Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kelly Louise Judd. “Swan Bones Theater” is the title I gave to the fragile shadowland where I can play freely with different characters and scenarios, seeing what strangeness occurs between the two. I live in Kansas City, Missouri with my beau and two wonderful, shaggy muses: a dog, Wynsome, and a cat, Hildegarde. I have a small forest in my yard with a secret garden, and windows that look onto my overgrown cottage garden and potager garden; I will spend hours staring into these for inspiration. I love folklore, ghost stories, Victorian literature and art, psychology, Northern Renaissance art, animals, and nature, all of which have an evident influence on my work.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I enjoy gardening, finding different uses for herbs, learning to identify every tree and plant, reading on my hammock, long hikes with my dog, cycling, visiting antique shops, playing croquet, and traveling to historic, often haunted, sites.
What first made you want to become an artist?
As a child, I was always working on art or some type of craft making. It was one of the few things that had the ability to hold my attention for long periods of time and calm my anxiousness. I don’t think I could ever not be an artist in some form; if I try not to think about making things, a new idea will usually follow shortly.
Please describe your creative process.
I like to use traditional materials: oil paint on panel, pen and watercolor on paper, and clay. I will go back and forth between mediums, so there will always be something to work on. Most of my work will begin with a quick sketch, then become a more detailed drawing.
I always try to wake up early, have a cup of coffee with chicory, and take some time to do some sketching and think about the current piece I’m working on. Often, a piece will seem completely different to me from the previous evening, so it’s important I get myself refocused. It is helpful for me to light a candle and turn on music or an audio book. Once I am focused, I become easily obsessed and will diligently work until my hands hurt.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I love the artistic photos taken and developed by my great-grandfather of my great-grandmother and the two of them together. The photos were taken when my great-grandparents were around the same age as I am now, and they look eerily similar to my current life and style.
Name your top five books, movies, musicians, and websites besides Etsy.
The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O’Connor
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The poetry of Emily Dickinson
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I’m a firm believer that if you are true in heart with what you do, things will start falling into place. Visualize what you want your shop to feel like and how images will flow together. Update as often as possible. Start small and keep growing.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I enjoy the Treasury section. I love when I happen to stumble upon the perfect collection that completely fits my mood for that day.
How do you promote your work?
In ten years, where would you like to be?
I would like to be doing many of the same things I do now and be able to make a better living of it. I hope to have illustrated many more children’s books by this time.
I would also like to own a larger acreage with an old farmhouse, where I could further expand upon my gardening ideas and acquire many more animals.