Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday's Hidden Gem: SarahK

How are you today? Hope that the little painting above (by Sarahkdesigns) will brighten up your day a bit and give you a little boost for the day like it did to me. Today, let's sit back and enjoy a thoughtful conversation with Sarah Knight who is from Tecumseh, MI, and her incredible shop, Sarahkdesigns, is full of lovely digital prints and original paintings!

Here's our pocket interview with Sarah of Sarahkdesigns on Etsy.

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#1. Describe yourself in 5 words.
imaginative, artistic, capricious, mercurial, female

#2. What goodies do you offer in your shop?
I sell open edition prints (either of my digital collages or reproductions of my paintings, drawings, or illustrations) and my abstract salt on watercolor paintings.

#3. How was your shop started?
The name of my shop (sarahkdesigns) was what I came up with when I registered an account on ebay many years ago. I was mostly selling my snowflake Christmas cards, and I wanted something kind of adroit and demure since I was opening the account as a seller; I didn’t want to be like Sarah552 or something that sounded like words chosen at random out of a hat. My name is Sarah Knight, therefore I am Sarah K. The cards are my designs; ergo sarahkdesigns. I’m sure I could have come up with something more whimsical, but I didn’t want to trap myself to one idea or style.

So, just after Christmas of 2007 my mother told me about etsy, and I decided to just stick with the username. Of course, it would have been more convenient if she’d told me about etsy in like November, but, eh. Anyway, I’ve been drawing since I was 2 (or so my mother and her carefully hidden boxes of my childhood artwork allege) and every year I illustrate a calendar for my family and friends, oh, and I have a BFA from the School of Art & Design of the University of Michigan – so, selling prints of my many many illustrations just kind of seemed like the most natural idea.

(I also have another account, where I do house my Christmas cards from August through December. I design snowflakes, I think I’ve made about 70 different ones at this point. Anyway, through the magic of Photoshop I combine my snowflakes with scans of my photos or paintings, and viola — I have hundreds of different card fronts!)

#4. What are some unique things about your shop?
I do what is commonly known as “digital collage” without using other people’s stuff (stock images). All of the graphic elements used in the creation of my digital collages are my intellectual property. Those are indeed my drawings, my paintings, my photos, or scans of my stuff (like leaves from my yard). I suppose it might seem a bit self-centered, but it surely beats being sued for using (and therefore reproducing) someone else’s images, and I don’t have to pay myself licensing fees.

On a slightly less interesting note: my packaging is mostly re-purposed cardboard, therefore I make all my own boxes. So, the box your purchase comes in was specifically measured to suit the item. The cardboard comes from a grocery store. A lot of it was either unused cardboard display stands (those things you often almost run over with a cart when you’re trying to make your way through the aisle) or the cases that boxes of cereal are packed in (because they’re big, wide, and flat).

#5. What or who inspires you?
Nature, seasons, holidays, kitsch, the Midwest, birds, flowers, color theory, and happy accidents.

#6. What is the item in your shop you enjoyed making the most and why?
It sounds kind of sentimental, but I do kind of love them all like they’re my children, so it’s difficult to pick a favorite. That, and I pretty much use the same technique as it pertains to the kind of images (digital collages are all pretty much the same process, paintings were all a process, as are my watercolors).

I suppose one of my favorites is “violet night.”
I just made it. It wasn’t for a project or a calendar or a card front or a gift. And is a digital collage that was assembled from pieces that were all made for specific projects. The starry sky was an element that was created for the December graphic of last year’s calendar. The irises were an element created for the June graphic of last year’s calendar. The background is a scan of one of my many many unused (unfinished) acrylic paintings. And the luna moths were something I drew as a graphite pencil drawing for the state fair about a decade ago; I just scanned them into the computer and printed them out so I could colorize them. Oh, and violet is my favorite color. So everything just kind of came together. That and it’s one of my mother’s favorites.

#7. Your additional notes to my lovely blog's readers (optional)
When you have the time, figure out what makes you happy and how to go about doing it, and eventually: do it.

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Beside her wonderful shop, Sarahalso has a blog ( where you can get to know her and her work better. So, don't hesitate to drop by and say "Hi"!

That's all for today's Hidden Gem. Our new artist and I would love to hear from YOU, so feel free to share your comments and ideas. Do you have a favorite Etsy Artist? Why not suggesting him/her to be featured on this blog? Just let me know!

Next Wednesday, we'll meet Mackenzie and Kate of Meatbagz, my favorite shop for reusable shopping bags (screen printed). You know you don't want to miss this interview!


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