1. Tell us a bit about why you started Nature Manipulated.
Since I was a young child I have taken art classes or played around with different arts and craft supplies. After high school, I took a hiatus from art. I wasn't sure I would get back into it. Every so often, I would try painting or drawing something but I had a block until .... Approximately five years ago, I bought a pair of earrings at a small NYC boutique. I couldn't really afford them but I REALLY wanted them. After looking at them for awhile I realized I could make a pair just like it. The next day I went to a bead store, and having no prior jewelry making experience, I began making jewelry. My artistic block had disappeared and I found myself dabbling in a new medium. After making several necklaces and pairs of earrings and giving away many, I decided to try selling some pieces. My inspiration primarily came from nature - places I have visited, seen in pictures and natural matierals turned to unnatural objects. Reflecting on my inspiration, there was only one thing my shop could be called - "Nature Manipulated". Since starting in 2004, I have opened my shop up to my photography (the one thing I never stopped doing) and my one of a kind handmade greeting cards.
2. What are your hobbies or what do you do in your off time away from the shop?
Unfortunately, I do not have much off time but when I do, I play pool, go to restaraunts, work out (well, I am going to start again)... I am also starting to take African dance classes again next month. I'm so excited. Dancing to live drumming - I LOVE percussion, escpecially hand drums.
3. I notice that you sell on two different venues are there others that you also sell on and do you find it difficult to manage?
I currently only sell on Artfire and Etsy. I started my Etsy shop in 2006 and Artfire earlier this year. I am trying to establish Artfire as my primary shop and have been devoting most of my promotional efforts to that shop. It is difficult to manage one shop, let alone two. There is so much that goes into it besides making your items. I must say, I spend A LOT of time on the computer: blogging, on Twitter, Facebook and in the Artfire Chatterbox and Etsy forums, as well as other online communities such as byhand.me, indiepublic, and team forums.
4. If you had to pick one piece to feature in your shop what would it be and why?
I hate picking favorites! Especially becuase I have favorite jewelry pieces, favorite photographs and so on. If I have to though, I would say, African Dolphin (http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Shop&op=listing&product_id=134375). The necklace is a perfect combination of earthy, hippee, classy and elegent. It incorporates my favorite stones, turquoise and carnelian, and the dolphins beads sitting above the center turquoise nugget, give the necklace a sense of life. If there is any piece I would find hard parting with, it would be this one.
5. Name three other online shops that you would recommend to our readers.
Bean Pickle Sprout - http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Shop&seller_id=15523 (she's also on Etsy). I have bought several items from this shop as baby shower gifts and everyone loves them. I also have two pot holders for myself which I absolutely adore and hate that they now have food stains on them. Will neeed more soon.
Cecil and Company - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6583899 Such beautiful bags. I don't have one yet but it's definitely on my handmade holiday list.
This is SO hard ...
Simply Sentimental - http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=110064 Her cards are so fun. They really POP.
I apologize to everyone I left off. There really are a lot more.
Go to Nature Manipulated, pick a favorite item and come back here to post a comment about it. Be sure you link to the item you mention and leave your email so we can contact you!
For additional entries post a comment below for each of the following that you do:
- Tweet about the giveaway and direct it at @thetinyfig and @NMArt
- Blog about the giveaway
- Make a purchase from Nature Manipulated's Artfire Shop
Giveaway is open to everyone worldwide and ends on November 8th, 2009 at 11:59pm PST. Goodluck!