While browsing the Etsy forums the other day, I came across a rather engaging post about the Tea Party movement (farce) by a seller named Vidrio. I had to check out the page because it isn't common to see male sellers on Etsy. After checking his profile, I was really impressed with how he articulated his philosophy about making art. I felt like he nailed the way I feel about the pieces I create... that I actually transfer a piece of myself into what I make. A lot of people for whom I have made things have told me that when they wear them, they actually feel like my pieces bring them good luck, or that I am close to them. Check out my interview with Vidrio below:
ME: Joseph, I really found your page interesting, not because you have great products (which you do, by the way), but because of your profile. It seems that you believe that your items aren't just made of glass, but also contain some of the positivity and creative energy that you feel when you are creating. Explain to me what you're thinking and feeling and experiencing when you create a piece.
Vidrio: It's really hard to explain what I feel when I create something. It's kind of like going into a meditative state. I never have the TV on but usually have music on. I try to just focus on the process and not so much on the outcome. For example my Meth Tart sculpture, I had no idea what I was carving when I started that piece. I had a thought in my head of being drawn to things that are bad for us, and Meth Tart was the finished product.
ME: As a man, you're vastly outnumbered in the Etsy league of crafters. Did you get into your art completely out of your own interest? What started your interest in glass crafts? Do you have any other friends you hang with who craft in your circle, and what kind of arts do they produce?
Vidrio: I do wish more men were on etsy. I think a big part of that is, etsy has become more of a venue for "crafts" and not "art". Women in general are more into crafts. But either way, it's a cool place to sell my work. I started in glass doing stained glass windows. I took a class a few years ago for it and just kept going. While living in California almost all my friends were business people, not artists. My husband and I are living in Phoenix AZ now, so I'm hoping to make more artistic friends.
ME: WTF Etsy is not just about the products available on Etsy, but about the people. We are artists, largely, which means that we are a group of free-thinking individuals who find something gratifying, almost cathartic, about producing art. What makes you an individual and not just a shop?
Vidrio: I make glass for me. Of course I hope it sells. I need the money. But even if I was rich, I would continue to make glass art. I think that is the great divide on etsy. Many of the sellers are just trying to make money so they can stay home.
ME: I've met several wonderful people through Etsy, and even received an invite to be a part of an art show/block party and a couple of local shows. Have you ever met anyone from Etsy? Has it advanced your business?
Vidrio: I have met a few people from etsy. One of them actually exposed me to a co-op here in Phoenix. It's a great place called Conspire. It's a great store where we all sell our work and it has a kick-ass cafe. You can check it out at http://conspirephoenix.com
ME: I've found that trying to be a volume seller has taken priority over being an artist. I spend so much time packaging, listing, and doing the maintenance part of Etsy that I have very little time to invest in my craft. It's hard to keep the balance between selling your art and preserving the original spirit of the art. What is your ultimate goal concerning your art? Do you hope to one day be able to support yourself (and possibly a husband and children) in the future by doing something that you love?
Vidrio: When I first started on etsy I tried to be a volume seller. It wasn't for me. I think if you make work that you love and put all your energy into, people will buy it. I do think I need to find a way to make things faster. I've gotten into that habit of starting new pieces and never finishing them. My goal would be to support my Husband and myself with my art. But I don't expect it to happen tomorrow.
ME: What does Vidrio mean?
Vidrio: Haha I get this question a lot! It means Glass in Spanish.
ME: Do you have any advice out there for other Etsy sellers?
Vidrio: My biggest advice is for everyone to price correctly. I am really tired of hobbyists selling work at cost. It demeans the art form and is an insult to every working artist.
ME: Have you ever bought anything from another Etsy store? If so, what kinds of things do you shop for on Etsy?
Vidrio: I have bought gifts for friends and family. I also get all my soap from etsy. I buy African Black Soap. It's great for your skin!
ME: Lastly, tell me three things that all shoppers should know, would never had guessed, or that they would love about Vidrio
1. I went to college for Glass.
2. I really believe everything I make has a piece of me in it.
3. My favorite color changes every few hours. Right now it's white. haha