I grew up on Drummond Island located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (U.P.). In school I was excelled at art, math, and computers. My senior year in high school I took an accounting course and won and award for my excellence in that class. That is when I decided to peruse a career in accounting Lake Superior State University (LSSU). Originally, I had planned to go to Sienna Heights College so I could also pursue fine and performing arts while I was doing the practical thing and getting my degree in accounting. Sadly, plans changed due to poor judgment. My boyfriend at the time was very upset about me being gone and said he could not handle me being that far away. After one week at Sienna, I came home to the U.P. to attend to LSSU giving up my dream of dual degrees. I still wish I could take that decision back sometimes.
What inspired you to start your shop?:
In October of 2008, I lost my corporate accounting job. If that was not enough I was also going through a bad break up from a very abusive poisonous relationship. I was very depressed and in need of something productive and satisfying to do. My friend suggested I start an Etsy shop. I had tons of jewelry making and sewing supplies so I started making some items to sell. I mostly made jewelry and other crafty items for friends and family when I couldn't afford presents for birthdays and holidays. My mom has always been a big fan of my jewelry and is a proud supporter of my work. I grew up with her doing custom painted signs, glasses, furniture, and watercolor for extra money. Since she is partly my inspiration for starting my shop, I also created an Etsy shop for her. www.etsy.com/shop/ArtofTheUP
I transitioned to floral hair pieces in the spring of 2009. I had been taking belly dance classes for exercise. I had created a costume including a floral hair comb for my first performance May 2009. I had lots of experience working with silk flowers from helping my mom with wedding flowers.
How long have you been creating/selling?:
I have been creating since I was little. I think my first watercolor painting that I painted when I was four still hangs in my grand parents old house. With my mom being an artist and stay at home mom, I grew up with art in my life. While I was looking for a job after college in 2001, I had made a few pieces of jewelry to try to sell it on eBay but that did not go well and I gave up quickly. Until I started my Etsy shop, I never tried seriously to sell anything I created. In addition to my Etsy shop, I have sold at some belly dance events and art shows. The first belly dance event I vended at I may not have sold much but I did meet one of my best customers, Tina Kingsbury. She now owns three of my fascinators, which are featured on her website www.tinarenamodel.com/credits.html under 'Elegant Art & Fantasty' & 'Beauty Shots'
What piece(s) are you most proud of?:
I am always most proud of a piece when I am teaching myself a new medium or technique and my first piece turns out very well.
www.etsy.com/listing/77618153/bohemian-floral-wood-burned-bracelet This is my first attempt to wooden burn on a bracelet. I think it turned out very well. I have wood burned one small pine boxes before but the rounded surface was a challenge
www.etsy.com/listing/64637599/blushing-butterfly-leather-barrette This is my second leather tooling piece. I had found three butterfly leather barrette blanks on clearance at a craft store. I love butterflies so I bought them without any knowledge of tools to work with them. I mentioned to my mom that I had bought them and had no clue what to do with them. I asked her if she had and could tell me what to do. She actually had a set of tools and some old dyes from when she went to Wayne State for art. So she gave them to me. The first one I did already sold. This one is my favorite of the three. I have considered keeping it for myself. However, if I kept every piece I absolutely loved, I wouldn't have much to sell in my shop.
www.etsy.com/shop/WendyBethCreations?section_id=7796227 I am also very proud of my water bottle carriers because I made the pattern myself. My grandmother knitted and crochet. When she passed, I inherited all of her yarn, knitting needles, and crochet hooks.
I also I have some fascinators created with polymer clay skulls that I hand sculpted but those will not be posted until late August through October.
If you could go anywhere for a week to sell your items, where would it be and why?:
I would love to vend at a belly dance convention that Zoe Jakes is teaching workshops at. Zoe Jakes is my favorite belly dance performer. I would love to take a work shop from her. Also I dream of someday having one of my fascinators worn by her.
Anything else you'd like to include:
Just a few days ago I watched a movie about the life of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. I saw a lot of similarities between her struggles and my own. I found it very inspirational. I have been feeling very discourage lately in everything including my creative pursuits. Learning about her life and success at the lowest point in her life has given me new hope for my own.
Heres a few of her items, click on them and go visit her shop!