A big CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Rebecca of Libromancer, she is the winner of last weeks Treasury Challenge for the theme "SENSUAL!" Since she is on a roll and this is actually her second time to win the challenge in less then a months time she has made the extremely generous offer to give her featured interview away to her runner up in the Challenge Kris of Cat House Prints. I had the opportunity to speak to Kris about her lovely shop, her art, her hopes and dreams and have put together a great little interview for your reading pleasure. So grab a yummy beverage, sit back, relax and get to know Kris a little better.
~ My Interview with Kris of Cat House Prints ~
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your shop?
I’m Kris and I have lived in Southern California my entire life. I live with 4 cats and recently moved my mom in after she fell and broke her pelvis. She had been living in a senior environment 99 miles away and it was becoming difficult having her so far away at that point. I work in the corporate world part time and am now a full time caregiver. I also have an obsession with genealogy!
My shop is Cat House Prints (a “catchy” name I came up with as I currently offer prints of original mixed media paintings and drawings, and I live in a house with cats). I plan to expand my shop to include printed fabric items such as T-shirts and dish towels, as well as jewelry and magnets.
What inspired you to open your shop?
I have always loved giving handmade gifts to people and have always had great feedback. People would always ask why I am not “out there”. When I found out about Etsy, I was inspired by all the amazing handmade items and wanted to be a part of the community; it just took me a few years to join. I was so inspired by the “Quit Your Day Job” series and the concept of reaching such a vast audience, if you will, outside of my family, friends, and local community.
Besides designing & creating things, what do you do?
I have spent the past 2 plus years looking for my paternal grandmother and in doing so, discovered so many interesting characters in that family line, that I had to research all of them and would like to turn that research into a book! I am a vegan and I love to cook. I also love history and enjoy historical bus tours.
Where, who or what does your influence come from?
As far back as I can remember, I have always been encouraged to be creative, even when I scribbled my name on my toy box with crayon as a 4 year old kid. My parents always gave us paper and color pencils and paint by number kits for gifts! My mom did dabble in drawing and crocheting and my family always seemed to be “working” with their hands.
What inspires you to be creative?
Many things inspire me to be creative – music, nature, animals, design and shape from the 50s, and even past and current events.
How do you get out of a creative rut?
When I’m in a creative rut, I will focus more on researching my family tree and make bracelets. I find that the bracelets are easy to make and do not require the same process and I can make several while watching TV. Also, the family research tends to inspire the creative side when I read old newspaper articles that always seem to lead to new ideas such as carving portraits from old family photos on lino or soft rubber blocks.
When did you first discover that you were or wanted to be an artist?
My desire to be an artist has always been there. As I kid I never wanted to be something “practical” when I grew up. I wanted to be a go-go dancer, a painter and I wanted to write stories and illustrate my books. I was much better at those assignments in school than I was at math or science!
Can you describe your creative process for us?
I am constantly doodling and sketching in either sketchbooks or journals. I also write down ideas I have for paintings (and I have tons of those). I draw my “characters” and when I’m happy with them, I make copies of them to use in mixed media collage pieces. I color them using Prismacolor pencils and attach them to my painted canvas. I love cutting paper shapes and those shapes become part of the paintings in the form of rugs, lamps, tables, etc. The cut shapes are painted prior to being attached to the canvas. I then embellish with brush markers and painting directly on the canvas.
What is your most cherished handmade possession?
I’d have to say it is a fabulous pink chenille robe my sister made for me several years ago! I love it, and so does my mom! She has kind of taken ownership of it - LOL.
Where do you see or want your shop to be this time next year?
I’d like to see more traffic and sales, and I plan to have more items listed. I’d love to see happy customers and repeat customers!
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I’d like to be living somewhere beautiful and relaxing, happy and completely supporting myself creatively. I’d also like to have published my book about my search for my grandmother.
What is your best advice to newbie Etesian's just opening their shops?
My best advice would be the advice I try to follow and that is to produce what you love, interact with other sellers that have success and learn from them. I have found many accomplished sellers are truly helpful. Join a group or groups (such as Etsian Artists) and ask, listen and learn. Networking and promoting yourself and others is essential.
Where else other then Etsy can you be found on the net?
My blog where I document my family research and share what I learn about my ancestors, as well as sharing my art, cats, my love of music, and my thoughts in general. I have recently started featuring other artists on my blog and am currently working on a few tutorials to share there. I also have a Facebook page and am really trying to make that more interesting and entertaining for the awesome “fans”.
Do you have any coupon codes that you would like to share with our readers?
Yes. Use coupon code LOVECAT for 10% off any item in the shop!