Saturday, April 5, 2008

Interview with Amanda (Mrs Dragon)

I'm happy and honored to have this opportunity to interview Amanda. She is, perhaps, the most active person with a variety of Etsy groups I've interviewed so far. I met her through the Visual Arts Street Team (VAST). She's also a member of The Fantasy Art of Etsy Street Team (FAE) and Etsy Greetings. Amanda's enthusiasm, energy and talent are evident in her work.

Amanda's the creative inspiration behind Mrs. Dragon and Ink & Vine where you'll find cards with paper flowers and dragonlings. "Although my shops focus on two seemingly dissimilar things," Amanda tells me, "I can still see a clear aesthetic running through all of my items. I love colors set against very plain backgrounds. My love of text is evident in the stampings on my cards. I frequently use my own handwriting on both my quoteable ACEOs and my dragonling items. In both cases," Amanda says of her cards and dragonlings, "I work very small. I have yet to take my dragonlings larger than an ACEO--it just seems like TOO much room!"

Amanda has been creating in one form or another for as long as she can remember. "I remember my childhood in terms of what my current artistic obsession was at the moment (drawing, sewing, perler beads, rubber stamping, card making, jewelry...)." Now, Amanda continues to craft as a form of release and relaxation from her more analytical pursuits. "I am delighted to share the results with you and hope that you will enjoy my products as much as I enjoy designing and crafting them."

Amanda's husband often inspires her work. "Every romantic or lovey piece I do is created with him in mind. He often gives me ideas of things for my dragonlings to hold or do. His enthusiastic support often spurs me to keep creating." Amanda's friends and family have a strong influence on her pieces as well, providing ideas for her dragonlings' likes and dislikes...and sometimes even names.

Amanda's also inspired by participating in group contests or challenges. These challenges focus on very specific themes or artistic parameters. "They often make me work outside my 'box' and they always give me a seed to start from, which I love. My problem is usually too many ideas, so it's nice sometimes to have something concrete to work on!"

One issue Amanda thinks about and is personally involved with is social attitudes toward women. As a female in engineering (and with many female friends in engineering), Amanda finds herself very sensitive to the social messages which suggest women are stupid or incapable of excelling in math or science. "Once I began to notice those, my radar was on. I also began to notice the prevalent attitude in advertising and everywhere of women as controlling, manipulative, needy, overly emotional, and illogical. It just makes me so angry to see such a bigoted attitude pushed as the truth. And, in fairness, I get equally upset over the stereotyping of men as crass, slow, clueless, sports obsessed jerks."

When life tosses challenges her way, Amanda uses art as an escape. "If things are going awfully, it's hard to get motivated to start working on things. But if I can put on some good music and get lost in my art, the world will seem brighter when I reemerge hours later. Sometimes, I find I just have to force myself to do things (even things I know I will like!) and I am almost always glad I did in the end."

"I simply cannot create anything without music." When Amanda gets distracted and fidgeting, music helps her find a meditative place in her soul. "I love slow, rhythmic, soothing songs with beautiful melodies and meaningful lyrics." Some of Amanda's favorite picks are detailed on her blog.

Amanda grew up in running shoes and wore those all through college. "Now that I have graduated in the 'real world,'" she says, "I am in love with heeled boots. Symbolically, I think the change of shoes represents that life transition quite well--as I've moved into more adult ways of interacting with the world and more 'girly' things in general."

You can learn more about Amanda and see her work in her both her Etsy shops (Mrs. Dragon and Ink & Vine), on her blog, and at her photo gallery.


Mystic Silks said...

Very nice intereview--very pleased to know you Amanda(Mrs Dragon) and your work is delightful!

dianeclancy said...

This is a very nice interview - it is wonderful to get to know you, Mrs. Dragon, better!! Thank you for sharing this!

~ Diane Clancy

Athena's Armoury said...

Fantastic interview! Amanda is an awesome person and her work equally brilliant.