Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
My name is Tasha McKelvey and I make pottery and jewelry. I live in Richmond, Virginia, but I make most of my work out in the country in Mathews County, where I grew up. I got my BA in Studio Art in 2000 from Mary Washington College (now called the University of Mary Washington, which is a silly name) in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I started selling my clay work as soon as I finished school. I show my work at Art and Craft Shows, Galleries, Shops and here on Etsy.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
Do mud pies count? One of my really early memories is sitting in the driveway making mud pies because my older sister was at school and I was bored without her around. I guess mud/clay has always entertained me.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
I am inspired by textiles, printmaking and Asian pottery. I try to combine the influences of those three things into one style. I love it when someone actually recognizes all three influences in my work without me explaining my inspirations first.
What are your favorite materials?
Stoneware and porcelain clay, linoleum blocks and silver.
What is your favorite color?
Blue, then Green, then Brown.
What are your three favorite films?
Amelie, The Breakfast Club (that’s a holdout from my teen years), and just about any version of Pride and Prejudice
What is your favorite book?
I’m such a dork, but Harry Potter. Those are just about the only books I read more than once.
I’m also a big fan of the 500 series from Lark Books (500 Teapots, 500 Bowls . . .), but those are almost all pictures. Each book consists of 500 images of teapots, bowls, pitchers, and so on. I love being able to look at the work of so many talented ceramic artists and their unique take on the same object.
Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
Learn to take good photos of your work, this is very important. You need good images of your work to sell online of course, but you also need good photos to get into Art Shows, promote yourself to shops or galleries and to get publicity for your work.
I sell my work full-time. I recommend that anyone interested in doing this professionally/semi-professionally research all aspects of running a crafty type business as a way of getting started. You have to be prepared or else you can waste a lot of time and money.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Spend time with my husband and our beagle, Tela. We like to go backpacking, but haven’t had much time for it lately. I just started taking classes again, to get my teaching license.
How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
Im looking forward to the changes that will come with the launch of the new version of Etsy. I can’t wait to have Categories within our shops; I think my shop looks very messy sometimes because I have my pottery, jewelry and handmade supplies all mixed in together. The shopping cart feature will be really great, too