Monday, January 12, 2009

Spotlight On ...

Paula Bidwell of Native Talisman Art!

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
I am an American Indian artist and jeweler. I am also considered an Indigenous Healer and spent many years on the reservation learning. I combine both worlds into my art. I draw, paint and illustrate the visions, dreams and mystical experiences I’ve had. This work is so gratifying because it resonates with so many other people. I also believe strongly that we are all related and there is very little separation between us. When making jewelry or creating traditional crafts I use materials and symbols that have meaning and substance in a spiritual sense.
2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are you doing currently?
I love to cook and consider this a creative endeavor that fits nicely with my artist jeweler life
I’m working on a new cook book called “Hard Times—Fast and Decadent Comfort Foods" with recipes that are fast, easy and inexpensive.

3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
My Etsy shop “Native talisman Art” has art prints (from my dreams, visions and experiences), hand painted leather medicine bags, Native Amercian cookbooks, and a new line of Native American Bone (Hair Pipe) Chokers, necklaces and earrings.

4. Where do you create?, studio, and many times lying prone on the sofa!

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration usually comes to me around 4:00 a.m. when the world is quiet and still. I think at this time, I can reach out and capture the more mystical and magical elements of the world around me. I also spend quite a bit of time thinking about new designs. If I’m especially excited about something, I can stay focused for hours and sometimes days. The process of designing in my mind is a pleasurable one for me and has been really successful. It’s almost like I tap into some sort of creative mystical zone where everything is possible. The materials I use are so varied. I’ll try anything and everything to achieve the design. I don’t believe much in limits.

6. How did you learn your craft?
When I was very young, my father who was an artist, recognized some sort of talent in me and on my tenth birthday presented me with a full set of oil paints, canvases, brushes and easel. He gently guided me with paints, pen and ink and charcoal. The jewelry came later. My uncle showed me how to solder silver. Then a brother showed me how to cut and stamp. The beaded jewelry started when I was a teenager and various relatives and friends showed me different techniques along the way.

7. How do you promote your wares?
Since most of my sales are from my internet stores, I really research keywords and read everything I can about Search Engine Optimization. I also belong to several networking groups such as Flickr and IndiePublic. When I list an item on Etsy, I upload the photos and descriptions to these sites. On my e-mail signature I add a “clickable” URL for my stores. And most of all, I am a member of Etsy Artist of Color.

8. What has been the most important lesson you've learned since you started selling your own creations?
To do what I love and to love doing it.

9. Is there any advice you can give others who are just starting out?
List or renew items frequently and in the early evening when most people are home from work and have the time to browse. Read Storque articles, network with other Etsy artists through Etsy groups and forums, have lots of items in your store at least 2 dozen and take really good pictures, include everything you can think of in your description.

10. Do you have any favorite Etsy artists you'd like to promote here?
Foret—Emporium of the Unique, Indigenous Art—Ornaments and Prints , The Lote tree—Hand made with Love, and Native Beads .

1 comment:

My Mother's Garden said...

This was an enjoyable interview! It's always nice to learn a little bit about an artist.Paula's work is really beautiful, I especially like the medicine bags.


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