In addition to Harvest Moon by Hand, I homeschool my two daughters who are 10 and 8 years old. Both were adopted from China when they were infants. This year, the girls are each going to have sections in my shop where they can sell items they make (under my guidance).
Sophia (who is 10 years old) already has some hand-poured beeswax impressions in my shop, with many more to come.
Olivia (who is 8 years old) is working with me to create a line of natural personal, household, soap, and bath products using essential oils and organic herbs. These will be available beginning in February!
- During 2011, I'm doing "52 Weeks of Giving" where my daughters and I will do a volunteer project once each week for a different organization.
- My goal is to eventually visit each state in the U.S. (33 out of 50 so far) and each continent (have been to North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Australia; only Africa and Antarctica left to go)
- I've lived at the same hobby farm now for almost 16 years - the longest place I've ever lived in my life (as a child I lived in one home until I was 8 and then we moved to another place where I lived for 10 years).
- I enjoy baking and trying new recipes; and am in the process of writing a cookbook for my daughters called "52 Weeks of Baking" which includes photographs of recipes I've tried each week, their reactions to the food, and life lessons.
What got you started crafting?
My parents encouraged me to be creative and make things when I was a child and teenager. They registered me for classes, extra-curricular activities, and summer school classes that focused on the arts and creative expression (visual arts, culinary arts, dance, and music).
However, once I was in high school, my parents encouraged me to take courses that would help prepare me for college. They felt like art courses were not ones that I should be doing - I should be focused on English, math, science, geography, and other core subjects.
After college, when I was an adult, I began taking art workshops and classes again through a variety of of non-profit organizations and community education.
What is your source of inspiration?
My daughters are my source of inspiration for many of the toys I create as well as some of the new window stars that I make. Usually when I make something for my shop, I create another version for my family so that we can enjoy the item as well.
What have you made recently?
Recently, I made a purple and blue window star that you can find on etsy.
This star - as well as others in the "cooler" colors - are designed for winter (though they can be used any time of the year). I wanted to make a variety of new window stars for my home and shop.
In making this star, I cut the paper into the size I believed I wanted for the pattern I had in mind. Working from a base pattern, I folded each point.
The next step was to glue the points together, but in a different way than the base pattern showed. As I was putting them together, I realized I had mis-cut the pieces and they were smaller than they should have been.
However, once the star was finished and I held it up to the light, I was SO happy I had cut it in the smaller size. The star was very different than the one I had in mind, but the final piece was one I'm satisfied with and plan to make in different colors.
Where do you sell your crafts presently?
I sell my work through my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand, that's on Etsy.
I also make a lot of items for others that I give as gifts. To see other things I've created that I haven't sold, please visit my Flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/picturesbyann .
I also enjoy trading my work for other handmade items that I can give as gifts or keep for myself.
Why are handmade crafts important to you?
I like handmade products over other products available in the marketplace because they are unique and reflect the care the artist or crafts person has put into the piece. I believe there's a greater attention to detail in handmade items versus mass-produced items.
Having handmade items in my home and/or wearing something that is handmade, gives a connection to a specific person or place; rather than a company or someone you may never meet.
There's satisfaction in directly supporting a crafts person or artist. I know that the money I spend is helping a particular person - not a corporate leader who didn't directly make the item.