1. When and why did you start crafting?
Well, as a young child I started drawing and painting, mostly horses. As I was a horse crazy girl from a non horse crazy rural poor farm family! So my first horse didn't come along until I was old enough to get a job and pay for the upkeep myself at age 16. Until then, I painted many imaginary horse friends! As I got older I wound up leaving my art world behind to make my way in life like most people. Then about three years ago I think I hit my mid life crisis and reached out to art again as a fresh start! Somehow watercolor pencil painting appealed to me, very new and different to me than the oils/acrylics I used in my youth, so that's the medium I focus on. I decided my next career move is to become a full time self supporting artist!
2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?
I really enjoy the creative journey, from the excitement of the new idea, deciding on the design, colors and composition, the actual work in progress and the final product. I often have at least two or three other projects lined up in my head while I'm working on the current one! I really enjoy creating a series of paintings or functional art, for instance the series of Prancing Horse small format paintings, and I have two other southwest wildlife series sets I'm working on. The eagle beaded bookmark is one of a set of southwest wildlife bookmarks, planning on a cougar and bear also. Right now, I'm in the process of making a series of three small hiking or trail riding journals which are beaded with semi precious stones and each journal cover will have an original miniature painting of another set of southwest wildlife (mustangs, elk and buffalo).
3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?
Etsy peaked my interest from an artist forum I was on (a lot). Many artists there kept mentioning Etsy as their store so I checked it out! I liked what I found on Etsy very much and decided this was the way to begin to sell my art online on my budget. I started my store in October of 2007. I have learned so much, my Etsy shop is a work in progress, I'm getting more the hang of what I want visitors to experience when they visit my shop and look at the artwork.
4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?
I think the hardest thing for me in my shop now, besides building new inventory, is promoting. Especially online networking and promoting. Like most artists, I just want to devote all my time to making my art as best as I can. Which for me, requires quite a bit of mental energy, and I'm the type of artist who needs to be in that creative zone. Otherwise if I make myself work on my art everyday, that's what it looks like, to me, as if the piece was worked on and not naturally flowing with color and feel. I have discovered I feel the same way about promoting online. I have gotten better about spending time promoting at least one to two days a week. If I had the budget, I'd hire someone to promote my art for me!!
5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?
My goal is to rely on sales through Etsy to pay my bills and be part of my full time financial support from online sources (like Artfire and Ebay). And the sales I have made do go toward bills, seems like as soon as the money is in my paypal account, I've got it going out to pay for something else! I would like to have several sales a month, but it's not that way yet. I have faith that time will pay off for me! My Etsy shop is fun for me anyway!!
6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?
No, I'm in the process of building more inventory, creating more art so I'm just focusing on online sales right now. However, my goal is to have my own website, also to be more in depth about my art and then use all the online shops to showcase my art to anyone. Then I can go out to brick and mortar shops locally with a great portfolio and a big Texas smile!!
7. Where else can you be found online?
I have an Artfire store, http://hosslassart.artfire.com , on Twitter http://twitter.com/hosslass , my blog http://hosslass.blogspot.com and I now Plurk http://plurk.com/hosslass and one day my own website, name to be determined!
Thanks for the great interview HossLass. Be sure to check out the box to the right for a few of her great Etsy items, and then visit her other shops, too.