You may have seen the gorgeous polymer clay and mixed media jewelry and beads from Singing Cat Studio popping up in recent Team Discovery treasuries. This new shop is full of beautifully photographed, colorful and unique pieces. I recently talked to seller Kim about her creations....
Pop Whiz: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Do you have a day job outside of your creative work?
Singing Cat Studio: I grew up in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County in a family with no inclination to be artistic, so I was a bit of an anomaly. Among my other past "lives," I earned a certificate in fashion design and ran a business making custom-made clothing for women. Today, I'm a writing professor at an area college where I teach primarily freshman composition.
PW: When did you get started making your clay and mixed media jewelry and beads? How did you get into it?
SCS: About five years ago, I took my first basic beading class. As soon as I finished my first necklace, I returned to the bead store and have been a beadaholic ever since. After taking ceramics classes at my local art center for a couple of years, I seriously started to think about making my own beads. I had always considered the polymer clay in craft stores with interest and, inspired by my work with pottery, decided to give polymer a shot. I began by buying some books on the medium and looking at lots and lots of stuff on the Internet. I love the medium because so much can be done with it to achieve different effects.
PW: How do you like to create? Would you share a little bit with us about your creative process?
SCS: The only thing I can clearly say about my creative process is that I engage in some sort of creative chaos. I always have dozens of ideas running through my mind, and I often don't know what I'm going to make until I sit down at my table and start to work. Sometimes I get stuck on a particular color. Other times I start with a texture. Mostly, I love having an entire day to play without interruptions.
PW: Which is your favorite piece in your shop?
SCS: I can't pick a favorite piece in my shop although one of my recent additions, the pendant in shades of lemongrass green and blue, is a fave because of the button. I wish I had dozens of buttons just like it, especially because I love mixed colors in metal.
PW: What do you like to do with your free time when you aren't creating beautiful jewelry and beads?
SCS: Between teaching and trying to get Singing Cat Studio running, I have no real free time, but I enjoy anything to do with the arts, and I'm a ninja gardener. I'm also not embarrassed to say that I'm addicted to reality TV, especially any show that involves making something, because I need an escape from all the student papers I read.
PW: Have you learned any important lessons while selling on Etsy thus far? Any tips for other undiscovered shops?
SCS: I'm very new to Etsy, but I've learned in the last month that there's an incredible network of people on Etsy, and the site offers tremendous resources and support. I'm finding that I have to reserve at least a little bit of time most days for checking out Etsy's resources, posting on the forums, and then developing other forms of social networking media. Facebook has me totally confounded, so I haven't yet managed to link my shop to my Facebook page.
PW: What are your long-term plans for your shop? Do you sell your art outside of Etsy as well?
SCS: Long-term, I hope to grow my Etsy shop as big as it will go. Although I can sort of envision quitting my "day job," at this point I can't imagine walking away from teaching because I love my job so much, especially now that I focus most of my energies on working with urban, at risk, and non-traditional students. In the meantime, I am selling work outside of Etsy. I did my first big bead show in August, have some pendants in a local bead shop, will soon have work in my local art center, and hope to do some local holiday craft shows in the next few months. I will also have a booth at the Tucson Bead Show in February.
PW: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
SCS: The only other thing that I'd like to share is that I've dreamed of being an artisan and selling my work since I was a kid. Balancing teaching with starting a business is time-consuming, but I feel very lucky to be at a point in my life when I can pursue my passions.
You can visit Singing Cat Studio on Etsy and find Kim on Facebook and Flickr.