Meet Amanda of Calico City on Etsy
I officially 'met' Amanda through my shop's Facebook page and I'm so glad I did because she's one of those really cool artists out there who gets the art of the making. I mean we all worry about the selling, but there is something priceless about the making and Amanda gets it. I am so happy to learn so much more about her through this interview and I hope you would too and fall in-love with her beautiful shops
A little about yourself
My name is Amanda Marie, I’m 31 years old and currently living in Boston, Massachusetts. I grew up in Upstate NY, right outside of Saratoga Springs, NY;famous for it’s summer horse racing track. Although I was born and raised in upstate New York, I really am a New England girl at heart. I love reading, kayaking, skiing, dogs, the ocean and of course, sea food. I recently began running and have decided to train for the Burlington, VT marathon this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. I’m hoping to run it for all the first responders at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and all its past runners that didn’t get to finish the race.
I currently have three Etsy shops, Calico City , Lovable Designs, and Amanda Marie Studios. Over the past couple of months I’ve been focusing on Calico City, which sells my hand-painted jewelry, and home décor items. I’ve recently just started on Lovable Designs, with a whole new line of embroidery/appliqué patterns.
What is your Craft story?
As long as I can remember I've been drawing, painting, sewing and crafting. I can’t imagine my life without it; it’s a part of me. In 1996, I was a fourth place runner-up in a craft contest for the magazine, Crafting Traditions (no longer in print). It was a proud moment for me as I was then a fourteen year old with one of my craft projects published in a magazine for all to see and make. After that I never wanted to stop, however, other things took up more of my time; like high school, college, sports, etc.
At one point, my undergraduate major was graphic design, but I became fed up with the lack of hands-on work and switched to the Illustration department. I enjoy working and creating with my hands. Surprisingly, I find it more enjoyable when I walk away covered in paint or ink. I've been spending the past couple of years taking classes at the School of Museum and Fine Arts in printmaking. I enjoy working in the studio at the press; it helps me relax. I mostly do lithography and I actually have fun grinding the stones and processing them. It’s such a thrill to work on a multi-layered project and finally see the end result.
Since college, it had always been a goal of mine to go back and get an MFA in Fine Arts. I’d like to be an art professor as well as an artist. After working for several years at a full time job to pay rent in the city, I decided I’d be happier as a starving artist with barely enough money to pay rent than as someone who was unhappy with a job that paid very well. Soon, I will be heading off to UMass Dartmouth to get an MFA in printmaking. I can’t wait to spend long hours in the studio working on my artwork as well as to continue creating for my Etsy shops. I know it’s going to be challenging but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
How did you come to be on Etsy, do you sell anywhere else or would you like to?
I found out about Etsy through a small article in a magazine. So I opened my Lovable Designs shop, trying to sell hand-sewn gifts and craft patterns. I eventually opened Amanda Marie Studios for my artwork, and then opened up Calico City with some knitted bracelets. I didn’t enjoy the knitting as much, so I shut down Calico City for awhile then opened it again with my home décor mats and eventually added jewelry. I have always enjoyed painting on wood so it was a great idea to add hand painted wooden jewelry. I like the idea that each piece is unique. Although my décor mats can be mass-produced, I’m not extremely interested in mass production. I’m really interested in the fact that they are handmade, and though I can create several that look alike, each one has its own personality and/or flaws. To me flaws aren't bad, it means the item is unique and built by hand.
At this point I don’t sell anywhere else. I’d like to do shows and maybe sell on consignment to shops, or do some wholesale someday, but I’ve learned over the past couple of months that things take time and you need to be able to work up to things. If you rush into things you end up over extending yourself and then stress builds up. Right now, I’m just doing my best to get as much done as possible and not pushing myself to handle more than I actually can. I’m looking forward to my future and I’m happy with the way it’s evolving.
What inspires you?
I grew up inspired by my Grandmother who is a watercolor artist. Whenever I visited her, I loved spending time in her studio hoping that one day I would have a studio myself. I'm inspired by my surroundings. I love looking at natural patterns and shapes as I walk around the city. Also I'm inspired by the assortment of calico fabrics I've collected over the years. That was the inspiration for my shop's name: Calico City. Basically its name sums up my inspirations. My shop, Lovable Designs is inspired by my background in Illustration and interest in children’s book. I love creating for children, everything is so much cuter :)
What makes your work special and different from others?
Everyone’s individual work is special. Art is about being yourself and pouring your feelings into the work. It’s a form of expression. Each piece should be an exploration of your thoughts and emotions at the time of the creation.
I am very interested in color theory and the reason behind color and its uses. While in graduate school, color is going to be one of my main focuses, including the psychology of color, along with the emotions it express. Obviously, I will be using forms of printmaking/lithography to help convey my thesis on the use of color within the mind and the outcomes of our actions/emotions. It’s still a work in process, and over the course of the next two years I will be exploring it further. To follow my journey you can stay in touch with through my fine art website.
Etsy has been a great place to meet others trying to do the same things that I'm doing, and it’s been quite a learning experience. I’ve met so many great people via Etsy that I just want to thank them all! Plus a big thank you and hugs to all the customers, we all appreciate you dearly!!
Blessings – Amanda Marie
Thank you so much, Amanda! Please don't forget to visit Amanda in her shops: Calico City , Lovable Designs, and Amanda Marie Studios