Hey all! Your Weekly INCrowd Interview correspondent apologizes for the delay, but our weekly feature is back and going strong. This week's interview is with veteran Etsyan Melissa Washburn of StudioVirgo. Here's what she had to tell us:
Were you born & raised in Indiana?
No, I was born and raised in upstate New York, in a small town near Albany.
Where in Indiana are you from now?
What types of creations do you sell in for your Etsy shop(s)?
Fine art, both original paintings/mixed media and now prints of my work; and notecards from my hand-cut stamps and photography.
What's your educational background, as it relates to your work?
I have a BFA in studio art (I majored in painting and printmaking) from Binghamton University (SUNY) and an MA in Arts Administration from IU Bloomington. I worked at an art museum for four years, and I have also worked a little in the design field and taken classes here and there on graphic design.
How'd you get started creating?
I have been creating since I was very young. My mother is also an artist, and was doing portraits and attending art fairs to make extra money when I was little. I was always taking art classes through the YMCA and had a close relationship with several art teachers in elementary and high school.
What made you want to join the INCrowd?
I think community is very important as an artist, both in-person and virtual. It feeds your creativity to look at other people's artwork and share ideas, and now that it looks like I'm in Indiana to stay, I want to be a part of building that community and helping other artists reach their potential.
What's your favorite thing about selling on Etsy?
The fact that it's not just a retail site, it's a community. People have the opportunity to really get to know the people they buy handmade things from.
Show us three of your favorite pieces from your own shop:
"Earth and Sky" is part of a series of graphic mixed media pieces I completed recently. I've been fascinated with birds for a while, and there's a lot of symbolism having to do with my transition to being a mother that I'm exploring right now.
"Too Good to Last" is also part of this same series. Whereas the swallows generally deal with emotions relating to my daughter and my relationship with her, the crows are much more about relationships with the other adults in my life.
These notecards are images of my gouache and pencil piece entitled "Wilt." They're mounted on beautiful paper (another passion of mine) and the image itself was just such a joy to make. As planned as many of my pieces are, I still try to make time for drawing from life and experimenting with media; this image was one of the more successful results of those experiments.
What are your five favorite shops on Etsy?
Let's see... my five favorite Etsy shops would have to be:
August Lately. I bought one of her bags recently, and now I want to *collect* them. They're beautiful, well made, and worth every penny.
GoodGollyMolly. She's a fantastic artist, and also happens to be my sister-in-law.
Kendra Binney. I saw her work in a gallery while visiting Portland a few years ago, and never forgot it. Then I stumbled upon her one day on Etsy. Very different from what I do, but just so full of feeling and fantastic imagery.
For jewelry I love GlitteryBlue and Funky Artsy. I own pieces by both of these gals, and have given some as gifts too.
It's definitely hard to pick just five! I do a lot of shopping and gift buying on Etsy, and I've never been disappointed yet.