T.E.S.T. Interview: Gwen Duda Studios

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 101st in our series and is with Gwen Duda of GwenDudaStudios.  

Why did you join the TEST team?

I moved to Toronto about 8 years ago and joined Etsy 7 years ago. Joining the TEST team is a way to find out more about Toronto and make connections with like-minded Etsians!  

What is your favourite thing about being on Etsy?

That your work is online, ready to be seen and/or purchased from anywhere in the world at any time. If you do a professional job presenting yourself and your work, coupled with a definite attractive and unique look for your store, excellent photos, customer service and all those wonderful things that even if you have constraints that keep you from being in a brick and mortar store that doesn't limit you or what you can attain. Having said that, selling on Etsy is as part of my marketing strategy, not the whole of it.  

What is your not so favourite thing about being on Etsy?

I think it's the same as what a lot of people have voiced their concern over and that is that it is not a juried marketplace so the buyer has to literally search through hundreds if not thousands of items to find your product. However, this is also a strength of Etsy's in that the customer has hundreds if not thousands of products to choose from. It's weakness can be it's strength, if you will, and vice versa.  

What have you bought on Etsy?

I've bought leg warmers, rosaries (that I did a partial trade for), candles, jewelry, jewelry supplies, and other things. In the near future I will be looking for a pair of rad winter slippers as well as furniture, so hey fellow Toronto Etsians feel free to convo me if you make those things!

By the way, just what is it that you do/sell on Etsy?

I have two shops; GwenDudaStudios where I sell my nature-inspired abstract expressionistic original acrylic/watercolor/oil paintings and TheBadCatBeacery where I sell boho beaded bracelets, necklaces and earrings.

If you could share just one thing that you would want people to know about you, what would that be?

That the work I do is done in as eco-friendly a way as possible and that I care about the earth, the environment, even people! The work I do is done out of, well, love. I want to create work that is joyful, beautiful and evokes a sense of wonderment to lift people out of the grind of the every day mundane, even if just for a moment. That is worth it to me.  

What's next on your plans for your work/product?

I really want to learn how to use woodworking tools safely as I want to build my own frames for my paintings. I feel that framing is really crucial to the aesthetic success of an image and oftentimes I just can't find the frame I am looking for. Also framing can be horrifically expensive, so, I'd like to build my own frames and pass that savings onto my customer/collector.  

Any final words?

Yes, it's been said before and it bears repeating, do what you love.

Instead of going with fine art I had trained as a commercial artist and worked as an art director for television, ad agencies and freelanced. It was a part of what I wanted to do so I could bear it, but really, just being free to create as the spirit moves is a complete liberation and the work I produce is just so, so much better as a result.

I remember hearing an interview with David Gilmore of Pink Floyd and the interviewer asked him a question about if he thinks about his audience when writing or playing. Something like that. His response was that he always just played for himself that way if nothing were ever to come of it (financially) then he'd be happy regardless. I think that is a very good mindset to have.

You can keep up to date with GwenDudaStudios and TheBadCatBeadery at the following:
Website: www.gwenduda.com
Twitter: @GwenDuda
Facebook: GwenDudaStudios

Interviewed by Melissa Oré of FloresBoticario on November 5, 2016.

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