Friday, January 2, 2009

interview with susan tuttle (book signing Sat Jan 3rd at Borders in Brunswick)

Had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Susan Tuttle via email and get an official Etsy Maine Team interview with her before her "Exhibition 36"
book signing tomorrow at Borders in Brunswick:


1) What brought you to the state of Maine?
I grew up in rural New Jersey (yes, there really is such a thing -- lol) and my husband grew up in Connecticut. We met in Boston, teaching at the same elementary school. After we married we decided to try life off-the-beaten path -- in 1999 the doors to Maine flew open so to speak, and we ran through -- we have never looked back!

We love our quiet, laid-back life in the Maine woods with our two young children. I must say we always marvel at the fact that Maine is all we dreamed it would be and more -- it really is a magical, fantastical place! We are home!

2) When did you first open your etsy shop?
Oh boy -- you've got me there -- I have to go back and look at the date. Off the top of my head, I would say it was a few years ago, shortly after Etsy started. Please correct me if I am wrong. The shelves of my shop have been bare for the past few months. I am working on my second book, and with two little ones running around the house, that is about all I can handle. I have plans for stocking my Etsy with prints of my latest work as soon as I can.

3) What inspired you to become an artist?
My background is in music. I am a formally-trained flutist and taught elementary school music for 10 years before becoming a full-time mom and self-taught artist. The seeds for my creative life were planted in my childhood. I was fortunate enough to live near New York City, so was able to take full advantage of the cultural life. I tend to have a propensity towards modern art. The MOMA is one of my favorite places.

I actually started making collage in college but didn't really start to delve into the visual arts until 1996 after a serious car accident (which I amazingly survived and came out of in one piece). I began to experiment with charcoals -- sketching ordinary objects that I found around my friend's house -- she took good care of me until I could function again on my own.

I suffered multiple miscarriages before my son was born in 2003 and found healing and solace in creating abstract paintings. I joined the atc-making Ebay craze in 2005, and from there dug my heals into making mixed-media and altered art. I had discovered my True North! I am now also very much into photography and creating digital art.



4) What is your favorite thing to do in Maine?
I don't know if I have any one favorite thing,
so I will give you a list of some of my favorite things:
*Walking through my woods with a camera in hand is enough to make the perfect day for me.
*eating lobstah and steamahs!
*watching snow.
*filling the woodstove and feeling it's warmth -- like no other kind of heat.
*beautiful landscapes
*beautiful people
*Goodwill

5) Who are some of your favorite Maine etsy artists?
I know Joselyn Walsh of Blue Moose Emporium and Jessica Moreau-Berry of Junque Revival -- two extremely talented artists! I had the privilege of featuring them in my book.

6) What advice would you give to a Maine artist just starting out?
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. The Internet is a powerful tool. Without it, I would not be the artist I am today, nor would I have been able to write my book.

Visit blogs, start a blog, join on-line groups. Have a professional looking website. Try Facebook. Attend art retreats. Networking can be lots of fun and bring you unexpected friendships that can last a lifetime. No longer do you have to search your immediate geographic area for artsy people like yourself. You can find your wonderful niche online. I have had the privilege of meeting many of my close online artist friends in person -- it is always such a gift.

7) Tell us about your upcoming promotions both offline and online.
I have a book signing for Exhibition 36 this coming Saturday, January 3 from 1-4 at Borders Books in Brunswick. There may be a local TV appearance in the works -- we shall see -- stay tuned.
I just had a book giveaway on my blog at
www.ilkasattic.blogspot.com (sorry that has passed). Stop by sometime and say hi.

For directions to Susan's book signing, click here: Brunswick Borders