Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Featured Artisan

Today's featured Artisan is Alex Petersen. I met her in the Etsy forums last week and instantly fell in love with her work. She does encaustic over pen and ink drawings, among other things. Enjoy her interview!
1. What is your craft of choice, and how long have you been doing that?I'm currently obsessed with encaustic. More specifically, encaustic used as a glaze over pen and ink. My main current project involves a large scaledrawing cut into 165 3"x 3" squares and individually dipped into encaustic medium, before being reassembled into a mosaic of sorts. (I'm hoping it turns out, because I was really fond of that drawing, lol!) the attraction to encaustic, for me, is that there is absolutely no "wrong" application. When I started working with it a few years ago, there was very minimal information on it. This created a huge feeling of creative freedom I haven't felt with other media.
2. How did you get started?With art itself? My mother taught art privately for years, so I grew up in a pretty full immersion environment. With the encaustic, I read a reference to the technique several years ago and was unfamiliar with it. Of course I did a google search and found someone in Great Britan that was selling small 'starter' kits with a page of tips and techniques included. I confiscated our griddle and bought a heat gun, and haven't looked back since.
3. How long have you been on Etsy?I actually signed up with Etsy a couple years ago, in 2007, but didn't commit to putting my things in the shop until almost two months ago.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?In five years I am hoping to expand my exposure a bit more, especially with my larger work. Nothing with too much pressure, though. I really like to keep the ability to continually push myself artistically, and I find that is hard to keep when you have gallery heavy commitments or become known for a particular style-that puts a lot of pressure to keep your 'brand' look. Yet another reason why selling online is such a cool opportunity.
5. What is the most challenging thing about having an online business?Not getting discouraged! I have had to take such a crash course in online marketing. I couldn't have even known where to start without the wonderful help of the Etsy community. I do think artists can be a bit over sensitive about their work,and I'm certainly not immune! Developing a thick skin in the more anonymous realm of the intertubes is critical.
6. What is the most rewarding thing about having an online business?Definitely the community! Where else can you have virtually instant feedback (good and bad) on your work? Or such a wide and varied global audience? I think this has opened such huge possibilities that would have been completely unthinkable just a few years ago.
7. How does your internet business fit into your life? Is it your job or do you have another job as well?Perfect fit, I'd say. I quit my regular job about 10 years ago, when I had my second son. In addition to the art, I keep the books for my husband's freelance work. He's an industrial designer that does quite a bit of retail design. So, I find having the Etsy shop provides perfect flexibility.
8. When you are not crafting, how do you spend your time?When I can carve a bit of free time, I love to read. I'm a pretty big s.f. geek, lol. Of course, my boys are now 15 and 11, so we try to spend as much time as we can with them in addition to everything else. They keep us moving!
9. Are there any links you'd like to share?Well, I just started my first blog at the suggestion of many in the Etsy community. I hope to contain the theme to my personal struggles with the creative process, as well as (hopefully) share tips and techniques. It's also where I'm sharing some of my bigger pieces of work.
10. Where do you get your inspiration??I see inspiration as more of a continual process of input, rather than from any particular sources. I sometimes think of our brains taking the form of a little busy squirrel, only instead of stuffing our cheeks with seeds and nuts, we are tucking away all sorts of little informational bits, storing them away for some future artistic endeavor.
This was a lot of fun, and I have to admit answering these questions has made me stop and think more than a little! I was surprised at how many things I've not ever really given a lot of thought. Thank you for including me in your blog, and I am REALLY looking forward to reading other artist's answers.


I have to admit, I was initially drawn to Alex because she's also in the Portland area. So she has the same challenges, and opportunities, to getting herself 'out' there. Check out her work, I think you'll be drawn to it, much as I was. Thank you, Alex!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday! I'll be working on some creative photography tonight, and narrowing down choices for the February art show.


Rose Works Jewelry said...

Great interview - I look forward to reading the future interviews!

Expressions By Devin said...

Great feature.Love the drawings,They are amazing:0)

On a Whimsey said...

Great interview! Love her work and can so equate to the fact of difficulty in marketing! I always love to paint in encaustics but then comes the really hard bit... the pricing, marketing etc. Then, if you sell a piece, you have to be brave and pack it up lovingly to send it into the world to its new owner!!

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