1. Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
I live in York, PA and my name is Peggy. I have always enjoyed working with my hands in creating things. My mother taught me to knit when I was 10 and I went to quilting bees with my Grandmother when I was smaller than that. Along the way, I taught myself to crochet and do counted cross stich. I took lessons in pottery, but soon gave that up when I wound up soaked after each class. I always liked the brillance of stained glass windows and about 33 years ago enrolled in a class. I found that I could do this quite well and after a few years this became my day job. I opened a shop where I teach the art of stained glass and also sell related supplies. Recently I taught myself to make lampwork beads and discovered a whole new area of glass. I operate two shops on Etsy-one for my stained glass and another featuring my beads, called Moonflowerbeads.
2. Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Most of my time is spent in making things. I love to work with my hands and when I am not working in stained glass or making beads, I quilt, crochet, knit, and garden. And of course I like to read. I am particularly fond of History, so a lot of my reading centers on the Civil War and the American Presidents. I’m a part of the Dead Presidents Tour. Meaning that I eventually want to visit all the former Presidents homes and graves. So far I’ve gotten to 8 of them. And whenever I’m near a town that has a Civil War General buried, I visit their graves and houses too.
3. Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
When I get a new color of glass in, this might inspire me to draw a pattern where I can use it to its best advantage. And when I am doing beads, I like to experiment with different combinations of colors and designs.
4. What led you to start creating your art/craft?
I was always fascinated with stained glass windows and I enrolled in a class when the opportunity came. I thought that I would never be able to afford to buy all the stained glass that I wanted, so I better figure out how to make it myself.
6. What aspect of creating your art/craft do you find the most enjoyable?
I like to solder and I find this the most enjoyable part of making stained glass. The part that takes me the longest and is the most painful is drawing the design. I never had an art lesson in my life, but I found that I could draw flowers if I just keep at it and have a good eraser. When I am making beads, its really fun to discover colors that work well with each other and the design.
7. What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I like all the quilts that I have made over the years. I have about 10 quilts started and I promised myself that I won’t start anymore until I finish a few of them. My biggest fear is that I will die before I get to use all the material I have.
8. List five of your favorite books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Its hard to pick five of this and five of that. Lets just say that in the book category I like the “American Presidency” series, Shelby foote’s “Civil War” , “The Hobbit”, and “Atonement”. Movies would include “Lord of the Rings”, “Wizard of Oz”, “Serendipity” and any other movie with John Cuzak. And how many of you remember the musical group “Buffalo Springfield”, my all time favorite?
9. What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I like to check into the forums to see what problems are occurring and how to correct them. But sometimes I fell that Etsy overwhelms you with the constant e-mails. Its very time consuming to follow all the threads to see if there is any information there that would be helpful to your particular needs.
10. How do you organize your business? Such as finances, keeping track of supplies and marketing etc?
Now what exactly do you mean by organization? I’m an artist not an accountant. My filing system is to file things here and there to get them out of the way of my working area. My postman is instructed never to give me any bills (which he constantly ignores). I don’t do my books on a regular basis, but wait until my income or sales tax is due and then spend days getting caught up. I wish I was more disciplined when it comes to this area of my business. And I would definitely advise anyone starting a new business to keep their paper work current and avoid the hassle. But I’m much better when it comes to ordering supplies as I keep track of what I need and usually order every week or two.
11. How well is your shop doing? How long has it been open? Number of sales? Number of visits?
I opened my Etsy stained glass shop last October and quite frankly I haven’t made any sales. I have recently started to re-list some of the items hoping to attract more exposure. I opened my bead shop in Sept. of 2008, but didn’t start listing until June of 2009. This shop is doing much better and I have sold most of the beads I have listed. But I am having trouble learning PhotoShop and this is a major impediment I have to overcome.
12. What do you think you’re doing right for getting the sales you have? Or what tips do you have for other Etsy sellers?
Learn to take wonderful pictures, process them through Photoshop and have them wind up on Etsy in prime viewing condition.
13. How do you promote your work, on and off-line?
I recognize that most sellers on Etsy and Etsy itself are people who are a lot more internet savvy than myself. I’m still trying to figure this out.
14. Where else on the net can we find you and your goods? Twitter, blog, Flikr account, any others?
Well, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m Old School. I didn’t grow up with a computer or phone permanently attached to my body, so all this new technology is a bit mystifing. And don’t start throwing stones, but I think that a lot of it, like Twitter and aspects of Facebook are just dumb. I really dont care what people are doing or thinking every minute of the day. It just seems like a big waste of time that could be used more constructively. I think that eventually people will OD trying to follow everything.
Check out both of her shops!