This week, we interviewed Coral of Otter's Daughter Designs.
Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make jewelry from stone, wire, metals and sometimes stray things (like watch part vials) that catch my eye. I’m just beginning to branch out into more complex wire work.
What is your creative process?
My creative process is a bit all over the map. Off the top of my head I can name three main methods I use. The simplest is that I sit down with my tools and see what speaks to me. Some days it’s a certain shape, some days it’s a certain combination of colors, some days nothing is feeling talkative but those are pretty rare.
The second way is new; I only started using it when I started working more with wireframes. It starts with me just doodling in my idea book – I don’t call it a sketchbook, I doubt anyone but me would be able to recognize anything in it! I doodle freeform shapes until one of them catches my fancy and then I work with and refine it until I have an actual design. It usually goes through another refining process once I actually get my hands on the wire so the final piece rarely looks like much like the original sketch.
The third way is when I see something (or read something, or have a conversation about something) that sparks off an idea. Occasionally, when I am very lucky, it sparks off a cascade of ideas and that’s when I end up with a series of conceptually related pieces. I’m working on one now that I’m very excited about – it’s centered around the Firefly/Serenity universe.
Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL is my first and thus far only.
When you are not creating things, what do you do?
Mostly I’m a soon-to-be more than full time student. I’m entering a compressed program this July that gets me through my Master’s of Education, student teaching, and licensing all in a single year. I’ve the distinct feeling it’s going to eat my life but when it’s over I’ll be done - more importantly I’ll be employable!
I’m also an avid amateur gardener (testing the waters of permaculture this summer), a weekend pirate (somewhat similar to the SCA), a fire spinner, a computer gamer and in what little time I have left after all that I write Sci-Fi.
Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
When I was five I was on the Bozo the Clown show. Proof that before I read Stephen King’s “It” I actually liked clowns.
I have two cats – Siddhartha, who hates nearly everyone but me and Vishnu, who is submissive to everyone and just wants to be loved. Both are female. Obviously I fail at names.
What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
My proudest moment was being asked by a friend to make the jewelry for her wedding. It’s a huge honor to be asked to take part in creating someone’s wedding day. It was also more than a little intimidating but luckily she loved what I made her.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Make things because you love doing it, not to get rich. While you might eventually make some money, maybe even a good living, it’s going to take time. If you love what you’re doing then the process itself is satisfying and anything else becomes a welcome bonus.
What handmade possession do you cherish?
There are a lot of handmade things that are dear to me but I would have to say the one I most cherish is a wooden talisman carved by a close friend.
If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
I’m absolutely in love with this jacket, though I want it in dark brown. *makes grabby hands*
What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I wish like mad that I had some talent for drawing – I have none at all. I try to share the pictures in my head in other ways and I think I do pretty well; but I still think it would be easier if I could just draw!
Where can we find you on the web?
On Facebook I’m Coral Ann Gilbert
On Live Journal I’m Dragon_Mintz
On Twitter I'm Ottersdaugther
Thanks for the interview, Coral! Have a great holiday weekend, for those of you in the U.S.! We'll return once again in two weeks.