Monday, July 13, 2009

Interview With An Etsian: Meet Chelsea G.

With a shop name like Bird Nerd, I knew I had to interview Chelsea! Chelsea is a very talented artist and her love for birds is right up my alley. I don't think you'll be disappointed by this birdie-filled shop. Meet the fabulous bird nerd Chelsea...
In a nutshell, tell us about yourself.
My name is Chelsea Groves and I live just outside of San Francisco with my husband and dog. Originally from the southeast, I've lived in this part of the world for two years now. I've enjoyed exploring all the sights here, from the art museums to the beautiful beaches and redwood forests.

Apart from crafting and creating, what do you do?
I've always been an animal lover, so about a year ago I started searching for volunteer opportunities helping animals. I learned about the Marine Mammal Center and have been helping out there once a week since then. We rescue sick and injured seals and sea lions, rehabilitate them, and then release them back into the wild. I mainly help by feeding the animals and cleaning their pens.

Though I'm primarily an artist, I'm growing to love sewing. I've been known to make some pretty unusual Halloween costumes, including a peacock (for myself) and a narwhal (for my husband).

What inspired you to open an Etsy shop?

I was working as a graphic designer and had been creating bird art in my spare time. Around the same time that I completed my first few collages, I happened upon Etsy. I thought the site looked promising, so I listed my collages to see what would happen. I made my first sale about a month later, and the business grew and grew until I was able to become a full-time artist. I had no idea that Etsy would end up being a major part of my life, but I'm happy that it is!

What is your favorite creation in your shop?
I tend to get attached to a lot of the collages that I make, probably because of the amount of thought and labor that goes into them. Right now my favorite is "Wentworth, Barn Owl". I'm proud of how it turned out and I like the overall dark, night time feel of it.

Where else can we find you?
You can find me on my personal website.
For photos of my art and life, you can visit my Flickr.

Describe your studio and what you like best about it.
My studio is a large room at the back of our house. I like it because it has lots of windows and looks out on our backyard. That way I get lots of natural light and can keep an eye on all the birds that visit the feeders I've put out for them.

I keep things organized with lots of shelves and drawers. I also have two desks; one for art, and one for computing. My business has expanded a lot in the last two years, so I've added a lot of equipment and products. When things start to feel chaotic in the studio, I know it's time for a trip to Ikea for a new shelf or cabinet for organizing things.

What is your favorite Etsy shop?
I have a lot of favorite Etsy shops. Some artists that really stand out to me are MLee, MinicingMockingbird, Blue Dog Rose, and Ashley White Jackobsen.

There are tons of others that I love as well. I've bought so many amazing things on Etsy that I'll cherish forever, including a beautiful portrait of my dog, Delilah, by lizzelizzel. It can be seen here.

List your favorite book, movie, song & website (other than Etsy of course).
I love so many books, but one of my all-time favorites is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. One of my favorite movies is Idiocracy. It makes me laugh every time. A new favorite for music is Neko Case. My husband took me to one of her concerts recently and it was amazing. A website I've really grown to love is Flickr. I like expressing myself and documenting my life through photos and Flickr has really encouraged me to do that.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don't have any definite plans for the future. I'd love to keep expanding my business and get more and more exposure, but the most important thing to me is that I'm still creating. I'd also like to have a house full of gorgeous vintage furniture and an impeccable wardrobe.

What is your favorite birdie (as in species of bird)?
I think right now it would have to be the western scrub jay. They're fairly common here, but they're a gorgeous mix of blue and grey. They're also very loud and always announce their presence in the yard. I leave a little bowl of peanuts out for them so that they'll come visit me often.



Anonymous said...

I like this one, a fat and happy little cardinal.

I saw one on my walk today, they are one of my favorite birds. I enjoy bird images and have been doing some photographs that incorporate wings and bird shadows. I'm inspired by "BirdNerd" Chelsea's success and productivity, and such lovely works of art.

Great interview.

...right now I'm having a print Giveaway on my blog of another bird-inspired artist. If you have a moment, come by and check it out:

Have a lovely week,

Anonymous said...

Oops, wrong link to the Giveaway. Here's the right one:

Lori said...

I wish I could see the peacock costume!

The Marine Mammal Center is awesome. They used to do education programs and take the animals out to local schools. I can proudly say I've pet a sea lion because of them! What a great cause to support!

Nannieflash said...

Gorgeous birds Vanessa, with love and hugs Shirleyxxxx

♥ LLL with Leslie ♥ said...


I just wanted to let you know that I have a blog award waiting for you on my blog!

Have a great day :)


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