Today marks a new installment of my Monday blog series titled Monday Must-Have. Each Monday I will feature a fellow talented Etsian and his or her phenomenal work. Each featured artist will have his or her own online Etsy shop where you can peruse and admire his or her 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 Felicia of Another Bright Idea.
Who are you (actual name/and or shop name)?
My name is Felicia Kramer and my shop is Another Bright Idea.
What do you create?
Right now I’m focused on my handmade paper art, digital collages and photography. These media also lend themselves to other products so I’m using them in different ways, like my Daisy Blocks, wooden blocks and greeting cards. My mind is constantly racing with new ideas.
Where are you located?
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, about 20 miles northwest of Detroit. I live alone in a 45 year old townhouse condo that I completely remodeled when I moved in. I love my cozy home, although I could use a bigger studio space.
When did you start creating?
I have been making crafts and drawing since I was a little kid. I wasn’t encouraged to pursue art as a career and family funds were short, so I entered the work world while still in high school. At the age of 30 I made a huge decision to attend college, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (printmaking) from Michigan State University, where I was introduced to making paper. I continued to work after college but recently I was forced to retire a few years early because of several back surgeries. I can now focus full-time on my art and that makes me VERY happy.
Why did you choose your shop name?
I chose “another bright idea” somewhat tongue in cheek because I’m known for being a creative thinker with lots of ideas. Some ideas turn out to be brilliant, but alas, I’m also known for some not-so-bright spectacular failures! But always the ideas come.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the outdoors and nature and flowers from my garden are abundant in my life and on my website. I’m an inveterate quote collector and those words often invite visual images. I’m constantly inspired by my large extended family (7 siblings, 14 nieces/nephews, 30 great nieces/nephews) who have always been enthusiastically supportive and have been the beneficiaries of my creative efforts for many years. All the great artists on etsy also inspire me to keep going with my own art.
What is the most time consuming part of your craft/art?
Making the paper is quite time consuming. It’s also messy, so I spent the better part of last summer outside on my patio making paper until the sun went down and praying it wouldn’t rain! Right now the most time consuming part is trying to determine the most effective ways to market my work outside of Etsy. The social networking sites are new to me so it’s a steep learning curve. In truth, time itself is my biggest challenge.
What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown and why?
I’m just a mile or so away from the Cranbrook Educational Community, a world famous center for education, science and the arts and a National Historic Landmark. It’s food for the artist’s soul, with several museums, abundant gardens, and buildings designed by world-famous architects. I also like to get on my “retro” pink bike and explore my neighborhood for photo ops and nature’s bounty that I can use in my art. My neighbors must wonder, who is that crazy lady on a pink bike who picks up pine cones, twigs, and thistles?!
What is your most popular item that you create (and why do you think it is so popular)?
Judging strictly by my Etsy sales and views, my vintage wooden blocks are the most popular. Why? Maybe because they’re oh-so-cute and there’s still a little kid living inside all of us! My greeting cards are a big hit with friends and family – I’ve been creating my Christmas cards since 1967.
How do you acquire new clients?
Up until now it has been primarily by word of mouth and one-on-one promotion. Because of issues with my crummy back, craft fairs are out of the question, so I’m trying to decide which marketing avenues online will be best for me. I need to choose wisely because I want to be able to devote the time necessary to keep them up to date. I’m following lots of blogs lately and I appreciate those who update frequently (although I wonder how they find time).
What's your next project going to be?
Besides creating new work, I’m currently developing two different lines of greeting cards, as well as continuing my online Photoshop studies. I love doing the digital collages and the more techniques I learn the more refined my collages become. Christmas is my favorite holiday, so I want to start early enough this year to have lots of art ready to go.
What types of things do you do to turn first time buyers into repeat clients?
I truly believe in creating a great first-time impression so I communicate immediately and I send a small packet (thank you note, business card, and small gifts such as book marks, gift cards, etc.) with each sale. I recently added a questionnaire to my shop introduction to get feedback on my products. With it I’m offering a monthly drawing for a digital collage, and an invitation to join my mailing list to be eligible for specials and discounts 2-3 times a year.
What do you do when you are not creating?
By necessity I have to exercise every day to keep my back strong. It’s not my favorite thing to spend time on (unless I can ride my pink bike) but it has to be done. Otherwise, I love movies, books, getting together with friends, my garden, and there’s always something going on with my huge family.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I’m still relatively new to Etsy and I deeply appreciate each and every visitor, every view and every purchase. I hope you’ll take the time to complete my questionnaire (http://tinyurl.com/anotherbrightidea) so that I can focus my creative efforts on art that you can absolutely fall in love with. And I hope to be visible on other online sites in the very near future.
Be sure to check out Felicia's Etsy shop! If you're interested in being featured in future Monday Must-Have segments, please feel free to convo me in my Etsy shop or email me. Have a wonderful day!