Friday, March 12, 2010

Interview with Everyone's Favorite... Spider Camp!

I am very excited to bring you this interview. Spider Camp is an etsy veteran and pro... plus she hangs out in ETC forums a lot, so that makes her cool by default. Her snarky bunnies and pocket bacon are known the world over (at least in my mind they are!). Don't be fooled by imitators... there is only one Spider Camp!
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Bio:
I live in Atlanta, where I share a house with some dear friends. Besides selling on Etsy, I'm a pastry chef - I make all the desserts for a local restaurant.


How did you find Etsy? How long have you been selling on Etsy?

I've been on Etsy since 2005. At the time, I was selling random handmade stuff through my personal website. A friend suggested Etsy as a way to reach more buyers, and it definitely worked!

How would you describe your style? Have any other artists etc influenced your style?
Right now, most of the stuff in my shop is pretty goofy. Lots of stupid grinning faces. Which is fine, it's what I've felt like making these past few years. But to be honest, I'm pretty bored with it. I'm looking forward to changing it up - to getting back into sketching, and crochet, and some different fabric projects. I've never cared too much about having a totally cohesive shop. I just like making whatever I feel like, and using Etsy to see whether someone in the world wants it.

How long have you been creating?
I've been making things since forever, but I didn't really know how much I enjoyed it until I worked with kids at an after-school program. I realized that for people under age 12 or so, it's normal to sit down and make things pretty much every day. I realized there was no reason I couldn't also do that. So I started to, and was instantly happier.

Why snarky bunnies?
I don't really have a good answer for this... years ago I started playing around with fabric, making stuffed animals and such, and realized that the results were pretty much boring me to sleep. Too cute and tame. So I went the other way and sewed "motherfucker" on them. And an empire was born.

Have you had any mentors, or are you self taught?
Self-taught except for a 5-minute sewing lesson from my mom, when she gave me her machine. I figured out the finer points of construction over time. And that's why my early bunnies look so assy.
Again, working with kids really freed me up to explore different areas of creativity. No 5-year-old has taken a class on how to draw a rocket, but he doesn't get all hung up about it and say he can't. Ask him to draw you a rocket, you get a drawing that pretty much looks like a rocket.
This is the level of excellence I strive for. Does it pretty much look like a rocket and did I have a good time making it? Awesome, that's a win.

Do you sell more at one time of year than others?
Christmas is big, and I also get a surge in sales at the beginnings and ends of school semesters. The bunnies are popular as dorm and new-job gifts.

What is one thing about your creative process that you think most people don’t know?
What a great question. But... crap, I don't know. Most people probably don't think about the inventory end of things - how hard it is to keep 500+ stupid bunnies sorted and corralled. I'm now storing them in a room other than my bedroom, which is awesome - having them all staring at me while I slept was disconcerting.
Honestly, I don't feel I can properly answer this question until I start making some different stuff. The bunnies have become too automatic. Making them is fun, but not particularly creative anymore.

Do you have a favorite item you have made?
What is the best reaction you have gotten from one of your pieces?

There are only a few of them in the shop now, but the ones with scars might be my favorites. They're almost like Waldorf dolls, in that people can project their own meanings onto them. They almost always get bought as a gift for someone having surgery.
Sometimes I get to hear the stories behind these people's wounds. That's powerful.
It was also pretty amazing to walk into the cardiac ICU a year ago and see my dad smile for the first time in a week, when I handed him a gigantic bunny that said HEART ATTACKS SUCK.

Do you have any funny stories you wouldnt mind sharing about your shop, crafting or your items?I'm probably the most harmless person I know. I'm nice to animals. I bake cake for a living. I like crossword puzzles and NPR. But once in a while a stranger writes me an email all about how I'm going to burn in hell for using swears. That, to me, is hysterical.