Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eight Questions with...Ann Rinkenberger

Meet Ann Rickenberger. Ann lives in beautiful Scandia, MN just 40 miles away from the Twin Cities. She is a stay-at-home mom of two daughters that she homeschools. Her etsy shop is called Harvest Moon By Hand. You can also find her on her Flickr site which shows pictures of family life, creative projects, and homeschooling. She also has a Harvest Moon By Hand blog.

1. What types of items do you sell in your store?

The most popular item in my store is by far the translucent window stars. These are some of the first items that I started with when I opened my store, and I continue to add new patterns and colors each month.

I also sell:

- art kits and supplies for creative people of all ages (children to adults);
- all-natural children’s toys (e.g., felt food, small stuffed animals that tie into children’s books);
- supplies for sewers and homeschoolers (e.g., fabric-covered buttons, needlebooks, patterns);
- handmade gift items (e.g., fabric gift bags, eco-friendly postcards, greeting cards featuring my photographs, Christmas ornaments); and
- educational supplies (e.g., postage stamp sets).

In addition to these items, I also do custom and wholesale orders based on what people see in my store or on my Flickr site.

2. Where do you get your inspiration?

I am inspired by the creative work that I see on Flickr and Etsy. I also like browsing through craft books and magazines that I check out of the library.

Living in a rural area, I’m always inspired by nature and wildlife.

Last, I’m inspired by my daughters. It’s interesting to see what they use when they play, what their play centers around, and what they tend to gravitate towards when we go shopping. I try to create all-natural items that they and other children would enjoy playing with and using.

3. Do you have a specific space where you do most of your work?

I have an office in my home where I do the business aspect of Harvest Moon by Hand. For origami and hand-embroidery, I tend to lay down so that my eyes are within 5-6” from my hands and the piece I’m working on. For items that I sew on the sewing machine, I sit at the dining room table.

4. When did you first start crafting?

As a child, I loved to color, draw, and do crafts. My parents were very supportive of creative expression, and registered me for summer school arts and craft classes. When I was junior high, I took a lot of art classes – including pottery, calligraphy, and rug making. Now as a mother, I enjoy crafting with my daughters and seeing their enthusiasm for expressing their creativity.

5. Do you do any crafts or art beyond what you sell?

In addition to origami (the window stars), hand-sewing and embroidery, and needlefelting which is represented in what I sell, I enjoy photography, cross-stitching, needlepoint, quilting, and decoupage. I’ve made ATCs, altered matchboxes, and other mixed-media work.

6. What are your favorite places to buy supplies?

My favorite place, by far, is the Minnesota Waldorf School. They have a wonderful selection of 100% wool felt, wool, and other natural supplies for making the items that I sell in my shop. Joann’s and Michaels are two stores I could spend hours in.

7. What is the best thing you've ever done to promote your Etsy store?

I try to stay visible by listing often, by listing a variety of items, and visiting the Forums. I also have business cards which I include with each order.

8. What other Etsy store(s) do you really like?

There’s so many wonderful stores on Etsy. These are some of the ones that I particularly like:

Orit Dotan Dolls
Ruby Mountain Dye Works
Spirited Woodland
This and That from Japan
Urban Paisley Handmade

If you are a member of HandmadeMN & would like to be featured in Eight Questions email me at katbaro at yahoo dot com.