Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Ghastly Governess

I will forever have a special place in my heart for horror. I can't explain where this love came from or why I would rather watch Night of the Living Dead over a romantic comedy, but it's just the way I am. I am the type of person that will leave spider webs all over the place when I am dusting the house because I like the way they look, despite my husband telling me to get rid of them. I will always have horror decor up year round instead of just once a year for Halloween. Now, on a slightly different note, one awesome thing about Etsy is joining teams and meeting people that have similar tastes as you do. last month I became a bit more familiar with a seller that is in a few of the same teams as I am. Not only does she make awesome jewelry and love horror movies, but she is also named Sara. Sara gave me the opportunity to pick her brain and get to know more about her family, her business, and her creative side. She had a lot to share and has some excellent advice for fellow Etsy sellers, so I am very pleased to introduce you to The Ghastly Governess!

Hi all! I'm Sara. I am a 31 year old mixed media artist with a flair for the dark macabre. I am a Halloween enthusiast and a beauty obsessed aesthete who enjoys making unique jewelry and accessories and a lover of all things vintage and creepy! I'm a Psychobilly kinda gal! Too dark to be just plain 'ol Rockabilly. Halloween is a way of life for me and my family. I'm a girly girl - makeup, shoes, bags, jewelry. I love pin up girl style but with a horror twist, coffins, skulls, bats, zombies and old school monsters! I have tons of tattoos, all horror/Halloween related. My last tattoo was a 1950's hearse. My husband and I are from a small little slice of suburban Hell outside of Knoxville, TN. Around town were are referred to as, "the Halloween people". We have 3 kids and have been married 12 years. My husband is a system's admin for the school system in our county and I stay at home with my youngest (she's almost 3) and run my Etsy shops full time.

1. What sorts of items do you sell in your shop? (Try to be descriptive and let the audience know if everything is handmade or if you use recycled materials too, they eat that up!)

My shop is full of a little bit of everything. I enjoy making jewelry and pin up girl/rockabilly/psychobilly type accessories but my passion is art. Unfortunately, I can't sell enough of it to make much profit, so it works out well that I make jewelry and other fun stuff. Everything in my shop is handmade by me. Most of the items in my shop are made from new materials but I love when I can find a vintage piece that I can repurpose into something fabulous.

2. This Ghoul loves the name of your shop and your alter ego! How did you come up with Ghastly A Go Go by Ghastly Governess?

My shop name and alter ego are a combination of a couple of my favorite things. My favorite band (though no longer together) is The Ghastly Ones. Their album "A Haunting We Will Go-Go" is one of my favorite albums. They are (or were) a great "Ghoul Surf" band. If you've never heard them before, you should check them out! My shop name is a definite tribute to them! I am also a HUGE Edward Gorey fan. One of my favorite books is The Gashlycrumb Tinies. I may not be "Gashly" but "Ghastly" I can do! Being a "Governess" just seemed Edward Gorey-esque, a little bit spooky, little bit droll. My husband refers to me as "Your Ghastliness". He's being sarcastic, of course, (he also says I have hooves) but it makes me smile none the less.

3. What inspires you to create adorably dark, horror related items as opposed to bubble gum, cutesy ones?

My love for Halloween and horror movies inspires my art. I've always loved Halloween and felt like Halloween should scary, not cutsie and kitsch. I think my artwork reflects that. I love creepy baby dolls and clowns. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a makeup artist. Painting dolls and faces just seemed like the natural progression of that for me as I got older. I love to paint but if you hand me a flat surface and say "here, paint on this" I feel like a bumbling fool with a paintbrush in my hand. Give me a clay face or a baby doll to paint and I'm right at home. Going to bed at night with a kitchen counter full of painted doll parts is a good feeling.

4. Do you have an item in your shop that is your favorite? What is it and why? (please send a link with this so I can add a pic of it)

My favorite item would have to be "Oscar".

He is a painted doll head on a decoupaged music box. Wind him up and his head spins to the classical version of "Rockabye Baby". Oscar was one of the first baby doll heads I ever painted. When I finished him, I knew he was going to be part of something special. I held on to him for months until the idea of turning him into a music box came to me. The music box was the first thing I ever decoupaged. When I was growing up, my father (both of my parents are very talented artists) decoupaged all kinds of things. His pieces were beautifully creepy and inspiring to me as I was growing up. The name "Oscar" actually comes from the name of the doll that the head came from. On the base of the neck, "Oscar" was printed into the plastic. There is a short clip on YouTube of Oscar playing for anyone who wants to see him in all his creepy glory.

5. Are you working on any new items that you would like to share with my readers?

I have a few art pieces that I am currently working on. I have a couple of doll pieces that will be ready early next year. I have had to put a lot of creating on hold at the moment as I am trying to get my second Etsy shop, Miriam's Vanity, ready for it's grand opening. Once it is up and running, I will be back to work on new things. I've ordered tons of new supplies and have a lot of great ideas on paper. Not being able to sit down and work every night is killing me. I can't wait to get back to it. Stay tuned!

6. Congrats on coming up on your first year anniversary of your shop on Etsy! I noticed that this will be coming up in January. What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy as a seller?

Promote! Promote! Promote! Self promotion is a necessary evil. It's boring and hard work but if you don't put yourself out there, you're basically invisible. Join Etsy teams that appeal to you and make friends with other artists. I have made some wonderful friends on Etsy and have learned so much from them. When I first joined Etsy I thought, "I can do this on my own, I don't need to participate in all the "social" parts of this site." I don't know what I was thinking. If you're just starting out, chances are, you don't know what the heck you're doing. Reach out to others on Etsy. I would have never made it through this year if it weren't for the amazing people I've met on Etsy. Once you get yourself established, PAY IT FORWARD! Reach out to new shop owners, be friendly and kind and supportive. Help promote other artists and it will come back to you ten fold. I cannot stress enough how important being a part of the community within Etsy is. We're all in this together!

7. In the past few years the DIY movement has continued to grow. Do you think this helps or hinders your business and why?

That's a tough question. On one hand, I think it helps bring attention to what we all do. Someone posted on Facebook just the other day, "Just because it's handmade doesn't mean it's cheap!" Anyone who thinks handmade goods are cheap obviously have never shopped for craft supplies! I think it helps people appreciate the hard work that goes into the items that you find on Etsy when they try to make them for themselves. Either they are good at it and they don't have a need to buy from us or they are terrible at it and they realize just how hard all of us are working. If I were to be completely honest about it, the DIY movement is how I came to Etsy in the first place. Where I live, the items that I wanted just weren't available. I spent a lot of money shopping online to get what I wanted. If I hadn't had the "Hey, I can do this myself!" moment, I wouldn't be where I am now. I look at is this way, I can paint and make jewelry but I can't sew to save my life. My friend Lindsay can. She has a great shop on Etsy and I'm incredibly jealous of her ability to sew circles around everyone she knows. I constantly hear people say that Etsy is "over-saturated with jewelry makers, seamstresses and artists". I think that's bunk. There's enough room for everyone. The world is a big place and we all bring something different and unique to the table.

8. With the holidays just around the corner do you have any out of the ordinary spooky or kitschy decor or accessories that you bring out of the woodwork this time of year? Tell us about it.

When it comes to Halloween my family goes all out. We usually decorate the garage and it's so scary the neighborhood kids are afraid to walk up our driveway. I have a huge 12 foot demon/skeleton named "Sarge" that my husband gave me for Valentine's Day a few years back. He's a staple in our Halloween decor. We may be all out Halloween crazy but when it comes to Christmas, we're very traditional. We have a huge Christmas tree with white lights and gold and red ornaments. I decorate the mantle and hang up stockings. We put up icicle lights outside and I always have Christmas scented candles burning. Even Ghastly Ghouls need a little holiday cheer!

9. I am going to kick it close to home for a sec. I noticed you are from Tennessee and this past summer I made a road trip there to spend time with my in laws for a family reunion. What is your favorite hang out place in the city?

Tennessee is a beautiful place to live. Knoxville is rich with history and Civil War ghost stories. Unfortunately, most of my favorite places from growing up are gone. The city is constantly under "revitalization" and so many wonderful places have been shut down or bulldozed. Downtown Knoxville used to be one of my favorite places to go. There's a part of the city known as "The Old City" and it was the place to go when I was a teenager. There were coffee shops and bars and little shops full of wonderful local art and gifts. Up the hill from The Old City is Market Square. A little club called The Mercury was where I saw my first punk rock show when I was 14. It's all gone now, completely changed. The Old City is still there as is Market Square but now it's full of hipster shops and over-priced swanky bars. It's just not the same. The only place in the city that hasn't changed is the Greenwood Cemetery. It's a huge cemetery but it's older sections have a creepy New Orleans feel. In the very back of the cemetery is an empty mausoleum where we all used to hang out when we were teenagers. I can still drive up there and it's just like stepping back in time. It's the only place I can go here in Knoxville that still feels the same.

10. This Ghoul wants to know what your favorite kind of horror movie is! Are you a slasher lover or do you prefer a good haunting or maybe you like something with vampires and other creatures of the night.... SPILL!

My all-time favorite scary movie is The Exorcist. LOVE IT! I've probably seen it one hundred times. I'm also a huge Rob Zombie fan. I love his music and his films. His Halloween remake, The Devil's Rejects, House of 1,000 Corpses - GREAT movies! They are gritty and gross and make you feel like you need to take a shower after you watch them. I love all horror movies, really. I'll watch anything, old school black and whites, subtitles, guts and gore or ghosts. It's all good! It takes a lot to scare me so I'm always interested in seeing the newest scary movies. I think the new movies have lost a lot of the griminess that made horror movies in the 70's so good but there are some good ones out there. I really enjoyed The Woman in Black.. no blood and guts there but it was a good scary movie, definitely worth seeing.

Want to know more about Sara and how to get in touch? You can find her at these places:
 Check out my Etsy Shop
You can add me on my personal Facebook page (I accept all friend requests)
My shop's Facebook page
My new shop is also on Facebook  I have a new blog set up (Haven't posted anything just yet)
You can also find me on Pinterest and Wanelo where I have boards and collections for all of my Etsy teams.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Sara, for giving me this awesome opportunity to talk to you and your readers! I am honored to be a part of such a killer blog!