Having previously won the Treasury Challenge myself, I wanted to pay it forward and give the blog feature to another deserving team member. I am excited to share with you a great interview I had with one of our newer team members, Kristen from Havok Designs!
Bold & Modern Red Wool Felt iPhone / iPod Touch Cozy with Earphone or USB Cable Back Pocket - Double Buttoned
~ My Interview with Kristen ~
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your shop?
I am 27, have been married for three years, and I just graduated last December with my A.A. in Art. I plan on continuing my education with a B.A. followed by a Masters degree allowing myself to work with museums or open up my own art gallery someday.
Our shop provides a mixture of objects for your life utilizing wood, sewing and art. We want to make your lives more fun and efficient and allow you to choose items that match your individual style. We love doing custom and OOAK pieces!
What inspired you to open your shop?
My shop started with my husband and I being unhappy at our jobs, working for other people receiving very little appreciation and respect in return. We are both intelligent and creative, though in different ways. Our idea was to take the talents and passions we both possess and to bring them together forming one unique creative outlet. We create and design a mixture of goods for your life. I am the artist and sewer, and he is the wood worker and the fabricator.
Besides designing & creating things, what do you do?
We recently had the amazing opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful places in all of the United States, the south west region of Montana amongst the Rocky Mountains, the Bitterroot National Forest, just north west of the Continental Divide. We don't have all the conveniences of the city, but we have all the natural beauty one could ask for! So we spend a lot of time outdoors on trails, sight-seeing, taking photographs, fishing, and just being. We came from south Florida where you are constantly bombarded with something. Whether it be people, advertising, or superficiality, having a silent moment to yourself does not exist. Though we know it's only temporary, we are taking advantage of the opportunity to live peaceful lives.
Grey Wool Felt iPhone Case / iPod Touch Case with Earphone Pocket - Lime Green Accents & Wood Button
Where, who or what does your influence come from?
Most of my artwork has been influenced by life, nature and other people, especially my parents. My dad was a professional musician and writer, and my mom was a writer and supporter of all things creative. They encouraged me to create art, write, color outside the lines, and to just be me and do what makes me happy. My dad died when I was 16 and my mother passed about two and a half years ago. My artwork tends to show my feelings and emotions that have gone along with those events. I use it as a cathartic release and often produce some impressive and beautiful work.
As far as my sewn goods, I am influenced by daily living, efficiency and individuality. I like being that person who has something no one around her has, and I want my customers to have that same pride of being themselves, and I love having items that just make your life better! I enjoy the handmade, homey feeling of it all, too. My mom was a wonderful sewer and growing up she made all of our costumes, dresses and such. Adding personal touches makes it feel more real, as if it were created specifically for you.
What inspires you to be creative?
Talking with other creative people and seeing the work they produce drives me forward. Life has taken me on several twists and turns, ups and downs, and I try to integrate those feelings and emotions into my artwork. But I really do love looking at others' works! I also love seeing the process of things from start to finish. I love watching reality shows such as, "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" or "Top Chef" and seeing the creativity and different avenues people take utilizing the same materials.
How do you get out of a creative rut?
This is going to sound kinda dorky, but I dance, jump on the bed, or blow bubbles :) I feel anything that reminds you of the innocent wonder of being a kid is a good thing! It'll always make me feel better, but if I'm still feeling uncreative I'll go online or pick up a book or magazine and look at works by my favorite artists.
When did you first discover that you were or wanted to be an artist?
It's funny because in some way shape or form I have always been involved in art, but not until the past couple of years when others starting calling me an artist did I realize that's what I was meant to be! I was always confused about what I wanted to major in or what to go to school for until I had art and graphic design classes as my electives. After seeing how naturally well I did and how much I enjoyed it all, I realized that art can be my career and my life as opposed to just my hobby or just "that thing I do."
Can you describe your creative process for us?
I'll have an inspiration and idea and I'll either sketch it out or just jump right into it! I continually work at it, altering, removing, adding, revisiting until I am satisfied with where it is going. I'll sit and stare for a long time at it, hours it feels, and analyze it in every way shape and form possible. I usually just keep working until it's done. I'm a little nutty about that...
What is your most cherished handmade possession?
A couple years ago in my 3-D Design studio class, our first project was to create a wooden sculpture using only found objects a la Louise Nevelson. I used wooden parts from a doll house kit my dad had purchased when I was young but never completed, old wooden family picture frames, other objects from my childhood, and wooden objects I found outside the home. My husband helped me build a wooden frame and from there I put all the objects together how I thought they looked best and spoke to me most. I finished it up with a few coats of a medium dark grey spray paint. I wanted it to elude a somber, reflective tone. It came out extremely beautiful and I have received much praise over it. It was my first experience with sculpture and artistic cathartic release, and ever since I've kind of been addicted to that feeling and experience.
Where do you see or want your shop to be this time next year?
My goal is to make it to the front page of Etsy within my first year. I would really like our Blog, Facebook and Twitter pages to be popular. Hopefully by then we would have had loads of sales and positive feedback! I want myself and the business to continue to learn and grow. We opened this past August so as far as businesses go, we are still an infant. I have seen a lot of progress so far already, and I just hope it keeps going!
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I would love for this business to be completely successful, enough so that I would have gone back to school and received my masters. With that under my belt, I will have my own art gallery and would have had my artwork seen all around the country in shows and other galleries.
Who are your favourite shops to browse on Etsy?
Haven Vintage is a wonderful shop! Nervous system is a great shop for unique and beautiful jewelry. Natalie + Alanna is an amazing shop with two independent fashion designers with beautiful stylish hand made clothing! I can't get enough of David Rasmussen's furniture! There are so many incredible shops on Etsy, and I am continuously finding more and more I love!
What is your best advice to newbie Etsian's just opening their shops?
Two concepts I am still trying to wrap my finger around, and they are Patience and Photography! It takes time to see results and you need that patience to keep your nose to the ground, so to speak. Keep working to get your name out there. Photographs will make or break your store! If you have amazing photos that'll pretty much sell your product for you. Learn to love your camera and your photo editing software :)
Where else other then Etsy can you be found on the net?
Right now just on our website at www.havok-designs.com, our blog at www.sewhavokdesigns.blogspot.com, on Facebook and Twitter. We've been contacted by other stores who will soon be selling our items as well.
Do you have any coupon codes that you would like to share with our readers?
I am currently offering a 15% off coupon code TAKE15 to the readers of this blog! Enjoy!