After a little dry spell in interviews, I’m happy to finally have one for you! This one is with Corrie of Corrieberry Pie – A lovely etsy shop stocked with some of the cutest accessories you will ever see. Enjoy!
1. First, tell us about yourself and what you do as an artist.
I am a wife to a madman genius, a mother to a mini version of his father, and an art school drop-out. That last part sounds bad. I’ll explain…The madman genius is my high school sweetheart. We married young and poor. By young I mean like 19 years young, but we started dating at 16, so 19 felt old to us. We knew both of us working and going to school full-time was too much, so the plan was for me to work while he finished school, then switch. But halfway through my turn, I got knocked up right nice. As it turns out, pregnancy and art school do not mix well (since we used chemicals that cause your unborn baby to have a third arm). So… I dropped out. I was more than content focusing on my new baby boy, but as soon as life stabilized after the tornado that is a newborn, I had bits of time here and there to create again. That’s when Santa gave me a sewing machine! I fell in love with sewing immediately. The hum of the machine (along with a little Julie Andrews) is the soundtrack to my childhood, thanks to my mom. I made more stuff than our tiny apartment could hold, and it became apparent I needed an outlet to sell my goods. That is when my husband (yup, my husband) discovered Etsy.
2. What inspires you to create?
Usually, it’s the materials themselves. But my medium is always changing. The thing that draws me in is the challenge. In figure drawing, how can I translate the beauty of the human form onto the paper? With jewelry, how can I take old crap from The Scrap Exchange and make something wearable and awesome? Finding balance in the juxtaposition of textures, beauty and function, old and new, etc. …and mostly, it’s just fun. I have learned from a long line of frugal women in my family not to waste things. I love found objects and reclaimed or vintage materials more than brand new ones. Pieces of my Nana’s old jewelry are always a favorite in the shop. You can find things that are not around anymore, that are made better, and that don’t look like everyone else. You are more likely to have earrings like the old lady down the street instead of the girl next to you in class, which is always a good thing. :)
3. How do you maintain a balance between motherhood and the work you do?
As recently as last month I would guilt myself into only working while he was sleeping (or not looking). But I realized that I was doing him a disservice by not sharing that part of my life with him. So we have discovered the fun of working together – me on my projects, and him on his…usually a huge Lego tower or all his cars lined up like a little traffic jam. But early EARLY mornings and nap times are the best for that quiet work space. I love it.
4. Who are some of your favorite artists?
Oooh, they are always on a rotating basis, but right now I’m really enjoying:
Julie Beck // ArtLab // which goose // HAREandDRUM // Glen Hansard // Deb Talan
Alberto Giacometti – drawings and paintings more than sculpture (he never rotates off the list)
5. It looks like your creative skills are pretty broad (sewing, painting, crafting, etc). Have you thought about selling any of your other work besides your jewelry?
I have definitely thought about it, and tried it. But I learned early on to keep the category list small in the shop, or else it looks like a garage sale – which can be cool too, but for me it was all over the place and most of the non-jewelry stuff didn’t sell too well. I have thought about starting up a separate “Bags & Accessories” shop on Etsy… Corrieberry Cakes maybe? Corrie Pot Pie? Corrie Frozen Dinners? We’ll see. And as for painting? Well, I miss it. It’s my long lost love. Maybe we’ll meet again one day.
6. You’ve done so well on Etsy since you started about a year ago. Can you share a few tips on how you gained success?
I still think it’s mostly an accident. I keep thinking, “Did they mean to put me on the front page?” (Same with this interview! “Did she send that email to the right person?”) But I do pass these few tips along whenever people ask:
1. Good photos- Natural light is always best, so wait until there is enough sunlight to avoid the flash. Neutral backgrounds do not distract from your product, which is why I wear the same white dress in most of my photos. I am selling the jewelry, not my favorite new shirt from Anthropologie. I keep editing to a minimum for honesty’s sake. You never want to mislead a buyer… “Thanks to Photoshop, this vintage shirt is stain free.” That’s a no no. :)
2. Get to know your fellow Etsy sellers- They are your best resource and most honest critics. But don’t just be a taker. Make a Treasury and put them in it. Blog about your favorite new artist. It is nice to help each other out.
3. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing- It is one thing to draw inspiration from other artists – we all do that. But try not to copy people, it stifles your own creativity. My favorite quote by Herman Melville says it perfectly: “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
7. Lastly, tell us something random about yourself!
I like to put fresh made pancakes on my face, before butter of course. You know, just pat my cheek with it once or twice. Doesn’t everyone do that?
Thank you Corrie! Your originality and creativity is inspiring! May you have lots of continued success!