Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Beth Doherty. I’m 25 and married to a Texan named Terry Baker. I decided not the change my last name because Beth Baker sounds kinda back-woodsy to me. I am a Chicago south-sider, born and bred. I graduated on the dean’s list from Columbia College in 2002 with a degree in fine art. I was a member of the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, but I let it expire, oops. I have given money to the public radio station here in Chicago, but I don’t think I ever gave them enough to count as a member. I teach crochet at a local yarn shop called My Sister’s Knits.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
It is sort of a running joke in my family that my memory is so bad that my parents could have fabricated my entire childhood and I wouldn’t know the difference. The trip to Disney World could be a lie, maybe they bought a postcard from the Disney Store and just told me I went there. The earliest thing I remember my mom telling me I made was a drawing of myself as an art gallery curator. Apparently, I was standing behind the counter and there were all kinds of paintings hanging on the wall behind me. I guess I made it because art has always interested me. Pictures of things have always fascinated me. Now I am making actual things instead of pictures of things.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
Pop culture is definitely my biggest influence. And pop art, which is slightly different; I think. The lines are so blurred now. Andy Warhol and David Bowie are my heroes. They understood/understand how fine the line is between making culture and critiquing it. Japanese culture is a huge influence as well, especially attention to tiny details and clean lines. The craftsmanship in Japanese art amazes me. I also really like the sense of scale in Japanese art.
What are your favorite materials?
I joke around sometimes and say that I am an acrylics artist. They are my favorite paints and they are by far my favorite yarns. Too many yarn folks are convinced that it has to be natural to be worth any thing. I disagree. Acrylic yarn, good acrylic yarn that is, has a really even texture, a nice shine and comes in tons of super fun, bright colors. It is perfect for what I do. I do shell out the dough when it comes to hooks, however. I only use Clover ergonomic handled hooks. They give you a nice grip so you don’t have to squeeze so tight and the tips are coated aluminum so they slip in and out of the fabric smoothly.
What’s your favorite color?
My favorite color is somewhere between lime and pea soup green.
Any tips for crafters on selling their stuff?
I am quite new to all of this, I’m still at the stage where I am taking advice from other people. My only suggestion is a pretty typical one, but I don’t think it can be repeated enough. Take the best photos of your work possible. With online selling your pictures are really the only way potential customers get acquainted with your work.
Apart from crafting, what do you do?
I bake bread occasionally, scoop kitty litter, use the treadmill every once in awhile, think about cleaning the house and enjoy my husband’s company; we watch “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” together. I am extremely fortunate to have someone who is willing to let me explore my creativity with out the burden of instant profits.
Any Etsy feature requests?
I think a list of top sellers based on percentage and amount of feedback might be really helpful for potential buyers visiting the site. For obvious reasons some people are reluctant to purchase in this type of set up and might be more willing to give it a try if they had a list of “most trusted sellers” to choose from. A good first experience could be really valuable and it might give them the confidence to buy from someone who doesn’t have as much feedback on their next purchases.