Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Alice Wingerden and I live in Rochester, NY with my husband Joshua aka St Joshua and our 3 year-old Cairn terrier, Renoir. I work full time creating art work, paper goods, home décor and selling vintage goods through my website, Painted White, and here on Etsy. I sell my handmade jewelry in my Paradox shop. I also manage most aspects of my husband’s business since he works full-time outside of our home. I often become a bit of a hermit working from home, but I enjoy being here, with all of my beautiful things surrounding me, and my little dog at my feet.
I studied Psychology and Art in college and hope to use these formally one day, but for now, I am enjoying pursuing my creative side…
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love decorating my home… perhaps more than I should…I love change.
I also enjoy photography and finding beauty in the details of the world around me. I spend a lot of time blogging and sharing my finds with my friends there.
And visiting flea markets, thrift stores and antique shops. I can never resist these and always walk away with something… but often more. I am a bit of a packrat and collector of all things old, worn, weathered…and beautiful. My house is filled with remnants from the past, that some others may look upon and wonder why we would keep them. But for me, they exude mystery, intrigue and romance.
What first made you want to become an artist?
When I was very young and would see the paintings that my grandmother had done, a spark was ignited. Her work still inspires me today, and I strive all of the time to be as talented as she is. I don’t paint as much as she did or in the same style, but the artistic trait that she has courses through my veins everyday…
Both of my parents also always encouraged me to pursue my love of art from a very young age and were always providing means for my sister and me to be creative. My mom would build little villages with us out of whatever we could find around and was always coming up with creative things for us to do. The handmade Halloween costumes she created for us still stand out in my memory as favorites. And I remember my dad always coming up with creative ways of providing for us. When we were very young he built us bunk beds in a closet…it might sound strange now… but we loved it then…
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I often find myself working late at night starting around 10:30 or 11 and sometimes into the early morning hours. There have been times when my husband was heading off to work and I was just crawling into bed. I find the quiet hours of the night to be so peaceful and the time when I have the most creative energy. I have tried very hard to fit into a “normal” schedule… but it never works for me…
I love to try new things all of the time, but my first passion is collage, mixed-media and paper arts. I have a very large studio where I house vintage papers, old books, and sheet music to inspire me.
I have also recently discovered a love for fabric and sewing and enjoy using burlap, linen, tattered laces and crocheted pieces.
I can often make a big mess when creating, so my studio is rarely clean (you can see a tour of it on my blog when it was). Sometimes it gets so messy, I move down to the dining room table…but I am working on that…
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have four younger siblings, by my dad and stepmother, who now range in age from 6 to 16, and I think the things that I cherish most came from their little fingers. Last December, for my birthday, my sister Destiney (who is now 6) gave me the most beautiful beaded bracelet that she put together completely on her own. Just thinking about it gets me a little teared up. I also love all of the cards and drawings that they have given to me from when they were very small. The art of children is so innocent and pure…it always tugs at my heartstrings and brings a smile to my face…
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass… for obvious reasons.
White Oleander… I have read this about 5 times and I still love it every time.
Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales…I have loved these since I discovered them at the school library in kindergarten…another inspiration for wanting to become an artist.
You Are Mine… a children’s book by Max Lucado.
Me and You and Everyone We Know
I am Sam
Sense & Sensibility
Prancer… for real… I love this movie all year long and watch it whenever I am feeling down, it always cheers me up.
Moms’ Antiques n’ Things… my wonderful mother’s shop filled with vintage treasures. I am always peeking in to see what she is offering.
My Petite Maison… my dearest blogging friend’s website.
Veria… a health and wellness website
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Be patient. For some shops it just takes time. And there will be times when sales are slow, but they always pick up. And…take great photos! Excellent and artistic product photos always draw me in…
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
My favorite Etsy feature is the Gift Guides. I always get excited when something of mine ends up in one, and I love searching through them to find interesting things.
How do you promote your work?
Mainly through my blog. I always enjoy sharing my creations there.
I have also been blessed with the opportunity to write articles about my work for Somerset Life (I have two articles in the Winter ’09 issue that is now available in digital format only and one coming in a future issue). I have had my website featured on many blogs and in Romantic Homes magazine. I am also a member of the French Cupboard… a site created to promote websites and Etsy shops.
In ten years I’d like to be…
Let’s see… I will be close to 38 then… so, hopefully I will be living in a large, old house in the country with my husband and dog… and a few little ones. I’d love to have my own vegetable and flower gardens…a hen house and maybe some other animals. And spend my days taking care of my children, beautifying our home, and creating the things that I love…