Each Friday we feature a Bluegrass Etsy team member to spotlight. Today we feature Tammie Bartlett of The Artistic Touch. We think you will love Tammie's work and especially her custom pet portrait paintings! Her love of horses and animals is evident in her etsy shop.
How did you first hear about etsy?
I was searching online for venues to sell my art. All I had ever heard of was Ebay and was wondering if there were other auction places out there. I stumbled across Etsy. I spent 3 months reading in the forums (not logged in) and reading all the site information trying to learn as much as I could about how it all worked before I set up my own shop. In December 2007, I took the plunge. It has been a constant learning experience to which I still consider myself a beginner as I do not have this promotion thing in particular down pat yet.
Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!
I am a country girl, born and raised, and I absolutely love animals and always have. I am a sucker for animals needing loving, care, etc. I was raised on a farm and mistakenly thought that when I grew up, maybe I would be better at how farm life is supposed to work, i.e. selling animals for profit, etc. Well, everything I got seems to have stayed as I tend to make pets of anything and everything I get, so profitable farm life has not been so good in that department, but I've got lots of pets to love!
As for my art, I guess my favorite is the pet portraits and graphite portraits that I do for people as they give me the most satisfaction. I love taking a picture of a person or pet that means so much to someone and making a completed piece for them to keep as a memory always whether it be a sweatshirt, picture, or piece of jewelry.
How did you get started as a designer?
According to my memory, I would say second grade, but my mom says that I took my first steps for a pencil, so there might be some discrepancy there. My mom used to let my sister and I get 2 "funny" books (comic books) apiece when we went to the grocery store each week. After reading the funny books, I would draw the pictures out of them in an art tablet my mom had bought me. I drew everything in colored pencil or graphite pencil. I'd draw cowboy calendar pictures that my dad got every year and so on.
I didn't start painting until I was around 17 or 18. My mom tried to get me to paint all along, but I didn't like painting at that time. I finally tried some fabric dyes on sweatshirts, and I was hooked. I started selling pet portraits on sweatshirts probably as my first selling experience and did pretty well just by word of mouth which is probably how just about all my artwork comes about since I'm not too good at the promotion part. I have always dabbled in and tried just about any kind of craft or art that comes my way that sparks my interest. I tend to take these crafts such as polymer clay, paint, etc. and incorporate them together to try to make interesting, one-of-a-kind, custom-made pieces.
What inspires you to create?
I think that my creativity comes out most when I am making a piece for a customer or a gift for someone I care about. When I can take what they care about the most, their favorite colors, style, person, pet, etc. and turn that into a piece for a memory keepsake, that is when I find I get the most satisfaction from my God-given talent. Lots of my customers will have in mind something they think they might like, and I take those ideas and combine mine with them for a completed and hopefully satisfying piece that they will cherish.
How long have you been a member of Bluegrass etsy and how did you hear about the team?
I got invited to join the Bluegrass Etsy Team, I think, at the end of last year or so. It is hard for me to remember since time seems to be flying by so fast these days! I was so glad to be invited to join a team. I am on the introverted side, so it has been hard for me to get myself accustomed to being online for everyone to see whether I know them or not. We had a "meet and greet" which I attended, and I got to meet a lot of wonderful people on our team who were very "down to earth" and made me feel very comfortable. I couldn't have asked to be associated with any nicer or helpful people!
Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?
If you design something, make sure it is the best you can do. Get it as perfect as your talent will allow so that you have a good product. Keep learning. A person can learn something from everyone they meet if they just listen and are aware and don't be afraid, above all, to ask questions. The people on Etsy and on this team are some of the most helpful people I have ever experienced being involved with, and it was very surprising to me to have this experience in an online venue. If you need help, just ask. If someone can't help, they will more than likely point you towards someone who can!
Anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I meet people all the time who tell me when they meet me or see my work that they don't have a talent and wish they did. Everyone has a God-given talent. It might not be a "creative" one so to speak. It could be that you are good with children, good with finances, are a good listener, etc., and I think that all of these talents can give you so much satisfaction if you can find a way to use it to give back to those who may need it in some small way. Figure out your talents and desires and use them!
Thanks Tammie for the inspiring interview! To see more of Tammie's work, visit her at The Artistic Touch.
To see more of the talented artisans on the Bluegrass etsy team, visit etsy.com then click on the search box and type in teambluegrass. Remember to shop handmade for your gift giving needs!
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