Congratulations to Cortney for winning last weeks Treasury Challenge with her gorgeous Treasury Fantasizing A Blue World! I really enjoyed being able to speak with Cortney a little bit about her art, her shop and inspirations. This is what she had to say...
~ My Interview with Cortney ~
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your shop?
I'm 34 years old. I'm a mother, a veteran, a reservist (in the Air Force), I'm currently going to school full time to get my Bachelor's and I work full time as a Sponsorship Coordinator at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM. My Husband is Active Duty and we have lived here for 3 years.
My shop is filled with organic and natural products for the bath, mostly. I make soap, bath salts, oils, and candles.
What inspired you to open your shop
My shop is inspired by my faith. I'd consider myself a green witch. I have been on this path for 16 years. I started making candles 10 years ago. When we got stationed overseas, I stopped making everything. When we got stationed at Kirtland, I began dabbling in soap. I love to garden and create organic and natural products. I felt that the bathroom is our most sacred area....when it comes to bathing (grin). We bathe to relax, think, release tension. I started thinking about all the things I worry about when I'm taking a shower or bath and started to design products around those worries.
Besides designing & creating things, what do you do
My main job is a Sponsorship Coordinator at Kirtland AFB. My sole purpose is to seek out companies to sponsor events that enhance the morale, welfare and recreation of the Active Duty and Civilian community on the base. Most of our events are considered "Non-Appropriated Funds" which means they are not funded by Congress. We are a self-sustaining squadron and we have facilities that generate money. But, due to costs of maintaining those facilities, some events cannot be paid for and so it is my job to get funding. With Sponsorship comes benefits like advertising, logo placement and even representatives to attend the event to talk to the troops. It can be very stressful at times but...it's completely satisfying to see our families have a good time.
Where, who or what does your influence come from?
My influence comes from my faith but also...everyday issues,, problems and stressers. I create "spell" kits. Though the word 'spell' might deter some, it simply means I have given you tools to aid in a prayer of hope. Plants, herbs and essential oils have specific purposes. I feel that God....or Godess (smile) have given us these tools to use. So I have added them to my products to help in that prayer or spell that you might be thinking of when bathing.
What inspires you to be creative?
Inspiration comes from everyday interactions with people. I tend to attract people who need to get something off their chest. You could call me a psychiatrist who doesn't get paid! But, they inspire me to create products that help them and others.
How do you get out of a creative rut?
Sigh, well....sometimes that's a toughy. I created a product just for this purpose, "Writer's Block". But sometimes even I get so stuck, I forget I've given myself this tool! Rosemary can help awaken the thought process. When it dawns on me that I have just the tool, I use my own product. I love to write also, so when the creative rut is deep...I start to write which then spurs more creative thought.
When did you first discover that you were or wanted to be an artist?
Since the day I was born? HA! When I was 5, my mother took me to Ballet class. This was and will always be my first love. I danced for many years until economic struggles made it too hard to go and I had to quit. I always wonder where I might be today if I had been able to continue on that path but...everything happens for a reason. I began to draw and write and still do to this day. I think making the products that I do is just another creative outlook that I love.
Can you describe your creative process for us?
I go with my gut, intuition.... For awhile, it was getting difficult to handle my schedule, with school, work, and leaving town each month for reserve duty. That's when I created "Unwind" bath salts. I know I'm not the only one who has stress. This is how I create. I go with the knowledge I have on herbs and essential oils but I also do research and make sure I'm blending the right herbs and oils together to get the best result. Then I create!
What is your most cherished handmade possession?
Does my son count? My son is special needs and he inspires me not to create but that with all the trials and tribulations, we all have a purpose and we are all special. He inspires patience and creativity as he loves to draw...cars mostly :). He creates things from the strangest objects. He amazes me everyday and I think, how can this young boy do such amazing things? He's definitely my most cherished handmade possession. He is a part of me and the love I have for him is the energy I put forth in the products I create.
Where do you see or want your shop to be this time next year?
That's an interesting question as this next year will be very interesting. In February, I'm taking a hiatus as I will be leaving my family for 5 months to train in Texas. I have made the decision, upon returning, that my shop will become my full time job. So I hope by next year, I will have more products and will have tweaked my craft to be more efficient and successful.
The Elements Soap & Oil Set - Organic Soap and Essential Oil to help balance you with Nature Earth, Water, Fire, Air
Where would you like to be in ten years?
In ten years my husband will be close to retiring. I hope, after all the travel we have done that we find a wonderful place to live in this great country and...I hope to have a real storefront.
Who are your favourite shops to browse on Etsy?
Oh...there are so many to choose from!!!
-This is one of my newest favorites and the owner is amazing!
-Another amazing shop. I have many items in my son's room from her.
-This is a shill...as these are my parents...but no kidding, as mad as my mother gets when I do this, I've bought over 12 coasters from them. One of many loves is music and I just can't help myself. I have them all over the house!
-Your stuff is absolutely amazing. The dolls...the DOLLS! You are so on my Christmas list...for me! As I'm going to be selfish and buy a present for myself!.
-I could go crazy int his shop!
What is your best advice to newbie Etsian's just opening their shops?
My best advice...Take good pictures! It's all about what we see, not what it is. I've learned this the hard way but a good lesson nonetheless. I don't read first, I look first...so take great pictures!
Where else other then Etsy can you be found on the net?
I also have an artfire account. And by next year, hope to have my own website also. www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/sunmune
I'm still learning how to use this site! But it seems great.
Do you have any coupon codes that you would like to share with our readers?
Right now I have a special going on thru Black Friday. Buy any two items, get any soap free. They just need to write which soap they would like in the notes of the transaction.