Tell us a bit about yourself.
my name is bonnie forkner and i am 23 years old. i was born and raised in the smoky mountains of western north carolina- and after little debate moved back after graduating and getting married. i have never seen a more beautiful place- and it’s simply loaded with inspiration! i majored in business at nc state university and married my high school sweetheart the weekend after graduation. we live here on our happy little homestead with our sweet golden retriever, toaster.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
i am the author and editor of going home to roost, a daily inspiration blog that focuses on the handmade lifestyle, talented artisans & eco indieprenuers, recipes, how-to’s, and a more organic way of life. we have an organic garden, a dozen laying chickens, and are thinking about the possibilities of a dairy cow! we are quite the foodie couple and have fun learning about sustainability and putting what we can into practice. i also teach yoga and love to cook, jog, knit, make soy candles, take photographs and read.
What first made you want to become an artist?
i have grown up in a creative, entrepreneurial family. i think that i’ve always been creative in some way or another- and have always wanted to use my hands to learn how to do new things. my mom and grandmomma have a depth of knowledge about handmade how-to’s and have really helped me evolve through the years. i will never stop learning from them. the opportunity that etsy presents has definitely helped me dive into it even more. i love that they have made it possible for the handmade movement to become a lifestyle for so many artists that didn’t know how to sell or get recognized before. i’ve always been a bit of a home-body- i love nesting in my home, and creating and sewing allows me to do that even more. i always knew i couldn’t have an office, 9-5 job… thank you etsy!
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
i have for a long time now looked at everything with a new eye- with awareness for inspiration. it’s easy for me to get inspired here- being surrounded by nature is what shows through in my work the most. i’m constantly thinking of color schemes and what looks good and how or why. the materials for my pillows are all eco friendly, wool felt for the outside and an eco corn batting pillow form for the inside.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
when we got married my mom made my wedding dress! it’s by far the most cherished handmade gift i could ever receive. she used alencon lace and it was tailored perfectly. it was a sheath fit with a bit of a train, v-neck, little cap sleeves and a small ribbon at my waist. it was so stunning… wish i could wear it again and again!
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
veggie revolution: smart choices for a healthy body and a healthy planet
animal, vegetable, miracle
nest for two
a guide to green housekeeping
the princess bride
gone with the wind
old crow medicine show
.. i love my bloggies!
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
take time to brand yourself and learn how to take great photographs. the photo is the only thing your buyer has to go on since they can’t feel, touch or smell the product in person. give your shop a feel, as though they just walked into a brick and mortar shop. cohesiveness with your style and shop make for a pleasant browsing experience. etsy has some really great resources on how to get your shop looking great and how to sell- i spent months reading, researching and watching. sign up for etsy’s success e-mails and really follow up with their advice, it proves helpful!
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
i love the gift guides and what a wonderful job etsy does getting seller’s work out to the public via the homepage and featured sellers. i also love how easy they make the payment process. i would like to see the seller search improve. for people who know me but can’t remember my shop name, i wish they could find me just by searching for my name under sellers. it’s difficult when they have to remember my shop name perfectly. i also would like to see a quicker way to add new items. like a ‘copy’ previous item and just change what’s necessary. it would also be easier if you could click from one page of the editing process to another (pages 1-5), without having to go in chronological order (previous/next). does that make sense?
How do you promote your work?
i promote some on my blog, though i mainly focus on other artisans. i also advertise on a number of other blogs, try to write in forums occasionally, and comment on other blogs when i have something worthy to say. i always keep business cards with me and do the occasional craft show. i’m also doing consignment with two shops right now- which have been great! your products just have that much more exposure if you can get them out of your studio and into a shop.
In ten years I’d like to be…
on a farm- far enough away to where i can’t see any other houses, but close enough to town to make runs to the farmer’s market. i would like to be a newly-made mom and be able to focus even more on my creative crafty side. my mom and i are working on designing a few fabric lines, which i would love to see take off! i would really love to be doing the same thing i am now- just a little more!