Tell us a bit about yourself.
Over a decade ago a handsome British boy and an Ohio lass met and fell madly in love at first site in a sleepy university town. The boy was a classically trained master carpenter and the girl a writer with a bit of wanderlust. They worked together creatively through the years on many projects involving woodworking as they restored and remodeled homes together. The boy taught his love about trees on their land in the country and how to use power tools and the girl read poems to him while they worked. They started a journey of following their bliss and eventually brought two wee ones into the world and began creating wooden toys for them. They decided to share these wee wooden toys with the world and Little Alouette was born over hot steaming mugs of cocoa in the winter of 2007.
We are Joe and Amy Sharp of Worthington, Ohio.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
We like to hang out with our wee ones and take trips to our land in Athens, Ohio. We love bookstores and pubs and antique shops. We love travel (Greek Islands and backwoods and anywhere new) and food- we love cooking and eating and ice cream! We love to play!
I also freelance write and Joseph makes homes beautiful all over Columbus with his trim company. I run art and creativity workshops here in my city with parents and children! We dance!
We are about to start renovating a new home! Rock on!
What first made you want to become an artist?
When Joe was a little boy he wanted to be a glam rocker and I wanted to be a professional roller skater. Joe was also interested in woodworking as Joe’s dad built model airplanes from scratch in the North of England and was an inventor. I was an artistic wee one and always wanted to create.
We both knew that we needed to make. We needed to create even from a young age. Even when we were both working jobs that did not glimmer and sparkle back then we would allow the artist in us to fly around at night. Being an artist is hard work bc there are some parts to a life that don’t always allow you to be free and only an artist. You must remain steadfast to yr goals of living the artist way. It will happen. It must.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Each product is made by hand and usually all the wood is surrounded by cups of tea, laughing children, and disco music so each product will come to you infused with love and bliss! We use locally sourced Ohio timber and only finish our products with certified organic flax seed oil.
We think about what kids and parents like. We think about what worked for us and sketch ideas out in a family notebook. We make a lot of prototypes and our two sons (Finn age 4 and Blaise age 2) test them out! We also get friends to loan us drooly teething babies for new products! It is the best fun to see a baby really go nuts about a new product! We love it! My husband is still holding down his day job as his own boss for his trim carpentry business, so it has been pretty insanely busy lately. We work in our workshop one at a time, as the children need us too.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I love my old mission coffee table that Joe made me over a decade ago in Athens, Ohio. We were just married and had zero money and little furniture. I wanted to have a little party and was wishing for a coffee table- So there goes my husband to his bosses dumpster, finds some old timber and makes me this gorgeous simple table in a few hours. He carried it towards the house on his strong shoulders and I can recall with clarity the feeling of security I had that day looking at him coming towards me. I am lucky as I still have that feeling everyday.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
I love David Byrne and Matt Bauer and Greg Laswell. Joe loves The Jam and The Sex Pistols.
Joe loves sci fi books like The Wheel of Time series and Isaac Asimov.
I love with a massive passion Miranda July, William Burroughs, and Joan Didion.
We battle for movies- Joe like sci fi movies like Serenity and Kung Fu like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
And I adore foreign an documentaries like Camille Claudel and Gapped –tooth women and a good chick flick.
Websites- so hard! I love npr, Kirtsy, Twitter, flickr. and Joe is in love with digg.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Kinda know what you are doing! Read up and ask questions. I don’t think I tagged anything at all for the first few months! LOL! I learn something everyday about ETSY. Learn as much as you can! And don’t be discouraged! Take good photographs. Respond to people. Give out kindness and you will get it back. Ignore negativity. Keep a fresh creative mind.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love This Handmade Life! It is amazing and fresh every time! I love to read and soak it all in! I get inspired and jazzed for others.
I also love the forums. Even though sometimes it can be a bit harsh or temperamental in there- I meet amazing artists and find so many cool people to write about on Scoutie Girl where I write a small series about indie arts.
I would love to see a weekly 3-minute video of inspiration from an etsy person. Like a song, poem, dance, tell a joke, anything… just a place to go once a week and become instantly inspired and smile from ear to ear. I think it could be called renaissance of lovely inspiration or something?
How do you promote your work?
I blog and am pretty involved in the blogosphere and have been so lucky to have been picked up and chatted about by some lovely blogs! I also have a twitter account, engage in as much local chatter as I can, and cross my fingers. I just started a small amount of advertising on blogs this year. I think word of mouth is powerful!
In ten years I’d like to be…
Going on holiday more.
Looking at photos from our Around the World voyage we took with our children.