Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
I started crafting and making jewelry over 35 years ago! My mom started me with things like macrame and braiding, but I was making and giving away friendship bracelets even in Kindergarten. After having worked in Corporate America as a top executive for many years I am now a stay at home mom. I always tell people that I may be a stay at home mom, I just never stays at home!
For several years now I have been trying to turn my passion into a business by doing Craft Shows, In-Home Shows, Parties and On-Line Selling. Now, selling as Krafty Max Originals is my full time job. I teach crafts and beading at a several local independent living homes in my area and hold weekly classes in my home! So, for me, beading has become a lifestyle.
If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
My creativity. I love doing ALL crafts and creations, but I do not like to duplicate any of my work! I also do many different types of beading and that keeps my creativity level and unique designs all fresh and new.
What role does your family play in your art?
For me, my family comes first, however, they also know that my beading is what keeps me sane, and happy.
Where do you live and what is it like?
I was born and raised in a little tiny town in foothills of Northern California, but after 4 years in the Navy I found myself in Jacksonville, Florida. Once I met my husband – about 18 years ago – I was stuck. He was raised here and his family is all here, so here we stay!
Where did you learn your medium?
My mother started teaching me to bead as about age 4, however I didn’t really get into it full time until I was about 30. Until then it was for presents and just for fun!
I still read and take classes so that I can learn more designs and stitches. For me it is all about the BEADS! I love beads. I have often been told that I am ‘all over the scope’ when it comes to what my designs are and the type of beading I do. I simply love to bead and work with beads. I let the beads talk to me. I usually start with a focal point that seems to almost ‘tell’ me what the design should look like and go from there. Many times this means that I have to take apart a design and start over more than once so that it will turn out the way is looks in my head (this is my therapy).
I often create my own stitches and designs just by trail and error. Often I also learn from my students. They are always interested in questing the stitch or the design…this I love. I tends to encourage my creativity even more.
What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
My hope is to, of course, make a profit and grow my creations, however, I really love to support other crafter’s. I would love to grow my studio, right along with ARTFIRE!
How did you come to selling online?
I was doing about 40+ shows a year and between never seeing my family and the down turn of the economy it became more of a problem than fun. When I first started selling on-line is was a ‘hit or miss’ type of attitude, now, it is a full time job!
How did you come to find a home on ArtFire?I actually started on Etsy before I had heard about ArtFire. But, it soon became apparent that Etsy was costing me more in fees than I could afford. When ArtFire started up I joined right up. I have been a PRO member since 2009. I find it is much more economical for artists and much easier for buyers to navigate.
What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
Try not to get discouraged. Arts and Crafts are very personal. You WILL find that one person that likes your items and buys them. The more you can ‘get out there’ in front of ‘that one person’ in the social media the better. Sponsorships and features will open your studio up to a whole new crowd. Just remember, it is better to do something – Facebook, Twitter, Blog – and to do it right and with repeatedly than to just ‘have your name out there on every site with no activity. Choose what you want to do and stick to it!
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
Anything made by another persons hands is worth more than things made from machines. The vision and creativity that goes into making ANYTHING shows love and passion. The benefit is that WE, as a society, don’t loose our individuality or creativity when we buy ANYTHING hand/home made.