It's time once again for Fancy Work Wednesday! Today's featured artist is Amy Cantini, who's shop Things I Like on Etsy is filled with .... well, things I like!
I first met Amy in the Etsy Forums and when I saw her cemetery photos, I knew I had found a kindred spirit and new favorite shop. She does a variety of things, but her shop is so cohesive and has a very romantic Victorian feel to it. Please read on to learn more about this unique and truly talented artist:
Q. Tell me a little about you (ie. name, age, where you are from, etc.)
A. My name is Amy Cantini and I am 35 years old, had to think about that for a minute. I am living in Fernandina Beach, Florida. I've been here since 1991. I used to have a real job where someone paid me every week. I miss working for other people. Now I am a stay at home mom. I have two beautiful sons who keep me quite busy. I love them beyond measure, but they don't pay me as well as my former employer. So I make jewelry and take pictures in the hopes of providing them with something extra now and then. My husband is a chef at the Ritz-Carlton and with his being the only paycheck for our family, I wanted to try to contribute to the finances in some small way.
Q. How long have you been doing photography? Where/from whom did you learn it?
A. Officially since October 24, 2009. Unofficially since I started making jewelry, because I had to photograph my items for my listings on Etsy. I have absolutely no formal training. It's all been trial and error.
Q. How did you get started in jewelry making? What made you decide to combine photography and jewelry?
A. I got started in jewelry making on a whim. I was bored and my sewing machine was on the outs. I was also playing with power tools in the garage, but the scrap wood ran out and on my way to the hardware store, I passed a new bead shop. I had remembered some jewelry we sold at a shop I used to work in. The shop had long since closed and similar jewelry was nowhere to be found. I figured it couldn't be too difficult, so I purchased some supplies and gave it a go. Funny thing is, I don't make anything like what I was looking for in the first place. Combining the two was easy transition once I found a particular supply. Initially, I purchased them just for ornaments but the more slender size, I felt, was perfect for pendants. It also makes the shop a bit more cohesive. I do plan to introduce yet another pendant style very soon.
Q. Where do you find inspiration?
A. Everywhere, in books and movies, in antique stores. Outside in the world. In a cemetary. In old iron works and glass, in stone and fabric. It's difficult to pin down one source. I especially find it in other Artists creations lampwork artists specifically. Their creations are one of a kind, and I can't help but add my little twist to them. Maybe inspiration finds me...yes, I think that must be what happens.
Q. What has been your experience with Etsy?
A. Etsy has been quite a pleasant experience overall. It's not for the faint of heart though, that's for sure. It's the hardest and most rewarding thing I've ever done...except for motherhood ofcourse. There's such a wonderful community of artists and artisans and vintage and supply sellers and they are all so helpful and warm hearted and wonderful. It's a virtual family and I can't describe it any other way. Someone always willing to give advice or a pep talk and a dose of reality. It is in all ways just like a family. Sales come at a snail's pace for me, but I appreciate each and every customer no matter how few or far between. I have had the pleasure of filling two custom orders. One for a bride, the other for a fellow jewelry seller. I am very excited to see her creations.
Q. What kinds of things do you like to shop for on Etsy?
A. This is where I get in trouble. I shop for vintage shoes and glass bottles, custom jewelry, handcrafted jewelry, fabric, beads and findings, gifts...loads and loads of things, and I have the feedback to prove it. Wine crates and display and packaging items. I'm sure I'm leaving something out. Vintage hardware, and lotions and soaps. I have my eye on some perfume, chocolates and a real corset too.
Q. Outside of your work/Etsy shop, what hobbies and interests do you have?
A. Is there life outside of Etsy...I had no idea. Kidding :) I watch TV and take care of my home, laundry, dishes, yard. All that exciting stuff. I plan to take a trip or two this summer. Not far mind you, just to Savannah, GA and maybe St. Augustine. I really want to check out their cemetaries. I've heard they have some awesome angel statues. My favorite subject to photograph.
Q. What are your future plans for your art/shop?
A. Why, to be so busy with orders that I just can't keep up. Wishful thinking maybe. I think I just plan to keep adding new items and hopefully filling some custom orders. I love to do custom work. Most everything in my shop is one of a kind. I don't state that anywhere in my shop, maybe I should. If it's not one of a kind it is very limited edition. Like two of an item. I feel that makes it special. I did get a new sewing machine, and I have a mannequin on the way, so you never really know what will turn up. The shop name is Things I Like, so I'm open to anything.