Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Feature -- Pursuits of Happiness

This week's featured Etsy artist is fellow SF Etsy member Francene of Pursuits of Happiness. Her whole shop just makes me smile! I especially love this Farmer's Market Junkie T-shirt (which is also available as a tote bag):

And as a tote bag enthusiast, I just adore this crafty bag!
Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I create and carve my own designs into block stamps which I use to print on organic t-shirts. I have also created a few Xmas stocking as well and I am now offering tote bags as well.

I learned this craft simply through trial and error. I know I wanted to create designs and print them on textiles but I wanted to use a different printing technique other than silk screening or heat press. I have always been a great lover of block prints so I began to explore how they are made and I found a soft rubber-like material that allows me to quickly carve out my designs and ink them onto textiles. This material is primarily used for creating stamps for use on paper but I found they work quite well with fabric paint. My designs are not in anyway perfect or refined which is what wanted because it shows that they are made by a person and not a computer.

2. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

I work for an energy consulting company which requires me to be on the computer all day long. Last year I realized I was missing a creative outlet in my life that required me to work with my hands. I have also always wanted to start a business so I began to explore business ideas that would match my need of being creative and working with my hands and that how the idea for Pursuits of Happiness came to be. The name came from what I am trying to do in my own life and is the general theme for all the designs I create.

One of my favorite artists is Vermont block printing artist Mary Azarian and I absolutely love her work. Last year I visited a gallery that features her work and I bought several pieces that I have on my walls and I just love the theme of her pieces which is rural Vermont living.

3. What inspires your creations?

My designs are inspired by the simple yet wonderful things that bring people pleasure & fun such as bicycles, good food, gardening, or their favorite pet goat. I also include eco themes such as green building and preserving the planet. I started by making designs of bicycles because that is my husband’s passion and I could not find many t-shirt bike designs that he would like. It then it grew into making designs of things that I, my friends & family enjoy like farmer’s markets, cooking and animals.

4. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

I have so many designs that I cannot print them all on shirts for my site as it would eat up my blank shirt stock. At this point I make shirts only when they are ordered. The creative way I found around this was to print on colored paper that is similar to the t-shirts colors I offer. One fellow Etsy artist suggested I create at least 3 designs for the featured items which I thought was a great idea. Once I kick start my wholesale campaign and get some orders this will solve this problem.

5. What is your favorite item in your shop? Why is it your favorite?

Green Builder t-shirt featuring the 3 Little Pigs. I created this because I am a huge fan of the green building and I could not find any shirts with this theme.

6. If you had a gift certificate to Etsy for any one item you wanted, what would you buy?

Big Sleeping Grizzly Bear Bean Bag – I think this is a riot!

7. What crafting skill(s) do you wish you had or hope to learn someday?

I would like to learn woodblock printing.

8. What has been your biggest success and/or proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?

My first day posting my designs I made a sale and this is what kick started me. I decided to post on Etsy because I am impressed with Etsy as a simple, cost effective place to showcase my designs because I did not have the time or knowledge to make a website, but I really did not expect to make many sales. I was not even ready for a sale and I had to quickly make tags, get shipping material, research shipping methods, etc all in about 4 hours. I got it all done and shipped the item the next morning and the customer loved it. This will always be my favorite day because it‘s what got me started.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


ash said...

i LOVE the bike chain <3 tee!!

jargonheadstudios said...

I love the Farmer's Market Junkie shirt!

嘉花 said...

It's great!!..........................................

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