Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lovely Ladies Vol. 1 - Sandra Kafka

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I am debuting a new feature called Lovely Ladies, an artist series, in which I feature one very lovely lady a week who creates art, in all shapes, and let you peek into their world, through their words and images. This week, I am so very happy to introduce to you my friend Sandra Kafka of Backstitch Betty. I have known Sandra for years and have witnessed the incredible transformation she has made with her craft. Sandra is also a huge part of the Tucson Fashion Week, which is slowly growing into one of Tucson's premiere events. So, here she is.
Name: Sandra Kafka
Location: Tucson, AZ
Occupation: Hair stylists & Fashion Designer (and I work at a cafe for fun)
Website: Shop & Blog

How long have you been creating art?:
Well I was always involved in art classes growing up. I took anywhere from ceramics, figure drawing, photography, acting, chorus. I started college for photography and dropped out to go to cosmetology school instead. I have been doing hair professionally since 2005 and making hair accessories and sewing since 2007 but launched my clothing line in 2009.
What is your favorite medium to work in and why?:
I love all things. ha! except I feel I can not paint to put food on the table. I love to knit, especially during the fall and winter.I grew up back east and it is important to keep your core warm, and riding a bicycle around your neck gets really cold. So my bestie taught me how to knit a few years back and I have been in love since.
I really enjoy making skirts and dresses. I feel it is my strongest I adore lace and sheer overlays. This last year I loved making a swim suit collection and hope to do it again this year.
For hair I really enjoy doing color and styles(for weddings and events). I actually got into doing design from working for years behind the chair for local fashion shows. I like creating that crazy messy/put together look. It should be effortless, that is why it is important to have a talented professional team(hopefully they work for trade or charity).
Where do you get your inspiration from?:
oh man! where don't I? I am really inspired by the Arctic. I know it sounds silly for a girl who lives in the desert, but it is true. I love snow and ice. I do love all seasons though as well.I just love nature!!!! I really love a lot of stuff that just does not fly in the South West. Lucky for me I do love skirts and dresses. I think that layers are my biggest inspiration. "okay what can I layer over this or under this to add some texture?" I get really inspired by other's work. It all comes in handy.

What words of advice do you have for new artists?:
Take your time! Learn as much as you can from other's mistakes. Really have your stuff together before you decide to jump feet first into making it a business. It is better to take it slow and really grow than to sink in a big pool of others around you. If you love something go for it! Do not let anyone tell you, you won't be able to make it. There is always a market out there growing, pick something that is fresh and may not be all the rage, but that is lasting. And what I am finding is very important is.. life skills out beat the education they all say you "must have". I am sorry to say it. It might take you a few years longer to get where you want to be, but it is worth it when you get there on your own.
What is something that you have learned in the past 5 years when it comes to being a working artist?:
It is hard! There are always going to be slow seasons, you have to learn to balance out your year. Like I know that almost all year long I will be booked with doing weddings on site, except for june-september.(it's too hot here) I also know that those are the times when I can get in the most of sewing for my fall line. I could not do it all on my own. Without the help of some awesome friends and amazing husband I could not do half the stuff I do. The faith and support of them is helpful during crunch time and shows for sure.
What has been the hardest hurdle you have had to overcome as a working artist?:
Learning not to spread myself too thin. I am kind of a planner but Tucson is very last minute town. So I have picked up on some of those bad habits. The absolute hardest for me was and is pricing my work. I am a bargin hunter, so knowing that I spent such amount of time on a garment and have to price it accordingly is tough for me. I am afraid people won't buy it if it is "too" pricey. But when it comes to hair, I am firm on my cost, due to the fact that I am still paying off school for my skills and working for a corporation helped me with that.

Where do you see yourself and your art in 5 years?:
ooo! I would love to start making wholesale orders. I am trying out this year for the first time just a few core pieces and just in different colors. Fingers crossed this is how I can run things. I would like to open my own online store (I love etsy but it is huge and over saturated). I would also like to bring in a few friends and work with them a little bit more and help them sell their goods. Hopefully be able to be at home or a studio and work not having to work at a cafe (though I love my job). Big dreams are to open a little boutique with lots of cupcakes being served and DIY classes.

Be sure to stop by Sandra's blog and say hi. If you are interested in being a part of this weekly feature, please email me at (at) gmail (dot) com! And don't forget to enter in the giveaway contest. It is open until February 27th at Midnight!

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