I have featured Kathy's fabulous work on my blog before and thought it would be fun to meet the person behind the art. Check out my interview with Kathy and don't forget to visit The Dreamy Giraffe and read Kathy's stories that accompany each piece...I could spend all day at her shop! Meet the fabulous Kathy...
In a nutshell, tell us about yourself.
My name is Kathy Jeffords and I was born and raised in South Carolina, where I still live. I’m 32, childless, and single, but please don’t worry about me – all five of my dogs would assure you that in no way am I on my way to crazy cat lady-hood. ;)
Apart from crafting and creating, what do you do?
This particular time in my life the answer to that question is a bit different than it would’ve been, oh, six months ago and hopefully different than what it will be six months from now. My father has had a tremendous amount of health issues, having been in the hospital seven times since Christmas, and undergoing three surgeries, one of which was to have his right leg amputated below the knee. So, so far in 2009, other than crafting and creating, a great majority of my time has been spent in waiting rooms and helping my mother care for him. I’m very fortunate that I am self-employed – my art is my day job --, so I’m able to have the flexibility to be there when they need me, which just feels right, since they’ve always been there when I’ve needed them.
When I do have free time, I love it when my sister and niece who live a few hours away visit (or I get the opportunity to visit them), having Instant Message marathons with my bestie, who lives in Michigan, reading (books, magazines & BLOGS), escaping to Springfield for an hour or so via DVRed episodes of Guiding Light. I also tend to get a wee bit sucked into, oh, every competitive reality show that ever comes on.
And I love, love, love to write. Up until a few years ago, I actually had never considered being anything other than a writer as a career “when I grew up”. It’s what my studies focused on in college and it’s my oldest and longest dream. Things panned out a bit differently and I love being able to support myself with my art, but writing will always be a huge part of who I am
What inspired you to open an Etsy shop?
I’d actually quit my day job the year before I found Etsy, not to do art for a living, but simply because I was miserable there. Between having a l’il nest egg saved up and selling a bit on eBay, I’d not yet gone back to work, but I knew the time was going to come if I didn’t find a venue that was better fit for me and my work and really get serious about it. I stumbled upon Etsy through someone’s blog and it was either that or start sending out resumes.
Where else can we find you?
I have a blog (http://thedreamygiraffe.typepad.com) and a Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/dreamygiraffe) , as well as a website, which is badly in need of an update (www.thedreamygiraffe.com). I have accounts on a lot of the other social networks, but I rarely if ever log in. I made a valiant effort to get into Myspace, but it’s just not my thing.
What is your favorite creation in your shop?
That’s a toughie! I’m actually in the progress of doing a bit of spring cleaning in my shop, so there aren’t as many listings as there have been in the past. For a long time, I believed having a huge selection was the best way to go, but I’m not so sure it’s right for me. There were some pieces that were older and just didn’t fit in with my current aesthetic, some that I just wasn’t 100% proud of, and others that just weren’t getting any love. As a perfectionist, I kind of want someone who stumbles upon my shop to be wowed by everything they see, so I’m weeding out the stuff that I don’t think is quite up to snuff. It’s hard because even those pieces feel like my babies – they’re all parts of me.
Right now, I’d have to say this one, which is a new piece, is my current favorite. The idea for the painting was in my head a long time before I got the time to put her onto canvas so I could share her with others.
Describe your studio and what you like best about it:
I have a dedicated studio space that I really love, but honestly, it’s more of storage for art and craft supplies than anything else. (I lose all willpower when I enter a Hobby Lobby, so I have a ton.) But, actually, I usually just paint lying down on my bed and keep all of my paints and canvases in my bedroom. It’s where I’m most comfortable and it’s perfect ‘cause I’m only three feet away from the computer, which is good for purposes of obsessively checking my e-mail!
What is your favorite Etsy shop?
There is absolutely no way I could pick even a top ten. I’ve been on Etsy 3 years in June and have over sixty pages of Favorites. You can see what I like here: Kathy's Favorites
List your favorite book, movie, song & website (other than Etsy of course).
I absolutely love the book Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. (If you’ve seen the movie but not read the book, please wipe that experience from your memory and go to the library to get a copy to read immediately– the movie was absolutely terrible.)
As for movies, I tend to go for romantic comedies. I tend to watch Serendipity, Hitch, Little Black Book, Bring It On, & Legally Blonde every time they come on television.
My all-time favorite song is “Dreams” by the Cranberries, but if you were to peek into my iTunes right now, you’d find a playlist of all of the studio versions of Adam Lambert’s American Idol performance songs on repeat. If I could only listen to one artist for the rest of my life, I’d probably pick the Counting Crows. There’s not a song they’ve done that I don’t love.
My favorite website (other than Etsy) is probably Bloglines. It allows me to subscribe to all the blogs I love and automatically see when they’ve got new posts. I also am really digging Twitter.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, my niece will be 13, so I’ll probably have given up everything to be her full-time bodyguard and keep all those teenaged boys away! ;)
On a serious note, right now, I’m pouring my heart, my soul and the vast majority of my time into creating a sustainable and successful long-term business with my art. I truly work all the time and feel guilty when I’m not because the To Do list is always overflowing. I think most self-employed people feel that way the first several years of being in business. You have to take on so many roles. It’s so rewarding but can also be a bit overwhelming!
Hopefully, in ten years, my heart and soul will still be in that same place, but I’ll be able at the point where I can divide my time a bit more evenly to the different areas of my life.
I will never let go of my paintbrush, but by then, I’d like to be able to be a writer, professionally, as well as an artist, and would love to have published a novel or two by then.
And, of course, though I’m very independent and like my own space and will never be one of those people who just has to have a relationship or whose biological clock is ticking insanely loudly in her ears*, I think that by then, it would be nice to have a family of my own with which to share all these dreams I’m blessed enough to be building now.
(*Not that there’s anything at all wrong with that – it’s just not who I am.)
What is your favorite birdie (as in species of bird)?
Hands down a painted bunting (& not just because it has “painted” in its name)! They are the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen, dressed in vivid blue, green, and red and look like they’ve just flown in from a tropical rainforest, but where I live, in South Carolina, during the summer months, they show up right in my back yard. They’re gorgeous!