Good afternoon, fellow nerdsters and makers of wonderful stuffs. I hope the day finds you in good spirits. Along with posting the first seller interview of this week, I'm pleased to announce that Gary and I will be giving this podcast thing a crack this evening. I will tweet during the show, if any of you have questions you want to hear me answer about:
>My Little Ponies (the new one)
>Stupid looking Pokemon
>Nerd guys and their bad clothing choices
Send your tweets to @saz_bby and I'll try to get to everyone who tweets in.
Now, without further ado, we'll get to the interview with the Delightful Cali who's better know as The Bead Muse on Etsy. Enjoy.
Name: Cali Hurtado
Home City: Houston
Favorite Color: Greens and Blues
Favorite Drink (alcoholic or non): Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, Coconut rum (that covers both!)
So, my dear Cali, what is it that got you into beads in the first place? Are beads something you loved as a child, or is this more of an adult fascination?
I’ve been collecting beads since I was a kid. I started collecting broken jewelry while at school, mostly plastic beads, but as I got older I would rescue jewelry people would throw away, primarily beaded jewelry that broke. I still have some of them, too! They’re probably vintage now! People thought I was weird, but I couldn’t stand the idea of throwing away something that could be restrung or reinvented. I would scramble to the break site, and sweep up the beads with my hands before the janitor got there. I even chased really pretty beads down the hall.
You also feature some amazing chainmaille pieces in your shop as well. What got you into creating chainmaille jewelry?
When we were living in some crummy apartments, one of our neighbors befriended us. His friends happened to be some of my friends (from Texas Renaissance Festival), and they were learning Chainmaille. They kept saying how difficult the weaves were, and my husband picked up the stuff, tried it, and loved it. The guys there couldn’t believe how quickly he learned it. At first, I was going to let him make the chainmaille, but then I started getting these ideas, and eventually I wound up making some stunning pieces from it. It caught on, and now I’m thinking of ways to combine Beads and Chainmaille , or “beadmaille,” as it’s now called. My latest was a custom order featured on my Deviantart page.
What inspired you to create such colorful chainmaille?
I love color. Simply put, I was a budding artist in school, and without support from family, I wound up dropping my hopes of going to art school. My love for color came out in beadwork (which I haven’t worked with in a while. Chainmaille is addictive!) I wanted to learn a lot of things, and because I am ADD (or something like that) I get interested in things easily. I’m very curious. I see things, and I try to re-create them. The latest necklaces remind me of pennants, and I kind of see them as pennants that show a view of what you like. Hence my longing for custom orders. The more creative the person gets, the more I have fun!
What are some of your favorite colors to use in chainmaille? What kind of contrast do you think looks best and brings out the intricacy of your design?
So far I haven’t found a favorite. The best color combination I found to be my preference is green and white, but turquoise and black is really stunning too. We picked a new color out, though, and it is the Magenta. That color looks STUNNING next to black.
What in particular drew you to create a shop on Etsy?
That’s a hard call. I needed a venue that I could maintain for very little, and do so from home. We have a 10 month baby girl named Evelyn, and 3 crazy parrots. Due to babysitting costs, and the lack of a spare car, I couldn’t afford to get a job (even though we need the money bad!) So, my wonderful husband told me that he wanted to make a jewelry business!
What "side" are you on in the Regretsy debate and why?
There’s a debate? I never knew! Personally, I love Regretsy. I think it’s hilarious, and points out the stupidity of some people. These folks that they find with the same mass produced Vinyl Decals, and the horrible designs, and the “vintage” items that aren’t vintage.. they crack me up. I find them intolerable, and it frustrates me. I found one, once, that sold mass produced jewelry from the dollar stores we shop at. It disgusted me.
I cannot believe how many of these folks have “vintage” old junk for sale! And people believe them! I have to admit, I think Etsy needs some improvements, and Regretsy is a wonderful way to showcase the hilarious points that need to be made. Plus, it does bring people to Etsy, if only to look at hilarious items!
What gave you the idea to create beaded spiders?
I am a fan of just about all wildlife. Spiders have always captured my curiosity, and I saw a spider tutorial somewhere. I had to give it a try with some of my bigger beads, and I found that they were so much fun to make!
What would you say is your best selling, or at least your most looked-at piece or style of jewelry?
So far, I think it is the dragon-back bracelets. We have not made a huge amount of sales, so I can’t say what the best seller would be. Though I have two friends who are return customers for the chainmaille pennant necklaces now, so I guess those are best sellers!
How long, on average, does it take you to create something like your Gold, Captive Purple Bracelet?
That bracelet requires about 45 minutes of undivided time.
How about your beaded spiders?
If you count the time I spend choosing the abdomen and head of a spider, and designing it before I put it together… about 2 hours.
If you could see your jewelry on one person who's no longer alive, who would that be and why?
I think my great grandmother Eleanor would have worn my beaded work. She was such a beautiful, talented lady, and I never got the chance to know her well. I think she would have supported me in my jewelry endeavors. :)
Do you enjoy any fantasy and/or science fiction? If so, who's your favorite character and why?
Oh.. any? How about all? Hahaha. I used to read non-stop when I was younger. My favorite character as of now is probably Temeraire, from His Majesty’s Dragon (Naomi Novik). But I’m a huge fan of Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, and Andre Norton, so it’s a hard choice!
What has been the biggest contributor to your creativity?
I think, in a sense, my creativity stems from a sort of revenge. My mother was sort of a refrigerator mom, and discouraged me from doing what I loved (i.e., juggling, drawing, writing stories and poetry, jewelry) and so I find myself creating something that people consider beautiful, and thinking “Hah! Take that Mom! They like it!” -insert laughter here-
How hard is it for you to come up with original ideas that haven't been done before?
Very. I started looking around at other chainmaille and thinking “dangit! Someone else did that! Argh!” Of course, then I try tweaking my design to make something else. And in this day and age, it’s very difficult to avoid copying someone else by mistake! But the Dragonback is an awesome weave, and it gives me so many different design options, color-wise, that I don’t feel like I’m invading anyone’s space.
If you could give only one piece of advice to someone just starting out on Etsy, what would that be?
This is big….Practice your photography!! I still have crummy photos from my old camera! Haha. And remember to advertise with free avenues. Facebook, Twitter (if you can handle it), Myspace..
A good avenue is Thumbtack.com. They contacted me and I made a few ads. It’s pretty neat.
I guess as a mother, artist, and jeweler, my biggest wish is to be noticed. Not famous tabloids noticed, hahaha, but just being able to say, “Look, Cameron Diaz purchased a funky dog collar made by ME!!!” hahaha. I’d like to say that my business is covering what my husband’s job is not, but right now, it is a slow, tedious start!
We have a Twitter (Thebeadmusetx)
A facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bead-Muse/144472898935082)
A myspace (www.myspace.com/cali_the_artist)
And a Deviantart (Caliandra.deviantart.com )
I'm not always online, so one day I may inundate the internet with my stuff, and the next day.... nada.
Thanks so much, Cali! Oh, and don't go yet, readers. You know that giveaway I mentioned in the title of this blog? Well here's the rules for my very first giveaway:
*If you haven't done so already, follow Cali on Twitter and like her facebook page. (Don't forget to post a comment saying that you've done so on this blog.
*Next, go to her Etsy page and pick out your very favorite piece she sells.
*Once you've picked something out, tweet it with a little blurb about why someone should buy it. You need to mention both me (@saz_bby) and Cali (@TheBeadMuseTx) in order to qualify. If the url for the item is too long, run it through tinyurl.com to shorten it. The three cleverest reasons as to why someone should buy Cali's item will win THIS!
Plus, you get to CHOOSE the colors you want it in! I'll keep this contest up until 11:00 pm on Friday, or until we get 30 entries. So spread the news, tell your friends, and come up with something really good. I will announce the winners via this blog on Saturday.
As always, thanks so much for reading, and with your powers combined, mayhaps miss Cali will have a bestseller sometime soon.