Sunday, March 16, 2014

Buy Handmade vol 99

This week we head off to Los Angeles, CA..

Name: Tina Rodas 

Age: 32
Occupation: Designer/ Maker of cuteness
Etsy Shop:

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Cristina Rodas, you can call me Tina. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and moved to Los Angeles almost 11 years ago, although some might say I live in Tina land. Tina land is a magical forest where everyone's nice, things are sparkly, striped socks are strongly encouraged; a place where creatures and inanimate objects speak for themselves. Time is irrelevant and creativity is boundless in Tina land and I am happy to reside there. The coolest thing I ever made is the tiny person who is now not so tiny, steals my sewing supplies and eats all my food. Hazel is now almost nine years old and a contributing resident to Tina land. 

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?
I started creating when I was 13. My stepmom gave me her old sewing machine and I would stay up late at night in my room making clothes for myself. After high school my sewing machine sat unused for many years until 2007 when my daughter was 2 years old. This is when I began making toys and purses just for fun. The first few pieces I made were purchased by friends right away. This is when I decided to open my etsy shop. 

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?
I had been making trees for a few months and racking my brain trying to come up with a name for my business. One day in my back yard my daughter noticed a baby tree that had sprouted out of the ground and immediately said "hi tree!" That's when I knew that's what it HAD to be. 

Has your Etsy shop become your full time job? If not, would you like it to be?
Yes, fortunately I have been able to do what I love full time! I also freelance as an art department prop maker for commercials, movies and TV shows which is such a fun job. I am always asked to make something weird and unusual that I've never made before and It's fun to see my work on TV. 

How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process is ever changing. I find structure and routine restrictive. I allow myself to be informed by the process and revel in they joy of my mistakes becoming my greatest successes. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly the internet. Thank the stars for that thing. Seriously though, pinterest can be very inspiring! I also love to go camping in Sequoia National forest once a year and come back refreshed with my mind full of ideas. 

Do you also sell your work at craft shows? 
I love doing shows. I spend an awful lot of time in my studio at my sewing machine making and shipping orders out. Craft shows are a great way to connect with people and to see them interact with my designs. I always learn a thing or two from the experiences. I also enjoy meeting other designers, I've made some great friends through doing various shows. 

My typical shows are Unique LA, Renegade Craft Fair, Designer-Con and Patchwork. I plan on doing all of those this year again. They are my favorites.

• How long does it take you to prepare for a show? Do you have any special methods of getting ready?
This is sort of one of my quirks. I don't do a whole lot of preparing other than making product. I'll make a production schedule for myself as soon as I get the acceptance email from my prospective show. Other than that, I throw everything in the car for load in and that's that!

• Describe an experience from a show (good or bad) and why that pushes you to continue with your work 
The first show I did was a festival called Lightning In A Bottle. It was pouring rain, freezing cold, and intimidating. I put my big girl pants on and was touched by the response to my work and everyone's kind words. I learned something. I'm not sure what yet, but I'll back to you when I figure it out. 

What is your most cherished handmade item?
My most cherished handmade item definitely has to be this crocheted mouse my Grandma bought me at a yard sale when I was 3 or 4 years old. I have no idea who made her, but I took mousey EVERYWHERE with me when I was a child. Now she sits on the shelf in my studio. I look at her every day. She is quite tattered after 30 years. 

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?
I love cooking, I cook for my family every night. I also love to play music. I studied Cello, Bass and Piano at a preforming arts high school in my hometown. I love to obsessively crochet in"down time" and I LOVE to get lost in fun adventures with my friends. Also if there's a thrift store within a 50 mile radius of my house, I've been there. Lots of times. 

Was there ever any other job you dreamed of having growing up?

Five years from now you will be…
Hopefully, riding a unicorn off into the sunset. 

Describe yourself in five words:
It's difficult for me to quantify myself so I deferred to a dear, very eloquent friend who proposed these words; vivacious, iconoclastic, approachable, sprightly, and frolicsome. I don't know what any of those words mean, but I trust that they're valid. So there ya go. 

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your <Spotify >, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list? 
Regine Spektor, Fiona Apple, Saint Saenes cello concerto, Radiohead, and inspection 12. 

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?
If you want to do something, no matter what anyone says, just keep doing it. There's no magical advice, it's dedication, diligence and research that'll get you there.

Photos taken by Jack Strutz: