Friday, September 19, 2008

Interview with Ashli McCarter...

...of Penguin Love Press

BH- Tell us a bit about yourself

PenguinLove Press- My name is Ashli and I just moved to Boston from Blacksburg, Virginia, where I attended Virginia Tech. I live with my lovely husband Ted and our two cats, Nera and Winks. Boston is a big change for us but I’m beginning to love living in a huge city. I currently work for a dentist and have found it to be much more creative work than I thought. I like to find some creative about everything I do, it make mundane things more interesting.

BH- What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

PenguinLove Press- The first thing I vividly remember making is my own coloring books and my soap opera novels. In kindergarten there was this mean girl Jessica and she’d always picked on me for coloring outside the lines. So I started to draw my own coloring books, that way I could make my own lines. Also in kindergarten/first grade my mom watched a lot of soaps so I wanted to make my own soap books. I wrote stories and fully illustrated them with scantly clad women. I called it “As my Children Turned”. Can you guess which soaps my mom watched?

BH- What are your favorite materials?

PenguinLove Press- My favorite material is vintage books. It’s like a hunt to find fun and interesting ones. For me “garage saleing” and thrift shopping is treasure hunting. I get this feeling of satisfaction when I find something wonderful!

BH- Describe your work.

PenguinLove Press- What I mainly do is take vintage books and give them new insides, creating unique and eco-friendly journals and sketchbooks. I then take the insides and use them to make light switch covers, envelopes and other things. I also make mini journals from card stock. I embellish the covers using hand cut lino stamps, my gocco printer and other image transfer techniques.

BH- Why should people buy handmade?

PenguinLove Press- Because handmade is awesome! Seriously though, buying handmade is good for everyone and for the soul. Not only do you know who made your item, it probably has a story behind it. Plus I’ve always loved having something unique.

BH- How long have you been involved with Etsy and what have your experiences been?

PenguinLove Press- I had my first Etsy shop back in NOV. 2005. It was awful, back then I just made bottle cap jewelry. My pictures were so bad I don’t know how I ever sold anything. In 2006 I switched my store to PenguinLove and started making journals which what I really love to do. I also splurged and bought a sweet camera. It was the best investment I made for my Etsy shop. I really believe that good pictures are very very important!

BH- What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

PenguinLove Press- Besides taking good pictures, you should have detailed descriptions. I hate when I see something I love and the description doesn’t say it’s size or anything else about it. Drives me crazy and many of Etsy shops have lost my business because of it.

BH- If you are a tree- what kind of tree are you?

PenguinLove Press- I would be a cherry blossom tree. Why? Because they are beautiful. I use them as inspiration in a lot of my work. I have at least 3 different cherry blossom designs for my mini journals.

BH- Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know?

PenguinLove Press- I have a varsity letter and several trophies in bowling. That always surprises people!

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