T.E.S.T. Interview: Christa Rowley

We hope to introduce you to all the great Etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 58th in our series with Christa of ChristaRowley.

Tell us about yourself and your motivation to start an Etsy shop?

I have a background in painting, print and sculpture from OCAD, and I've always had a love of textiles. I've done the gallery group show and craft show circuit historically, but I decided to open an Etsy shop so that my work could be available between shows, to a wider audience, and in order to make my smaller pieces accessible to the public.

What influences the choice of imagery for your works?

My work is influenced by media images geared towards women (mainly magazines and print advertising), children's book art, folk art and kitsch crafts. I'm drawn to art created by untrained artists and children because I love the purity of ideas and technique.

What does your creative process look like? What are your favorite media?

A two-dimensional art piece usually starts with a drawing and a painted sketch, and I like to make textured backgrounds using water, salt, sand and other inclusions, and collage. I paint in a layered way, building up layers of translucent colour. Details come in next with a tiny brush, which I can be obsessive about (I love repetitive tiny patterns and painting each individual hair) and I have been known to add mixed media details such as glitter or stickers.

If I am creating a textile-based piece, I first draw my image on grid paper, and use pencil crayons to "paint" by colouring in each individual square, which I then use as a legend for my textile. Embroidery, of course, is just drawing with thread. I use a disappearing pen to draw the image and then embroider over it.

Who is your favorite artist/ designer/ craftsperson?

Shary Boyle, Frida Kahlo, Paula Rego, Camille Rose Garcia, Lisa Yuskavage, Judy Chigago, Jenny Hart, Baz Luhrman (director of Moulin Rouge), Jean Pierre Juenet (director of Amelie), and Children :)

If you do have another job besides Etsy, what is it? How does your store fit into your everyday life?

I do have another job - I'm a teacher! I teach grade 5/6 currently, and my students constantly inspire my work with their own art. My store fits into my life in that I'm constantly on Etsy shopping and browsing! Through my store I get a few commissions or orders in a span of a month. A goal of mine is to create more product choices and generate more traffic.

See Christa's work at the upcoming Sassy Little Craft Show on December 1st, 2013, 2pm - 8pm at the Central, 603 Markham St.

Check out the other items available from Christa in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on her website, blog and Twitter.

Interviewed by Snezana of Kostimusha in November 2013 in Toronto.

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