Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Interview with Fresh Retro Gallery ~ Simply Beautiful

A wonderful interview with Liz Knaus, a talented artist with a great eye for antiques and vintage decor.  I fell in love with her shop and would love to decorate my home with her lovely pieces.  I am especially in love with the train pictured below, but that is not my only favorite.  These two items were childhood favorites of mine; it is so fun to find these treasured memories in her shop.




Tell me a bit about yourself……
I'm a wife, mother, sister and professional graphic designer. I utilize and decorate with art, antiques and "found objects" in my home. I have a shop at
http://www.FreshRetroGallery.etsy.com where I sell vintage finds (with descriptive gift ideas), original family tree charts, religious postcards, paintings, illustrations and ceramic art.

Apart from creating, what do you do?
Church and Bible study class at Faith Lutheran (LCMS) in Abilene, KS are an excellent start and boost to my week. I enjoy time with family and friends. I belong to a book club and a womens group which each meet once a month. I try to read a devotion daily. I feel best when I push myself to go for walk/runs, use my Nordic stepper or swim laps. I serve on vocational department advisory committees at Solomon High School and Salina Area Technical College.

What first made you want to create?
I grew up near a lake on a farm in Minnesota where I discovered a love for nature and the desire to explore/draw/create. Being a daughter of creative and ambitious parents sparked the fascination. I watched my father build things such as a tall and complex seed cleaning business, a big snow blower and mechanical Purple Martin houses that could be raised and lowered with the flip of a switch. He could juggle things figuratively and literally, apples and oranges!

Mom, not wanting to waste anything, gave me the blank white cover stock from her pantyhose packages and the backs of empty check books to draw on. Always supplied with paper, crayons, colored pencils, watercolors and markers, I was encouraged to doodle and "make" birthday cards for my siblings and friends. I once drew a horse from memory when I was very young. My grandma lovingly taught me that the back end of the body where it connected to the hind legs is actually a smooth, curved transition rather than a big circular lump as I had sketched. It was then that I realized that to illustrate realistically, I must pay close attention to shapes and found joy in making something new on something blank.

As soon as I was old enough to read and understand them, my mother encouraged me to sew by following the illustrations and directions on guide sheets. I loved playing "fashion designer" choosing fabrics, notions and styles; altering and tailoring things to fit perfectly. 4-H was a great organization which fostered and rewarded these creative skills as well as educated me to keep track of time and expenses. I took every art class possible in high school and studied at Alexandria Technical College which lead me to a career in graphic design where I keep learning new things all the time. I've taken on the challenge of a couple architectural design projects.
Describe your creative process...
Experiences, life, environment, spirituality and music all offer inspiration. The details of nature influence thoughts about subject, color and texture. Ceramics, jewelry design and woodworking are art education classes I've enjoyed as an adult. Visits to museums, galleries, theatres and concerts are motivational forms of entertainment. My children inspire me. My husband has a great eye for vintage items which enhances my connecting antiques to art. The popular combination of art and antiques in print media has influenced my style. Creativity allows me to fulfill space that otherwise would remain void in my mind and in reality when I push myself to carry out ideas.
What handmade possession do you cherish most?
My father carved a plaque out of wood. It is an intricate 3D antique nautical ship on a graphic striped background within a scalloped circular shape over a rectangular shaped base.
What one piece of information would you like to know from experienced etsy sellers?
The secret of Google's PageRank algorithm.

How are you promoting your work?
I write detailed descriptions to aid shoppers searching. I offer my family tree charts in a local antique shop and through a dealer who supplies a gift shop and sets up at flea markets. I include a FreshRetroGallery.etsy.com gift tag when shipping orders. When a treasury I'm featured in strikes me as extra unique and wonderful, I post the link on facebook. When I first started up, I emailed friends to let them know. I bring it up in casual conversation and mention my web address when I send out Christmas cards.

Where do you want to be in ten years?
Creating more art (especially mixed media) and taking inspiration breaks by traveling.

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