Thursday, May 5, 2011

Member Spotlight - Karmabee

Tell us a little about yourself (name, where from, where you are now, your Etsy shop).
Karen Berelowitz, I was born in South Africa, lived in California and Washington DC, and now live in the Hudson Valley.

What is your professional background?
I have a masters degree and 12 years of experience in International Development, specifically community development in Central America. It was a wonderful, exciting, and rewarding career. In 2006, I took a 3-month (ha!) break, and ended up at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, where I continue to live and work during the April-October season.

What led you to your current craft?
I have a lifelong habit of doodling in school and meetings, which continued while attending countless workshops and classes at Omega. There, people kept commenting on my doodles, asking if they could buy them - I was stunned! I photocopied a few designs onto postcards and sold them at a staff art fair, and was amazed at the outcome. When the season ended, and the prospect of returning to the 9-5 world loomed unappealingly, I started my small business and ventured into local crafts fairs in NYC and DC. I expanded into notecards and baby clothes, and enjoyed it all so much, I just kept doing it.

How do you feed your creativity?I always draw while listening to something - I suppose it occupies my thinking brain and lets the creativity flow. I also enjoy the creative side of running a business, whether it's designing business cards, screenprinting baby clothes, cutting and scoring notecards, or embellishing envelopes before mailing off Etsy orders.

How do you deal with a creative block?
I know that I'm thinking too much, so I just stop drawing or at least stop trying to produce a final product.

Describe your work area.
Ha, that's a funny one. I live in a trailer during the Omega season, and rent a room somewhere (most recently Saugerties) during the winter, unless I'm traveling, so I create my workspace wherever I am. I have a big sketch book, a folding table for silkscreening, plastic crates to store baby clothes, 2 printers, and lots of shelves and boxes for my papers and supplies.

Favorite time of day to work?I'm more clear-headed in the morning, declining throughout the day, with a second wind in the evening. I'm pretty useless by around 3pm, so I usually go for a run or swim (or nap)!

How did you end up on Etsy?
My sister told me about it in 2007and I signed up right away.

Other than your supplies and materials, what do you want with you on a stranded island?
Music! Can't work without it.

Any guilty pleasures?
Coffee in the morning, chocolate in the afternoon, red wine in the evening.

Words of wisdom for aspiring artists?
If you're passionate, it will show. People are attracted to that, so don't worry about what you're creating as long as you love doing it! Etsy is a good way to get started because for 20 cents you can put something out there - just offering your art for sale, photographing it, and writing a bio is a huge first step.


Annette said...

What a delightful interview. It sounds like she lives a very interesting life and her art is fabulous!

Majd said...

Very interesting interview!! Love your work :)

Debi said...

Great read of an exciting lifestyle.