Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tina and her found passion!

“Find your passion, and do it well.” That is Tina’s favorite quote. And after selecting her pieces of art for this interview, she does do it well.

Tina, Ruthie's Girl Designs, inherited her creativity from her late mother, who, in her mother’s time, made clothes for her and her siblings. Her mother also made various crafts and Tina has held onto vintage supplies from her mother’s stash. Just imagine what she is holding onto. Tina also enjoys sewing and jewelry making.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your visit with Tina.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a married mother of two 19-year old children. No, not twins! My husband and I have two children from previous marriages. We currently reside in a little town called Converse, Texas right outside of San Antonio.

When did you open your shop on Etsy?
I opened my Etsy shop on April 3, 2007. I waited a few days because I figured if I did it on the first everyone would think it was a joke.

Tell us about your shop:
My main shop, Ruthie's Girl Designs consists of hand crafted (pieced) invitations, greeting cards and stationery. Pipkin Paper Co is another paper shop of mine, which specializes in Baby Shower Invitations and Birth Announcements.

Name top (3-5) items (for crafting purposes) that you cannot live without.
I cannot live without my various cutters (guillotine, slide cutter, rotary), my modge podge, or my glue gun.

What inspires you?
The thing that inspires me the most, especially when making wedding invitations, are the bride and groom themselves. I like to talk to them and see what really moves them emotionally. I am also inspired by other paper artists' work. I love looking at techniques they have learned and try to learn them myself.

What is it about paper that draws you to create with it?
I have always loved paper. ALWAYS. I used to make these 3-D pictures, so to speak, out of shoe boxes with a hole in the far end, then the top cut out with blue paper on the top and then do a scene within the box. I did that in the 4th grade as an art project and got 3rd place at the Art Fair. I was pretty much hooked on paper then. Paper has so many personalities! It's one of those things that, even if it has a design on it, can become something more than a flat sheet of paper once you have molded it into something you want it to be.

Is there something that you've never tried with paper that you'd like to try?
I'd also like to try to use gesso in some of my designs. It's pretty versatile and I'd like to see where I can go with it.

When do you find/make time for your crafting?
I'm currently unemployed, so I have a lot of time in the day to create or search online for inspirations to create. When I was working, I created whenever I could find the time. I'd also carry a mini composition book around in my purse and would draw pictures of card ideas that came to mind. I also use my phone to take photos of commercial cards (NOT TO COPY!!!) that have a technique on them that I'd like to go home and try.

Do you have a special space for your crafting, or does the kitchen table do double duty?
I'm very fortunate to have a dedicated art room. I have about 100 sq. ft. of space to work in so I have lots of give room. Before that, I used the dining room table. We never had a place to eat for over 2 years. It's amazing how clean my house stays now, with out all the bins of paper and glue etc all over the place. It's amazing.

Do you remember the first item you made, and if so, do you still have it (or a picture of it)?
I count this baby shower invitation as the first thing I ever made, in terms of Ruthie's Girl Designs. I currently sell it in my PipkinPaperCo. Shop. It's a baby shower invite I made it with beautiful textured paper (called hapsack) and hand stamped flowers with textured paint centers.

How much time do you spend daily/weekly working on your craft?
I probably spend about 40/week or more.

Why did you decide to become on Etsy seller?
I decided to become an Etsy seller because I wanted to be part of the handmade movement, and to try to make a little money doing what I love best.

What is your favorite technique/ your "specialty"?
I don't think I have a favorite technique or specialty, but I've been told many times I do hand tie the perfect bow.

Do you have a favorite crafting book, magazine or TV show?
The Carol Duvall Show will always be my favorite show. Unfortunately, I don't think it's on anymore!

How do you create the perfect balance between family, house-hold duties, work and paper?
I keep everything in perspective. Family first, no matter what. We usually get up and feed the animals, do household chores, then I move on to my office. It's not the first place I go to in the morning.

Do you sell mostly online or at craft shows?
I sell mostly online. I need to start doing craft shows!

How many different selling venues do you use?
I sell on Etsy (3 shops), Ebay occasionally and Shop Handmade.

Where do you go to first when you need ideas?
I go online to some of my favorite blogs and look at what they are doing at the time.

Who is your biggest fan?
My biggest fan hands down is my husband. He's always encouraged me to keep at it even when I doubted myself.

Are you a clean or messy crafter?
Now that I have my own dedicated space, I am a clean crafter. Although my work space (table) may get a little messy, I always clean it up at the end of the day. I like walking into my art room and it's clean. It keeps my mind from getting overwhelmed with clutter.

Do you have a day job? If so are you up all night crafting?
This IS my day job!

How do you get the word out about your products?
I can't promote much right now, or even relist. I try to keep my flickr account up to date with what I have going on at the time and by being a presence in Etsy when I can be.

How much planning do you do before you create?
It could be spur of the moment, or it could be days. I guess it all depends on what it is I am trying to make at the time.

Is there someone in your life that may have inspired your creativity?
Ruthie, my mom, was a crafter.

How did your shop get its name?
I dedicate my shop to my mother, Ruthie, who was a sewer and all around crafter.

What is your favorite item to create and why? Tell us about it.
I like to create boxes from scratch. Be it a box for a set of stationery, a gift, anything. I love to make boxes. I made one for my husband's birthday gift. I just like to take a bunch of flat nothing and turn it into something.

Do you have more than one etsy shop?
I have THREE shops! Two of them are going slow, but Ruthie's Girl Designs is my baby: http://ruthiesgirldesigns.etsy.com/ -Here I sell handmade greeting cards, stationery, and gifts. Pipkin Paper Co.- THis shop specializes in hand made baby shower invitations and accessories. http://pipkinpaperco.etsy.com/ . This shop has everything else that I like to make. So far, it's really pretty hair pins with sparkly centers. I plan on starting on some sewing projects and other crafts that interest me: Atenshn Deficit Design- http://www.etsy.com/shop/atenshndeficitdesign.

What has been your most successful marketing technique to date?
I really don't have a marketing technique, which is why I probably don't have as many sales as I should. I just try to be myself and always tell people what I do. I usually tell them I make custom communications, which interests them to ask me more.

What's your emergency craft kit consist of?
Gum ....seriously.

Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do cause it's cheaper than therapy.

What have you learned the most about life from your craft?
I've learned that no matter what, you we are all multi faceted and we don't have to spend our lives doing just one thing. Explore your options. Start over even if you are 55 or older. It's never too late.

Leave a comment or two about Tina and her work. I know she will appreciate it.


Ruthie's Girl Designs said...

Thank you for all your hard work! You definitely know how to make a girl more interesting than she is.

Nina said...

I love your work! I am just getting started with paper card making (I do mostly digital), and am in awe of your "first" card...I wish my first card looked like that! You are awesome!