1. Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Kathy Thompson. I live in Oregon with my husband Rick, who patiently supports all my creative endeavors. Our two sons are grown and out of the house. I miss having them around on a daily basis, but the vacant room has provided me with awesome studio space! I love designing jewelry for my shop on Etsy and have been fortunate to have jewelry featured in Belle Armoire Jewelry, Step by Step Wire Jewelry, and Stringing Magazines.
2. Apart from creating things, what do you do?
l love to take advantage of the beautiful Oregon summers by going camping with my family. I even go fishing with my husband… in fair weather of course! I play tennis almost everyday. I tell all my friends that if they can’t find me in my studio, chances are they will find me on the courts!
3. Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I always have a plan in my head when I start a new design. I’d like to say that I always stick to that plan, but that’s not usually how it unfolds. Most often the wire just sort of leads me. Sometimes it’s a certain stone that dictates the design, or even a mistake. Some of my most interesting pieces of jewelry were born out of a mistake!
4. What led you to start creating your art/craft?
When I first started making jewelry I submitted a few designs to a contest sponsored by a jewelry magazine and they were chosen as finalists. They didn’t win, but the editor of the magazine asked me to submit them for publication. That got me thinking, hmmm…. if my designs were good enough for publication maybe someone would want to purchase them. The perfect solution to finance my hobby!
5. How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
Like most artists, I’m constantly in search of new creative outlets. I’ve worked with and tried almost everything. Several years ago, I was a floral designer for a publishing company and had about 30 books published. After that, I started a faux finishing/decorative painting business and had work featured in several Tour of Homes events in my area. Although I enjoyed the work, it became too much for me physically with the heavy lifting, and climbing ladders and scaffolding. I needed an easier way to express my creativity. My love for all things pretty and shiny seemed to make the choice for me – jewelry. I started with simple stringing and since then have moved on to working with wire. I’m currently playing with polymer clay to replicate cameos and have plans to add metal clay (silver, bronze, and copper) into my designs. I love all metals!
6. What aspect of creating your art/craft do you find the most enjoyable?
I have several favorite things. One is hiding myself away in my studio with no distractions. I just love how it feels to be sitting in my chair, looking out the window at the world and knowing that I’m in control of my little space. Another is hearing back from a customer that they were thrilled with their jewelry. I also love the contact that I get with other artist through forums, teams, etc. It’s comforting to share experiences with others who have similar interests.
7. If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your “creativity”, what would that be and why?
I would love to be an interior designer. I’m constantly redecorating rooms in my house. This is another area where my husband displays his never ending level of patience.
8. What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Actually, I haven’t made it yet. I have several pieces of old costume jewelry that belonged to my mom and grandmothers. I plan to make a necklace for myself and for each of my sisters-in-law incorporating some of these cherished pieces. Shhh!! It’s a secret!
9. List five of your favorite books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
I don’t read a lot but when I do, I like mystery novels. I’m a classic rocker chic! The Stones, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, I could go on and on…. My favorite song has to be Stairway to Heaven – partially due to all the memories of school dances it brings back.
10. What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I like the “rearrange shop” feature. It allows me to create a pleasing and balanced composition of photos.
11. How do you organize your business? Such as finances, keeping track of supplies and marketing etc?
I have a filing cabinet for all the paperwork. I try to catch up on the filing once a month. I realize that the paperwork is necessary, but it’s nowhere near as fun as the creating aspect. As far as supplies go, I keep most of my beads in plastic fishing containers. My handyman husband altered a couple of shelving units to hold the containers. I keep larger supplies inside the cabinets which were recycled from the kitchen of my sister-in-law (the drawers still display decorative pasta). My husband used his superpowers once again and altered the cabinets to fit perfectly into the space.
12. How well is your shop doing? How long has it been open? Number of sales? Number of visits?
I’ve just completed my first year on Etsy and I’m happy with the success so far. My goal was to break 100 sales by last Christmas and I did that and more. I’m at about 150 sales now.
13. What do you think you’re doing right for getting the sales you have? Or what tips do you have for other Etsy sellers?
Early on, I participated in a few of the “jewelry galleries” on Etsy. It provided some exposure for my jewelry and I usually had a few sales during the gallery showing and for a day or two later. Many of my repeat customers found my shop this way. I’ve just joined two teams. I haven’t been a member long enough to know if it will help with sales but it is helpful just to talk with others and share advice.
14. How do you promote your work, on and off-line?
I wear my jewelry often and have business cards on hand to give to those who inquire about it. I’m not as computer savvy as I would like to be, so I don’t do a lot of networking such as blogging, Twitter, etc. It seems like the few times I’ve attempted it, I spent way too much time on that instead of making jewelry.
15. In ten years I’d like to be…
Traveling. My husband will be retired by then and we plan to get out there and explore while we’re still young.
16. Where else on the net can we find you and your goods? Twitter, blog, Flikr account, any others?