I've been admiring Michele's work for AGES!!! I just look at her work longingly, wishing i could buy all of it!! (or at least any of it, and one day Michele i promise i will!) Buying things right now just aren't in the cards right now, so I'm just drool over her work. And you should too!! Not only is her work amazing, but she's super friendly. And inspiring to anyone who is just waiting for the day they would like to take their art to the next level and make it their full time job. So sit back, look at the pretty pictures and look at the stellar work before you.
*How long have you been crafting?
I have been making things and art for just about 8 years now, but ever since I can remember I have loved to create things. Art was always my favorite activity in school, and it's something that I have always been driven to do.
*Did you always craft in this genre?
I have always stayed pretty close to the fine arts. Both of my grandmothers tried to teach me how to crochet. They also tried to teach me how to sew and hook rugs, but I never really took to it. However, I did really love drawing and making watercolor paintings for people.
*Who or what inspires you?
I like to find inspiration in things that make up my everyday life. A favorite cup, a vintage typewriter, my favorite water towers,certain flowers...these are the things that surround me. I have always liked the idea of art as a journal, or a story, and that is what I am trying to achieve with my work right now.
*What defining moment made you decide to turn your hobby into a business?
I don't know if there was a defining moment, but there was certainly a defining time. I recently moved to Pontiac, Michigan while my boyfriend attends graduate school at Cranbrook. I had been looking for a job for almost two months. I must have turned in over 30 resumes, and had several interviews, and still I had nothing. I have almost 6 years of experience working as an assistant department manager for a couple of health food stores, and had actually had three different interviews for one here. However, they wanted to start me off as a cashier, and I had promised myself 2 years ago that I would never, ever, cashier again. Out of all the various jobs I have had, that is my least favorite...and I swore I would never do it again no matter how much I needed the work. So, when they offered that job to me I said no. I said that I would much rather keep looking for another opportunity, or work on making art my full time job...and here I am :)
*What changes were made to your regular schedule to make this go from a hobby to a business?
I didn't have to change a whole lot, because this is what I started doing full time. However, there are a few things that I had to learn to do to keep myself on track. I always make a to-do list. If this doesn't get done I feel like my head is spinning in circles. Also, I had to learn to take breaks. I would try to get everything done in one go, but things just don't work that way. I had to teach myself that it's ok to take breaks and stretch my legs every now and then.
* You have an amazing talent, with great product! What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
Well, I am still pretty new to this, but I have found that having a blog is a great way to promote yourself. It gives people a chance to see what I am working on and it gives them a little bit of a sneak peak. It also allows people to connect with me, as an artist. People can see where I am coming from through the writing in my blog. They can get to know me on more of a personal level, and I think that is really important when it comes to viewing art work, or even when making a decision to purchase a piece of work.
My blog address is http://www.how2drawacupofcoffee.blogspot.com just in case you'd like to check it out.
*What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?
One of the biggest challenges is that there is a lot of competition in the art world. Sometimes it's all just a matter of being at the right place at the right time, or even knowing the right people. I am not much of an outgoing person. In fact I have had a really hard time talking to people, especially about my work. Unfortunately, this is something that is REALLY important when it comes to selling art and making all those right connections. But, I am working on it, and I think with the help of the internet I am building more and more confidence in talking to people and discussing my work.
*If someone from out of town were visitng you, what key places would you bring them to? (galleries, coffee shops, parks, museums, etc)
Well, the Detroit Institute of Art just finished their big remodel so I would definitely take them there. There is also a handful of great little boutiques and cool art related businesses in Royal Oak. One of them being the 323 Gallery on East Third in Royal Oak. Also in Royal Oak is an amazing Farmer's Market where you can literally buy a weeks worth of groceries for about $20-40 bucks. This includes breads, meats, cheeses, herbs...all from local farmers! It's really amazing and I shop there every Saturday :) I love promoting local arts and farmers, because I think it's SO important, especially here in Michigan, to support small business people, and the environment.
Head over to Michele's etsy, or her blog (where she posts on a daily basis, with pictures!). Enjoy!