"Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se" Charles Eames

Featured artist: AstralBoutique

Posted: Mar 8, 2011 | Posted by ana | Labels: , , , ,

How is your day so far my lovely readers? If you're wondering what kind of artist I'll be interviewing today let me tell you that beside being an amazing artist, she's also such a sweet & friendly person, since I featured one of her dresses on Spot 92 we never stop sending messages to each other.

Sasha runs AstralBoutique since 2009, her life story is  pretty amazing, studied film & herbalism, tried a lot of different jobs, lived in creative places. Nowadays she lives in the woods with her husband & two black cats. She got her first computer in 2004 {can you imagine!?!}. Besides making stories to go with vintage clothing {have you ever seen her amazing pictures?} she's starting to make her own clothing & jewelry line {I can't wait to see}.

Let's find out a bit more about Sasha & her creative life

1. Is it easy to be creative everyday?
For me, the issue is not so much a lack of ideas or inspiration, but making the time to be creative. You just can't rush real creativity, but I feel caught in the fast pace of the world along with everyone else. I might live in the country, but I still have high speed internet, and a crazy-full inbox every day, and sometimes I don't want to slow down and make room for the whole creative process!

However, I have realized that if we wait to "feel" creative before we let ourselves sit down and actually do something, then we will produce very little work, and miss out on some great opportunities. So I have actually scheduled intervals in my days when I do certain activities: 15 minutes a day I spend doing some kind of creative writing (because I dream of one day being an author, so I realized that I had better start working on my basic skills), and after I wake up every morning and write my dreams down, I sketch in a blank notebook by the bed. I don't have any agenda for these activities, I just try to let it flow. And then every once in a while I get a great idea or write a brilliant passage. Most of it may be terrible or useless, but just by showing up, I manage to produce some work. I think of it as "tricking myself", managing to be creative without self-criticism. I am only allowed to be critical if I don't make my 15 minutes.
{I agree with you, we need time to be creative & the 15 minutes is a very good idea}

2. What's the best part of your day?
I really love to be outside taking photographs. When I am working on pictures, it's like I am in a trance -- and I feel I am using every part of myself. I model my clothes myself and take the photos with a self-timer, so I have to pretend that I am a whole crew of people - hair and makeup, creative director, model, photographer. I was an only child so I think it is very natural and very comfortable for me to be 100% in charge of an operation. It keeps me from ever being bored. Also, I love nature, so doing outdoor backdrops is my excuse to hang around with the birds and the squirrels all day long.
{I'm also a crew of people too, I guess a lot of etsy artists are}

3. The first time you sold something to someone who was not a friend or a relative what did you feel?
One summer after college I tried my first experiment at being self-employed, I gathered t-shirts and dresses from thrift stores, and painted on them. I did all different things: octopus, planets, faces, flaming hearts. I took them to a craft fair and had a friend help me sell them -- I was painfully shy. I am not sure if I remember the very first one that sold, but I do remember this lady buying my personal favorite item, a dress with a giant snake wrapped around it. She was 40-something, super cool and arty and classy. I was shocked - she wanted my art? And she was going to pay for it? It was an incredible feeling of connection between dreaming something up, making it, and then selling it to someone for whom it was obviously perfectly intended.
{it's a great reward when someone buy us something because he loves it as much as we do, right?}

4.Is there anything else you can imagine yourself doing for a living?
This may sound funny, but sure! I could do anything for a living where I have a lot of independence, I get to be my own boss (at least over my little world), and I get to be creative for the majority of the workday. I get along with all kinds of people, and I like to direct large groups (from my film background, and my work as a nanny for many years), so I could really work in a lot of different capacities, as long as they made me feel "yes! I am making art here.". That said, I was never able to find this kind of happiness until I found Etsy and made this my full-time job. Etsy is magic to me -- it offers endless opportunity for creative change and growth, and an incredibly supportive community.

5. Is there anything in particular that fuels your creativity as an artist?
Music is vital- it is a part of every day, and especially my workdays. I have a large music collection, but I also like to listen to radio DJs (WFMU out of New Jersey and KALX from Berkeley are my favorite stations). I play in a couple of bands, so I get to go out and see a lot of live music and "street fashion" both locally (you would be surprised how fashionable the girls in this little rural town are! It is a kind of artist's colony, really) and in the Big City. My husband follows "real" fashion more than I do (he likes the popular culture gossip about the models and the designers), so he always sends me links to things like Fashion Week collections. He is very handy that way!

I also love film, on the big screen if possible. I will spend forever at a good magazine or bookstore, looking at art and fashion pictures or speed reading a book. I am primarily a visual thinker, so I need to get refueled with images every once in a while.

6. What was the best strategy (in case you tried any) to increase your sales?
The most fool proof is the most difficult: to try to list as many new things each week as possible. Of course, they have to be good things! And that takes a lot of time. Also, re-doing photos to make them better is a proven way to increase sales.... as everyone on Etsy will tell you. It's boring and it takes time, but I swear that it actually works!

7. Tell us something random or quirky about yourself.
I do not even know where to start! I have a lot of friends who are a lot weirder than I am who tell me that I am "the most grounded person they know". I guess that it true in that I have been with my husband for 19 years, and I seldom move house. But I feel pretty quirky in general, especially compared with the "average" American woman my age.

Okay, I've got it. Most people don't realize that I have an alter-ego who is a hip hop star (in her mind). Her name is "Jelly" (she used to be called Jelly2000, but I shortened it). One day when I am rich, I am going to get a vanity license plate that says JELLY. I recently bought some hot pink metallic Reeboks to satisfy her...  but so far she only has one recorded song ("You Owe Me A Buzz"- about hating a boring day job I used to have). I think we are going to have to get cracking if she is going to be a superstar.

I hope you enjoyed Sasha's interview & shop. Make sure you pay a visit to her fairy tale vintage clothing shop.

{ Thank you so much Sasha for this lovely interview }


  1. Astral Boutique said...
  2. Ana, I LOVE this! You put it together so well. Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me, and for spreading the art and the Etsy love far and wide! (-: Sasha

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