Growing up around Greenville, SC, I am rooted to the mountains there, although we live in Alabama. I've lived in India and traveled to other parts of Asia, where I've been able to collect some hard-to-find supplies.
My shop and blog are named Salamander Art because we love salamanders. There are more species of salamanders in the Carolina mountains than anywhere else in the world. They are crazy little creatures that spend part of their life in the water and part on land and are very susceptible to environmental degradation. We have spent part of our summers catching (and releasing) salamanders in streams in the Carolinas, keeping one foot in a different world like the salamanders. My Grandmother loved the native wildflowers that grew around their mountain cabin, many of which are either rare or endangered such as Lady Slippers and Trillium. Much of my love of art and native flora and fauna came from her. When I paint, I am connecting not only with the beauty of my home but with my Grandmother as well.
1. When and why did you start crafting?
I have always made things. My Grandmother was an artist. My dad sold paintings for date money in college. Mom and I made doll houses from coke boxes when I was little. I even remember doing an oil painting when I was 6 and had the chicken pox. Art and craft were never forced in my home, but it was just a natural thing we did. Like eating or walking.
2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?
When I'm making something, be it a painting or a book, my brain goes to a different place, one that is focused and peaceful. Making things is rejuvenating. Making books offers a particular sense of satisfaction because they are neat and clean and can often be made in a day.
3 & 4. How did you find out about your online selling venues and why did you start selling there? What is the hardest thing to do for your shop? Is there anything you dislike about selling online?
Etsy and ArtFire have been around for a while. I considered starting a shop a few years ago, but with a newly adopted child it wasn't the right time. I have a friend who has been selling books online for 9 years fairly successfully. The difference is that you really have to market yourself to sell art. It's why galleries make their big 50%. When you sell online, you are the gallery and have to do the promotional work as well as the work of creating. Promoting myself does not come easy.
5. Do you rely on your online selling venues to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?
Fortunately we don't rely on my art to pay our basic bills, but to create a cushion and save for college for our kids (4 and 11).
6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your online selling venues? Why?
I sold paintings in a gallery before we adopted the kids. It certainly was easier.
7. Where else can you be found online?
My blog: http://www.SalamanderArt.wordpress.com