Christine Ford. Christine has gorgeous handmade items on Etsy, including fiber art, wallhangings, sculptures, jewelry, and bookbinding. I find her work to be exquisite!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family!
I've been married for 14 years and have a step-daughter who's married. She just had a baby last July and now I'm a 39 year old Grandma of a bouncing baby boy. I was a professional actress/singer for over 20 years and now I'm in the handmade industry. I posted a blog about me that you might like to reference for this section: http://www.christinemarieford.blogspot.com/2011/03/who-am-i.html
What do you make?
Fine Art Fiber Wallhangings / Sculptures plus beaded jewelry and bookbinding
I started quilting just after I finished an exhausting season of summer stock theatre and wanted something to do with my hands. I bought a quilting magazine that had a pattern for a quilt I like, bought a few fabrics, 1 spool of thread and 1 packs of needles and made the whole thing by hand. After that I was hooked. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was a resident artist of Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre in Glen Williams Ontario. (www.williamsmill.com)
How did you find Etsy?
I heard of Etsy through my studio neighbor now opalwing.etsy.com
She always comes in wearing the most funky and original clothing and when I asked her where she shopped she told me about Etsy.
Do you have any inspirations, or someone you find especially inspiring to you?
Everything inspires me but there is one person who really helped along. In my first years at Williams Mill there was an artist by the name of Maggie Rodman who inspired me and taught me more about being an artist than anyone else. I was a newbie and she was an experienced professional. Her art was so wild and organic. Even though our work looks nothing alike, she is there usually in spirit. She unfortunately passed away 2 years ago. I will never stop missing her.
Well, it usually starts with me dragging my butt out of bed at 10 or 11am each day (I know!). When I get to my studio it's usually a mess from the day before. After spending what feels like forever finding my work station I either pick up where I left off or start something new. I have many works in progress at any one time and what I choose to work on depends on how much energy I have physically and mentally. If I'm feeling really sharp, I'll tackle some challenging design issues with a major work of art, if not, I stick to simple but more labour intensive pieces.
I never apologize for having mulitple UFO's because I like having options. I do a lot of commissions but tend to procrastinate on them. A bad habit I'm working on. There's a computer next to me and I check in to Etsy several times a day. I try to keep my major computer work for at home but sometimes, like today, the temptation to work online is a strong pull.
Opening my Etsy shop has probably helped the most for a number of reasons. First, online sales of course. I'm open 24 hours a day 7 days a week and can ship anywhere in the world. Second, my shop is a great tool for getting accepted into juried shows. With one click the jury can see a variety of my work and decide if I'm right for their show. I haven't been turned down yet! Third, it forces me to document and photograph my work. I sometimes forget about the things I've made long after their sold. When I come across the photos it sometimes inspires more pieces.
Do you have a favorite piece you created?
Yes, there are two in fact. My first piece called "Inner Light", an abstract self portrait was the birth what is now my unique and trademark style of fine art fiber collage. The second would have to "Finding Freedom", another along the same theme but was the first creation I made after recovering from a serious illness that tooks month recover from.
Do you attend art and craft fairs/shows often?
I wouldn't say often, but I'm getting out more and more now that I'm doing this full time. I quit my day job in May of 2010 and am determined to survive and support the handmade industry.
Trust yourself. Follow your instincts. Don't live by someone else's rules or expectations because it won't fit and will likely cause you pain. Work on tackling your fears and dig deep. You already know what to do.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
My parents have a family cottage in the Muskoka's in Ontario. It's a haven for me and I can bring my sewing machine or anything else I want to bring. I always fill up the truck with craft supplies and just a small bag for clothes!
Where else on the web can we find you?
My official website is www.christinemarieford.com
Etsy Shop: http://www.christinemarieford.etsy.com
My brand new blog called "Born 2b Me - Journeys for the Creative Soul" at http://www.christinemarieford.blogspot.com
and finally, you can find a bit about me at Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre http://www.williamsmill.com
Fun fact - I did stand up comedy for about a year and was once in the same show at Russell Peters! I found the stagefright overwhelming so I now stick to singing in a band or in the civilized theatre where people clap even if the show stinks!
Thank you for sharing with us Christine!