Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ArtFire Interview...Cobwebpalace

This is the 4th interview of a featured seller participating in our April ArtFire giveaway running Wed. 4/1/09-Tues. 4/7/09. The theme is Eco-Friendly, and all of our sellers offer a 10% discount during the giveaway week and a purchase from any ArtFire shop during that week gets you an extra entry into the giveaway. Buy from a featured seller that week, and we up it to 2! Today's interview is with Liss from CobWebPalace. She's donating this darling Antique Doll part that is also a strong refrigerator magnet. According to Lis, he has magical powers...

Now before we go any further, I just want to say that there is NO better name for a shop than CobWebPalace! I'm so in love with that name. It sounds like the deed to the Addam's Family place, doesn't it? And who didn't want to live in that house?

And now, here's my interview with Lis..

1. Biographical info:
My name is Lis, and I live in a Victorian house in Genoa at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I have three amazingly talented children, ages 13, 14 and 17, and two delightful step-daughters, one is an art-teacher, and the other is an interior designer. My husband denies his many artistic talents, preferring to play the part of the roving critic....I work with old textiles, found objects, reproducing clothing, jewelry, accessories and home decor with a definite connection to the past.

2. Who and or what inspired you to become an artist? Was there a specific event or period in your life when you decided to go this route and why? Was it the right decision?
I remember using green dye to cover up a giant blob of silly putty that I had gotten stuck in the cream colored rug in the middle of the front parlor when I was about 4 or 5. I thought my efforts at camouflage were sensible and beautiful. My mother sighed and clucked, and said,"Lis, I think you need an artboard...." She was beyond doubt, the most influential person, and my biggest fan. She still is. From her I learned to sew, old French techniques taught to her by my grandmother, consequently I designed and made most of my own clothes from junior high to this day. There were times when I was young, I would feel this incredible frustration inside, such undeniable pressure, I simply had to make something or I would truly implode. My mother, my aunt, my grandmother, they were all there then, and would give me instruction in needlework, paint, stained glass, provide lessons for what they could not teach, Pops taught me to whittle and carve....he had amazing "tramp art" intuition. I was surrounded, thank goodness, by creative people who understood the need.

3. Define your craft as you see it and explain the mental and physical process you go through to create what you sell. For example, do you spend 90% of the time creating and 10% listing or 70% ruminating on an idea and 30% of the time bringing it to life?
My husband and I have always been serious collectors, it's what brought us together (second marriage), and truly defines our lifestyle. The mental and physical process of collecting is second nature, and consequently, so is dealing with the "accumulated stuff." For example, I have a barrel of broken china around back, like people have recycling bins. Same thing with antique paper, metals, wood bits, typeset, trinkets, the list is endless. My craft is working with the inspiration when a piece presents itself. Usually an idea pops, and I'll make notes and sketches if I can't act on it right then. There are always several ideas in different media going on, so I just go with it. My sewing can get very intense, so I will work with jewelry for awhile, build hats, dresses, work with paper or rust. I don't agonize over a project anymore, it gets put away until things gel. The computer part is my least favorite, and I spend as little time as here possible, though I am focusing more on photography, and finally setting up a blog. The more I learn, the better it gets.

4. What purpose does your art serve in your life? Is it just paying the bills?

Well, sure it's about paying the bills, but fortunately we don't have many. It is simply who I am, who we are, it is the purpose. There are always furniture and paintings to restore, dolls to dress, and so on, some go into the antique store, some don't. I am surrounded daily by beautiful things that I love. It's almost magical, isn't that art? Artful garden, artful house, artful business, artful life! It can all be achieved by pursuing simplicity.

5. Are you a full-time artist or a double agent?

I feel full time because the nature of antiques allows me great latitude to incorporate my one type of work into the other. The inter-relation has struck a balance for me now, but it wasn't always the case.

6. What other creative outlets do you employ?
I am active in theatre, onstage mostly, and have worked as a professional costumer, I love working in my yard and garden. For several years we have been restoring a very large Victorian house in another town in Nevada, and though most would think we're crazy, it is very much a creative endeavor. We love to go there and work and hide away for days! I have helped my husband publish books in specialty collecting fields, and I have a serious notion to do one of my own...soon.

7. Why do you like selling on ArtFire, and why is being apart of the upcoming giveaway important to you?

I've dabbled with other sites and though right now my studio shows little in the way of sales, it is no reflection on the sales I do actually make. Vendors are referred to my studio, and then order directly from me, how can that be anything but great! I feel that ArtFire promotes a sense of community and an undeniable etiquette that I found seriously lacking elsewhere. I don't cringe when I think of a vendor or customer examining the forums, in fact, most of the time they are loaded with fresh ideas, vivid and positive personalities, genuine encouragement, a big batch of pretty terrific people. The ArtFire staff is very accessible, astonishingly helpful, and you can feel and witness their desire for artisan success. This has been my experience anyway, and I want to give something back. You can't help feel that way, if you spend any time on the site. My intuition tells me this is the right place for me, the right time, and I am not questioning my intuition. I will promote ArtFire and the other artisans whenever I can, and look forward to using my own blog for that purpose.

8. Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t assume just from browsing in your shop.

I was an officer in the Air Force.

9. What have you learned about yourself by being an artist? What have you learned about others and/or society?

I've learned that there are no limits to what I will explore, and I don't have to explain myself to anyone. In other words, no boundaries, and I don't think about the opinions of others as they might relate to me. I have fought long hard battles within and without, and I finally have a wonderful life. I am very fortunate to be where I am, doing what I do. Whether I am setting up a display for an antique show, or a booth at a craft faire, I love what I do, and am generally surrounded by like-minded people.

10. What have you learned about yourself by being a business person? What have you learned about others and/or society?

My husband is an old-fashioned businessman, and I defer to him. He has always told me, "Lis, know your value, know your worth, and never settle for less." I told him that when it came to business matters, paperwork, my time was best used on home maintenance and artistic endeavors, he deferred to me! I'd marry him all over again, you know.

11. If you weren’t the artist you are today, what else would you be?
I would be better, still, if I had taken myself more seriously years ago. I wouldn't mind having been Linda Ronstadt, though.

12. What flavor of ice cream are you and why?
Coffee....smooth, creamy, rich, with a tendency to stay awake all night when pursuing a goal.

I am so with Lis on #9! Stay tuned for another interview tomorrow!
Interviews of other sellers in this giveaway: Chelsea Lynn Designs, Jennuine Candles, Campgirldesigns

Want to peek at past giveaways? January February March


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