I am pleased to introduce Karen Stanford from Virginville, PA of
I am always a fan of gorgeous and unique metalwork: these buckhorns caught my attention because they are modern and original. Karen has so many wonderful things in her shop.
What inspired you to make this product?
I originally made these buckhorns as a thank you gift for a friend who helped me out with my wedding. She wasn't exactly a "girly girl" - she's actually shot a buck so I figured they were appropriate! I was really into the deer theme that was all the rage in interior design at the time, the mounted heads, the woodland themed wallpaper, all that. Many of my designs are inspired by interior design trends, I'm obsessed with architecture and homes. But with my limited budget I can't exactly give in to my decor lust - so I try to make pieces that take those trends and turn them into classics that you can wear for a long time. you know antlers, cherry blossoms, swallows, etc. better than buying that wallpaper I know I'll get sick of in 2 years! I'm currently working on a line inspired by the hardware of my old house ...
Where do you live and how does that influence your art?
This is an interesting question - just recently I had someone ask me "how do you live here and not die of boredom?" !! HA! So I live in Berks County, Pa, in a little village called Virginville. It's kind of like Deadwood but with atv's instead of horses. On summer nights almost everyone is having a huge backyard bonfire so it's got a wild vibe. It's pretty serious Dutch country, I actually used to live with Mennonites (looong story). You have to have an appreciation for simple things to be happy out here - gardening, hiking, creek dipping, biking, farmer's markets. There are very few places to get a good bite or drink, and nightlife? forget about it. We're close to a college town (Kutztown Univ.) so there are a bunch of college bars but no where to get a good martini.
BUT the absolutely great amazing thing about this area is that there are artists and crafters everywhere hunkering down in their gardens and studios. If you keep your ear low to the ground you hear of underground film festivals, nyc chefs cooking in farm fields, and crazy poetry slams in shacks in the woods. Most of us have done the city thing and are all here by choice, not wanting to waste away our money and time in the big city rat race. But we are only 2 hours from NYC and 1 hour to Phila so if you need a taste it's not too far away. I think it makes it easier to be true to yourself and your craft if you live in a place where you don't have to worry so much about making the rent and keeping up with the current fashions.
Who are some of your etsy favorites?
I have to give a huge shout out to our fledgling craft collective based in Kutztown, Z-town Made.
I can't believe all of these amazing crafters live within 10 minutes of each other in essentially "the middle of no where".
Sara Smedley makes THE coolest screenprinted aprons and napkins.
Kimberly of Chez Sucre Chez is a needlepoint master - bags to hand towels to pillows. so cool.
Melanie of Spread the Love makes the best light hearted illustrations.
Mary of Collier Leeds makes unbelievably rad leather dog collars.
Jen of Clothesline Design quilts perfect tummy time mats and stuffies for little ones.
Check them out!