Today marks a new installment of my Monday blog series titled Monday Must-Have. Each Monday I will feature a fellow talented Etsian and their phenomenal work. Each featured artist will have their own online Etsy shop where you can peruse and admire their one-of-a-kind body of work. Hopefully you will find new favorite artists and artisans whose work you MUST HAVE. :)
Today's featured artist is Maria of DropofSunshine.
Who are you (actual name/and or shop name)?
My name is Maria Walker. I'm an Industrial and Interior designer and my shop is DropOfSunshine.etsy.com.
What do you create?
My passion is jewelry, in every shape, size and color. This is what I've focused my Etsy shop on but plan to expand later when I take off!
Where are you located?
I'm in Sunny Miami, FL! I love living here, the weather and the sunsets make it worth it.
When did you start creating?
I have three periods in my life when I started different stages. In Junior year in High School I would skip class and stay in the bathroom weaving bracelets that I would later sell during lunch time. Then, during my second year of college, two friends and I decided to get a spot at a craft show, where we sold beaded jewelry and painted tees. Since then I haven't stopped, but now, during my last year in college, I took a metalsmithing class that opened my mind and gave me many more options to create.
Why did you choose your shop name?
My shop name was a problem! I didn't want to use my name as a beginner store, so I went with something I liked. Being in Florida makes me admire the sun more than ever, so Drop Of Sunshine makes it fit perfectly in attitude and location!
What inspires you?
Everything inspires me. Nature, materials, other artists work and my surroundings. I keep a sketchbook with ideas plastered all over so that I don't miss anything that has crossed my mind!
What is the most time consuming part of your craft?
Right now it's filing and finishing silver, since I don't have a tumbler I sand and polish by hand. Also, when I decide to go all out in creativity and make previous detailed sketches of pieces, that takes time.
What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown and why?
My favorite place in Miami would have to be the Museum of Modern Art. I get many ideas when I'm surrounded by art so visiting a museum (here and anywhere I go) helps me when I get artists' block.
What is your most popular item that you create (and why do you think it is so popular)?
My most popular item are earrings. I usually make one or two pairs of each model and move on, so there is no specific model. Next would be bracelets.
How do you acquire new clients?
Right now I'm trying out Twitter and Plurk as a mean of distribution of brand, but I ended up making friends, which is really nice! Also, I keep my Etsy Mini on Facebook so my 700+ friends can see. Word of mouth is the greatest advertising.
What's your next project going to be?
I'm currently working on a project called "Constellations". The name is pretty straight forward and the items are turning out nicely. It is my first line completely fabricated in sterling silver with no bought components (other than chain).
What types of things do you do to turn first time buyers into repeat clients?
As far as Etsy is concerned, I haven't had the opportunity to convert first time buyers into repeats! But when it comes to old customers, they like my style and they like the fact that I dedicate myself to making a great finished piece. If possible, I'll also throw in a pair of earrings as a sign of gratitude!
What do you do when you are not creating?
When I'm not creating with my hands, I'm creating in my head. I also try to investigate on new techniques so I read a lot.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The last thing I would like to share is that everyone should always find a hobby, if it's crafts, music, sports or anything, it keeps you sane. And thank you Ruth for choosing me for this Must-Have Monday, it's an honor!
Be sure to visit Maria's Etsy shop to see more of her fabulous designs!