Tell us a bit about yourself.
First of all, I must confess: my name is not Elle Moss. Elle is for “L” and Moss is a name I pulled from my family tree. Easier to pronounce than Lisa Sieczka.
I live in Saline, Michigan, a charming small town just outside of Ann Arbor in a little colonial house with my husband Andy, my kids Drew (16) and Olivia (4), and my cats Rosie (10) and Scamper (8). Andy and I recently celebrated our 17 year anniversary.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
My days are filled with taking my daughter to ballet, gymnastics, soccer, cleaning, buying groceries, and making dinner – total soccer mom stuff.
For fun, I like cooking vegetarian and vegan food, dancing, hiking, doing crossword puzzles, watching old movies, writing silly songs and going to garage and estate sales. I play a bit of rock band with my family and well, we rock!
What first made you want to become an artist?
Like many photographers, I’ve had a love affair with the camera since I was a child. I have carried a camera with me for as long as I can remember but it was just my favorite hobby. I always thought I should be doing something creative and I tried and failed at many things: writing, jewelry, knitting, making soap.
Then my husband bought me a digital SLR camera for my birthday in 2005 and it clicked – I had been doing what I was meant to do all along, I just didn’t know it.
Please describe your creative process.
Most of my portraits are conceptual images so a lot of time is spent just dreaming up what I am going to shoot. I get a lot of inspiration from old movies, vintage magazines and childhood memories. I don’t have a studio so I use natural lighting and lamps from around my house. Being the model, photographer and processor of my images is wonderful as I have complete creative control over my work but it also means that I have to make time to do it and find childcare. My camera is a Nikon D90 and I mostly use the kit lens or my 50mm f1.4 lens. I also occasionally use my Polaroid sx-70 or oneshot.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My grandma Evelyn’s photographs. She loved photography and having her picture taken. When she died, I inherited her collection of thousands of photographs from the 1920s through the 1990s.
I also cherish my grandma Muriel’s pottery. She had a pottery wheel in her basement that she loved to use and she taught each of her grandkids how to use it. I own a few of her pieces and a few of the pieces we made together.
Name your top five books, movies, musicians, and websites besides Etsy.
I can’t name just five! I love anything with Peter Sellers and almost anything directed by Woody Allen. Also love Hitchcock, documentaries (The Up Series), mockumentaries (This is Spinal Tap) and old musicals (especially Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).
I love Irving Berlin, 60s rock (Kinks, Animals, Stones) 70s soft rock (Jim Croce, Wings, Carpenters…basically everything in those Time/Life commercials), 80s new wave (New Order, The Cure, The Smiths) and 90s brit pop (Oasis, Blur, Elastica).
1. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
2. Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
3. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
4. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
5. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
6. The Vampire Lestat – Anne Rice
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
#1. Find your niche – even a small niche is better than no niche. Distinguish yourself from other shops and find out who your customer is.
#2. Join a Team. It’s a great way to get to know other sellers, get your products out there and get support.
#3. Don’t give up!
#4. Don’t give up!
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
As for what I would like to see, I think being able to go to any page when listing an item would be very helpful.
How do you promote your work?
I also make sure I package nicely and often throw in freebies and coupons to encourage repeat purchases.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
I would love for me and my husband to be self employed and living well doing what we love.
A little studio of my own would be very nice too.