This is the first interview in a monthly series of featured members from the POEST team. These interviews are a great way for you to get to know our team and its members, as well as get some great information and advice from seasoned Etsians!
Our first interview is with Chris, proprietor of Harvest Moon Designs and co-proprietor of Luna Seas.
What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?
I actually run two shops on Etsy: HarvestMoonDesigns.etsy.com and LunaSeas.etsy.com. Harvest Moon Designs is my original shop while Luna Seas opened as a partnership with a dear friend a few months ago.
You can find pages for both shops on myspace as well and I try to keep a regular blog about creative projects and people at CreativeDepths.blogspot.com
What is the main thing you make and sell in your store? What else do you make and/or sell?
Harvest Moon focuses primarily on more mainstream fabric crafts. Luna Seas opened specifically as an outlet for pagan, metaphysical, and related items and our primary focus has been herbal ritual incenses. I also dabble in many other arts and crafts, including photography, beading, jewelry making, soap making, crocheting, painting, creative recycling/upcycling, and costume making.
How and when did you get started with arts and crafts?
Arts & crafts have always been very big among the women in my family, so I was introduced to it at a young age simply by being around their projects. In an effort to keep me from "helping" with their work, my mother, grandmother, and aunts would find little crafts for me to try. All those little projects started me down the crafting path.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I tend to find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. Having moved back to southern Appalachia from the Midwest, I find that more and more of my inspiration now comes from the incredible geology, natural resources, and landscapes of this region.
What are your favorite materials?
It won't come as a surprise to my fellow pagans, but I absolutely love working with plants and stones.
As a member of the Pagans of Etsy Street Team (POEST), tell us a little bit about your Pagan path and what being Pagan means to you, especially with regards to your art or craft.
The simplest description for my path is that I am a solitary eclectic witch. I came into paganism as a teenager and have spent the better part of the last twenty years practicing it.
Being pagan means developing a deeper understanding of and relationship with the Divine, in whatever form it may take, whether that would be my patron goddess, the soul of another human being, or the energy that surrounds all things. For me, it also means taking responsibility for the welfare of not only myself, but of other people, other beings, and the environment.
Even in my arts and crafts I find that I am a "spiritual being having a human existence." Sometimes the connection is obvious and does not require explanation, such as the creation of ritual incenses. At other times, the connection may not be readily apparent, yet it is still there. For example, empathetic healing and mediumship are integral aspects of my spiritual path, and I draw heavily on these abilities when I create memorial quilts.* Making sure that the departed is at rest and that there is healing energies available for those left behind is as much a part of my process as cutting and sewing. Like every item I create, it is a reflection of my spirituality on some level.
*A memorial quilt is a custom patchwork quilt made from the clothing of someone who has departed. Typically, these are made from several button-down shirts and both the fabric and buttons are incorporated into the quilt. It may also include fabric-printed photographs, biographic info, or other information of sentimental value.
What advice would you give to beginners in your art or craft?
Find a good mentor or teacher at the beginning. I am primarily self-taught in most of my crafts, but I often reinvented the wheel in the learning process and spent far too much time figuring out the basics myself. Take a class or ask someone experienced to show you the basics, so you can focus on finding your particular slant on a craft.
What advice would you give other Etsy sellers and those interested in opening up a shop?
Never forget that Etsy is a business venue and that its primary purpose is to connect you with your potential customers. Treat it and the people on it with the same respect you'd show in a brick and mortar store. Take time to read the rules and guidelines before opening your shop.
Is Etsy a full-time job? If not, what else do you do to pay the bills and how do you balance Etsy with that and other things in your life?
Etsy is a part of my full-time arts & crafts business, Harvest Moon Designs. In addition to Etsy, I vend at live markets, festivals, and fairs, as well as selling to retail shops.
To keep Etsy from taking over my life, I set aside a certain amount of time each week for on-line Etsy time, just as I set aside time to work on product development, marketing, and accounting. I find that if I limit my time there, I stay more focused when I do log-in. Otherwise, I'd spend hours window shopping!