Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
Hi, my name is Andrea Everman and my company is called Owly Shadow Puppets. I started making shadow puppets about a year ago when I first started working with a laser cutter. I was fascinated with the fine details the laser could do, and tried using it to cut out silhouettes of my drawings. From the silhouettes I got the idea that I should make shadow puppets and eventually bought my own laser cutter so I could work at home. The puppets are meant to be toys, but people seem to like them as graphic objects.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
The first thing…what was the first? I remember getting into my mom’s box of wrapping paper and cutting out images from the paper. I used a generous amount of scotch tape to cover some plastic object with these images, the end result being…a Christmas ornament? I was just really excited about the pictures on the paper and my idea to make something with them. I don’t think my mom was happy about me cutting up a roll of wrapping paper, though.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
Visually, I’m inspired by color combinations and well-drawn lines and the shapes and textures I see in nature. Sometimes I just take forever looking at stuff. I love stumbling across humor or irony in a landscape–like the birdhouse I saw yesterday hung from a barb-wire fence, or the stuffed animals I see tied to dump-trucks, or the little house with the yard full of gnomes. I also get inspired by what other people do. My friend’s brother teaches poetry in Iowa, and I think that’s just the most wonderful thing. I catch myself being amazed- say, watching a you-tube video of an octopus running on two legs- and I’ll think “Wow- there’s this AND somewhere in a cornfield a man is teaching poetry.”
What are your favorite materials?
My favorite materials are:
ink and good paper
moss and sticks
but I mainly use mat-board to make the puppets
What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists on Etsy?
Take good pictures, list often, make what you like.
Why should people buy handmade?
People should buy handmade things because it promotes thoughtfulness. The act of making things by hand has a tendency to make people considerate and reflective. Think about this: what if police officers had to spend part of their day knitting?
What features/services would you most like to see on Etsy?
Hmmm. Etsy is already pretty great, I can’t think of anything to change.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Besides the puppets I work at a small company that makes architectural models and teach workshops on shadow puppetry. I also used to make bags with owls on them but its been a while since I’ve had a chance to do any sewing. I live in Chicago in a little pink brick house and try to ride my bike as much as possible.
Read any good books lately?
Yeah- Im slowly working my way through Moby Dick. I had to draw out a diagram of a ship to keep all the sailing terms straight, but the language is amazing.
In ten years I’d like to be…
Doing my own thing, happy about it and more organized.