Tell us a bit about yourself.
Oh hello there! My name is Anna J. Robertson, A.J. for short, or Len-Len (long story) for my closest friends and family. I was born in the Philippines but moved to Gainesville, FL when I was 2, and then on to Raleigh, NC when I was 8. I currently reside on the other side of the continent in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, just up the hill from beautiful Deep Cove, where I now speak with a masked country twang. It does, however, occasionally slip out when I talk about things like fried okra or grits.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I’m a wife to an extremely patient structural engineer. He’s sort of my high school sweetheart — we got together on our prom night. I have a silly little 3-year-old daughter who makes me laugh all the time. During the day, we draw pretty crayon rainbows, make paper bag puppets, and twirl around in princess dresses. I also spend several hours baking up nut-free goodies nearly every day, since my daughter is terribly allergic to tree nuts and peanuts.
I try to squeeze in a bit of what I like to call “random dabbling.” This is when I experiment with various hobbies that I’m absolutely terrible at. I love playing my guitar and piano (atrocious), singing shower concerts (even more horrible), and spinning my own yarn for crochet projects (terribly ugly stuff). Despite this, my greatest aspiration is to be a Renaissance Woman.
What first made you want to become an artist?
Honestly, I’m not really sure if I feel worthy enough to label myself as an artist. I’ve always felt that being a true artist meant being brave enough to live a certain type of bohemian existence, where you would solely create, live, and breathe art. I don’t think I’m quite there yet. All I really know is that I have always loved to create and as long as my hands physically allow me to, I always will.
Please describe your creative process.
Comfort and wearability are two of my personal preferences when it comes to accessories. This steers me towards minimalist tendencies, as I tend to reduce shapes to their most fundamental forms. I’m also very into the idea of the organic meeting simplicity. Though organic forms tend to be anything but minimalist, I can’t help but love the juxtaposition of this union.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My daughter! Well, she isn’t actually a possession, as much as I’d like her to be mine. So I guess any one of her drawings that she makes me every day. I especially love the first time she drew a whale all by herself — it was the cutest little smiley blob. Our refrigerator door is bombarded with funny little crayon doodles because it’s impossible for me to get rid of them.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Passion with perseverance! I know this has been said over and over, but create what you really love and never give up. Throughout the process of your tireless effort, try not to get jaded.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I really love all the features of Etsy. No really, not to be a suck-up, but I’ve used all of the features at some point. I like using the Time Machine and Pounce to see what’s been sold and what’s just been listed. I love the Treasury because it’s always a pleasant surprise when a fellow Etsian handpicked you for their collection!
I’d love for there to be some way to use coupon codes or gift certificates during checkouts.
How do you promote your work?
I wear my own designs, which can strike up a conversation when I’m out and about. I make jewelry for my family and friends, and they have become my greatest advertisers. I use Facebook and lazily tweet (my Twitter account is connected to my Facebook fan page and automatically tweets all my announcements). One of my favorite ways to promote is through my blog, where I also like to showcase other handmade artists that I have crushes on.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
Creating more while living in a totally amazing beach front home designed by my husband. Hopefully, I also feel ten years younger.