This weeks feature interview is with Valerie of Stimples and Strummels. She has the most amazing photos, photo art and baby art in her shop. Keep reading to learn a little more about Valerie. (Click on the pics to view/purchase)
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Valerie and I am a stay-at-home mom of a 6 year old boy and a 21 month old girl, living in beautiful Winter Park, FL. I have a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Florida, and was a professional graphic designer, art director and illustrator in advertising for 15 years before I had my son.
I have always loved art and design, but never really loved advertising. I always wanted to create art on a less commercial, more intimate level. I am thrilled that the internet gives me the opportunity to do exactly what I want.
My current creative pursuits are, "Welcome Baby" art, sweet personalized paintings and drawings for nurseries; and altered art photographs, in which I capture images of the world around us digitally and then manipulate them for a more painterly, expressive feel.
What is your first memory of being craftsy/artsy?
Hard to say . . . pretty much coincides with my first memories of anything! I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil. My mom recorded in my baby book that when I was two-and-a-half years old, I had a special name for patterns like dots, checks, etc, -- stimples and strummels. That silly phrase became the name for my online shops. I love the creative, free-spirited, funny, originality of it.
Where do you get inspiration for your art?
Everywhere I go, from everything I see! The forms and shapes of every day objects and events as they occur have a natural and spontaneous beauty that is often overlooked, and that I lvoe. The world is full of amazing images! I enjoy the challenge of capturing the most interesting composition within the confines of the two-dimensional fram. My photographic images are almost never arranged or staged compositions, as traditional still lifes would be.
Tell us a little about your workspace.
If I had one, I'd show it to you! In my not-so-large house, it's wherever I can carve out a niche. When my daughter was born, we had to give up the computer room, so I got relocated to a converted coat closet. For painting and crafts, my favorite space is actually the laundry room -- great light in there and I've taken over the utility closet with art supplies. I also installed track lighting in the garage so that I can do larger paintings. I'm not one to let lack of space stop me from creating, but good light is key.
Where can we find your products?
Online I'm on Etsy, 1000Markets, Facebook and Flickr. My shop name is Stimples and Strummels.
What is your best marketing advice?
Get yourself out there! Nothing beats it. Get your name on every website and blog you can. Enter art/craft contests. Join groups like Etsy teams and Yahoo groups. Donate your merchandise to charity and school auctions. Make as many contacts as you possibly can. People like to buy from merchants they are familiar with.
Is there anything else you would like the readers to know?
Stay tuned and check my shop often . . . I do hold sales pretty regularly. I also love to chat, so feel free to drop me a line anytime!