I met Deb on etsy when I purchased this beautiful Red Hibiscus hair pick. It was also Deb's first sale and my first purchase on etsy.
I was sooo excited when she agreed to have a giveaway on my blog. Here is a little info about Deb...
1. Tell us a little about yourself…
This is the most difficult part. I am a really chatty person, but when it comes to talking about myself or my work, I generally clam up :). But well, I have been in the US for four years now and have loved everyday of it. I think I have really 'found' myself here - in a sense. I have been happily married to the most wonderful husband anyone can ever have! And I think I am craftsy, without being crafty :). That is such a cheesy line, but it pretty much describes me and that is why I believe I derive a lot of enjoyment from the work I do. I feel no sense of competition with others in the same or similar crafts and just focus on bettering my flowers. I am not the kind of person who could do a good sales pitch. Talking about how great my flowers are, make me embarrassed. I never do that :). I even got my item descriptions and my website profile written by someone else, who could be more objective about my work. The internet is a boon to me that way. I don't have to sell my flowers face-to-face. I have put my craft out there.... people contact me if they want my flowers and we go ahead from there. I truly enjoy what I do!
2. How long have you been doing this?
When I came to the US, I did not have a work permit. Instead of waiting around for one and getting bored at home, doing nothing.... I took up this course of clay flower making. I have always loved crafts, but have always sucked at them. My craft teacher at school had declared me a failure at it :). But thankfully, Yukiko Miyai, my Deco Clay teacher believed in me and slowly, with her encouragement and support (and that of my husband's), I started making decent flowers. Anyway... so I have been doing this for close to 4 years now. I started selling mid 2008, a year after I received my work permit :). I wanted to sell when I knew I was churning out at least decent work :).
3. Who/What inspires you?
My teacher - Yukiko Miyai - inspires me the most. She started the Deco Clay Craft Academy in the US about 10 years back. She hasn't looked back since. Even today, she works diligently on perfecting her flowers to make them even more perfect :) and on making new flowers. I try to follow her example. Also, of course, nature inspires me. I have always loved real flowers and now, I try making mine as close as possible to real ones. It is not easy or even possible, to replicate nature, but this is the next best thing I'd say... these flowers are works of art and last a lifetime.
4. What's your favorite piece?
There are many really! I love making flowers for weddings. It makes me happy to make people happy. So, I think the wedding bouquets are my favourite creations, because they make the brides so happy! The green and white bouquet, the orange and white bouquet (that appeared in a wedding mag), the lilac colored bouquet, the red anemone bouquet and the tropical flower bouquet - they are all favourites! I also love this centerpiece that I made for a friend's wedding.... it is a rose and peony centerpiece (sixth from the top, in the centerpiece section in my portfolio on my website)
5. What advice do you have for a beginner?
This is a very good question. I see a lot of overconfidence in new students. They want to sell as soon as they start learning...without even practising the craft. This is an art that takes lots and lots of practice. I made hundreds and hundreds of roses, before I made one that I liked. Beginners need to appreciate that this craft needs practice and should be prepared to do that. Also, they need to set high standards for themselves and not be happy with an average flower.
Another thing I come across is that a lot of people think, that they can simply buy the DECO Clay books in the market and start making great flowers. Trust me, that is just not going to happen. The books are a good starting point and good reference points(once you have learned how to make the flowers from an instructor). But you absolutely have to go to a teacher - even if you have done cold porcelain or gum paste flowers (they are the closest in technique) before.
In short, there is no easy way out :). Get a teacher you can work with and be prepared to work really really hard.
6. All of the links to your sites.
Facebook: Keepsake Blossoms
Twitter: http://twitter.com/keepsakeblossom (couldnt fit in that last 's' due to number of character restrictions)
So now for the giveaway. Deb is giving away a pink Valentine's flower arrangement of roses & hydrangeas. The arrangement is being made right now, so I have no photos...but I am sure it will be g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s!
Leave a comment telling Deb what new flower you would like her to make this year? Or what kind of product you would like her to make this year (something she hasn't done before)?
Must do this first before you can get any additional entries.
Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each):
- Follow my blog (current followers count).
- Subscribe to my blog via RSS or/and e-mail.
- Follow Keepsake Blossoms' blog (current followers count).
- Become a fan of Keepsake Blossoms on Facebook.
- Blog about this contest and link it back to this blog.
- Follow me & Keepsake Blossoms on twitter and tweet @melaniescrafts @keepsakeblossom about this giveaway.
- Become a fan of me on Facebook.