what treasures they have available. I am positive that you will find something there that you would love to have for yourself or to give as a gift for that special person in your life.

- Tell us a little bit about yourself: 
58 y/o WM, extremely happily married (third time's a charm!), living in Largo, Florida.

 - Tell us about your art/craft.  What is it that you create? 
I work with wood, both domestic and exotic, fabricating inlayed treasure chests, bowls, vases, etc.


 - How long have you been doing this?  What led you to start creating your art/craft? 
Been working with wood since age 13, taught by my father, a Master Craftsman.  Due to disability from construction work, started working with wood as an art form.

 - Are you the only artist/crafter in your family or does it run in the genes? 
My grandfather was a carpenter, my uncle was a carpenter, my father was a carpenter, and I am a carpenter (or was); but, I am the only one to apply woodworking in this manner.

 Is your art/craft your full-time job?  If not, what else do you do for a living? 
This is full time but way more than 40 hrs/week!

 Do the two jobs impact each other? 

My only other job is to take care of my darling wife and we impact each other immensely (and as often as possible!). 

 Who or what inspires or influences your work? 
I try to utilize the natural forms and curves of nature in my work.

 Is there anyone you would like to thank for being your biggest fan/supporter/cheerleader?
There is only one answer to this question, for without her (my darling wife) there would be no "Jack's WoodArt," there would be no "Art" at all, and, certainly, no reason to continue.

 Do you have any formal training or education in your craft? 

- If not, in what field was your formal education/college major and how do you think it has influenced your art/craft if at all?
I majored in the medical field, Cardio-Pulmonary Technology and Plastic Surgery, to be specific.  Some intricate techniques may have helped, but I doubt it.

What is your favorite wood to work with? 

I love all woods, but one of my favorites is Cocobolo.

 You make and sell several different types/lines of your work.  Which do you find yourself most drawn to and why?
 Inlays are the most fulfilling.  I am always astonished at the reaction some people have when first viewing them.  It is extremely gratifying.  Also, there are so many avenues yet to follow.

 Explain to us a little bit about the wood inlay process that you use in many of your pieces. 
A design must be chosen which will fit within the restrictions of my tools.  Once that is done, grain and type of wood that accepts the inlay are considerations that will tell a story if done correctly. 

What advice would you give to someone who would like to try to learn your craft?  Are there any hazards or dangers associated with your art/craft, for example, working with certain materials or tools, etc.? 
There are a multitude of hazards inherent with this type of work.  Most people, in my experience, have to learn the hard way, but a piece of advice?  Educate yourself and go easy!!

On average, how long would you say it takes you to complete a piece? 
Two weeks.

  What is your favorite item from your shop?  Why? 
It's called "Mates for Life."  It depicts two swans forming a heart with their necks and breasts: the grain of the wood flows from one breast to another and the background tells the story.

What motivates you to create? 
To leave a legacy?  To be remembered?  I'm not sure, but I know part of it is to try to make my wife, Deb, as happy as she can possibly be (or, "as happy as possible."  Never end a sentence with a preposition!).

Do you do custom requests for your art?
Yes.  Jack is presently, among other projects, working on a very romantic customized treasure box requested by a customer for Christmas.  He always welcomes requests for specialized orders.

- What is the most unusual custom request you have gotten? 
Can you make this out of acrylic?  I hate wood."

How did you discover etsy? 
Jack read about it in the newspaper, "The St. Petersburg Times," and then I checked it out.

Prior to opening your etsy shop, did you have any knowledge of running a small business?  If not, what were your most helpful resources in learning to manage a small business? 
We knew very little about running a business.  Deb checked out several resources and is learning more every day, when she is not working at her job as a cashier at Publix GroceryStores.  Helpful to her have been:; the online Virtual Seminar University (free to members) from Sam's Club; Etsy, of course (especially including the wonderful forums, The Storque articles, newsletters, and the newbie chats on the Virtual Labs); many publications, to name a few: "The Crafts Report," "Where the Shows Are," "Fine Woodworking," and "Woodturning"; tool and wood supply catalogs; eBay; and others too numerous to mention, but those are the primary ones.

How do you promote your business? 
We have had our business for less than a year, so we are still learning ways to promote Jack's WoodArt.  Etsy is wonderful.  Before we discovered it, our primary way of promotion was by going to art/craft shows.  Jack's art is best appreciated in person - it presents very well to the naked eye, up close.  We held a raffle for a free handturned wooden pen set at our last art show (Gulfport, FL) and obtained many email addresses to which we plan to send brief messages and pics of newly crafted woodart.  When Deb finally gets around to it, we will be blogging on Facebook and possibly Twitter and/or other.


Knowing what you know now about online selling and running your own business, if you could start all over from scratch, would you do anything differently? 
Yes, start sooner.

Do you have any advice for other artists?
If you've found what you love to do, find a way to do it.

Who are some of your favorite etsy sellers or indie artists? 
Owen at OwensArtworks, Heather at MistyRidgeDesign, Dionne of StudioChicDesign as previously mentioned, and many others.  We have been meeting the most wonderful people since beginning our business - it has been great!

- Is there anything else that you would like for people to know about you or your shop that has not been covered in these questions? 
I am still evolving.  I have only scratched the surface of what I want to accomplish.  My mind is going constantly, but my hands have limits.  I truly believe, inside my head, something is waiting to be released which, I hope, is extraordinary.

Thanks for asking these great questions; Jack had a blast answering them while I was at work last night!  You are very thoughtful, and we wish you the best of success with your business.
God bless you and yours always.

Jack & Deb Lewis
Jack's WoodArt

Largo, Florida

Thanks so much Deb and Jack. I really enjoyed your interview and appreciate you all taking the time to fill out all of my questions. I wish you the best of luck with your business.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meandering Mondays: Getting Out of Town

Good Monday Morning,
Hope that you all are well and are having a great start to your week so far. I would like to first say that I am just blown away by the response that we have had for the most recent giveaway. So far there have been 128 individual comments/entries left. I really appreciate everyone's interest and I know that Janae is very excited to see such a level of participation. I also know that she really appreciates everyone's feedback on their favorite items in her shop. That information can be so useful to a shop owner and I thank each and every one of you for really taking the time to browse through her shop and leave your comments. Please remember that the giveaway doesn't end until Oct. 22nd so if you are still eligible for a few more entries get them in there. Also, if you know someone who might be interested in joining the giveaway please forward them the blog address. Good luck to each of the participants.

I would also like to encourage each of you to please take a look at the featured artists interviews that I have posted on Fridays. I think that you will meet some really great shop owners and maybe find some awesome items at the same time. You can quickly access all of the featured artist interviews as well as blog giveaways and tutorials easily by clicking on their respective titles in the top left hand sidebar.

I have some good news. Any of you with pre-teens and Disney Channel should totally get the reference to the left. ;) A friend of the family owns her own small coffee shop and she has asked if she can display some of my jewelry for a while. She has been a customer in the past and she said that she gets so many comments about the ring that she purchased from me that she finally has started telling everyone that she is going to try to get my items into her shop for sale before the holidays. So I agreed and I delivered the pieces to them today. It sort of put a real dent in my etsy shop inventory but I figure it is a good opportunity and jewelry always sells better in person so I really couldn't pass it up. So please keep your fingers crossed that maybe I will get some sells or custom orders. That would really help out around here right at the holidays.

Some other quick shop news. I am going to be out of town all of this week so any purchases made this week will not be shipped until the 19th-21st if it is a ready to ship item or on or after the 23rd for made to order items. Plans to go out of town were just finalized sort of last minute so I am frantically trying to get things in order so I can leave without having to worry too much about the shop. If you try to contact me for any reason please be aware that I will have very limited access to the net if any at all so I may not get back to you until next Saturday. I am trying to go ahead and get this weeks blog posts finished and scheduled to post on their usual days so that there won't be a big lull. So I guess that is all for now. Have a great week. Catch ya on the flip side.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Featured Artist: Pat O'Neill from

Like most of you I love to browse around on Etsy and look with amazement at all of the incredible talent that the community has to offer. One of my favorite categories to explore is Art. I am often so very jealous of the way some people can render such beautiful representations of the world around us. One of the things that I love about the Art category is the way so many of the pieces I come across can evoke a particular feeling or emotion. It was this ability to evoke feeling that drew me to the work of Pat O’Neill and her shop at
Pat produces wonderful Encaustic paintings. If you are like me, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear painting is probably your favorite piece done in the traditional mediums of acrylics or oil based paints. After reading Pat’s profile and seeing her beautiful pieces I was very intrigued and decided to invite her to share more about her work with us during the Friday Featured Artist segment. So please take a moment to read more about Pat and the interesting technique that she uses to produce her beautiful art. She was gracious enough to answer my questions and provide an excellent explanation and introduction into the medium of Encaustics. So please take a moment to learn a bit more about the artist and definitely stop by her shop and check out the great work that she has there.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Please include your location)
My name is Pat and I live in the south east of England.  I have always dabbled, being the operative word, in various crafts, mainly quilting and crochet. 

Tell us about your art/craft. What is it that you create?
Last year I came across the word encaustic.  Didn't have a clue what it meant but felt drawn to finding out the meaning. 

What is it?

The name encaustic derives from the Greek for" burnt in".

It is claimed that the art of encaustic wax painting is at least over 2000 years old and that it was practiced by the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.  Since it has lasted, in some cases, over 2000 years it is considered a very durable form of Art.  Around the world there are ancient examples of portraits which have been painted on wood often depicting iconic images from the Church.

Examples of encaustic tomb portraits from Roman Egypt bear witness to the durability of the medium, which is thought to have been widely used in ancient times. Pliny describes the process in which hot liquid colors were applied to the wall by means of heated irons. It is believed that the waxes used to be heated in containers over a charcoal fire until molten and then applied to the wood with brushes or perhaps heated spatulas.

Nowadays, artists have the use of modern technology and thus are able to produce beautiful works of art with electric tools.

True encaustic painting is produced through a process in which the coloured wax is permanently 'burned' into an absorbent backing such as plaster, canvas or some woods.  However, today, the technique of laying wax on a non absorbent support is generally regarded as encaustic art.

The amazing attribute of using the molten wax is that whenever the hot implement such as a hot iron touches it, the wax will melt and thus can be re-worked. So, you can alter the image until you are satisfied.

The waxes can be of many types.  However, they are usually specially formulated to provide art quality colours in a safe non toxic form which is designed to be used when melted.  This wax melts at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or just over 60 degrees Centigrade.  The most popular for the beginner is wax made into manageable blocks or sticks.  Otherwise, wax can be melted, different pigments added according to requirements etc.

The main tool is the painting or encaustic iron.  The base plate is used to smooth and texture the wax whilst the edge can be used to scrape or to slide through the medium.  Again, the tip of the iron can be used to draw in details.  Encaustic art painting card is specially impregnated and enables the wax to slide around the surface without allowing too much absorption.  The card resists heat damage and is tough and flexible.

How long have you been doing this? What led you to start creating your art/craft?
I have only been using encaustics for just over a year.  I had heard the word and really didn't know that it meant.  On doing some research I discovered a fascinating world!  From then on, I was hooked.

Are you the only artist/crafter in your family or does it run in the genes?
As far as I know, there are no other painting artists in the family although both my parents were involved in the world of music.  They used to sing in German operettas whilst my father did a lot of music compositions.  They did try to teach me to learn to play the piano but it was just not meant to be!

Who or what inspires or influences your work?
I belong to a wonderfully talented group on called Boomer and Beyond Etsy Street Team or BBEST for short.  These members have become firm friends and given me so much encouragement.  Talking to other artists and likeminded folk gives me great inspiration.  If you look at my work you will note water plays an enormous part.  Maybe because I spent much of my childhood by the sea?

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I should say, paint with waxes!  However, I love going to walks with my husband in our local parks where, again, I draw inspiration from nature itself.

Is there anyone you would like to thank for being your biggest fan/supporter/cheerleader?
My husband and family!

Art/Craft Info
How did you learn your art/craft?
I am completely self taught.

On average how long would you say it takes you to complete a piece?
This so depends on the size of the painting.  I create anything from ACEOs (3.5" x 2.5") to paintings that are 24" or bigger.  Once I start, I really just go with the flow and find I can 'lose' myself for hours at a time.

What is your favorite item from your shop? Why?
'Cascades of Water' 

This is for sale in my Artfire shop.  I love the way the waxes flow to give the impression of cool flowing water!

Can you describe for us your creative process and or what a typical day is like in your studio.
No day is typical.  I have creative droughts like other artists but then once the mood takes me, there is not stopping me!  I prefer to paint in the morning because the light is better and less harsh.  The sun shines directly into my room in the afternoon.

My waxes are always ready for action so when the mood takes me, off I go!  I simply plug in my trusty iron, stylus or whatever tool I require, collect the colours of waxes I feel I would like to work with and voila, another encaustic is created, hopefully!

What motivates you to create?
When I am at peace with myself and can hear myself think.  Life does have a habit of intruding and making chaos that we have to sort.  So, when there is a quiet moment for me.... then I am motivated to create.

What craft or art form do you wish you could do or learn?
At the moment I would like to concentrate more on learning extra techniques in the use of tools and waxes.

Etsy related questions
How did you discover etsy?
A few years ago by browsing the internet.

Prior to opening your etsy shop did you have any knowledge of running a small business? If not what were your most helpful resources in learning to manage a small business?
I sold items on Ebay but really had no particular knowledge about running a small business.  Again, I have to say there is not a lot you can't find on the internet!

How do you promote your business?
Promoting through forums on Etsy, Twitter, Facebook, taking part in interviews :)

Do you have any advice for other artists?
Somewhere along the lines that I have already mentioned.  Be original, go with YOUR ideas, don't copy, by all means be inspired but stick to your own style and let your imagination work for you!

Where else can we find you online and/or locally (i.e galleries, boutiques, etc.)?
Etsy, Artfire

Who are some of your favorite Etsy sellers or indie artists?
I love these artists on Etsy

Yankee Girl

Heron Kate 

Many thanks

Thank you very much Pat for taking the time to answer my questions. I really enjoyed learning about the process of Encaustic painting as I am sure the readers will as well. Best of luck to you and I wish you much success with all of your artistic endeavors.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009