Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
My name is actually artnoose. Okay, okay, it doesn’t say that on my birth certificate, but it is what everyone calls me, except maybe my parents. I took on the name in 1994 when I was doing mail art, and then eventually people started calling me that, and here I am. I’m 33 years old, which is still young enough to find myself in mosh pits from time to time. I live in the East (SF) Bay with two housemates. I’ve been publishing the zine Ker-bloom every two months for ten years.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I remember entering a Easter art competition when I was about 4. I think it just involved a lot of glue and glitter on an egg-shaped piece of paper. I won a toy bunny that I named Mr. Sassafras. I think I did it because I really liked glue and glitter at the time. My mom is an elementary school teacher and my dad is an architect, so I grew up in a house where art materials were available at an early age.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
My ideas for my zines come from my experiences navigating in this mad, mad world. I am always inspired by people who struggle against difficult odds and are able to not only overcome them but emerge the other side as better people. I am inspired by the candor and honesty with which people tell their stories.
What are your favorite materials?
I love the handmade and Japanese screenprinted papers I use in my cards. Sometimes I find it hard to even cut up some of the elaborate yuzen papers because they are just so beautiful. I just have to sit there and look at them for a while.
What is your favorite color?
I have a very, very soft spot in my heart for orange. However, black remains the mainstay of my wardrobe.
Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
My biggest suggestion would be to do something you love in the context of living an amazing life. I make a living off of my letterpress printing now, but that wasn’t always the case, and I used to have to work jobs to support my craft when it couldn’t support itself. Do it because you love it, and make other people’s lives better because of what you do and who you are. On a more Etsy-specific level, listen to what other sellers have to say. Read the forums. There’s a wealth of smart, talented and experienced sellers giving great suggestions if you look for them.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I ride my bike everywhere— in town and touring. I also love baking cookies, and vegan cuisine in general. I like seeing movies either at the second-run joint down in Oakland or up the street where my friend works and I can get in for free. I read a lot of radical non-fiction and attend not one but two study groups. I volunteer at the an infoshop in Berkeley and help do the yearly Slingshot Organizer.
How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
As with many sellers, I am looking forward to being able to organize my shop according to categories. Also, a batch-editing feature would be grand, as would a shopping cart system, even if it was just within one seller’s store. All in all though, I’m very happy with my Etsy experience.