Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ten Question Tuesday - Girls Can Tell

Hello! Who are you? Give us the 411 about yourself.
hello, hello! i'm sara, and i run girlscantell. in a nutshell, i spend my days diagramming everyday machines - like bikes, cameras, kitchen aid mixers, pinball machines and lots more - and then i make them into silkscreens. then i screenprint all these diagrams onto useful things, like placemats, hand towels, notebooks, tote bags and just about anything else you could imagine. i grew up in central new jersey, went to school at the university of virgina and live in south philadelphia, where i bought a house a few years ago. and i have a puppy. sometimes i wonder if my puppy's actually an alien.

When/how did you start your business?
i started my business way back in the day when i was working as an architectural underling (when i lived and breathed autocad). it was a much needed creative outlet. i was always doodling little diagrams of the things around me, and a friend began to teach me how to screenprint, and i immediately loved that process.

when i discovered etsy back in 2005, i loved it because it allowed me to daydream about supporting myself through what i loved doing. in spring 2007, rob kalin to hire me to run the etsy teams program. for the next 18 months, i gave working on the etsy team program everything i had. though i no longer work for etsy, i still believe that the very spirit of etsy teams is what makes etsy amazing.

the best thing about working at etsy was really soaking in all the knowledge floating around out there about how to really build a successful, creative small business. being surrounded by such amazing work all the time was so completely inspiring. when etsy eliminated my position during the holiday season in 2008, working on girlscantell full time seemed only natural.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
i admittedly watch too much tv and movies lately. i also participate very actively in my neighborhood association, i enjoy trying lots of different craft beers - philly's the best beer city!, and for the past few months, i've been working on curating a bike themed craft boutique at the annual bike part art show, a charity event here in philly that benefits the neighborhood bike works.

What first made you want to become an artist?
well, when i was little, my parents told me if i went to art school, they'd break all my fingers. they both went to art school and, long story short, they're both working in totally unrelated fields now - they didn't want to see me go through such difficulties, professionally. so the joke in the family is that i basically tricked them by going to school for architecture. but really i just took as many studio / art classes as i could.

What inspires you?
really intricate drawings, ikea furniture instructions, old architectural floorplans and, well, the internet.

What's your favorite thing about your craft?
i like that the easily reproducible nature of screenprinting allows me to sell art at very accessible prices. and i like knowing there are all sorts of things that i've printed with my drawings on them being worn, used and toted around, all over the world. how amazing is that?

Where would we most likely find you working?
i have a shared studio space in chinatown, in a large warehouse full of galleries and artist work space. renting space here is one of the best decisions i've made for my business.

What's your favorite music to listen to while you work?
my boyfriend always teases me that i only ever listen to the same five or so albums, so i guess i'm pretty predictable. i tend to favor the mates of state, the new pornographers, matt and kim, she and him and, of course, spoon when i'm working. (and yes, girlscantell is named after that spoon album. it's my favorite.)

What's your favorite thing right now?
mmmm.... autumn beers. and making bagels from scratch.

If you could have one wish granted for the craft community, what would it be?

oh, this is a hard one! but i wish people would stop underpricing and undervaluing handmade. undercutting prices of people who make things for a living hurts everyone.

See more of Sara's amazing work in her shop, or at Crafty Bastards this weekend!


shellydaly said...

Wow, great discovery! I not only love her work, I have the same wish for the craft community. Maybe I'll try and write an article about that for the Storque....???!!!

Elisa Shere said...

love your work, sara!! thanks for agreeing to do this interview :)

Yummy and Company said...

great interview!