Craftee Randee interviewed by fauxsure
What sorts of things do you offer in your shop?
I am currently selling (in various colors and styles) Knit Scarves, Knit Hats, Knit Grocery Bag Holders, and soon to be listing a Knit Shawl. Along with my hand-made knit items, I am selling original Beaded Hemp Necklaces and Beaded Hemp Braceletts. Coming soon to my shop: Four styles of my Original Photography (digital prints, film prints, color, black and white).
How did you first start selling on etsy? How long have you been selling? Do you sell anywhere else?
I began knitting a few years ago. During the winter 2008/2009, I started seriously getting into knitting and wanted to learn new patterns and techniques. I offered my friends/family/and coworkers free hat and scarf sets with colors and styles of their choice. Only cost to them was the material cost. This allowed me to improve my skills and help with gift giving for the Christmas season. I uploaded photos of all my custom made sets to the Queer Etsy Street Team facebook fan page.
During this time, my best friend/co-worker/fellow crafter referred me to Etsy.com. I set up my account a year ago next month. Since the weather was getting warmer, I put away my knitting needles. When December (2009) rolled back around, I got into again. I started with yarns I bought last year and created some pretty new pieces. Only thing left to do was purchase the internet for my home, start listing the items I had made, and start knitting more. That was two weeks ago. I am constantly thinking of new ways to promote, price, describe, and photograph my work. It is a challenge to balance my full time job, my etsy shop, other hobbies (which I can not give up), and find time to sleep. Somehow I manage, and I am as happy camper.
The short answer to how I started selling: I like to knit. My friend likes to knit. She found Etsy.com and recommended that I make a shop, since everyone loved my gifts. Since I love to create in general, my shop has and is continuing to expand to other forms (jewelry and photography). I have had my items listed for two weeks, no sales yet. I do not sell anywhere else, but I am open to/considering joining local craft shows or art fairs.
Tell us a little about your typical creative process and how you go about making your work. What kinds of steps do you usually go through?
My knitting process is pretty simple. I love Hobby Lobby. If I have a custom order request, I shop with an general idea of what yarn type and color. Sometime I shop with no ideas and let’s the moment embrace me. I like trying new yarns and techniques. Once I have the yarn, I find a pattern or stitch that compliments the yarn, and go from there. I inherited quite a few sizes of needles and supplies from my grandma p (who initially taught me how to knit) and my great grandma d, who was also a crafter. Crafting runs with the women in the family on both sides.
My jewelry process is close to the same. I pick the color hemp and beads, then create away. During the 4th of July weekend I made a handful or colorful hemp anklets for my mom’s brothers and sisters, and their kids. It all depends what comes first (the chicken or the egg… haha. I mean the beads or the hemp) if it is for fun, or a special request from someone I know.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
Knitting: anything soft fuzzy and thick. I love bright colors too! Yarn Bee and Homespun are my favorite brands.
Hemp: I like Aztec looking beads or all sizes and shapes. I also like colorful round beads. I prefer the smaller natural hemp, but I have worked with colored hemp, and thicker hemps.
Photography: I love my Rebel T2 camera (borrowing from my mother) with black and white film. I also upgraded my digital camera as well and I am learning how to use all the new settings. If a dark room is considered “materials,” that’s also my favorite. Since I don’t have one available to me at the moment, I like to use local photography shops to do my printing. Think Global, Shop Local!
Are there other creative projects you are involved in outside of your work in your etsy shop?
Last year I was part of a knitting/crocheting group. We would meet on Sundays at someone’s house, have a couple martinis, and watch a romantic comedy. It was just three girls from work, and me, but it was enough for a good time.
Besides art/ crafty stuff, what else do you like doing in your free time?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE to read. My blog (http://randeetalks.blogspot.com) is the place where I keep track of all my readings and recommendations (among other topics). I tend to find a new author and read a lot (if not all) of their work. I love the local library. I ‘rent’ seasons of past television shows. I started with The L Word (which was the second time watching all six seasons… I love it that much), then moved to Six Feet Under, True Blood (where are my vamp lovers?!), and most recently LOST! Since I graduated college and moved out on my own to a new city, I have a lot of free time.
It may sound weird but I really enjoy cleaning and re-organizing my apartment. It’s easier than moving all the time, even though I DO move a lot. I just like a change of scenery every now and again. I super clean probably every other weekend.
I like to play with my cats and meet new cats. I am your typical cat lady… just 50 years early. I am pro-animal rights/veg*nism. I no longer label myself as a veg*n because I don’t like to represent a community if I can’t do it fully and to the best of my ability.
On the occasion that I am feeling social, I tend to venture to our local gay bar with my good friend here in Lansing. Two dance floors, no cover, and drink specials. I love it. It has its good mix of cuties to dance with too J
How did you get into crafting?
My father's mother used to make really cute boxes and american girl doll clothes. I grew up around craft fairs and home made gifts. My Fathers grandmother was a knitter but I didn't know this until she passed away. I inherited a lot of her knitting supplies and sewing stuff too. My mother's mom also crochets and is a quilter. She makes these cute towels for us with a knit top so you can put in on the fridge door or cupboard hardware. Very practical. My mom and I used to do crafts all the time when I was younger too. We would make scrunchies and head bands and paint ceramic knickknacks for christmas. I grew up in a family full of crafters and I just fell into it. Now its my favorite hobby. I took two years of sewing in high school, and I am a self taught knitter (and soon to learn crocheting).
Is there anything you would like to learn to do?
I would like to learn new photography tricks, and i would love to learn how to make soup and candles. I would like to make my own beads, any maybe how to make professional dresses. I want to make movies too. and cute children's books.
Does your queer identity come into play in your work?
My love for all things LGBT is part of who I am and always have been. Since it’s a part of me, and a part of me is in my work, this identity is thus in my work. A month ago I made myself a rainbow chocker made from embroidery thread. I am able to make other jewelry and such with all the pretty colors of the rainbow. I haven’t really made anything specifically (for sale) to show this identity, but I am always open to new ideas and requests.
What are your hopes for the Queer Etsy Street Team? What brought you to join?
I want to help bring people to the team, fan page, and blog. I like to promote acceptance. That’s what brought me to join. I hope that my shop (and blog) brings new people to our team’s shop (and everyone personal shops for some great cross promotion!). It’s a simple way to be a part of the larger movement to promote general acceptance and equal rights.