By guest contributor Amy Anderson
Amy here, one of the Indie Fixx interns, and I seem to spend most of my free time browsing Etsy for cute new shops or the perfect gift for friends and family. That’s why I was excited when Jen asked me to find some artists for Fresh Etsy Pixx and it’s when I found out about Floridity, Barbara Bechtel’s fabulous jewelry and bead shop. Barbara started the shop earlier this year and also sells mixed media art at Second Surf. I adore her bird and flower motifs created in polymer clay—simple but stunning! Read more about Barbara’s inspiration and love of the artistic process in my interview with her and check out her two Etsy shops, Floridity and Second Surf.
1. What do you create and how did you get started?
I am a painter by trade. I have a fancy piece of paper with my name on it from The Savannah College of Art and Design and everything. Beginning my career as a mixed media artist, my work has always been focused on craft and process. I spent my time after college in management in the retail grocery industry. In February of 2009, I left that career to embark solely on my artistic ventures. It was then that I branched out from offering mixed media work to offering my handmade jewelry and pendant designs as well. Jewelry had always been a hobby aside from my other artistic pursuits and I really wanted to focus a larger portion of my time on it.
2. Why do you sell on Etsy? Do you sell elsewhere as well?
Etsy has been great since its inception! It is so clean looking and easy to use. I like that it has been kept relatively simple and provides a valuable opportunity to artists and crafters of all levels to enjoy selling their work! I also sell at handmade fairs and art markets and have exhibited and sold work through galleries and boutiques through out the southeastern United States.
3. Where do you get the ideas for your pieces?
My work is very intuitive. Most of my inspiration comes from nature. I keep a sketchbook and journal but normally I just have a sliver of an idea when I start. I let the idea work itself out through the process. I think that is the painter coming out in me!
4. Where do you go or what do you do when you need inspiration?
I go away from the studio! My boyfriend and I love taking long drives….just to look around. I love garage sales and discarded things. Seeing old things with fresh eyes. Part of being creative is looking at the world around you- hopefully showing people something in a way that they haven’t seen before. The beach and the mountains hold a lot of inspiration for me and I’m fortunate to be able to spend a good deal of time both places. The things I see in my travels make their way back to the studio and these mental images and whispers form their way into ideas for pieces. Cooking and food also inspires me. Cooking is alot like art making in the sense you are building something from scratch, taking all of these small things and transforming them into something different. My blog showcases my inspiration as well as the inspiring work of others at Second Surf.
5. Where do you see your work going in the future?
I am very passionate about making original work. I like to make each piece one at a time. That is the very essence of handmade. I want people to realize that they own the ONLY ONE in the WHOLE WORLD. I hope that my work will continue in this fashion and in that same spirit! I would also love to have my own brick and mortar shop someday. That would be an
6. Describe your artistic style in three words.
About the contributor: Amy Anderson is one of the Indie Fixx interns this summer and is also a student at Northwestern University. Amy has wanted to be a journalist since she was just 5 years old and she is also into the indie design and crafting scenes as well. In addition to writing the occasional post, she also helps me coordinate Feed Your Soul: the free art project.