This month's featured artist is Jennifer Ladd of Milwaukee Michigan. I got a chance to interview her and ask her about her beautiful collection of handmade handbags and more. Here is what she had to say...
What type of art work do you do?
I make handmade bags, purses, and baby items.
How long have you been creating?
I have been sewing since I was very, very young. I learned by watching my grandma, and I just haven't stopped since. I used to make gifts for family and friends and clothes and purses for myself, but after a while, I sort of ran out of space to store the results of my creative inspiration. I opened my Etsy shop in December 2007 and now I have new reasons to create!
How much time do you spend working on your craft?
I sew everyday. I reserve my days for my daughter - she's 2 years old and I stay home with her full-time. She's such a sweetheart and I love every minute I get to spend with her. I sew in the evenings when my husband gets home from work. He gets to spend some "daddy-daughter" time with her, and I get a bit of a mental break while I relax and sew.
What inspires you to create?
My biggest inspiration is color - I get so happy every time I sew a beautiful color combination. And I love working toward the goal of the finished product and the feeling of pride that comes from making something beautiful through my own creativity.
Do you have a designing process?
I rarely use patterns (and if I do, they tend to be ones I made for myself), so each design I make is slightly different. I tend to decide on a color I want to sew with that day, and then I think about my project throughout the day. By the time evening comes around, I have a fairly good idea of what I want to make.
Where do you do your creating?
When we bought our new house, one of our requirements was for me to have a sewing room all to myself so I can work undisturbed and have a place to store all my supplies. My new room is perfect - it is bright and sunny with great view of our backyard. The walls are a cheerful yellow and I am adding fun and funky accents to make it my own (mainly items I am slowly acquiring through other Etsy sellers!).
Have you always been artsy?
I have always loved all different kinds of art, although not really the traditional ones like drawing and painting. I have worked with pottery, stained glass, glass fusing, glass blowing, metal jewelry, polymer clay, basket weaving, screen printing, mosaics, woodworking, and so many more. I concentrate now on sewing mainly because I don't have room for all these other hobbies in my house!
Do you have another job?
I used to be a French teacher for 6 years. But a few years ago, I quit my job to stay home full-time with my daughter. I guess you could say she's my "full-time job", now, although she's the most fun "job" I've ever had!!
Where do you sell your pieces?
I used to do a fair amount of consignment work, but I have slowly given most of that up and now sell almost exclusively on Etsy. I love it and am so grateful to Etsy for giving me a platform to run my own business easily.
I love to spend the afternoons out with my daughter. Since we are in the middle of (a very cold!) winter, we spend a lot of time shopping or at museums and out of the cold. In the summer, we love to go to parks and take walks and go to the zoo. My husband is a teacher, so he gets to spend all summer with us as well - we love to travel as much as we can, bike along the lakefront, and spend time with our families.
Do you have a favorite piece in your shop?
I love my Handmade wooden handle purse with Japanese blossoms: Click Here To View
I love its pretty shape and I love the bold Japanese print. It is exactly the style of bag that I like for myself. I will be a little sad when this one sells, because part of me just wants to keep it!
You can see more of Jennifer's creations in her Etsy shop jenniferladd