Thursday, May 17, 2012

Create what you love! Victoria Shaffer interview

-Bio artist: Victoria Shaffer 

Almost 20 years ago I started playing with wire, wrapping the stems of wine goblets, and that grew into jewelry making along the way. I'm also a costumer, with a specialty of altering garments from thrift stores into costume pieces.

-Where are you originally from?I grew up in the midwestern part of the United States, born in Illinois and graduating from high school in Wisconsin.
Her Shop Name
Designs by Victoria
-How did you choose the lovely name for your Shop?
biophotoSometimes I wish I'd been a little more creative when I picked my shop name, but Designs by Victoria was the first thing that cropped to mind when I registered to sell at my first event.
Do you sell your products in many places ? tell us some of them ?
I'm currently selling my creations on Artfire, and I also vend at local events in the Seattle are, mainly science fiction/fantasy conventions.
-How did you find the site who you sell and who it this (name) ? How long have you been selling on this site ?
I opened my Artfire shop in December of 2008. I was selling on Etsy previously, but closed up my shops over there in June of 2011. I'd heard about Artfire through many of the friends I'd made while selling online, from the teams and communities to which I belonged.
-How would you describe your style? Have any other artists etc influenced your style?
I find it hard to classify myself as to a single style. I make pieces that are simple and clean, and although I experiment a bit with current trends I try on the whole to make pieces that will withstand fads and be a mainstay of my customers' wardrobes for years.
- How did you first come to art and creativity? How did your journey in art and creativity begin?
My mother would tell you that I started when I was in grade school. I used to make jewelry for my favorite toys, my model horse collection! But making jewelry really stemmed from seeing a necklace that I fell in love with and deciding that I was going to figure out how to make something like it for myself.
-How long have you been creating?
I started selling my wire-wrapped glassware to the owner of a shop I worked at when I was in college in New Orleans in 1993, but didn't really start promoting myself and selling at events until October of 1999. My very first event was a Halloween festival, so this year is my lucky 13th anniversary as a business. I can't really remember when I started decorating parasols for myself. Skin cancer runs in both sides of the family, and I've been careful to protect myself. The supply of parasols available back then was very limited, though, and I wanted something unique and beautiful. After years of being stopped on the street with people asking about them I finally started selling them online in 2008.
-What is it that you love so much?
I love the process of creation. I love finding a single piece, maybe a mismatched earring or a bit of glass, and creating a necklace or a set to feature it.
-What are your main sources of inspiration?
I love looking at old fashion plates, especially from the Victorian era although I do love Art Deco styles as well.
-Have you had any mentors, or are you self taught?
I'm completely self-taught. I figured out how to wire-wrap glass by trial and error and the same principles worked for me when I first started making jewelry. And sewing I first learned in school, in my 7th grade Home economics class.
-Do you sell more at one time of year than others?
Well, the holiday season is the busiest time of year for most crafters, I'm sure, and I'm no different. It usually starts around the beginning of October and then folks spend their Christmas money sometimes through the first few weeks of January.
-What is one thing about your creative process that you think most people don't know?
A lot of my one of a kind designs design themselves when I'm half asleep, either as I'm trying to fall asleep or trying to convince myself that I don't really want to get up just yet. My subconscious is my most valuable tool.
Have some tips and advices for new artisians ?
There are so many tutorials and how-to videos online nowadays that can help you out, both for crafting and also on how to promote your business, especially online! These things weren't available to me when I started. Use them!
-How has life affected your art and art affected your life?
My husband laughs at me when we watch any kind of red-carpet events because I rant at the TV. "She's not wearing a necklace! She needs to accessorize!" I dress people I see in the streets or on TV with shiny things all the time.
-Do you have a favorite item you have made?
I've got a parasol I refurbished, a black silk piece where the silk is faded to brown in places, with a carved wooden handle, that I completely went over the top on with the decorating. It hasn't sold, but that's partly because I haven't put it out on display at events. Eventually I'll let the little devil on my shoulder convince myself that I should just keep it for myself.
-What is the best reaction you have gotten from one of your pieces?
This usually happens once at every show at which I sell. Someone will be walking by, talking to their friends or on their cellphone, and they'll stop, sometimes in the middle of a word, turn around and come back to my table to look at something I have on display. That always makes me happy.
-Your message for all of us?
Create what you love! Although to keep your business viable you'll have to have some stock pieces that you can easily reproduce, never stop making the unique and beautiful pieces that showcase your creativity.

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