Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Interview with Morning Star Arts

Morning Star Arts is a family business with Amy, making jewelry and fiber articles, John making copper and glass items and occasionally one of their sons listing one of their many creations. Their Etsy store has tons of beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. My favorite is their kaleidoscopes. But then again, their currency boxes are really awesome! Feel free to check out their shop here.

What do you create?

Currently, as well as the jewelry, I am needle felting and embellishing recycled sweaters; my dh makes our glass "treasure boxes" and other glass and copper items.

How did you first start your craft?

Well, I have been a stay-at-home-mom for 25 years, and a homeschooling mom for the last 17, so it wasn't as if I was looking for something else to do! But, my dh started lampworking about 8 years ago and wanted me to take a jewelry class so I could "do something" with his beads. I did, and I did, and now he doesn't even lampwork any more! But we have saved the equipment and hope to both do more of it when our boys move out and we have a little more space--too many hobbies ate up the house.

Where do you sell? What are the pros and cons about selling in this venue?

In addition to selling on etsy, we attend about eight or nine art shows per year, I consign with a couple of local boutiques, and I (just) joined a gallery where I hope to sell both jewelry and sweaters. I love seeing people enjoying my workmanship, but I am naturally an introvert so the actual selling has taken a lot of effort, and I still wouldn't say I'm particularly good at it.

What is your daily routine?

At the moment, my daily routine is in a seasonal flux; during school I address my boys' schoolwork first, housework second, and business third, but this varies enourmously depending on what needs doing most urgently; each summer is different and I don't really plan a routine, just kind of "fall into" one. The one constant is that I usually work on needle felting for an hour or so before bed; I find it very relaxing, and then I know I accomplished SOMETHING that day. I try to spend an hour doing online/etsy work each day.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future are pretty simple--I'd like to be able to sell all I make. Right now I've had to put the brakes on jewelry-making a little bit because, with the economic situation, jewelry sales have slowed down, whereas the sweaters have been selling very well (though they may slow down during the hot weather months).

Do you have any tips of advice for others in your medium and other crafters?

My advice to others would be to try new venues and don't be disappointed with the ones that don't work out; I have tried one or two new shows each year for several years and about half of them just didn't work for me (I've found that my designs sell better at "art" shows than at "craft" shows, and better at juried than non-juried--this is different than many of my friends). And be organized (not TOTALLY!); don't skip from product to product without giving your ideas a chance to sell--sometimes it takes a while for people to start buying something new. I don't know how or why this is true, but it's been true for some of our biggest sellers.

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