Monday, June 2

*FEATURED ARTIST of the week* ~~trashbagsbyan~~

trash bags by an

1. What do you create?

What I do is create one-of-a-kind purses and handbags constructed with primarely second-hand materials (hence, the name "Trash Bags")...which makes every bag an original. I don't believe in using patterns as it hinders me as an artist, but further more makes it impossible to duplicate any Trash Bag I've ever repeats walkin down the street, garanteed!

2. What led you to take up your craft?

Well, my mother taught me how to sew at a young age and have always dabbled in it every now and again. Before I started Trash Bags, I was working for a local interior decorator making all of her "custom" window treatments.

I have to say, great pay, but I got bored with it...I wasn't happy. My dearest mother-in-law (yes, the kind every girl dreams of) passed away of the unforgiving cancer disease. She was number 5 in the last 6 years of very close family members broke my heart. I wanted to do something constructive...I came up with the idea of making purses and donating a percentage of every sale to a local cancer charity...and my "Trash Bags" were born!

3. Which part of your work do you most enjoy?

What I absolutely love about my work is that it almost feels like no work at all...the creative freedom I have...the pure saticfaction of being able to do something you love. I poor sooo much passion and creativity into every single bag I make. What a blast this first year has been...I hope to have many more.

4. Which part do you find hardest?

Hmmmm....well, the hardest part of doing this is being 8 months pregnant, about to burst. It's a lot more physical than people might think. Hey, I figure...if I can make it through this, I'm in pretty good shape from here on out!

5. Where do you get your inspiration?

You know, I've found that I'm never looking for inspiration when it finds me. When I'm out getting supplies from various thrift shops, garage sales...or looking through donated items...most of the time an idea just hits me...usually triggered by a certain color or pattern...and usually it just builds from there. Sometimes I'll sketch out my idea before trying to execute...and I have to say it usually just seems to work itself out. I treat my bags as my start off with a general idea, no expectations at heart...and as you mold and shape throught the process, the end result is really a peice and reflection of who you are.

6. Do you participate in any etsy groups, and if so, which ones?

I am pretty new to "etsy"...running into a long lost friend at none other than a garage sale, it turned out to be a huge blessing...she introduced me to the idea of opening an etsy shop. I had never heard of it before...knowing that I hadn't, I make sure everyone I talk to is aware of this great treasure of a place. It truely is an amazing site and a great tool for individuals like myself. I am still familiarizing myself with the site and all that it has to offer.

7. What's one material your shop can't live without?

Well, I would have to say that one material my shop probably could not stand without would be...fabric. But most of my customers know I've tryed many things out in making these bags...and staying true to the name...I suppose I could try and create my "Trash Bags" out of just about anything! LOL

8. What is your favorite item that you have purchased off of Etsy?

Well, I haven't purchase too many things yet, but I have my eye on this to-die-for sock monkey I came across as a gift. It's so incredibly corky...I love it...and further more you can see the creativity this individual has poured into this item. Her name is "Sylvia" the sock monkey, by planetmonkey

9. If I could sell one item from my shop today, it would be...

If I could sell one item from my shop, it would have to be my favorite...The "Seaweed Green Seahorse Beach Bag"

...I really feel whomever gets this bag is really going to recieve a peice of me...I put a lot of heart and creativity into this bag. It has been, thus far out of nearly 200 bags I've made, my favorite one I've created.

10. If I had enough money to pick one item on my wish list from any shop on etsy to buy, it would be...

If I had enough money to purchase any one item on etsy, it would have to be "Doc Hibbert" by seboldsoriginals.

Once again, a corky item...are you seeing a pattern going on here?

11. What are the top three favorite items currently listed in your store?

My top favorite items listed in my store are, again, my "Seahorse Beach Bag"...and the other

"Vintage Beach Scene Beach Tote",

and my "Bannana Cream Floral Handbag".

12. What undiscovered artisans would you recommend the world to know?

Well, my mother is a self-proclaimed photographer...I'm not just saying this because she's my mom and I have to, but she is soooooo talented. I am soo blown away by her skill. And further more, she and her friend do this as a ministry...which means they do it for free because it's such a joy for them. I am so lucky to have those two in my life. My mother's blogsite is:

13. What is the best advice you have ever received?

Some of the best advice I've ever recieved is from my father-in-law:

"Meha," he says "It's better to earn a quick penny than a slow dollar."

and from my mother:

"Ashlee, you can't mold people's opinion about you...just be yourself"

Both of which I have used greatly in representing my business in this first year...It's been both very hard work and a blast...what a blessing it has been to recieve so much positive responses for my Trash Bags...I hope to do this for a very long time!


Brandon said...

What a nice artist feature! her bags are great!

Brandon said...

What a nice artist feature! her bags are great!

Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall said...

Love those bags and great interview!

Julia said...

I've missed you heaps, my peach! This is a fabulous interview, I love her bags! She's a kind soul with great taste and sense of color!

Thanks for the great interview!

New England Quilter said...

Congrats to An on her baby-to-be! Her bags are beautiful and a lovely inspirational story to go along with them.