Name: Kelly Mitchell Gazdowicz
Etsy Shop: Burrowing Home (www.burrowinghome.etsy.com)
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a fine artist and illustrator from Michigan. I work out of my tiny in-home studio; sharing the space with my husband Dave, our two dogs Francis and Charlie and our beast of a cat, Bumblebee. My shop, Burrowing Home is a collection of paper goods and accessories based on my original illustrations.
When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I've been making art since I first picked up a crayon, but I didn't start selling my work on Etsy in earnest until early 2012.
How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
For me, my illustrations are an expression of the things that mean the most to me. Nature, animals, memories, family and home. Burrowing Home represents the need to return to that place; to things that are familiar, safe and loved.
Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
I spend about a third of my work day focusing on Etsy and the rest of my time on other projects. So while my business is definitely my full time job, Etsy is only part of that.
How would you describe your creative process?
My illustrations start with a desire to capture a story, feeling, or mood. It can begin with something small and seemingly insignificant, like the sound of bees humming around an apple tree or something more meaningful like a memory. I then do a series of quick, rough sketches that are slowly refined until I have the illustration composted exactly as I want it. Final images are then carefully drawn or painted taking care to capture even the smallest details. I like to have several projects going at once, that way when I'm tired of working on something I can easily transition to another piece.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but as most of my work focuses on plants and animals, I usually find it walking around outdoors. I try to go hiking as often as I can, bringing my camera in case I run into something exceptional and need to take photos for reference.
Do you also sell your work at craft shows?
Yes. I really love doing shows because it's a great way to interact with customers face to face and share your story in a really personal way. It's also really helpful from a business stand point to test the waters and see how your products are being received.
• What shows have you taken part of, and do you have a favorite?
I've done shows all across the US, including Renegade Chicago and San Francisco and Art vs Craft in Milwaukee. Some of my favorites are Atlanta's Indie Craft Experience, Cincinnati Crafty SuperMarket and my all time favorites in my home state, Detroit Urban Craft Fair and DIYpsi.
• How long does it take you to prepare for a show?
Do you have any special methods of getting ready? Doing shows, especially ones that require you to travel out of state, takes a lot of work. Preparation can take anywhere from a few months to a week depending on the scale of the show and how much time I have in between. I make several check lists to help me stay organized and keep myself on track in the days leading up to a show. One of the things I find most helpful is doing at least one trial set up of my display before the big day. Anything can go wrong during the day of a show so it's important to know what you're doing but also be able to make quick changes if need be. I also like to take notes during a show (if there's time) or the night after while things are still fresh in my mind. This helps me to iron out any kinks in my process and continually improve for each new show.
• Describe an experience from a show (good or bad) and why that pushes you to continue with your work
Every show comes with its ups and downs; outdoor shows can sometimes be subject to severe weather, displays can break, you've gone days with little sleep in preparation. But for each of these unfortunate things there are the moments of seeing someone's eyes light up as they walk up to your table and words of encouragement. This is what pushes me to keep going.
Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
In my downtime one of my favorite things to do is to go hiking and just being outdoors in general. I'm also a big reader and love anything culinary related.
Five years from now you will be…
Hopefully still making art
Describe yourself in five words:
shy, thoughtful, passionate, curious, and driven.
Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your Spotify/Pandora, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
Alela Diane, Fleet Foxes, Laura Gibson, Snowblink, and Grimes are some of my favorite artists and are frequent repeats on my playlist.
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
The best advice I ever followed was to just do it. I spent way too much time being afraid and worrying if my work was good enough or getting caught up on the notion that I had to have every detail perfect before I could start, but the truth is, you'll never be 100% ready so you might as well jump in.
Links to shows:
Indie Craft Experience: www.ice-atlanta.com/
Crafty Supermarket: craftysupermarket.wordpress.com/
Detroit Urban Craft Fair: detroiturbancraftfair.com/
I can also be found at:
For a daily glimpse into my studio and current works in progress I can be found here on Instagram:
Kelly has also generously donated one of her amazing prints to one of you lucky readers! I don't know about you, but I would love to have this framed in my house or studio! Good luck everyone!!
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