Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Tina Rodas, I grew up in Jacksonville Florida and I have been in Los Angeles since 2003. I will be 27 this month. I left Jacksonville for the dream of living somewhere where my creativity wouldn’t freak everyone out. I’m pretty sure I moved to the right town. Its just a wee little quaint town of 13 million. There is always someone weirder than me here! I’m not really weird, I just tease. Anyway, I was very fortunate to be in a very creative environment while in high school at Douglas Anderson School of the arts (for music of all things) and I’m not quite sure where I would be if I hadn’t had that experience.
I have what I call a nugget, which would be a small human aged 3 years. She’s quite cute and just started montessori preschool last week. I also have what I lovingly refer to as my babydaddy aka fiance aka Justin Trask. He’s a wonderful dude that takes good care of me and the nugget (Hazel).
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love love love spinning fire, there are many different tools for doing this, my tools of choice are Poi and the fire hula hoop. Its just dancing but with balls of fire or a flaming hula hoop. What could be more exciting than that? Maybe being featured seller…. My best friend Rachel and I teach a beginning level poi class in Alhambra Ca, occasionally.
When I was at artsy high school I played the 5 string bass in a few bands around town and also played the Cello in the chamber orchestra. I’ve been playing bass since I was about 14 and picked up the cello when I was 17. Oh how I love the Cello. I don’t have as much time for music these days as I would like, but I do still love to play. I also really love to cook.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I don’t think I actually had a choice in the matter. But I think I really realized it when I went away to college in Nashville and I couldn’t find anything that interested me at all. I packed up and moved to LA and decided I would give Otis college of art and design a try. I left school when I found out I was having my daughter and I don’t think I’ll go back. I’m not a very good student. After the two or so years staying home with my daughter I started piddling with my sewing machine every now and then. I felt like that time away from school and the rest of life was exactly what I needed to tap into my creativity. The rest is history.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
The need to create comes over me in these intense waves from time to time, with that comes these crazy ideas that I frantically try to get out. I can’t stop until it is perfect, I’ll remake and remake and remake until I’m happy with what I see. Sounds crazy I know but I like it! I love to stay up sewing super duper late, until 3 and 4am. That is when I do my best work. I just sit there with my head phones on and work it all out. Clearly my material of choice is felt, believe it or not I do love other fabrics, I guess you could just say that I’m a little obsessed with the felt right now. I love the clean lines you can make using felt. I think the fact that I’m really into the mid century modern style of design shows through some of my work. I am also influenced by all things 70’s retro. If I buy one more little vintage owl figurine or old embroidered picture hanging Justin will disown me.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I would have to say that this little hand crocheted mouse that I carried around with me my entire childhood. I don’t even know who made it, but my grandmother bought it at a yard sale when I was 2 and that was the end of that. He still sits on my bed from time to time.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
oh geez well…
Books: I really love Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins, or any other Tom Robbins books for that matter. Also, Eckhart Tolle is pretty awesome. Movies… um Pootie Tang was pretty awesome.
Music….. I really love Fiona Apple, No Doubt, Reggie and the Full Effect, Radiohead……. and I listen to a lot of classical music. I particularly love to listen to the classical as loud as my eardrums can stand. Rock on.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I think when you have a positive attitude and can be at peace with what you are doing things go your way. If you need something, put it out there into the universe and it will come. Oh, and don’t forget to relist.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
My favorite feature is favorites AKA hearts. I’m kinda out of control with that. STATS would be incredible!!!!
How do you promote your work?
Ya know I really don’t do much promoting at all. I kinda suck at promoting myself. I always carry my owl purse with me that I made a few years ago, its great advertising, people always ask me about it and I give them a card. I have done a few little markets and Festivals, but not very many at all. I think I could count them on one hand. I do have a blog. Hi Tree has really only been around since late february when I posted my first item for sale ever, so I still feel really new to all of this stuff. I’m catching on tho!
In ten years I’d like to be…
Full time Hi Tree 🙂