Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Getting to Know: Tish from Just A Tish Designs

I'm going to try to do a regular "Getting to Know" post where I cajole some of the talented people I've met online to answer a few questions about themselves and their art. My first interview is with Tish from Just A Tish Designs.

#1 - Were you always crafty? What childhood crafts did you like doing most?

I wanna say I was always crafty, but my memories are a big foggy. I like that word , “crafty”. It encompasses so much. As a kid, I think sewing I think was one of my favorites. I have a lot of fun and warm memories helping my g’ma quilt.

#2 - I read in your bio " heritage of people whose lives were rich in art, design, music, and crafting." Can you share a tid-bit or two about the kinds of art, design, music or crafting you grew up with?

I grew up in a home that rivaled any vaudeville family. We were always on. We were always encouraged to do our own thing, think our own thoughts. We were never pressured to fit in or keep up with the neighbors. Maybe it was due to not being ‘privileged’ or maybe it was because we didn’t have much need of material things, we were so rich with talent, all we needed was a stage and a reason. Some of my earliest memories were of me being perched up on top of the piano, pulling a scarf thru my hands and singing at the top of my lungs, “Let me entertain you” while my brother pounded out the tune. My dad lives his music and is still out playing every weekend at age 75! He has played with a lot of bands over the years, Jefferson Airplane, Ike and Tina Turner, and Big Twist to name a few. My mother and grandmother sewed like fiends there was nothing they couldn’t make. My mom had a knack of looking at something and being able to sit down and make it. I had the BEST Halloween costumes hands down J My dad – again with my dad, he sewed his own ‘dungarees’ he called them. I remember seeing him take a pair of his jeans apart, and lay them out on some denim fabric, cut them out and sew them up. There ain’t nothing he can’t do. Both of my brother’s are accomplished singers. My oldest brother writes music and is an artist. His paintings have been exhibited around the country.

#3 - Your designs are fun and show a sense of whimsy and humor, can you elaborate on how that's important to you?

I can’t take much serious. The times we live in are serious enuff. I need a break. My designs reflect my mood and my skew’d view of life around me. My goal is to make people smile, and have at least one moment of their day tolerable. My designs do that. they make a statement. A statement that is not apologietic for being bold and being brassy. They allow you to stand out in a crowd and be noticed. You are an individual, not a mass marketed cookie cutout of what is perceived to be fashion.

#4 - Did you have any goals or hopes for your blog when you started? Has that changed? How?

I like to think I am funny and my approach to blogging about my work may help someone and make them smile. I like to share my knowledge. I remember when I first started how hard it was to find information about making jewelry. It took a lot of searching and a lot of question asking to know what I know now. That is a lot of work, so if I can make someone else’s life easier by posting up what I know, then I have done my job, and can hold my head high.

#5 - If I were just starting to think about getting into making my own crafty jewelry but was on a hugely limited budge what "must have's" would you suggest starting with?

*think* *think* tuff one.

So much can be repurposed, and it is a lot of fun to create from the chaos around you. If you pop a necklace, use that beading wire for your next bracelet. That is how my mind works, but if I had to have that must have, I would say - Side nippers - If I was told that I would have to trade in my kid for my next pair, I would have to think about it for a sec, no kidding.

#6 - Sort of a "desert island" kind of question - you're going away somewhere and you can't buy any supplies while you're gone. You can only take a small tote full of stuff to work with to keep you sane, but you can also use anything you might find in your hotel, as well as your tote stuff to craft with. I'll be kind and let you come back to the world in one week :-) What is in your tote? What do you think you could find to use?

A bottle of eye-be-pro-fin.

Side nippers, chain nose and needle nose pliers.

An assortment of stone donuts, cabs and pocket stones

20 ga square half hard wire

24 ga round half hard wire

Random handful of small beads, bi cone crystals, glass.

I am drawing a complete blank on what I may find in the hotel.

#7 - Do you have crafters who inspire you?

The world inspires me. Seriously everything does. I love to ooohh and awww over other ppls work, I am blown away everyday by someones work. I have favorites that I love oogle over but I can’t say that it is just crafters. Painters, sculptors, poets, sketchers, photographers, they all are a source of inspiration.

#8 - You can buy $500 worth of only one type of stone or bead to use in your jewelry - what would you pick and why?

Fancy jasper hands down. That stone naturally comes in a varity of warm tones. I love it.

#9 - Is there a craft from the past you wish were popular again? (I was a macrame nut in my teens)

Do you remember god’s eyes? Wrapping yarn around sticks? I loved that.

#10 - You've blogged about some shows recently - would you share your thoughts/feelings about being in shows and the value of participation?

When you speak of shows are you speaking of exhibits? It is nerve wracking. Let me tell you.

Getting up the nerve to go and show your stuff to a gallery or exhibit center takes some guts. What sets you apart? What makes me different from any other stringer out there. I guess it is my drive that keeps me going and keeps me out there. what is it they say – for every 10 no’s you get one yes. I am blessed in that area. I just don’t stop.

If you are talking show’s as in craft fairs – there is a lot to that too.

Keep in mind – This. Is. A . Business. I treat it as such. All the things I do to choose my shows, are the same things that are done when a new business decides to set up shop in a new town. When I hunt down the show schedule there are a few things to consider. What type of show, where is the show (demographically), what is the cost, what is the show attendance, how far of a drive is it….

It may appear cold but I have to put all of this into consideration. What type of show – is it full of food vendors, and rides? That is not a good show for my craft. Families will show up, spend all their money on food and ride tickets and not spend it on a bauble.

Where is the show, I actually do a census check on the location of the show. What is the employment rate, what is the mean wage, what is the major employer in that area. Lets face it. I am doing a show to make money. I have a craft that is a luxury, if the demographic does not fit, I can’t afford to go.

What is the cost? I have to triple the amount of my application fee to make my money. So cost is a big one. This includes my gas, if I eat out or take a lunch and will I actually have to spend the night.

What is the show attendance – if over the years there has been an average of 20K ppl flood into the show, I am so there. if the show averages 6k, I am gonna give it a long thought before applying.

Thank you so much, Tish for agreeing to be my first interview! I have really enjoyed getting to know you better.

Tish has a facebook fan page – Just A Tish Jewely Designs (yes it is spelled "jewely" on purpose). It would be wonderful if you'd become a fan, friend her blog, follow her on Twitter and, of course, look at her beautiful work and maybe buy some, too!

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