>> Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another installment about my great fellow Canucks! I'm pleased to present Tiffany Teske!
Over virtual coffee, she answered my questions!

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time. I am an enigma, wrapped up in a riddle... LOL! I love that one... what movie is that from or was it Daffy Duck? Ok, whom am I. I feel pretty blessed to have lived what seems like many many lifetimes and I am only 34. I try to make the most of life and Carpe Diem every chance I can get(I think that will be my next tattoo, maybe with a birdie... I will be my 4th... so far none of them have text so that will be cool!!)). I would say I am easily side tracked (can you tell). I am a magpie, drawn to shiny things, and a pack rat, hording all things I love, which includes old books, cookbooks, photographs, letters, fabric scraps, ephemera of all kinds. I love, love, love, love, love anything OLD. Vintage, retro, antique, love, love, love, love, love. I see the beauty in decay and love to photograph crumbling buildings, ghost towns, entropy of any kind. I find inspiration everywhere. I am always thinking of new uses for everyday things. I have scores of notebooks full of ideas. I seize with fear that I will never have enough time to create everything I want to, even though I truly feel blessed that I am able to live an artful life each and everyday. I am a night owl but so far not an insomniac. I need a lot of sleep because my brain is pretty much on screech (that is an expression from when I lived in Maine but not sure it makes sense universally) while I am awake. I can’t wait for my daughter to be able to create along with me (and to ski race with her daddy). She already loves to craft and is very serious about it even though she is only 21 months. She draws, paints, helps make paper doll chains, not to mention the baking. We love to bake!! Ok, I think I have wandered off track... I am a photographer. I was given a 110 camera to capture a family trip when I was 7 years old. I learned to work in the darkroom in high school. I wandered around after high school (grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota) and lived in Tempe and Mesa, Arizona, Fisher’s Island, NY, Jupiter Island, Florida, and then Carrabassett Valley and Kingfield, Maine (Sugarloaf). I met my husband, Andre, while photographing his cousin’s wedding in a super small town in Maine. He should never have been there, but as fate would have it, he crashed his car during a cross country trip, came home from his travels months early, and decided to join his parents on a road trip to this wedding. I saw him in the back of the church (something strange since I usually did outdoor weddings) and a BOLT OF ELECTRICITY (I kid you not) went through me from the top of my head to the balls of my feet. The rest is history... I have an Associate degree in Photography and a Bachelor’s in Studio Art with a Concentration in Photography both Magna cum Laude from the University of Maine in Augusta. I have been self employed since around the same time I started my studies... I guess since 1999. I love, love, love working for myself but it can be hard to stay on track and the pressure is all on you. I guess I thrive on that... I am a mommy to Quinlyn Elizabeth Andrae, the light of my life. Andre is the GM of Mount Norquay in Banff. We love winter!

2. Outside of your creative life, what else are you up to? Did I answer that? I think I did in a round about way in the last question. And most things I do fall within the creative realm, or I am basically unhappy...

3. What made you first want to create art? I don’t even remember because it has always been a part of me. My dad’s sister, Helen, was an enormous influence on me as far as that goes. She would take me to plays, the ballet, to concerts, to film, to fine restaurants, to fine clothing shops, to museums, to galleries. There was always an adventure, usually the kind reserved for adults so I revelled in it all the more.

4. What do you offer in your Etsy shop? Mostly Polaroid process based photography... Currently all of my Polaroid based "prints" are not prints at all but originals. I do make little prints for my pendants. And I have a few color prints and cards and a few black and white. I was recently asked to be part of another shop which will sell only original prints from traditional methods. I had been wanting to start a new shop for my fibre based black and white prints I printed in the darkroom and this other photographer approached me just in time.

5. Without giving away any of your trade secrets, what is your creative process? Do you mean from start to finish as far as visualizing an image? Or the actual processes I use for Polaroid transfer and emulsion lifts? I am always thinking about images I would like to make, in a loose way, because I don’t generally set up shots. If I do, they are obviously set up still lives (I would love to shoot objects for some visually luscious mag like Martha Stewart Living. I am crazy about setting up teacups, or stacks of fabric, or food and photographing it...). As for other images I like to go hunting with my camera and then capture to mood of the moment. As for the Polaroid processes I have cut and paste this from my Etsy shop...Polaroid Tranfer:To begin this unique photographic art I capture an image on slide film or digitally. The slide or 4x6 print is then projected onto Polaroid pack film which is peeled prematurely. The "waste" side of the film pack, which contains processing chemicals, is then placed face down onto wet watercolour paper and brayed (rolled over with a print making brayer). The result is a one-of-a-kind hand-pulled photographic transfer of the original slide image. The original image can be transferred an unlimited number of times but the resulting transfer will always vary from the last. Each transfer is approximately 3 ½" by 4" in size and is hand signed.Polaroid Emulsion Lift:To begin this unique photographic art I capture an image on slide film or digital file. The slide or a 4x6 print are then projected onto Polaroid pack film. The emulsion layer of the print is boiled off its substrate, leaving a jelly fish like layer that I hand manipulate onto either a porous surface, like watercolor paper, or a non-porous surface like metal, wood, or stone. The result is a one-of-a-kind emulsion life of the original slide or digital image. The original image can be exposed and lifted an unlimited number of times but the resulting left will always be very different from the last. Each emulsion lift is approximately 4x6" in size and is hand signed.These processes are not "trade secrets". You can find books and articles on them. I must say that everyone does them differently and there is a bit of a steep learning curve that can only be over come with great expense and practice, as with most anything worth learning to do well. People either love or hate this process. I have taught it extensively and it is not really for perfectionists, in the beginning, because you make one good image to several "bad" or non perfect ones. Personally, I love the perfect and the non perfect ones. I use the imperfect ones in collage. If anyone is coming to Banff for business or pleasure I do teach here and will soon have a listing in my shop...

6. Where do you create? I have a whole room in our house to myself!! However, my work spills out into every room in the house... especially the kitchen, I use the counters, island, and table...

7. What are your Crafting Resolutions for 2008? Ooooohhhhh, I love this question... so many possibilities... I have pages and pages of things I want to try. I really want to get into some recycled/upcycled projects because I think it is very important to find uses from some of the precious "junk" that gets tossed into landfills. I want to make more collage, too. And to work with my Holgaroid (Holga with a Polaroid back) a lot more. I also want to make prints of my transfers and some kind of hand bound portfolio.8. How do you promote your Etsy shop? I ask people I meet if they know of Etsy. I hand out business cards to those who are interested. I am a pretty soft sell artist (my mom taught me not to toot my own horn) but I do realise that the business side of art is very important. I actually really like marketing, as far as finding new ways to do it. I am a big fan of guerrilla marketing, I just sometimes think I would do a better job for others, because I am not one to talk a lot about my own work. I do have a website but I have had it in one form or another since 1999 and I need to clean it up. I think blogs are the way to go these days and I have two (well actually three...), which is also called Art & Food, and is my personal/professional blog. which is where I feature all things Etsy. And I JUST started a new blog called i heart polaroid at, where I plan to blog about all things Polaroid. Since they have quit making the cameras and film there should be lots of exciting changes taking place.

9. What is your most favorite handmade item that you have made? Hmmmm.... A gelatin plate monoprint series I am working on that uses self portraits. Also, a hand embroidered piece with colorful little flowers that I made when I was 4 years old in Montessori school. It is amazing!! Our teacher was able to get small kids to make incredible things.

10. What is your most favorite handmade item that someone else has made? I collect photography, art, pottery, glass work, fiber art, jewelry... pretty much any medium from other artists. I think it is important to support one another. And I think that as artists we often don’t have the extra money to buy special things we love so it is always great to trade work, since then we can trade talents, and not spend money we don’t have. I must have work from 150 artists... Also, I have a quilt my great grandmother made and I use it every night. When I was pregnant with my daughter I also had many talented friends who made her beautiful quilts and blankets and it is fun now when she uses them because I think of each individual when I see each blanket.

11. What is your favorite purchase from Etsy? Purchase or trade... hmmmm... so many. I adore the handmade little girl dresses from Junebugbaby, RaeGun, and Humblebea. I love a little apron with a vintage cherry print and white pompom trim I bought for my daughter from BabyHoot. My daughter and I LOVE Woodrow, our Muffintopdesigns Sock Monkey! I have an incredible bracelet from dianarose26 and a peas in the pod necklace from ThatsHeadley. Francis, of thestarcraft, makes incredible mobiles. And for photography my favs are Madelaine, polaroidsandpinholes, and Vaeda. My favorite art is from heavensearth. And Piddix has the best collage sheets. I am as much an etsy buyer and trader as seller...

12. What was your best Etsy "moment"? Well, I am frequently featured in treasuries which is always fun. And I never get tired of the surprise of seeing my work on the front page. And the best sales moments were when I sold three images and four images at once to the same buyers.
13. Top 5 list – list your top 5 favorite movies, books, bands, and foods! Oh so difficult...
Elizabeth (And basically any other period film with awesome eye candy sets, costume design, and cinematography)
Kill Bill 1 & 2 (I like 2 the best)
House of the Flying Daggers
Chocolat (or anything with Johnny Depp, yummy!)

All non fiction how to/DIY books
All historical photo books or costuming books or books on women’s lives
Travel books I have to added magazines because I read a lot of them... Ready MadeCraftSomerset StudioCloth, Paper, ScissorsMotheringVegetarian TimesBon AppetitJPGCamera ArtsShots

Bran Van 3000
Van Morrison
The Cure
Tori Amos
I LOVE FOOD!! Oh it is so difficult to list...All ethnicities but my favorites are Indian and Asian
I have been a vegetarian or a fishetarian, LOL, (I eat seafood) for 21 years.
Specific foods
Dark chocolate
Fresh bread
Red wine

14. What advice would you like to give to others on Etsy? Don’t give up or get frustrated (sometimes I have to take my own advice). Etsy is a big site with tons of talented people on it and it takes awhile for things to happen. And unless you work hard at it, nothing will happen. As with any business, you get out what you put in. You need to promote outside of Etsy. And of course within Etsy there are teams, forums, groups. And create what you love and are good at. It is fine to check out what others are doing and to learn from them but you still need to trust that what you create is awesome and unique, don’t copy someone else.

15. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? This is always a fun question. I see myself with more kids, still happily married to my wonderful husband, having travelled to even more wonderful places in the world.

16. If you could describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be? Passionate, Loyal, Artistic, Driven, Curious
That's my Tiffany! Thanks so much for letting us into your world, hunny! Love ya! xoxoox muffin


Tiffany Teske March 15, 2008 at 4:57 PM  

Wow, Cy, Thanks for the awesome feature!!

missbeahaven March 15, 2008 at 11:34 PM  

What a wonderful interview Tiffany! I also adore Johnny Depp!

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