Where are you located?
I was born, raised, and still live in Chicago, Illinois. This area of the United States faces very severe seasons: sweltering summers, beautiful and crisp autumn, freezing winters, and very lush springs. I draw a lot of my inspiration from nature, so I am very happy that it is spring right now!
What do you create?
I create hand-embroidered pendants. I make up each image, embroider it completely by hand, and I then secure it in a metal pendant frame. I like the pendant frame because it is delicate, light, and beautifully frames the embroidered designs. I also provide a chain with each pendant, so each necklace is ready to wear.
When and why did you set up your online shop?
I set up my online shop in March 2009 and initially sold my photographs. Then I decided that I wanted to do more in terms of “creating.” I always liked to sew, so I taught myself how to embroider, practiced a LOT, and started making my pendants. I opened up my shop because I wanted to share what I created with the rest of the world. I love knowing that other people are enjoying what I made.
How do you promote your creations?
Spareflair on ETSY
Spareflair on Facebook
I am still working on mastering the art of promoting my work. I have posted ads on retail websites. I also try to gain exposure through Etsy.com by creating Treasury Lists, where you make a list of items from Etsy.com that are all in line with a particular theme, such as “purple flowers” or “wedding.” While you cannot list your own things in your Treasury List, if you create a cool list that is visible to lots of Etsy users, your shop may get looked at more often. I also joined a “team” on Etsy, and my team focuses on needle arts.
What inspires your work?
I make up all my designs, and I like to plan my designs by looking through pictures I have taken of flowers and plants. Sometimes I’ll base a design off a plant in real life, but most of the time I will look at a plant and say, “Now what would make that look even more interesting, and more like a unique piece of art?” A lot of my designs are tweaked so that they are not “just another flower.” I want each design to echo both the unknown and the familiar.
Recently, I have also been making whimsical designs and fun images, like hearts and a little whale. I have a series of sailboats planned too. I would also like to expand into things bigger than necklaces, like wall art.
What is your must have tool for creating?
Definitely my three-inch embroidery hoop. It’s a must-have for what I’m doing. Also, a good, strong light. I tried embroidering once without a strong light and my eyes were killing me!
Do you have any tips for others wanting to turn their art into a business?
I have a time-demanding day job and it’s tough for me to find as much time as I would like to create my pendants. You have to treat creating like it is a second job if you want your business to be profitable. This means budgeting, schedules, spreadsheets, etc. There are a lot of wonderful business tutorials out there for crafters that I have been using.
What good books have you read or movies have you seen lately?
I love the Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin. If you’re not familiar with the books, you may have heard of the Game of Thrones show on HBO, which is based on the Song of Fire and Ice series. It’s amazing, go read it now! I also have started reading “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson, and it is great so far. I have been watching Mad Men through Netflix, so not a lot of movies recently!
Where was your last vacation?
I went to California for a friend’s wedding. I went scuba diving by Catalina Island, which was a lot of fun.
What is your favorite pastime outside of creating?
I love to read and I love to cook.
Who is your favorite designer/artist?
I love Takashi Murakami. His designs are so creative, and he has brilliantly toed the fine line between consumer product and art.