As I promised last week, here is the interview with Joan Ellis of Joan’s Etsy store.
You will find folk art, Photography, vintage items and great items to decorate your home. I promise you, a visit to her shop won’t disappoint you. She is continuously adding items. So, visit often.
To know what is her passion, and how everything got started, read the interview.
Bindu:What is the story behind Joans Etsy shop?
Joan: My story is similar to other Etsy shop owners. I needed a creative space to display some kind of artistry and Etsy allows me this freedom. On eBay, you are a face amongst millions and on Etsy, the support of other artists make me feel welcome and valued.
Bindu: Tell us about crafts. How you learned it? Who helped you to perfect it?
Joan: I am a self-taught photographer and I rely heavily on my local camera shop for critiques and advice. The advantage of a small business allows for one-on-one service and eight years later, I can walk in to this shop and ask any question for which I need an answer. I’m still growing as a photographer, but I think this is a natural occurrence in life and when you stop learning, you stop growing as a person.
Additionally, my father played heavily into my desire to immerse myself in photography. When he passed away, I wanted an extension of him to live on. He was the family photographer and he photographed our lives and framed our memories so beautifully. I think of him whenever I pick up my camera and photography is my escape from the frantic pace of modern society.
Bindu: Tell us about you and your life
Joan: My love for antiques and vintage items comes from my mother’s side of the family. My great grandmother, grandmother, aunt and multiple cousins treasure our family heirlooms, as well as items we’ve acquired on special trips. My grandmother could spot an antique on someone’s front porch from the road and apparently, she was not shy about asking the owner to part with the piece!
I lived in Kentucky for several years and was fortunate to meet three lovely women who shared my love for antiques. We all had room in our hearts for early Americana and folk art from the late 1800s. As we forged friendships, these women taught me so much about American antiques and I eventually opened a small antiquities business that was both, profitable and enjoyable. Meeting these women changed my life and we loved finding little and large treasures. Going to shows in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee, was pure happiness and the prospect of finding a piece to supplement a collection or something I knew someone wanted, was so exciting. These women and I figured out how to pack a car with antiques like you wouldn’t believe! Curious shop owners would look at our haul with a good deal of skepticism – not quite believing that we could get our purchases into one SUV, but we did! We also hauled furniture into our houses using sheer determination and we were a feisty group. I’m still in touch with one of my pals and her country colloquialisms still make me laugh.
I kept my hand in antiques when I returned to California and Etsy is the logical extension of my love for old things. Etsy allows me the freedom to buy items to enrich another person’s life and I love that idea. I cling to that idea when I’m in stacks of dusty books, or when it’s chilly or unbelievably warm and I’m still happily rummaging through all sorts of vintage items. Etsy allows shop owners to care about their customers in a way that eBay does not and I love hearing from my customers. Knowing I’ve made someone happy validates my path in life.
Bindu: What are you doing for marketing?
Joan:I rely on Etsy’s promotional feature that works with search ads for marketing. I also have a blog with Etsy Mini, a Flickr Badge, an eBay link and Pinterest link. I’m also on a great team with other shop owners and we help each other every day.
Bindu: What is your future plans regarding your shop?
Joan: I plan to shift my focus to ceramic pieces because I enjoy making three-dimensional folk art. It is difficult work and I am attempting to build my own mold this afternoon. I love using molds, but the organic nature of hand sculpted pieces, using slab, pinch and coiling techniques is my favorite way to work. I’ve needed this change and feel as though I found my voice at last. Being able to photograph my ceramics will allow me to merge my two greatest passions. I may use partial molds for heads and then, sculpt the body myself.
Bindu:Who is your idol?
I don’t really have an idol, but I love the women who took me under their collective wing and taught me everything I know about antiques. They believed in working hard to better their lives and the lives of other people. I still believe that working hard pays off and my community is a supportive enclave, if you will, for other artists.
Bindu: What is the best advice you received?
The best advice I’ve received is, “Be honest.” I might take that a step further and add, “Be kind.” Take a minute to look at someone and smile… The return of a smile makes every chore in life a bit easier.
Joan Ellis’ blog is Home With Joan. to view Joan’s photographs, visit, www.flickr.com/photos/joaneilisphotography/7802710844/
Remember, you can get a discount if you mention about this interview on Bindu Blogs.
In a few days, we will have another interview. Please remember to subscribe the blog.