Friday, April 16, 2010

An Interview with Sharon Fischer of Stray Notions

by Sharon of Stray Notions

BH: Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Sharon Fischer and I live in Medford, MA. Fiber and textiles run through my heritage. There is a process for testing the durability of fabric which bears a family name. Mom's dad and those before him were in a textile business that evolved from sail manufacturing in the Netherlands. The other side of her family was also in textiles in Alsace and I did my own fiber art and surface design tour of the region last year and can't wait to go back. On my dad's side, my grandmother was and a seamstress and a "glove maker to the stars" back when ladies wore gloves.

BH: Apart from creating things what do you do?
What else is there? But seriously I'm always creating something be it a craft item, a mess or a good time. I have worked in marketing communications, fundraising and pr - for corporations, museums and other non-profits.

BH: How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?
I have been making stuff for as long as I can remember. My first sales were crepe paper bouquets when I was about 10. I've sold clothing and wearable on and off for about 10 years. I opened my etsy shop with a more eclectic mix about a year and a half ago.

BH: What is the first thing you can remember making by hand?
I remember making a doll bed when I was in kindergarten. That was long enough ago that they didn't worry about letting 5 year olds loose with the hand tools.

BH: What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I my dad embroidered a blanket for that doll bed.

BH: Please describe your creative process (how, when, materials, etc). What are your favorite materials?
I work primarily with textiles and fiber, sewing, embellishing, embroidery painting etc. I use a lot of vintage and recycled supplies and often they will "suggest" what they'd like to be in the next life. I tend to make items that are both beautiful (at least I hope so) and useful. This according to some is what separates art from crafts.

BH: What's your favorite color?
I can't choose just one.

BH: Describe your work.
I make wearable or otherwise useful art using fabric, fibers, paints and other embellishments. I also do custom embroidery pieces of my own design or based on original art that has significance for my customers (drawings by children and adults, photographic pieces, writing and poetry).

BH: Read any good books lately?
My 11 year old nephew and I am doing the 100 book challenge. He is beating me badly.

BH: How long have you been involved with Etsy and what have your experiences been?
I have been on Etsy for a year and a half or so. I haven't sold a lot on etsy and most of it has been custom work. I find the lack of real customer contact to be both a blessing and a curse .. In that I have no idea who is buying my stuff or what they respond to and customers and potential customers don't get to see my work live and in person (especially since photography doesn't happen to be a craft at which I excel) but I also don't have to deal with rejection and critics in real time and all of my sales have been to people who heretofore were geographically beyond my reach.

BH: In ten years I'd like to be...
10 years wiser.

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