meet anna lee - esmarts thursday

Tell us a little bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
I’m Anna Lee Husband. My friends call me Anna Lee and I live in Oshawa, Ontario Canada. Oshawa is a small city situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario, and is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). I am a self taught jewelry artist, comfortable working in numerous mediums. I am directly affiliated with my small ‘online’ marketing group named eSMArts (etsy Social Marketing Artisans). I live with David my husband, and our Airedale Amy. I have one daughter who’s 28 years old and lives here in Oshawa. I also own a recumbent bicycle manufacturing business called Oracle Cycle Works. As you can imagine, I never have enough time to play with jewelry the way I’d like to. Oh well some day.

What inspired you to become an artist?
It was fate. Both my parents were actively artistic. Oil painting and many handcrafting ventures occupied my mother as I grew up and continue to be her passion to this day. My father was a jazz musician pretty much all his life. His father and siblings were musically inclined &/or active in things like knitting, sewing, quilting and embroidery. That household was always a place of creativity. These influences shaped my formative years. From a very young age I was fascinated with rocks; rocks of all types. I got my first tumble polisher around 9 years old and I set out to make small, albeit crude, jewelry pieces. I still enjoy fabric arts and wish I had more time for quilting and machine embroidery.

Where do you find your inspiration for your work?
Like most artisans, other artisans inspire me. No I’m not a copier, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being motivated by a piece that I wish I’d made. Many times I sketch ideas out of my head, or just play, and let the creative juices conjure up something new and wonderful. It’s always all about the materials and using them to their advantage in a structurally sound way. I’m addicted to classic movies so I admire period pieces found in old movies and sometimes in renaissance art.

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Like I said, sketching, observing and playing anytime/anywhere are my how, when and where. Using the sketch pad, scrap wire, objects I just find, all serve to steer me in new directions creatively. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, and just saunter into the studio to try it out. I don’t sleep as much as I should ;)

What is your most cherished handmade possession?
It’s hard to pick any one piece. Our art collection comes from Africa, Europe, Hawaii, China, the west coast of Canada, Mexico and the desert southwest of the USA. I enjoy being surrounded by these unique treasures. Ceremonial carved masks, wood and stone carved statues, carved jade ornaments, pottery, ceramics and oil paintings are among our diverse and cherished handmade collections. I have oil paintings that my mother did and a wooden blanket box made by my paternal great grandfather and quilts that I’ve made, etc. All these items hold sentimental value for me… I guess you’d say I’m a collector.

What online venues do you use to sell your items? etsy, artfire, etc.
My etsy shops are GahooleTree, SassyDLite and Gahooletree Supplies. For 2009 I’ll be expanding to venues with greater web visibility like ArtFire, SilkFair, ShopHandmade, eCrater and iCraft.

Where can we follow your story online? website, blog, twitter, facebook, etc.
Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Plurk and LinkedIn. There’s more info on the Gahooletree Designs blog and a SassyDLite blog as well as Oracle Gem Designs main site.

What are your top fives? books, movies, music, etc.

Books: The Diviners, The Good Earth, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Movies: Gone with the Wind, Ten Commandments, Roman Holiday, Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia and Rocky
Music: Chopin, Beethoven, Chicago, Rampal, and Elton John.
Art: Renoir, Turner, Monet, Van Gogh, and Constable are some of my favorite oil artists, but I see beauty in many mediums and genres.

What advice would you give to a new artist who would like to start sharing their work online?
Don’t think about it too long; just go for it. But realize that like many other things, you’ll only get out of it what you put into it. Successful online marketing takes a serious commitment.

What is your favorite online marketing tool?
I enjoy working with Flickr. I visit Flickr to upload and promote my own pics but always find myself browsing there. Browsing in Flickr is sort of like my own private gallery where I can look at copious amounts of amazing creations from all mediums and locales. I leave comments on others’ work (only if I have something positive to say) and I find the Flickr discussion forums are usually informative and non threatening.
For marketing my artwork, Flickr is fun and as a traffic generator Flickr is amazing. A high percentage of work that I posted there has sold.

Any other thoughts you'd like to share?
Marketing is a dynamic discipline and I’m learning all the time. I’m just beginning to explore SilkFair, ArtFire and ShopHandmade. ArtFire is looking very promising. It offers ease of use and the company has demonstrated a commitment to meeting and exceeding user expectations



ChezChani said...

That's a wonderful interview!! And I really like the look of your blog. Didn't know we could play with font.

Barbara Merwin said...

Where does that Anna Lee H. find time to be active on all those social network threads? Simply amazing. I want to Twitter more personally - Ken (Magpiedreams)

Anna Lee H. in Toronto said...

Love the montage you created for this feature Kirstina... Thank you so much again for making this PR opportunity possible.

We're so lucky to be blessed with supportive online family members like you. Thanks for all you do for eSMArts team! YOU rock! LOL
~Anna Lee

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