I'm Kara Annis. I live in New Bern, North Carolina with my husband Nathan, our cat Rathaka, and our dog Jaq.
Other than creating things for etsy, what do you do?
In addition to creating jewelry, I am also a teacher/tutor. In the past, I have taught high school science – Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science. This year, I am tutoring part time, allowing me a bit more time for creating!
What first made you want to become an artist?
I've had a need to create for as long as I can remember. I've dabbled in painting, crocheting, knitting, quilting, flower arranging... but I really think I've found my niche in jewelry designing.
Describe your creative process and the materials you use.
I work with semi-precious gemstones, freshwater pearls, metals (primarily sterling silver), as well as natural materials including wood, shell, clay.
When designing a piece, I usually go through my stash of stones, play around with different combinations of color and texture and let inspiration strike me. I like to play and experiment as I create, and I typically have several projects going on a the same time.
Just recently, I have had the opportunity to set up a metalsmithing studio on our property. Right now, I am practicing techniques and experimenting quite a bit as I get familiar with the new equipment. I have wanted to make this leap with my jewelry designing, and I have so many ideas in store!
What handmade possession to you prize the most?
I cherish anything that is made for me with thoughtfulness and love. One of my favorites is a little painting that my husband made for me when we had first started dating. Knowing that I enjoyed creating, he agreed to paint with me even though wasn't really thrilled with the activity. He gave me his masterpiece, and I've kept it to this day!
Top 5 websites you visit besides etsy?
Hmmm... well, to inspire me in the kitchen: A Year of Crockpotting (http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/), to feed my curiosity: HowStuffWorks.com and PopSci.com, for a little music while I create (and cook, and clean): Pandora.com, and for entertainment and asthetic delight: craftzine.com
Any advice you have for new etsy users?
I still consider myself to be fairly new to Etsy and know that I still have a lot to learn. One of the things that I have leaned is to get connected and take advantage of the great community of Etsians. The Etsy community is full of people who are welcoming and willing to offer advice, encouragement, and friendship!
What are your favorite features of etsy, and what new features would you like to see?
I love the fresh look of Etsy - the ever changing user curated front page, the diversity and ingenuity of items, the visual appeal. I also love the community of Etsy – the forums and virtual labs, both great ways to learn and connect.
How do you promote your shop/work?
I promote mainly through word-of-mouth and home shows, through my website (www.KaraAnnis.com), and my blog (www.karaannisjewelry.wordpress.com). I just love the home show environment – providing my customers the opportunity to see, touch, try on my items and getting to interact with each lovely person. I've also had a blast designing my website and keeping my blog fresh!
In ten years, where would you like to be?
In ten years, I know I'll be creating still. I hope to be a master at metalsmithing, a skill I'm just delving into now. I also hope to be kinder, wiser, more patient, more knowledgeable, and full of stories to share.