Meet Jennifer, known as Folkart on Etsy. I absolutely LOVE her "Mr & Mrs" wooden sign, which made it into my country-themed wedding Treasury on Tuesday. She has a fabulous shop, however, she is GIVING BIRTH as I type, and her shop is currently set on "vacation mode" so I cant steal any cool pictures from her shop. But she graciously answered my questions while waiting for labor to start, and check her shop out in a week or so to see all her awesome items!
What is your life story?
I was a only child growing up in a small town in Connecticut, with a love for creativity and a desire to have my own business . Looking back, I realize that my parents gave no boundaries to my creativity, and always supported my choices no matter what direction they could or would take me. In high school I planned to attend an art college. Toward the middle of my senior year I made a very difficult decision and changed my plan. Looking back now, I think that the decision to go to college was me trying to conform to a more stereotypical traditional career. But, as my mother always said “you can’t change the spots on a leopard.” Year after year I would take small steps, knowing my desire was to one day have my own business, selling my art work. Fifteen years ago I began selling antiques at local shows and on Ebay. Searching for a way to combine my creativity and my love for found items, I used artists such as Jean Dewey and Peter Hunt as my inspiration, painting on anything I could find. Always looking for something new to offer to my customers, I created a collection of signs with a vintage look and listed them on Etsy. Then in July of 2008 I received a email that requested a sign for a wedding. Little did I know that one email was going to be the start of what has become a fabulous business for me. Looking back I was thrilled to sell one or two signs a month, that quickly began changing. I started receiving orders on a daily basis. My husband and I were still living in a apartment at the time and I was painting signs on my dining room table, my office was the living room sofa, and I traveled to my parents almost every day to cut wood. But I was determined to make this work and took every order that came along. Needless to say, space was getting tight. Thankfully I have a very supportive and tolerant husband. Last September we bought our first home, it had everything I would need for Funki Folk Art to continue to grow. Our dining room table is now used only for eating, we can sit on our sofa without having to move the “office“, and I even have a small workshop all to myself. I never in my wildest dreams imagined as a child or even 15 years ago that I would be selling my work to brides all over the world, been mentioned on countless websites, and this year have had my signs in two bridal magazines. The success that I have achieved this far has been more than I ever expected. I do owe some of my success to my parents and husband. Anyone who lives with a artist, understands that traditional is not a common word in their language. This week we are expecting the arrival of our first child. I hope I am able to give him the freedom to create anything that his mind imagines, as my parents did for me. Whether it is painting a mural on his bedroom wall or taking the road less traveled.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I spend countless hours every week looking at weddings, signs, and antiques online. I’m always striving to find a unique idea that I'm able to mix my look with. Since wedding styles change every season and every couple wants to their wedding to be one of a kind, I always look for that one piece that will make a wedding unique and memorable, and set my signs apart from all others.
How did you find Etsy and when did you decide to open your shop?
I was selling on Ebay for about ten years, and a buyer suggested I try Etsy. That was the first time I'd heard of Etsy, but thought it wouldn’t hurt to try . That was about 2 ½ yrs ago and I have never looked back. I have had nothing but kind and friendly customers that appreciate my work.
How would you describe your style?
My style is defiantly not the traditional wedding look. My signs have a rustic weathered appearance , and are perfect for any vintage, woodland wedding.
What is one thing about your creative process that people don't know?
I truly do all the work myself. From cutting the wood to making my own paint. The milk paint that I use is recipe that I perfected about four years ago. The milk paint, along with the process is how I achieve a weathered time worn texture and appearance. By mixing my own paint, I’m always able to match custom colors and create a unique look you will only see in my work. Much like a vintage sign you would find on a back country road.
How does life affect your creative process and your creative process affect your life?
I find inspiration in so many ways throughout my day. I found now, that my life and my art are all one in the same. I use every day activities to inspire my new ideas and feel the possibilities to create are endless