Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Vampire clouds and more.

With the holidays upon us I am trying to tie all loose ends together with my gift list. I stayed along the lines of handmade, because really, how can you go wrong? I spent a huge amount of time on Etsy, browsing so many different store fronts, and I have spoken with quite a few talented people. To me, Etsy is like going to coolest arts/craft fair you can ever find. You can get cozy in your favorite chair with a cup of tea and not have to step out into the cold(or rainy like here in NY) weather. Where else can you go and find everything from handmade soaps and bath salts, all the way up to one of a kind created patterns to use to make your own gifts??
Well, if your not up for sewing, or knitting together a last minute gem of a present, be sure to stroll on over to our next creative girlies Etsy and maybe pick yourself up one of her very appealing hand painted tote bags among other things!

Amy comes to us from England where she is currently studying Art and Design. She also has a masters in Sociology to boot. From scrapping to photography, she brings to the table some fun designs.

1. Hello Amy!! So who is the girl behind "Tuesday afternoon Tea" Etsy shop and the "Tea and Toast" blog?

Hello there! Well, my name is Amy Elizabeth Knowles, I’m 24 years old and I live in Yorkshire, England. I love to draw, paint, sew, knit, take photographs, bake cupcakes and cookies, and drink lots of tea! I also enjoy scrap booking and have been published in UK magazine Scrapbook Inspirations. I like second-hand books, vintage locks and keys, swallows, anchors, hot buttered toast, geeky glasses, paint, Polaroid cameras, guerrilla art, deer, long car drives, pugs, making lists and train journeys. I’ve always been a big worrier and care far too much about what other people think of me, but just lately I’ve been trying to do things that make me happy and really enjoy life a bit more.

I read that you have received your Masters degree in Sociology and now you are studying Art and design, why the big switch? What is it about art that really made you decide to go and study it?

I’ve always been a creative soul but I never chose to study art at school or college because the little devil on my shoulder convinced me that I probably wouldn’t be able to earn a living out of it. Instead I chose to do an undergraduate degree and then a masters degree in Sociology, with the intention of doing my PhD and maybe being a social researcher. When I graduated from university I looked around for almost a year, half-heartedly applying for jobs but not really getting anywhere. I spent a lot of time battling with myself about what I thought was the ‘right’ thing to do (get a full time job using my degrees) and what I wanted to do (study art). I gradually came to the realisation that what I truly wanted to do was give myself the chance to pursue my artistic side, so I decided that I would take a year to do a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and see what happened.

3. "Tuesday Afternoon Tea" is the name of your Etsy shop. Why the name? And what kind of stuff can one find when browsing your shop?

I always carry a notebook around with me to jot down ideas for projects, to-do lists, things I want to remember. I also have a habit of writing down song lyrics that move me, quotes that inspire me, words that I find cute or interesting – things like that. I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to start an Etsy shop, so I’d gradually built up a list of possible shop names – Tuesday Afternoon Tea just happened to be the one I was most drawn to. I’m not sure if it properly represents the items you’ll find in the shop, but it definitely represents me - I think a good cup of tea can solve many a problem! If you pop over and have a look in the shop you’ll find a variety of hand painted bags and purses, delicate jewellery featuring locks and keys, embroidered art, the occasional painting, and a couple of very sweet plushies that are waiting for a loving new home!

4. If you had to choose one hobby, which one would you say is your favorite one to really focus on and possibly learn more about?

Well, studying for the diploma has so far given me the opportunity to try out lots of new areas such as ceramics, textiles, metalwork, printing, and darkroom photography, but I would say that most of all I want to work on my painting. I really want to develop my own style and become a skillful painter. I’m inspired by the work of Etsy sellers Elsie Flannigan, Ashley G and the Black Apple, and would love to be as talented as these lovely ladies!
5. I think one of my favorite items that you have throughout your shop and your flickr images, are those of the vampire clouds (and also a Vampire Ice cream cone). Where did this idea come from and what has been the response to them on your Etsy especially?

I honestly cannot say where the idea for the vampire clouds came from! I was doodling one day when they just appeared and it went from there. As well as the clouds I knew I also wanted to make some plushies and cuddly characters, and I thought it would be cute if they had similar facial expressions. Because I’m still relatively new to Etsy I get super excited whenever I get a sale, and I especially like it when I get chance to have little chats with the buyers! I sent one of my creatures, Gus, to cheer up one buyer’s sick friend, and one of my necklaces went to a lady who planned to wear it to her wedding rehearsal. Stories like that give me such a buzz! I love to package up each and every item as if I were sending a present to a friend, and include extras such as badges and a personal note to the buyer to try and bring a little sunshine to their day. One day I would love to be able to make a living from selling items I’ve made on Etsy, but right now I’m just enjoying putting things out there and (hopefully!) getting positive feedback.

6. Some people listen to music, have an inspiration wall, or even browse the Internet to get inspiration. What’s your source that you usually go to, something or somebody that may inspire you?

I listen to music a lot of the time – especially when I’m travelling to and from college – and this is where I get inspiration for things like the badges, which feature quotes or snippets of text. I usually have music on when I’m making or painting, as I find it relaxes me and helps me concentrate on what I’m doing. I also spend some time every day on the Internet – probably too much if I’m honest! I get a lot of inspiration from Flickr and love to browse photos on there – I always enjoy adding new contacts and am constantly amazed by the talents of people who share on there. As I said before, I always try to carry a little notebook around with me in case creativity strikes, but it usually takes me a long time to make any ideas I have a reality. They tend to join the bottom of a long list that just keeps on getting longer, but the ones that I am really passionate about will make it into the shop eventually! At the moment I seem to work in big bursts of time, spending whole weekends on making, photographing and uploading things to the shop, whilst weekdays are devoted to class projects.

7. Is there any certain thing you see yourself doing after you get your degree in Art and Design? Do you think you will continue to sell your handmade goods?

Unfortunately I’m not currently studying at degree level – the diploma is one step down from degree – but I’d still love to be able to put it to good use and work in some kind of creative field. It would be my dream to own my own studio space and be able to make a living selling my own creations. Having the Etsy shop makes me really happy and I’d love for it to be successful. When I’m having new ideas, making things or even just going to the post office to send parcels on their way, it’s like I’m in my own little world and I don’t want to give that up!

8. OK, so this is going to be a re-occurring question here on The Little Red Suitcase, what are 5 things you just couldn't’t live with out:

1. Cups of tea 2. A notebook and pen 3. My bed 4. Cuddles 5. Toast

9. What’s next for you in your Etsy endeavors? Any new projects that you are working on that will be incorporated into your storefront?

In the New Year I’d like to redesign the Etsy shop banner and make some new badges to include in my orders. I have a couple of new bag designs that I’m finishing up right now, and after Christmas I’m hoping to play around some more with my new Gocco friend Yoshi! An idea for a postcard set popped into my mind as I was half asleep a couple of nights ago, so I’m also planning on working on that! So many things!

10. To end our little interview, how about you leave us with a quote that inspires you!!!

Oo – can I have two please? I like this one from Henry David Thoreau:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

And this one from Frank Lloyd Wright:

“The thing always happens that you really believe in, and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”

Be sure to visit Amy at her blog as well as her flickr pages!! Thank you Amy for sharing a piece of your world with us.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

you had me at "vampire" hehe i'm scoping her out now! i looove those vampire clouds! hee!


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