Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Augusta and I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband David and our somewhat poorly-behaved dog Rodie. I’m Virginia born-and-raised, and therefore tend to say things like “y’all” and “dahlin.” I don’t like cold weather.
I have a degree in art history, which — as art history degrees are prone to do — morphed into a teaching career. I’ve taught art to museum-goers, preschoolers, and currently, high school students.
Shmugusta is the nickname my college roommate gave me and I chose it as my username on Etsy long before I considered selling my work here. My business’s actual name is adknits. I’m A.D. and I knit. I like that “knits” functions as both a verb and noun.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love to be outdoors, gardening, hiking, or just sitting on my porch watching the birds in my backyard. I like to organize things, which probably shouldn’t be filed under the “hobby” category, but there’s something very soothing about putting everything in its place. I like making things from scratch: growing vegetables, making cheese, binding books. This does not extend to home improvements, however. I’m tragically untalented in that department.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I’ve always loved color. A significant part of my childhood was spent wanting to be Rainbow Brite. But being an artist was never something I set out to do. Creating things has always just been part of my life. You know — eat, sleep, breathe, make stuff. I sewed a quilt by hand when I was twelve. Isn’t that what all preteens do? It never occurred to me that it was odd — it was just what I did.
I get my artistic genes from my dad, but it was my mom who taught me to knit when I was about seven years old. Aside from that one instance, though, I’ve never seen her knit a thing, so before completing this interview I actually had to check with her to make sure I had the real story and not one I had fabricated as part of my childhood lore.
Please describe your creative process.
I have to see a finished product in my head before I can begin sketching or creating. My ideas tend to come all at once, and I usually have to start work on them right away. I will literally abandon what I’m working on in favor of whatever idea has just popped into my head. It’s like creative A.D.D. Eventually, both will get completed. But needless to say, I usually have several projects going on at once.
With each idea, I have to find the right yarn. I take color, texture, and fiber composition into consideration when I’m searching for the right material. I only use natural fibers and blends in my work. I also like to use nature-inspired motifs, earthy rustic colors, and of course, natural fibers like wool and cotton.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
The engagement ring my husband gave me. I’m not a diamonds sort of girl, so he had a beautiful ring made with turquoise and lapis lazuli.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Don’t get bogged down in the Twittering, Facebooking, blogging and all the other cyberspace tools out there. Focus instead on what you love to do in the first place — create. Make a quality product and then photograph it well.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I’d love to see something that allows me to organize orders. Folders, perhaps? And I would also like to change my username to reflect my business’ name.
How do you promote your work?
I have a website, but other than that, I have tried almost every promotional method and found that most of it just doesn’t work for me. Good photographs and daily renewing have been my most effective methods of promotion.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
Happy, healthy, and living in the mountains with my husband, dog (who will live forever, by the way), and a goat.