Thank you to Cindy of CindyColumbia for contributing this wonderful mother/daughter interview.
I am thrilled to be able to bring you an interview with Tara from Waterwaif and her mom Ivy from Bohemienneivy . I became intrigued when I learned they were mother and daughter and wanted to learn more about them. I hope you enjoy learning more about these very talented ladies as well.
Cindy to Ivy... I was immediately attracted to your shop because it had that Bohemian charm that so often draws my eye. Learning you were Tara’s mom actually made me smile because I love seeing ladies “over 29” (which I assume you are since you are Tara’s mom) who are pursuing this Etsy venue. Can you give us a little background on yourself and when you began “creating”. What did you do before Etsy came along?
Ivy… I am a French teacher who has always done macramé and sewing. I always make all my plants and plant hangers, bedspreads and drapes, as well as wall art. I wanted to learn to make jewelry, and Tara showed me basic wire wrapping techniques, and then it just took off! I LOVE making jewelry, and I have recently gotten into making "Renaissance Denim Couture", where I take vintage jeans, gorgeous velvet or lace, my own personal French bohemian flair, and voilà! a "bohémienne" creation is made!
CC to Ivy…You have a very talented daughter which I am sure you are very proud of. When was it that you discovered that Tara had artistic abilities. What did she do that made you take notice?
Ivy… She has always been imaginative and creative, but when she started painting, that's when we all really noticed her talent. She then branched into jewelry making, and she is now making bookmarks and thinking of designing purses, too.
CC to Tara…Your jewelry is gorgeous. There are a bazillion jewelry sellers on Etsy making the same things. Anyone browsing your shop will note that not all “wire wrapped” necklaces and earrings equal. Your precise hand is evident in every one of your pieces. On top of this the perfect pictures of the about 300 items for sale in your shop is no simple feat. You opened your shop a year ago in October is everything in your shop made since that time?
Tara …I set up my account to sell in October of last year when I thought I'd list some of my paintings but did not actually list anything until January. And what I listed wasn't jewelry, either! So yes, all of the items in my store has been made since then, most of it even more recently than that when I decided to put painting on the back burner and concentrate on selling jewelry.
CC to both… I see Ivy as having a definitive style. Bohemian is the perfect moniker for your shop. Tara has that Bohemian feel to many of her pieces but there is also a touch of whimsy in her work as well as youthful trend. Is this a purposeful marketing approach or is it just a matter of age and personal taste?
Ivy… I think it's a matter of personal taste. I prefer vibrant colors, like purple and green, or magenta and turquoise, and a lot of my designs pair up unusual color blends. I also LOVE teal verdigris, genuine gemstones, romantic bohemian touches like big roses, velvet and lace, as well as medieval legends, French Celtic folklore, and jean skirts, so my personal taste is reflected in my art.
Tara … It's definitely not on purpose. We've always had very, very similar styles and tastes but at the same time, they're very different, too. Send us to the bead store and we'd pick the exact same beads almost every time but the stuff we'd create with those beads would be so different.
CC to Tara… Since I was raised by an artist mom I am very curious to know how this has effected you both in your creations and your desire to create because it certainly would have an impact on you. Please share with us your thoughts on how your mom’s talent has both helped and hindered your own artistic growth.
Tara… I didn't grow up as an artist and honestly didn't discover any personal talent until I was in my 30s. Shit, who am I kidding? I didn't discover any talent until last year! My mom was always artistic in ways that you take for granted: decorating the house with handmade macrame plant holders, finding the perfect fabric to upholster an antique chair, sewing the most gorgeous clothes. But I've also seen the artistic talent in unique ways: she's been a teacher for 20 years and I always saw her putting together the most amazing costumes for french plays with her students!
I was raised to believe that I could do anything I wanted to do. (Thanks, Mom!) I've never felt hindered in any way by my mom's style or artistic abilities and it's wonderful to be able to get opinions or advice from someone so close to me!
CC to both… It’s wonderful that you both have established shops on Etsy. Do you two brainstorm together about new designs or plans for your shops? Do you give each other advice about your individual businesses and more importantly, do you both take that advice?
Ivy… We talk all the time about our ideas and encourage each other. But, we don't give each other advice unless the other asks for it. For example, when I asked Tara for ideas on how to improve sales, she invited me to join her Etsy Team, Discovery, and suggested blogs and giveaways, both of which I have done. It really has helped a lot! Especially once I discovered Twitter!
Tara… I tend to give advice to people all the time whether they ask for it or not so yes, I'm sure I've overloaded my poor mom with advice. Oops.
CC to Tara… When I was 7 I did a water color painting of a lady walking down a beach. My mom looked at it and laughed because instead of making the footprints smaller in the distance, I made them bigger. HUGE impact on me not because I did it wrong but because she laughed. It was innocent enough but I was very sensitive to the criticism because of it. Do you have any of these childhood stories?
Tara…One of the things my mom gave me was a huge sense of confidence. Since I started painting and creating jewelry, I've never stopped and wondered if anyone would want my creations. I MAKE them want my creations! One of the first things I painted, and the first painting I showed my mom, was a seahorse I'd painted specifically for her. She loved it and asked me to make another so she'd have a set!
CC to Both…Do either of you sell outside of Etsy? Do you do craft fairs and if so do you do them together?
Ivy… I have never done one, but I REALLY want to, and I would LOVE to do one with Tara. I even wish we could have a shop together!
Tara…I've sold outside etsy a few times but just to local friends or other online friends. I have not done a craft fair yet (buying the tent, tables, and displays is daunting) but I'm hoping I'll be able to do it in the new year. We'd love to do a fair together. Can you imagine how much fun that would be?
CC to Both…they say our art defines us. Which piece in mom’s/Tara’s shop do you feel “is” your mom/daughter and why. Which items is your favorite if they are not the same.
Ivy… I feel the Mermaid/Sea Turtle bookmark is the "real" Tara. She loves the ocean, mermaids, and sea turtles, and she LOVES to read! My favorite item of hers is her pink tourmaline anklet.
CC to Ivy…Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ivy… In 5 years, I would love to be a jewelry designer, couturière and writer!
CC to both… I noted that both of you make other things besides jewelry. Are you making what you love or are you making what sells? Are there any other mediums you like working with and if so do you think you will ever expand your shops to include these other items?
Ivy… I always make what I love. Maybe that is why I don't have many sales! I would like to create beachy wall art, and huge, funky leather hobos with big, fat, "bohémienne" roses on them!
Tara… I do both. In fact, I find myself wearing things I've made, styles I never thought I'd wear simply because I started making it (because it sells) and found it grew on me to the point that I love some of those pieces now.
CC to both…Big controversy as to whether artistic talent is genetic or taught. I have my own personal opinion but would love to hear what you ladies think of this.
Ivy… Definitely inherited. Tara is so much like me: articulate, intelligent, imaginative, creative...yet talent is also influenced by taste, which is acquired through teaching. For example, Tara learned to love many of the things I love: we both LOVE jewelry, bohemian skirts, purses, shoes, the beach, mermaids, reading...
Tara… I think it's a little of both. I think *some* of the talent is just know-how and that can be taught. You can technically learn how to do just about anything. But the doing is one thing, the creating is something entirely different. The ability to create something out of thin air is special, that innate sense that knows what will look amazing together and 10 more ideas on top of that of other things to do with it. I'm not sure if that can be taught but it must come from somewhere! Interesting question and I'm sure I'll be mulling on that one for a long time.
CC to Both… I would like to end asking both of you what you find the most admirable
quality of the other. It can be personal or art related.
Ivy… Tara's most admirable quality is her intelligence. There are very few people I have ever met who even come close to her keen intellect, imagination and perception. She is truly gifted!
Tara… My mom's most admirable quality...Hmm. There are quite simply, a ton. And I have to pick one? Can I say her legs? (They're fantastic!) But seriously, I'd have to say her gentle soul (she taught me so much about co-existing with nature, and taking care of it), her analytical mind (she always showed me 10 other ways to approach and solve a problem outside the single "accepted" path), and her warm heart. That counts as 1, right?
Thank all for taking the time for sharing all this wonderful information!
You can visit Cindy's shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/cindycolumbia1958
Ivy's shop can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/bohemienneivy
Tara's jewelry shop on Etsy is: http://www.etsy.com/shop/waterwaif