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Featured Seller: mLee

May 12, 2006

by mLee handmade and vintage goods

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Marissa and I am Chicagoan transplanted to Boston, Massachusetts. I have always loved living in the city and hope to be able to stay in some metropolitan area my whole life. I lived in Columbus Ohio for five years where I studied printmaking with a focus in lithography with a minor in art history. After college I no longer had the facilities to do lithography and needed to find something else to do to express my creativity. I drew and painted for awhile, but nothing really felt complete. That is when a friend gave me a woodblock printing kit and I have been doing that ever since. I have found what I love to do and I am doing it every day.

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
Hmmm, the first thing I remember making was a potholder for my mom when I was four. It was one of those ones where you stretch multi colored fabric bands on a loom and when you pop it off you are left with a potholder. Mine of course was very colorful. My mother used that potholder for years.

What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
The process of making art inspires me to make more art. My medium is so process-oriented that if I didn’t find inspiration in the making of art I wouldn’t continue. I am constantly looking at everything and taking in colors and shapes to bring into my pieces. I keep a small sketchbook with me at all times where I can do quick sketches and jot down ideas.

What are your favorite materials?
I am a woodblock printer because I am drawn to the way the grain looks when printed and how the wood carves. It is much different than linoleum relief printing. My second love is for the paper that I print on. I use Japanese paper almost exclusively and take great care preparing each piece of paper for printing. The night before I print I spend hours hand tearing my paper to size so that the final pieces have nice delicate edges.

What is your favorite color?
Despite the colors of my studio walls my favorite color is orange. I had originally planned on doing orange trim but all I finished was the door.

Any tips for selling handmade stuff?
Do what you love and stick with it no matter what, never sacrifice quality and promote yourself with as much energy as you put into your craft.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Creating art is number one in my life. Often it is the only thing that I can think about. But some other interests of mine are cooking, collecting various loose leaf teas and reading.

How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
I think that Etsy is heading in the right direction. I would love to be able to have a portfolio with pictures of my studio up on my shop.

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