A Family Affair- Interview with Carolyn Campbell and Robin Green

This week I interviewed the mastermind and founder of the Bluegrass Etsy team, Robin Green, and her mom, Carolyn Campbell, the creative force behind CowgirlRosie. Both ladies are primarily textile artists and are just getting their feet wet actually selling their wares, so be sure to read on and encourage them to keep up the good work!

Corinne: Carolyn, how fantastic that your daughter Robin is so crafty too!! Is crafting a family affair? I read that you had a textile artist and ceramicist in the family. Which one is Robin- the textile artist or the ceramicist?
Carolyn: Robin is the textile artist and Kira is the ceramic instructor and ceramic sculptor. (Robin’s) brother and (Kira’s husband) is a digital artist and painter and instructor. We don't work together, but often critique each other's work and discuss and discuss and encourage. We have trouble getting it all said.

Corinne: Your profile mentioned you being retired from art education. Tell me more about that, were you an art teacher? What did you teach?
Carolyn: Yes, I was a K through 5, with a very brief stint in middle school, art teacher and when art jobs were not available I taught 4th grade classroom. It has been said that you never really know something until you have had to teach it, and I couldn't agree more. I learned so much about art by teaching. And the younger students have so little pretense, they love creating. There are no posers in the elementary classroom. Even now I am drawn to work that has that childlike freshness and sense of color and design.

Corinne: Where do you get your inspiration?
Carolyn: I used to paint ,but now I sew, and I am sure some of the samethings still inspire me . I love texture and color. I love fabric stores, Quilting Arts magazine, Threads.

Corinne: What about you, Robin?
Robin: I am strongly influenced by nature, but also by other artists. Some of my favorites are the Pre-Raphaelites and also the artists of the Art Nouveau movement.

Corinne: What sets you apart from your competition?
Robin: Hmm...*mumble* the fact that I don't have an Etsy store? *mumble* Seriously, I am working on setting one up, I'm just having a hard time deciding on a craft to concentrate on.

Corinne: Do you do a lot of craft shows instead?
Robin: I have done a couple of craft shows with my mom, Cowgirlrosie.

Corinne: Well then, Carolyn, what do you think sets you apart from your competition?
Carolyn: I really don't if anything does, I like what I do most of the time, but it may not please everyone.

Corinne: Which do you do better at, Etsy or craft shows?
Carolyn: I have been to a total of four craft shows, and on Etsy for six months, I get a lot of compliments but not many sales. The compliments are great for the soul, though, so I am pleased.

Corinne: What do you two sell at the shows? I love doing craft shows- are you finding you like them?
Carolyn: We have not done that many and we sell the same kinds of things we have on etsy. Yes ,I enjoy talking to people first hand , and always find something in common to talk about.

Corinne: What medium do you work in the most?
Carolyn: Fabric, thread, vintage buttons,felted wool.
Robin: Right now, anything fiber-related. After that, I would say polymer clay and carving rubber stamps.

Corinne: Do you do a lot of craft shows? Which do you do better at, etsy or craft shows?
Carolyn: I have been to a total of four craft shows, and on Etsy for six months, I get a lot of compliments but not many sales. The compliments are great for the soul, though, so I am pleased.

Corinne: What is your favorite thing in your shop right now?
Carolyn: I really like the coil bags, fun to make!

Corinne: I love the Geisha bag! You seem to
like making matching bags for vests. Is this from a personal need, or just what you like?

Carolyn: This evolved as a marketing tool more than anything, I have not seen duos on etsy although of course I have not viewed all the items on etsy. The actual construction of a bag is not very engaging for me , I am into the surface of the fabric more, and the bag is just the carrier for the message of the fabric. I am just starting to explore the all the possibilities for manipulation of the surface of the fabric. So many more things to learn!

Corinne: Who is the artist who inspires you the most?
Carolyn: You know my Mother was a great seamstress, and a perfectionist. Just wish I had paid more attention to her sewing skills , but then I really wasn't into sewing.
Robin: I have to pick two: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Alphonse Mucha.

Corinne: Where in Kentucky are you?
Carolyn: Just south of Louisville, Kentucky.
Robin: Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Corinne: What do you do to get over creative block or to take a break from creating?
Robin: I switch to a different craft, web surf, or read a book.
Carolyn: My biggest block to creating is finding the time,never what to do.I have been retired about two years now and it seems I run at breakneck speed all the time. I have many things in which I have invested my efforts, and I enjoy them all.

Corinne: If you could give just one tip to a newbie to selling their craft online, what would it be? Carolyn: I really feel like a newbie myself, so not much advice in merchandising.

Corinne: Robin, any tips from a buyer‘s point of view?
Robin: Practice taking photographs as much as you can. Make sure your photos look good at thumbnail sizes as well as full size, and try to compose them in a way that is visually interesting. A full view shot is great to include in a listing, but sometimes a close-up is more interesting as the primary picture.

Corinne: Pirate, ninja, or mermaid? Which one would you be?
Carolyn: I would have to be one of those little pony seahorses. The thing that swallows up so much of my time, and is also one of my passions, is my POA herd. I have 11 horses in my care. As I am writing this I am nursing ten stitches and a black eye where two yearlings knocked me into a pipe fence. My fault, but that is another story.

Be sure to visit Carolyn's shop at: http://www.cowgirlrosie.etsy.com/

1 comment:

WhimsybyMari said...

What a lovely interview. We have such talented artist in Kentucky. Gald to become a member with all of you.