Friday, February 19, 2010

Internet Artisan Interview - Piece Mama

I was very interested in seeing Jewel's artwork, as she is one of the few artists I've interviewed who uses sketches as she creates. You can find most of her quilts and such in her Etsy shop, Piece Mama. I'd love to see more of her work, and photographs of where she lives in the mountains, but with four children, I understand it could be hard to get on the computer. Maybe we can encourage her to blog more... In the meantime, we came look in her shop!

  • What's the name of your business/shop?

Piece Mama

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
Yes! I have an Etsy shop at and two blogs (one personal and one business); the business one is located at I haven’t spent the time I should have on it, though. I’m hoping to add more content in 2010. I’m also hoping to have a website up and going in the new year, too!

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I make lap quilts and a whole variety of home and personal use sewn products such as clothespin bags, music bags (from guitar pick pouches to recorder bags), business card clam pockets, journal covers, luggage tags, cell phone pouches, diabetic sugar pouches, needle books, weighted pads, wearable pieces, etc.

  • Show us a piece you recently finished
I am currently finishing a weighted pad. It’s a pieced top with traditional quilt blocks in juvenile prints. I am passionate about including items in my shop for the special needs community & for promoting healthful living. I have worked with occupational therapists and behaviorists in seeing the validity of weighted pads as a tool for someone with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) for calming and self-regulation behaviors.
[note: for more about SPD, see]

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
I love sketching out ideas that have come to me either on drives out on a favorite country road, or in my sleep or shower time (lol). I am working on a shrug right now that will be warm for these chilly days, but fashionable, too. I have this mixture in my personality that’s both practical, yet has a funky style… so I love to play with design and color.

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
I really like Etsy’s mini for a widget for using on the blog.

  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
Advertising is probably my downfall. It’s something I struggle with in knowing how to approach it respectfully yet with business acumen. I definitely apply the ol’ golden rule & market the way I’m most comfortable with and that’s a low-key “method” (lol). Word-of-mouth and offering solutions to common requests are how my business operates. I try to have a “presence” in different venues (forums, social networking, blogs), but it’s not for a hard sell; it’s more for approachability, which dovetails into why my avatar is a “self-portrait” instead of a product. My business offers a wide variety of products, so I didn’t want to highlight just one in an avatar. I want customers to see the person behind the products, the designer and manufacturer to build a bond with the customer.

  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
So far, I’m just using Etsy. I especially love the community of artists/artisans there. There are so many talented people and I have learned so much from them in the forum and via the Storque. I also won a free, premium membership with Zibbet that I’m looking forward to using.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
Yes! Hands-down, the BEST is Twitter. I cannot say enough good things about it! The variety of people I’ve met are inspiring, loving, caring, interesting, funny, talented, wise, and on and on. I have a fantasy of inviting my circle of Twitter friends to come on over for one big BBQ get-together. I’m on Facebook, too, but honestly, I am totally confused by the whole process, so I haven’t invested much time. That’s on my “To Do” list.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
I agree! Hmm, so many to share… probably one of the best ones is, do what you love. Creativity and patience and energy flow when you enjoy making your art.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
These are good questions! My “formula” is take the cost of materials divided by quantity and add on a guesstimate of time spent to create it, making sure the final cost is a reasonable amount to spend on said product.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
Here is my studio. It’s upstairs and the window overlooks many deciduous and juniper trees and a small brook-like canal. In the spring, you can hear the ducks or frogs, which I love. My cutting table is a farm-style kitchen table where I used to teach the kids, but now I teach them at the kitchen table. I love the light and brightness of this room. There are stainless steel open shelves that hold many clear bins of fabric, which are separated by color and some by pattern. I have upcycled containers to hold notions, sewing hardware, ribbons, and threads. At my sewing table, I have a cool b/w sepia-tone photo that an Etsy friend (equinoxphoto) shot that’s a good reminder to slow down and breathe. I’m working on making a collage for my wall of Etsy sellers’ business cards, because all these artisans are inspirational and a good reminder of a shared sisterhood.

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
To be highlighted on Project Runway –lol. I know, I’m dreaming J. As I mentioned, I’m hoping to have a website up and running. I would like to do at least one bazaar in the upcoming year. Yes, plans are in the works, but it’s trying to find the right balance in managing, maintaining and growing a business while being a mama and a wife.

  • It's the storybeader's turn to pick a piece!
I love all the little pouches Jewel has made - great gifts for close friends or family members. I think this little guitar pick pouch is my favorite. Peace, {:-Deb


memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

I love her piece of advice :) Do what you love!

Ruthie said...

Cute stuff :)

Piece Mama said...

Hi Deb! Thank you for your interview! I really appreciate the opportunity! I have enjoyed reading the other interviews & getting to know the people behind the works :-) With Peace, Jewel

Splendid Little Stars said...

very interesting interview!

Joy (The Art Of Joy) said...

Such a great interview! Thanks for sharing this!

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