Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Andrea and I’m a homegrown southern girl from beautiful North Carolina and I continue to live here today. I love my family and friends more than anything in this world. They have always supported and encouraged my artistic pursuits. I have my BFA in sculpture and studied fashion design at Appalachian State University and fiber arts at Savannah College of Art and Design.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Recently, I spend most of my time with our new puppy Mr. Marcel. I adore my long walks each day with my partner David, Marcel, and my other dog Nikki. David is an avid Gardner, so I have also been spending a lot of time planting with him. We are both enthusiastic Slow Foodies and enjoy nothing more than cooking up a great seasonal dish with local organic foods from our farmers market.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I don’t think it was ever a conscious choice. I grew up in a crafty family so object making has always been apart of my everyday life. I also had a healthy curiosity for how things worked. I would take my toys apart and put them back together again. My poor easy bake oven! I not only wanted to make a beautiful cake but I also wanted to make the oven even cooler. I think the realization was the desire to make my artistic process and final creation as environmentally sustainable as possible. I’m also an ecological sculptor. I have spent the last few years creating work that explores environmental issues and how cultivated landscapes are attached to consumerism, politics, religion, science, and history.
Please describe your creative process (how, when, materials, etc).
My goal with Gaia Conceptions is to create Eco Chic Apparel shaped to move with the individual contemporary woman. Upon my return from eight months traveling through India and five months living and studying in Amsterdam this collection was born. I have combined the luminous colors and nomadic needs of exploration with sophisticated design, fit for the urban environment.
The quality of these garments is my biggest priority. I start by selecting the best fabric I can find, choosing only natural fabrics such as: Local Organic Cotton, Raw Silk, Wool, and Hemp. I receive my fabrics in there natural state, with no added chemicals or dyes. The first step is to design a flat pattern of the garment in all sizes. I have created patterns that flatter the figure and fit most body types easily. I want my clothing to be multifunctional and keep you feeling comfortable and stylish in the work place, a day in the woods, or a night out. All clothing is straight stitched and surged to create super durable seams and a great fit. Then comes my favorite part, color. All my garments are dyed using wonderful, low-impact fiber reactive dyes. I’m also currently in the process of learning how to work with natural dye colors and they will be available soon.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Wow, it is hard to pick just one. I have a collection of cross-stitched items by my mother, handmade gifts from my sister and an old banjo that my grandfather gave to me before he passed. These items are all very dear to me. At present I would say the banjo holds that extra special place in my heart. I cherish the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to play it and singing songs on his porch.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites (besides Etsy).
My most recent favorite reads are…
Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan,
Cradle to Cradle, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart
Gaia’s Garden (a guide to home scale permaculture) by Toby Hemenway
A People’s History of the United States by Howaed Zinn
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Natural Born Killers
National Public Radio (News, Echoes, just about everything)
Miles Davis, Kinda Blue
STS9, live at home
PHISH live in 1997 Hampton coliseum
Radiohead, ok computer
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Give as many pics and as much info about your items as you can. Good communication is also important for both buyers and sellers.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love the relist button and conversations. I also really enjoy reading all the articles and surfing around through the time machine! It would be so amazing to have spell check in my conversations and when I’m listing a new item!
How do you promote your work?
I also sell my clothing at festivals and I try to keep cards on me at all times. Other than that it has just been word of mouth. I want to grow slowly so that I can continue to keep the ethic that grounds Gaia Conceptions.
In ten years I’d like to be…
Happy, healthy, and surrounded by the people I love!