Tell us a bit about yourself.
Indigo Twin hails from small town Maine. We are Kirsten and Cortney, identical twin sisters who have always enjoyed creating art together. From crayon rubbings as small children to works of art as adults, we have always given each other inspiration. We both graduated from the University of Maine with Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in 1998 and love that we have been able to use our artistic skills to, let’s say, “bring home the bacon.” We have always wanted to have art be our careers and now, thanks to Etsy, that dream has come true!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Kirsten is an art teacher and teaches 650 students in elementary and middle school. She is also getting her masters degree in special education and should be graduating next spring. Kirsten lives with her boyfriend Will and they have a two-year-old son, Kai, who is the love of their lives. They are often busy renovating a “fixer-upper” on the lake. She also works with stoneware clay when she gets a break from teaching and grad school and also loves to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
Cortney runs a busy household of five. She has a six-year-old son, Evan, a four-year-old daughter, Maya, and a two-year-old son, Jackson. You can often find all of them at the crafting table next to their mom. Her husband Jeff helps out with the creative computer stuff, like business card design and Photoshop. She also loves to paint in her spare time (yeah, right) and has another Etsy shop called Indigotwinart. She is currently renovating her 100-year-old farmhouse with her husband and always doing lots of DIY projects.
What first made you want to become an artist?
We both feel as if we were born with crayons in our hands. Both of our parents are very creative in their own right. Dad is great at drawing and is always sketching out his newest plan or invention. Mom is handy with scissors and made a lot of our clothes when we were little girls. She has an eye for design and has always been able to put together combinations of fabric and beads.
When it came time to go to college, we both enrolled in the art program because it was fun and challenging, even though our professors told us, “Artists don’t make a living from art.” We didn’t care and decided to go for it!
We always had similar interests and started our Etsy shop on a weekend get-together a few years ago. We always tried to have a project to work on when we spent time together. We started with some alphabet blocks and a bag of paper clay, and here we are!
Please describe your creative process.
We live about four hours away from each other so we work in our own studios. We primarily use clay made from paper, which makes it similar to paper mache. The clay air dries so there is no need for a kiln or glazes. We both sketch our ideas before we sculpt. Everything is done by hand and we don’t use any molds. This way, each product is truly one of a kind.
We paint all of our pieces with acrylic or enamel paints and then antique the finished product to bring out all of the grooves and textures. Cortney sculpts and paints everyday, and when she’s away from home she sketches. She comes up with ideas when she’s sitting at her daughter’s dance class, sitting on the beach, or watching her oldest son’s hockey practice. She finds time to sculpt, email, answer convos, pack boxes and list items between taking care of her young family.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Cortney’s most cherished handmade possession is her engagement ring that was made from a design her husband created. The ring was crafted by an old man in Nova Scotia who used the lost wax process.
Kirsten’s most cherished handmade possession is the belly cast that of her enormous pregnant belly just a week before she had her son.
Name your top five books, movies, musicians, and websites besides Etsy.
Neither of us spend much time on any websites. Maybe someday we will find the time!
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
A great photo is worth a thousand words. A nicely lit, cropped photo can sell your product and you have to make something you love. We are constantly evolving our products to offer the best possible quality to our customers and that means editing our photos, rewriting our descriptions and checking our tags. We try very hard to have great customer service, which means answering all convos quickly, packing our pieces safely and finishing custom orders within a few short weeks.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
We really like the Treasuries and have been lucky enough to be featured in quite a few. A new feature we would like to see is a way to make the editing process easier. We have a lot of sales and promotions and we’re always tweaking and editing our listings. We’d like to have a way to go back to the last edited listing instead of the first page.
How do you promote your work?
We really just list a few items each day and Etsy does the rest!
In ten years, where would you like to be?
We would both love to be making art full-time, spending time with our fabulous families, each in our own renovated homes. When not creating art, Kirsten would love to spend her off time traveling in a tent camper with her small family, visiting all of the national parks to recharge her creative inspiration.