1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
I am and have always been something of a Renaissance woman. I’m into a little bit of everything. I love science, I love art, and I’ve had an active hand in both. I have a bachelors degree in physics, and I was trained as a classical pianist. But, I also sew, I’m an amateur/hobbyist photographer and an amateur astronomer. It was a huge struggle for me to choose between pursuing a career in science vs. one in the arts. I’ve learned to live with both.
2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are you doing currently?
I work part time for a small performing arts organization—primarily for the purpose of covering my business expenses.
3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
Well, as of yesterday, my Etsy shops are in transition. In my Ag Jewelry Design Etsy shop I offer handcrafted jewelry made primarily from precious metals and gemstones. I don’t have any of my stone pieces up at the moment but I plan to soon.
4. Where do you create?
I have my own studio space. But, I actually create wherever I feel I have to go to plan or execute an idea—dining room table, kitchen bar area, my home office, cafe—just, wherever I need to get a job done.
5. Where do you get your inspiration?
Some things come to me spontaneously, others are sparked as the result of my reading and personal study of art, art history and jewelry history.
6. How did you learn how to do your craft?
I am primarily self-taught. I took a couple of workshops with Revere Academy (East), but outside of that I’ve found, given my academic background, I do better when I teach myself. Having a science background definitely helps with both the science of metalcraft and with the analytical process.
7. How do you promote your wares?
I have my jewelry website, http://www.agjewelrydesign.com/; my Etsy sites: http://hairthingys.etsy.com/ and http://agjewelrydesign.etsy.com/; and now my Flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/gentrydesigncompany/ I also promote my stuff through my blog http://www.gentrydesignco.typepad.com/, and I’m starting to get into the gallery/boutique scene.
I’ve learned the hard way that just because you have what you think is a fabulous product doesn’t mean that people will want to buy it. That is to say, I know what I like making, but I’ve found that I must take into consideration the needs and desires of my target audience. Also, find your voice in your area *before* you start selling. I’ve been trying to “find my voice” as I go along and I’ve found it to be quite frustrating-- and perhaps a little confusing for any potential customers because they don’t know what to expect next from me from one batch of product postings to the next (but, that’s just the way I work ;-).
I’d have to refer people back to the previous question. If I had been aware of those things from the beginning, I think it would have really helped.
I have way too many favorites! But, ones that come to mind immediately are Paulus Fine Furniture , Metal Bludger, the Builder’s Studio, and Etta Mae.