Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Romina Bacci. I’m a graphic designer and photographer born in Argentina. I come from an Italian family that loves to cook and talk loudly. I currently live in Plano, Texas with my husband and dozens of squirrels and birds that live in the nearby trees, who are also considered part of the family.
Miles of Light represents my obsession with nature, photography and my favorite aspects of graphic design. It started as a photographic diary to document moments of my life and travels between North and South America — a way to fill the distance between 5,000 miles of land, air, light. I enjoy the narrative aspects of photography.
I’ve enjoyed designing books since I was in college. I’ve finally put together some of my nature series in a book called Natural History that is now available in my shop.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I’m a freelance graphic designer and also work as a portrait photographer at The Portrait Session. I study Italian with my husband and try to learn how to play the guitar (the last one very, very sporadically). I also help my husband with our side project: developing applications for Apple iPhones, iPods and iPads. I also love to read, and lately I’ve been following Anna Liebheart’s blog. She has a unique way of combining words and creating short stories inspired by images she finds. If you speak Spanish, I highly suggest you visit.
I have a bit of an obsession with bringing natural elements inside, as you might have guessed. I collect all kinds of leaves, stones, twigs, flowers, feathers, seeds, and sea treasures, displaying or storing them in a lot of boxes. At some point my studio looks like a very messy natural history museum.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I don’t remember making a conscious decision. I’ve always been creative and I somehow knew this was going to be my field. As a graphic designer, I’ve developed a different way of thinking about the creative process. What I enjoy the most is learning in a more intuitive way — from experience, by making mistakes and discovering, layer by layer, all the possibilities. I believe this process inevitably leads you to find your own way of creating your signature.
Please describe your creative process.
It starts with the fun part: going out for a walk and collecting the natural elements. Most of the feathers I use in my work are found on my balcony, left from the birds’ daily visits. The most incredible things exist outside. When my pockets, hands and paper bag are full, I go back inside and leave everything on my studio table for a while. All the other things that come along with collected elements from nature, such as insects, need to find their way out. More than once I’ve found spiders, bees, worms, snails: you name it. When everybody is out I put them on a paper towel and return them outside.
I organize the elements, clean the table, and get everything ready to take photographs. I play a lot while taking the pictures, make lots of combinations, try different backgrounds, and hours go by like nothing. After this, my neck is sore, but I’m happy with hundreds of pictures to download to the computer. Usually I start the selection and editing process the next day, to be able to see more clearly. Sometimes when you see the same images over and over, you lose perspective. It’s important to see things with fresh eyes.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
The most recent one is a white seashell necklace from Marie Forsberg, a.k.a. Le Voyage Creatif, made with shells she collected on a small island off the coast of Norway. There’s also a piece of embroidered fabric handmade by Argentinian artisans that my mom sent to me a while ago. I keep it next to the sofa to wrap around me when I’m cold.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I still have so much to learn in this matter. I think the most important thing is to be yourself. Find your story, and spend all the time you need to find your niche, product, and identity. Be original and don’t copy. You have to be different and own your work in order to be successful. Remember: you’re never selling just an object, you are selling your own story; your product has your essence and it speaks of who you are. It took me almost a year to find my product. You must be consistent and have patience — things don’t happen overnight.
Pamper your customer. Snail mail has an element of surprise that makes people happy. Include something extra with your order — a little detail, a handwritten note. Be communicative, as much as you can. Remember, your customers will most likely never meet you in person, so keep them well informed and updated throughout the purchase process.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love the Treasury and that you can create as many as you like, whenever you like. Etsy Finds and Featured Seller interviews are also great. I believe a friendlier checkout system will attract a lot more customers that are still unfamiliar with Etsy.
How do you promote your work?
I consider this constantly. It’s a hard task, and I need to learn so much about it. I enjoy hosting giveaways on my blog or on other people’s blogs when they ask me. Every time I add new work I try to do a giveaway. I’ve also been lucky to have my work featured on so many popular blogs — since then it’s been a domino effect.
I have a website, a blog and I’ve recently created a Facebook fan page, but I’m still trying to figure out how it works. I don’t like having too many online accounts, since I don’t have the time to use them.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
Like today, in a happy place with the ones I love. And taking pictures, of course.