i'm excited to announce the next "rockstar etsy seller" interview with: kirby! i just LOVED reading her answers to my questions! a degree obtained in scotland, a cat named oliver twist, and homeschool graduate! she's my kind of girl. welcome to sewing in the past, kirby! :)
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an artist, vintage clothing dealer, and freelance costume designer living in Atlanta, Georgia. I was born here, but have lived everywhere in between. I hold an undergraduate degree in Art History and a Master’s degree in Museum Studies, both of which I obtained in Scotland. I’ve been married for two years to my husband, who is also involved in the arts, and have three rescue kitties named Klaus, Amelie, and Ollie (short for Oliver Twist).
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I am heavily involved in dance, so that takes up most of my time when I’m not creating. But dance is a form of creating, too, I suppose. When I really think about it, creating is an all-consuming process, so except for mundane tasks like doing the laundry, washing dishes, and feeding the cats, I don’t do a lot that doesn’t involve creating in some form.
What first made you want to become an artist/crafter/seamstress?
I was homeschooled, which I feel really nurtured my creativity. Growing up we were always involved in something creative. We were always encouraged to take up new activities and learn new things, and if there was something I really wanted to do, such as take art classes or dance lessons, my parents always somehow scraped together the money for me to do. I’m really grateful to my parents for that.
Please describe your creative process.
Right now a lot of my inspiration is coming from 19th century literature. I also have a wonderful collection of rather dog-eared books pertaining to the both art history and the history of clothing, so whenever I am feeling the need to be inspired, I will pull them out and look at them. It helps to jump start my creative process. When I am ready to create a piece (or two or ten…), I will tend to lock myself away in my art studio and not come out until I’m finished. I don’t like to take breaks when I’m on a roll!
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My late grandmother, who was also an artist, made a beautiful cross-stitched Christmas stocking for me before I was even born. I’m grown up now, but I still hang it up on my mantle every December!
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Keep your shop as full as possible, and just keep trying to get your work out there where it is through relisting, facebook, or blogging about it. It takes time to establish yourself as a new artist, but you can do it. Also, know who you are as an artist. It’s important to keep an eye on trends , but don’t be such a slave to trends that you lose your own uniqueness.
How do you promote your work?
This is an area I’m still working on! I relist items a fair bit, but I also promote through word of mouth. I also always keep business cards with me!
In ten years, where would you like to be?
Since my husband and I are both involved in the arts, it is our ultimate goal to have a brick and mortar art space. Making a living doing what we love is our ultimate goal.