Artist interview featuring Danielle of SailorsRavineStudio

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I would like to introduce you all to Danielle the owner of SailorsRavineStudio. She is a Northern California photographer who is inspired by the books she read’s and the beauty of the California foothills she calls home. I love her rustic style of photography, let’s get to know more about her creative process.

SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Danielle: I try to take my camera with me if I’m doing anything besides the everyday routines. I am currently using a Cannon Digital SLR but I will and do use anything I can get my hands on. I upload all my photos to an external Hard Disk and use primarily Photoshop. I love working on my images and sometimes will work on them for months before I feel they are finished. I print my own photos up to a certain size which I love doing I think it really completes my vision when I am able to hold the product and see what is going to my customer. Larger prints I use the services of a local printer who lets me breath down his neck looking over his shoulder as he works on printing my image.

SammyPhoto: How did you get started with etsy?
Danielle: I started in 2008 and my photos were hardly seen. I also had a few vintage items, mini books, some jewelry. I didn’t spend much time on my shop then as I had my 3 teens still at home and I didn’t even know about the forums!
My favorite part of Etsy is the platform they offer at a reasonable cost, I think, for me to have a shop and sell my items and be part of a larger group. I also love the teams. They have really been a big help to me in many ways. My least favorite part is trying to be seen as the number of Etsy shops grow and now competing with shops that have a staff and can produce large amounts of products.

SammyPhoto: Could you give us some helpful tips?
Danielle: Read the forums. It’s the best for keeping up with the latest news and someone usually will always know the answer to your questions.
Join some teams. They are great for promotion and you will also make friends.
Put a link back to your shop section in your item description. It will help your customer find more similar items and will keep them in your shop a little longer.

SammyPhoto: How did you get into photography?
Danielle: My parents had old family photographs and they were important to them and I guess it was here that I learned a respect for photography. Since I was about 10 I would get their cameras as they updated theirs. I have always taken pictures it was something my parents encouraged for enjoyment, but not as a profession. My first camera was some sort of Instamatic.

SammyPhoto: Who inspires you?
Danielle : Ansel Adams comes to mind first, but there are so many nameless photographers I admire from the first photographers in the West carrying their equipment from the mountains to the desert. Gritty photography from the streets of New York in the 40’s up to some of the current surreal images produced mostly with the aid of computers.

SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Danielle : Home is out in the country, a rural area in the Sierra foothills between Sacramento and Tahoe.

SammyPhoto: Could you share some of your hobbies with us.
Danielle : I also make journals and mini books. It helps fulfill my yearning for tactile projects after working with equipment so much.

SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Danielle : I am self taught, my degree in college allowed for only one elective during my 4 years and that was photography.

SammyPhoto: Thank you so much Danielle for doing this interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out SailorsRavineStudio on Etsy HERE and follow her on social media her here…. Facebook
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Artist interview featuring Beata Czifrik

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This week’s artist interview is featuring Beata Czifrik of MakeMeMacrame Etsy shop. She sells beautiful gemstone jewelry I absolutely love!

SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Beata: I design and make Gemstone Macrame Jewelry.

When traveling in different countries, their beautiful gemstones somehow always find me. Without knowing where to look or where to go the stones will be on my way eventually. I always pick the most beautiful ones, the ones that I would love to wear myself.

Then I either draw a design with colours, shape and pattern or just go freehand. The stone is the inspiration and everything else will just develop from it on the way. (This is the very reason that all my pieces are one of a kind).

I work with waxed cords, which are extremely durable and strong. To frame a gemstone I use a baseline and a framing knot texture. After this there will be a lot (up to hundreds) of cords, which I will knot in different ways to create a shape and pattern. Everything depends on the shape and size of the stone and the jewelry I want to create, so each piece has to be re-designed on the go. Every piece is like making jewelry for the first time. I make a lot of corrections until the end result is perfect. This usually takes days, on occasions months.

SammyPhoto: How did you get started with etsy? What’s your favorite part of Etsy? What’s your least favorite part?
Beata: I started using Etsy years ago when I was on the road in Europe. Back then I made bookmarks with Hungarian embroidery, one of a kind Kindle Covers and I sold charcoal and graphite drawings too. I came to know Folksy first (Etsy’s strictly British equivalent). A lot of British artist and craftsman were selling on Etsy as well so I thought I’d give it a try and it worked out quite well.

What I really love about Etsy is that I can keep traveling while my jewelry is still available to everyone out there.

What I don’t much like about selling on Etsy is that it needs a lot of work and a serious amount of time of promotion and attention and connection and so on. I spend probably more time with this than with actually working on my jewelry.

SammyPhoto: How did you get into making jewelry?
Beata: When I spent a few months in Guatemala volunteering in a jungle hostel, I’d seen and heard a lot about macrame. I had no idea back then what was the big fuss about it. I haven’t seen too many beautiful pieces, so I wasn’t particularly interested. Then on the internet (when finally I had access to it), I checked up on some pictures and discovered the variety and potential of macrame. I fell in love with it. Then by accident I met a girl and then another one who were making macrame and who quickly taught me the basics. After that one step lead to the next, I bought my first stones, my first cords and started to make my first real jewelry! It was a really big success immediately. Everyone around me was absolutely stunned, and not long after people started to buy them on the road!

SammyPhoto: What inspires you?
Beata: Mostly different cultures inspire me with their colours and unique patterns and of course the gemstones themselves. I like to take inspiration from other type of jewelry as well, which can be very interesting to turn into macrame.

SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Beata: Everywhere and nowhere. A lot of people say I am a gypsy, well, I’m a traveler for sure! And this has influenced me the most: by the variety and beauty of life and different cultures on Earth.

SammyPhoto: Could you describe your style for us.
Beata: I make mostly bohemian style jewelry, I work with gemstones and the ancient art of macrame.

SammyPhoto: Could you share some of your hobbies with us.
Beata : When I’m not working on my jewelry I like to do yoga, ride a horse, walk in the mountains, surf in the sea, read a book, play the guitar, sing with my friends, get to know people, share my life with others.

SammyPhoto: Does your shop pay the bills?
Beata: My jewelry pays good enough for having started only a few months ago. It is a good part of my income and is definitely improving. I sell on Folksy as well as Handmake.Me and of course on the road off line.

SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Beata: I don’t think any school teaches macrame. I was taught by random artisans I’ve met. And the internet is always a great source of information.

SammyPhoto: Thank you so much Beata for doing this interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out MakeMeMacrame on Etsy HERE and follow her on Facebook here.

Artist interview featuring Sonja Quintero

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I would like to introduce you all to Sonja Quintero an interior designer and photographer. She has a really unique style, I really like. Lets get to know more about her in this interview.

SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Sonja: Well, essentially I come along an object or a scene that interests me and I take some shots of it with my Nikon D800 or with one of my film cameras. I would say a lot of my work is more like street photography because I photograph what I see out in the cities, but some of my work is created by setting up still lifes, which I’m growing quite fond of. And I’ve also loved taking photos of architecture and cemeteries – I find them quite beautiful.
Once I’ve uploaded my images to my computer, then I look at the ones that have “potential”, maybe do some minor editing and then narrow things done to images I think will work great for my online shops. It’s definitely an on going process. Sometimes, I’ll come back to photos I took years ago and find a “gem”!

SammyPhoto: How did you get started with etsy? What’s your favorite part of Etsy? What’s your least favorite part?
Sonja: I actually started selling purses on Etsy back in 2008. But I quickly realized I wasn’t that good at it! Plus, it wasn’t something I was as passionate about as photography. So, in 2010 I decided to open my photography shop, Squintphotography.

My favorite part of Etsy is the exposure you can get as an artist, but also all the great art you can discover. My least favorite would be the bias towards more popular shops. It can sometimes be hard for customers to find you when they browse and the same featured shops keep coming up. This isn’t exclusive to Etsy, I’ve seen this on most online art and craft sites.

SammyPhoto: Could you give us some helpful tips?
Sonja: 1. Have great photos! It’s the only way to showcase your work to a potential buyer who can not touch and feel what you make.
2. List only your best work. Don’t add listing just to fill up your shop. I would say have at least enough items to fill one page, and make them good!
3. Promote, promote, promote! Get your links out there on social media, share what you’re doing and what you love and you will gain followers and eventually sales.

SammyPhoto: How did you get into photography?
Sonja: A few ways. A friend of mine was taking a photography class and saying how fun it was, while at the same time I was working as an Interior Designer and I often had to take photos at my clients home while construction was going on. My boss complimented my photos, saying they were really good. So, it got me thinking and I eventually bought a Nikon film SLR. I wanted to learn to proper way, with film and a “normal” 50mm lens. Over the years I took a few college photo courses here and there, but am largely self taught.

SammyPhoto: What inspires you?
Sonja : I actually love the work of photographers, Keith Carter and Peter Brown. Their work is mostly different from mine, but it speaks to me in almost a spiritual way. Their work taught me to go out there, explore and shoot whatever I find interesting.

SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Sonja: I am from Dallas, Texas and although I wouldn’t say it’s directly influenced me as an artist, living here has offered some great opportunities. There is a real growing support for local art and artists, which is fabulous. Also, the city offers so many cool things to shoot and discover. One of my fave things is to walk through downtown in the morning and take photos of the buildings and shop windows.

SammyPhoto: Could you describe your style for us.
Sonja: I would say its modern, urban, sometimes dark and funky.

SammyPhoto: Could you share some of your hobbies with us.
Sonja: I still love to sew and recently finished a quilt for my husband and I. Also, we love to go hear live music and try new restaurants in town. And if I’m lucky, he’ll take me dancing sometimes!

SammyPhoto: Does your art pay the bills?
Sonja: No, not yet! Besides selling on Etsy, occasionally I do Interior Photography for realtors and designers. It’s a way to combine my love for interior design and photography and mostly, it helps supplement my Etsy revenue. Also, I do sell online at Fine Art America and Society 6.

SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Sonja: I have a BFA in Interior Design and Art History and have taken some college level courses on Photography, but essentially taught myself the basics. Also, I have many friends that are photographers and they have definitely helped me out along the way!

SammyPhoto: Share a blog you love with us.
Sonja: Lenscratch
http://lenscratch.com/

SammyPhoto: Anything else you would like to add ?
Sonja : I consider myself first and foremost an artist. I always loved drawing as a kid and then became interested in design as a teenager. Photography is my “grown-up” passion now, but is definitely influenced by my love of art and my experience in the design world.

SammyPhoto: Thank you so much Sonja for doing this interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out Squintphotography on Etsy HERE and follow her on social media her here….
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Artist interview featuring Dorothyann Strange

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I would like to introduce you all to Dorothyann she has traveled to places such as Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Spain, New Zealand, Dominican Republic and England photographing all of her adventures along the way. Her work is hanging in coffee shops, restaurant and other local business.

SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Dorothyann: I get an idea or an inspiration, often during a night of insomnia or in the shower. I write my idea down making it as clear and detailed as possible so that my thoughts and therefore my vision become clear. I write of the potential problems of shooting this vision followed by possible solutions to them. Then I plan the shoot itself. I practice the shoot if possible or appropriate. If any other issues or problems or variations of my idea pop up, I change the plan, or adapt my vision to improve it. Then off to photoshop to complete the vision.

SammyPhoto: How did you get started with etsy?
Dorothyann: Ah,Etsy. A friend recommended I look into selling on Etsy. I had no idea what they were talking about. What a discovery!
What I enjoy most about Etsy are the artist photographers I have come in contact with. I have learned more from them than any photography organization I have been a part of. FPOE is my go-to group for advice in photography, selling photography, printers, and the general business of photography. Also, they are great for venting about difficult issues or celebrating good news.
As for my least favorite part, hm-m-m, maybe not understanding exactly what I need to do to get ‘seen’ more often, though I have been neglectful of my shop recently because I am in the middle of moving to another state and getting a house ready for sale, so my views have taken a severe hit. My customers have all been terrific, which is not everyone’s experience.

SammyPhoto: Could you give us some helpful tips?
Dorothyann: 1. Patience! Sales will come, but not as quickly as you had hoped.
2. Add something to your shop daily, if possible. It really improves the number of times your shop is seen, for some reason.
3.Look at other photog shops to see how they make theirs unique to their style, and develop your own personal style and reflect that in your shop.
OH! Join Etsy teams, especially, fPOE! You will learn important if not essential information for selling on Etsy. Plus, teams are supportive of what you do and what you hope to accomplish.

SammyPhoto: How did you get into photography?
Dorothyann: My first camera was a Kodak 104 Instamatic that I was given for Christmas when I was twelve. For my professional start, a photographer who worked in a photo shop invited me to enter a local photography contest. She picked out three photos from a handful I brought in as I had no clue what to enter. I won the show, beating out the photographer who encouraged me and whose pic had won an earlier contest. Two hundred fifty dollars richer, I decided to shoot more seriously and enter more contests and a camera club. These experiences gave me the confidence to find venues to sell my images.

SammyPhoto: Who inspires you?
Dorothyann : Yikes! There are so many. Some are not photographers. I love the simplicity of Edward Hopper, Robert Frank and Ansel Adams. I love the power of Dorothea Lange and the intelligence of Annie Liebovitz. My mother also loved to shoot and she is my muse.
These are artists I aspire to though I find my style is still too far removed from anything these artists do. I will continue to work to simplify my work and make it more thoughtful and intelligent.

SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Dorothyann: Iowa will always be home to me though I have not lived there for 37 years which I believe has influenced my choice of subjects. I have always missed Iowa and perhaps, if I am honest, my young years living on the family farm. I have chronicled my life experiences through scrapbooks starting at a very young age. I have scrapbooks of my 4-H years, high school events and friends, baby scrapbooks. And now I do photo books ordered online. I have books on my two daughters experiences in the Peace Corps (I visited them both in Uzbekistan and the Dominican Republic) and a book of letters and photos sent by my Marine son who had been stationed in Iraq. Always, it has been important to me to record my life as it has been a wonderful journey.

SammyPhoto: Could you describe your style for us.
Dorothyann: I like drama in a photo, if possible. Fun, on occasion. Sometimes, thought-provoking.

SammyPhoto: Share some of your hobbies with us.
Dorothyann : Gardening in the spring, summer and fall. Movies in the winter! I make my own Christmas cards and come up with new photo products of local images to sell in a local gallery.
Travel when I can!

SammyPhoto: Does your art pay the bills?
Dorothyann : I took me five years before I started to make a profit in photography, primarily because I sell photos and photo products such as coasters, mugs, keychains out of a local gallery that takes a 40% commission and if it doesn’t sell, I eat the cost! Though the exposure through the gallery has led to custom work with several banks and homeowners that has saved me. I will increase my online presence as it has considerably less cost to it. Here is were fPOE has been so helpful, I just need to act on their good advice.

SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Dorothyann : Self-taught, though I have learned much from talking with professionals. I am friends with several photojournalists and with professors who teach either in art or photography. I also belong to a camera club where I have learned from amazing photographers, and judges. There is also an excellent annual conference in Holland, Michigan called SWMCC that I have attended. I subscribe to photo magazines as well and visit interesting photographer blogs online.

SammyPhoto: Anything else you would like to share with us?
Dorothyann :
Occasionally, I need to remind myself that I do photography to express myself, to show others what i see in something, some place, or someone and not to produce images that I think will sell or that is in vogue that people want to hang in their homes. I find it creatively draining to take a photo and make it like all the others ‘out there’ so that I can get a sale.

Stay true to your heart and your vision!

SammyPhoto: Thank you so much Dorothyann for doing this interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out RightOnStrange on Etsy and follow her on social media here….
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Artist interview featuring Nina Haigh

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I would like to introduce you all to Nina Haigh a talented photographer who loves the great outdoors, animals, night photography and architecture. Let’s get to know more about how she creates beautiful images.

SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Nina Haigh: It all starts by me feeling inspired, and usually I feel the most inspired in nature. Photo-walks are where I get to let loose connect with my subject and just get lost in my work. Once I get home, usually I can’t wait to see what is on my memory card, once everything gets uploaded and cataloged the sorting begins.Often I pull out what I feel are the gems edit them and post them to my shop or Deviant Art Gallery, sometimes an amazing image will get passed by and sit around until I reopen a file and see the art I left behind. These sometimes become my most popular images. Lastly I send things off to print at a local professional lab to keep things looking their best.

SammyPhoto: How did you get started with etsy?
Nina Haigh: It took me a long time actually, I thought that photography didn’t fall in the “hand-made” category since I didn’t physically make my prints.I met a fantastic woman at my very first fair I sold my photography at, she was a team leader for a local team and urged me to start selling! Barely a year later she is team captain and I have become a team leader myself. It’s been very rewarding to meet other local artists, its amazing how far some of the people I’ve met have come all thanks to Etsy and sheer entrepreneurship.

SammyPhoto: Could you give us some helpful tips?
Nina Haigh: Develop your style! Especially with photography it’s so easy to get drowned out by others. Always keep learning about your craft! There is so much learning material just on the internet alone, try new techniques, learn better ways to do things – always Keep it interesting for yourself. If you don’t keep loving what you do, then its time to switch things up!

SammyPhoto: How did you get into photography?
Nina Haigh: My dad did! When I was 15 we went on a road trip across Canada and he handed me his 1970s Pentax film slr camera and told me to take the vacation pictures. I fell in love! I’ve been doing it ever since giving me a whopping 16 years behind a camera.

SammyPhoto: What inspires you?
Nina Haigh:Being out in nature is the biggest but also oddly on the opposite I love architecture and that holds its place in my photography as well. I have a night time urban landscape series of various places around Montreal, Canada.

SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Nina Haigh: Right now Kingsbury, a tiny little rural village in southern Quebec. I fell in love with it here, I am literally a 2 minute walk from the marsh that is featured in Many of my photographs.The countryside around here is amazingly beautiful as well and that also gets reflected in my images.

SammyPhoto: Could you describe your style for us.
Nina Haigh: Vivid and realistic, many people comment how my photography tends to transport them to the places my images were taken.

SammyPhoto: Could you share some of your hobbies with us.
Nina Haigh: Camping, especially wilderness or canoe camping! Always with my camera of course! I have also taken up picking wild mushrooms!

SammyPhoto: Does your art pay the bills?
Nina Haigh: I wish! I’m still building up to that point. I’m selling here on Etsy and also local events as well as trying to become known as a commercial photographer.

SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Nina Haigh: Both actually! While my dad showed me the very basics I wanted to learn more and signed up for my high school photo-club. I then went on to study two semesters of film photography in college. Since then I have been self taught, making the jump from film to digital was a HUGE step for me and took me a while to adjust. I kept at it though, kept learning and now I’m just as confidant, if not more with my dslr than my old Minolta srt101 from the 60s

SammyPhoto: Thank you so much Nina for doing this interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out NinaHaighPhotography on Etsy HERE and follow her on social media her here….
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Artist interview featuring Krislyn Dillard

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I would like to introduce you all to a fellow west coast artist Krislyn Dillard. Krislyn is the owner of the Etsy shop “Krislyndillard” she creates beautiful natural paintings… I’m totally in love with her minimalist bird watercolor paintings. Lets get to know more about her creative process.

SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Krislyn: First I need a brilliant idea! So I scour the world for images and ideas. I’ve had ideas come from an off hand post on Facebook by a friend, I’ve had them while walking in the forest with my husband and I have had them hit me at 2 am totally ending my REM cycle. Once I have the idea I scour the internet, my own photos and if I’m lucky real life observations to get a thorough understanding of my subject. I’ll know it works because I will have a clear mental image form. After all this I might start to create. If I am painting in oil the process moves to the sketching mode. If its a drawing I get right to it same with watercolor. For every one art piece I have up on my Etsy site there is anywhere from 1 to 4 pieces that weren’t quite good enough. If it’s an oil painting the good thing is I can fix my mistakes right on the canvas so after the initial sketch, usually there is only one painting… after about 60 hours of work. I draw anywhere with a portable drawing kit. I paint in watercolor at the kitchen table or on the floor if its big. I have an art studio that I paint oils in. I also paint in acrylic but the process is almost the same as for oils. Lastly, I listen to live concerts, books on tape and documentaries while I work. I think that about sums it up.

SammyPhoto: What are you favorite and least favorite parts of selling on Etsy?
Krislyn: My favorite parts are scanning all the incredible handmade stuff people make! It inspires me to create and it inspires me to sell… so I can buy some of it! I also love seeing other artists in my genre doing well and making sales. It just makes me happy knowing there are artists out there creating and selling their work. I haven’t been on long enough to form too many negative opinions about Etsy. The only thing I can think, for risk of being controversial is the new promotion listings. It seems they are almost the same in nature to the whole net neutrality. Those who pay get visibility. I found just using SEO works fine so far.

SammyPhoto: How did you get into art?
Krislyn: I’m an artist. We all answer the same boring way: When I was a kid with crayons.

SammyPhoto: Who inspires you?
Krislyn: I have who and what.
Who: Every artist that came before me because really all us contemporary artist stand on their great shoulders. Without the likes of Van Gogh, Mondrian, Picasso, Leonardo, artists from Africa, India, Japan, artists from ancient times back to the Lascaux, all the artists I can’t think of right at this moment up to today are amazing and creative and looking at their work gives me tingles.
What: I am inspired by nature, animals, myths, textures, layers, lines, negative space and light. Just to name a few.

SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Krislyn: Springfield Oregon. We are lucky here to have so many parks and green spaces. Certainly, it is a beautiful area.

SammyPhoto: Could you share some of your hobbies with us.
Krislyn: I am a yoga teacher! I also love gardening, biking and playing volleyball. I like visiting with friends and meeting new people. I love sitting in coffee shops and sketching. I adore my kitties and play with them everyday. Sometimes I like to sew, or bead or try something else crafty (so long as there is no math involved).

SammyPhoto: Does your art pay the bills?
Krislyn: Nope. I hope to sell enough art simply to make space in my house for more art. It also would help with my art supplies. I pay the bills with teaching yoga and I couldn’t be more lucky!

SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Krislyn: I went to an arts and communications high school then two years of art college at Pacific Northwest College of Art. After that my life took on a less linear path and everything I have learned since is from trial and error and observing the greats.

SammyPhoto: Thank you so much Krislyn for doing this interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out Krislyndillard on Etsy HERE and follow her blog here HERE

Artist interview featuring Patty Andrea

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I would like to introduce you all to the wonderful owner of the Etsy shop Sapphire Island, Patty Andrea. She creates amazing minimalistic art inspired by the natural world around her. Lets get this interview started!
SammyPhoto: Walk us through the step-by-step process you use to create your art.
Patty: Most of the items in my Etsy shop are seashells I’ve found on beaches around the world. After the shells are cleaned up, I place them on large platters all over my studio and house, waiting for them to inspire the pattern/design that will work best for each shell. I usually paint part or all of the shells with a few coats of acrylic paint that I mix myself for just the right shade. Over a period of days (and sometimes weeks!) the design begins to reveal itself – I rarely just follow the simple path of plunking crystals and beads into the natural whorls and grooves of the pieces. I prefer a more organic feel to most things which is why I LOVE working with oyster shells that are not often the “darlings” of seashell collectors or artists. I have a collection of antique jewelry that I have carted around with me for many years, to foreign countries, various U.S. states and storage facilities that I deconstruct and incorporate pieces of into some of my pieces. Shells are so wonderful in that nobody really knows where they have been as they drift around in the oceans, sustaining life for various creatures. Add a bit of old jewelry that has been shuffled around for a while from place to place and you have a lovely, mysterious little art piece!

SammyPhoto: What are you favorite and least favorite parts of selling on Etsy?
Patty: Most artists have a tough time of getting their work visible . . . I love that Etsy has made it possible to get my pieces out there for so many to see. I think there are a lot of people who would prefer to buy unique, one of a kind items, so this makes it easier for both the artist and the buyer.

My least favorite part of Etsy would be photographing the items! I don’t mind writing the descriptions (most of my stuff has a story) but taking those pictures and making them really SHOW the piece in the best possible way, well, that has been a challenge for me. I will say, though, that you can find everything on the internet, so I have been learning photography and my photos are a lot better now than they were a few months ago when I first started!

SammyPhoto: Could you give us some helpful tips?
Patty: 3 Tips for Artists:
1. Do what speaks to you . . . I have tried to do things that I think people will buy, but they always turn out mediocre because I don’t really have any passion for it. Monetary motivation doesn’t usually work for art – if you can’t “feel” it, you probably can’t do it!

2. You will get frustrated with bringing your ideas to fruition. But keep at it, and somehow, in a dream, sitting on a beach or reading a book, something will click and you will figure out how to achieve your vision.

3. Don’t throw anything away – some day a light may go off on how to re-work it! I know some artists who love a good trashing and feel a release by destroying something they’ve made because they think it’s crap, but I’ve found it’s better to relegate it to a dark closet for a while than to wreck it. I have heard many regrets from those who have fatally axed their works!

3 Tips for starting on Etsy:
1. Figure out how to take good photos! Those pictures are going to be the biggest thing to draw someone into your shop. Etsy is very different from having your work in a gallery or boutique where lighting enhances the piece and people can pick them up, see your craft up close and feel the weight of it.

2. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you open your shop . . .jump in and do it! Certainly do your reading and research, figure out a strategy, but until you start, it’s hard to anticipate all the things you’ll come across that will need to be tweaked. You will make mistakes and not understand things, but there’s a wealth of information out there and sooner or later you’ll find the answers.

3. I am just learning how to use social media to gain views in my shop and I think it’s important to use it to your advantage. I am VERY new to it so I can’t offer much advice, but I am sure it is something all Etsy shops should be using – it’s free advertising!


SammyPhoto: How did you get into creating art?
Patty: I was always into interior design (as a kid, my bedroom was my “palette”; later, my husband and I bought and sold a number of homes) and found that if I wanted something that was “just right” for a particular spot, I had to make it myself. I’ve also been a bit of a hoarder of shells, rocks, beads and other bright, shiny objects so my collections just kind of led me into designs implementing what I had on hand. I have had some of my beads since the ’60’s (and still can’t quite part with some of them, but some day. . .) Through many trials and tribulations, I have discovered I am not a painter, I can’t draw and the idea of very large works scares me. But the thought of taking different things and putting them together to form something cohesive gives me great satisfaction.

SammyPhoto: Who inspires you?
Patty: Musicians and poets. They evoke moods and feelings, paint pictures with words. I played guitar in a few bands during my youth and was never very good at it. I’ve written poetry and was not good at that either (but I did fool some professors in college into thinking I WAS good at it!)

So, in lieu of doing what I REALLY wanted to do, I made a living the way most of us do, at jobs we don’t really like, fitting my creative time in when I could. Then, I decided to just chuck all that world behind me and figure out what would really make me happy. My husband and I got rid of most of our earthly possessions, moved to a remote beach along the Pacific at the edge of a Costa Rican jungle and started a fresh life of self-sufficiency (not to mention self-fulfillment!) It was the first time I had to create almost EVERYTHING out of nothing (instead of just creating SOME things out of nothing.) And though I had tons of shells back in the States in storage, Costa Rica was really where I found a need to create something out of them rather than just pile them in a bowl.

SammyPhoto: Where do you call home?
Patty: I grew up in an enclave of summer-only beach homes on the shores of Lake Michigan (my dad had winterized our home in the 50’s). My sister and I had plenty of playmates during the summer when big-city kids would come to their summer cottages, but after Labor Day, when the summer kids went home, we were kind of on our own. Our school was almost a mile and a half away, which was pretty far when you are a little kid (the quickest route, still over a mile, was through a large, scary cemetery.) Michigan winters are gray, bone-chilling events and creative invention was a necessity . . . we did all kinds of things to keep busy and most of that we made up as we went along.


SammyPhoto: Could you describe your style for us.
Patty: Though I love uniformity and balance, my mind works best outside the box. Most of my pieces are abstract and whimsical, which feels more natural to me. I do have a bit of OCD with high regards for messiness. Chaos is not all bad!

SammyPhoto: Could you share some of your hobbies with us.
Patty: I do a lot of reading and writing, and still play my guitar once in a while. I like to participate in art shows a few times a year and have had some of my art in galleries and beach town boutiques. I am working on some small sculptures, incorporating natural finds with vintage jewelry and glass beads . . . they are in the “dark closet” right now as I am working on ornaments for an upcoming Holiday show! I belong to an art league and volunteer my time to that when I can.

SammyPhoto: Does your art pay the bills?
Patty: Etsy doesn’t pay the bills yet, but I think I can make a nice little income out of it some day. I’m fairly new to the online world of selling, so I just have to keep working it. I do sell off line in shows and galleries. I like to do custom work for weddings, parties & holidays – some people just want what they want, in the colors they want it in. I have no problem with that.


SammyPhoto: Art school or self taught?
Patty: I taught myself in that if I needed something specific, I knew I would have to make it. I get a kick out of recycling things into useful (or just beautiful) objects. I think everyone has artistic abilities, they just need to figure out what they are.

SammyPhoto: Anything else you would like to share with us?
Patty: I love what I do and it never gets boring . . . there is always some new thing I want to try out. I feel pretty lucky to be able to do this now without having to work a “real” job to pay the bills, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to do it when I was younger!

SammyPhoto: Thank you so much Patty for doing this interview! I would like to invite everyone to check out Sapphire Island on Etsy HERE and follow Patty on Twitter HERE