Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I Heart Handmade: Lisa Barbero

I'm starting a new series called "I Heart Handmade" featuring products and people I love from Etsy. Today I am featuring Lisa Barbero, maker of many beautiful illustrations. Take it away Lisa!

1. When did you first start making digital prints? When did you start selling your goods on Etsy?

Back in the spring of 2010 I quit an office job to see what I could do with my passion for art. Art was what I had always wanted to do and I even went to school for it once upon a time. But I suppose I never thought it was possible let alone realistic to try to live off of. Even when I hadn't needed extra income in my life, it seemed I just plain didn't have the belief in myself needed to make a leap into creating full time. The whole story in short form sort of goes like this...

I got married right out of high school and put art school on hold to move to Germany and be a military spouse. By the age of 21 I had my first child and was officially a stay-at-home parent. Years went by, we moved back to the States, and I continued to raise my daughter taking part-time jobs throughout. Eventually I did go back to school though not for very long. I'll spare you the dramatic details, but I was pretty miserable in that situation and the marriage finally ended at the close of 2008. 

While I continued to paint and create during that time, I often found I had no inspiration or motivation. I had allowed the situations and people that surrounded me to make me doubt myself. I legitimately believed I was not good enough for far too long. I know now that these are thoughts and beliefs most of us carry around from time to time and that we can make a choice to change that way of thinking without becoming victims. And sometimes a special someone enters the picture that makes changing those beliefs a whole lot easier.

In 2009 I met the man who is now my husband. He helped me to realize that I am damn good enough 
and I always was. It's truly amazing what can happen when someone loves you deeply and unconditionally just the way you are and teaches you to love yourself in the same way. Your eyes open along with your heart. Now, I'm not proposing all of life's issues can be fixed by a "special someone" because ultimately we need to "fix" ourselves. But for me that's how it happened and how I learned to finally be my own biggest fan. 

So in 2010 I quit that awful office job and started making art every day in my home studio. Within a month, I found out I was pregnant with my son. I launched my Etsy store in August after coming up with some original typographic prints that I thought had potential (Lemons, A Beautiful Thing, the Make Love series). I was creating every day while planning a wedding and growing a healthy baby boy. I had my first sales pretty soon after opening because my Lemons print was featuring in an Etsy Finds/Etsy Blog post. I've been working hard every since and have seen huge increases in success over the past three years. It's a dream come true, honestly. And I have so much to be grateful for. 

2. Tell me a little bit about the creating process, where does your inspiration come from?

These days I find inspiration to be in very plentiful supply. It's everywhere; nature, color combinations, lines, children's doodles, the sweet cream floating in my morning coffee, the M mark on my cat's forehead. It's literally always under my nose and I have a gazillion ideas on a weekly basis. Finding the time to make them into reality is another story altogether. I think inspiration is all about how you look at the world. If our vision is one of possibilities as opposed to fixed concepts, inspiration is never in short supply. 

3. A lot of your prints are inspired by different places around the world, are there a lot of stamps in your passport?

 As I mentioned, I lived in Germany for three years and I've traveled a bit through Europe to places like Austria and England. I've lived in a bunch of states along the East Coast and traveled often to Canada since we live on the border here in Rochester. 

4. I see that you use "tree-free paper," that's something totally new to me! Could you give me a bit of a rundown?

 The paper I use is made of 100% cotton rag which means it's much like fabric. No actual wood pulp is used in the creation of the paper so it's completely tree-free and renewable not to mention super luxurious to the touch. 

5. I love that you donate money to charity! What inspired this? What charity are you currently donating to?

I've always felt it was necessary to help those less fortunate and to support causes that I feel benefit society. I'm very opinionated and passionate about these topics and feel that, though I'm not rolling in the dough, someone out there has a whole lot less than I do. For me, it's also a way to show gratitude for what I have. 

I'm currently working with Chelsea Roff's Yoga for Eating Disorders on a fundraising campaign project as well as donating to one of my regular causes at the end of the month. See Lisa's controbutions here.

6. Which of your pieces is your fave?

The answer to this changes on a regular basis. I adore what I call my "Untitled Pocket Series" and consistently add pieces to it whenever I have the time. They make me giddy happy just looking at them; such tender, fragile little creatures who support each other with phrases like "I will let you be yourself" and "I will always tell you the truth". 

I'm also fond of my fine art photo series "Throwback Romance and Other Sentiments" and all of my original patterns.

7. How has owning an Etsy shop changed your creative process? Has it made it better or worse?

Having my shop has given me a lot more drive to create. I think there's a more detailed answer in there but I'm having a hard time articulating it properly. One thing I've learned from making a living from creating is that art that comes from within (as opposed to being created by some outside standard) is better and sells better. So making art for yourself is sort of the #1 principle. If it comes from your soul and you love it, others will too. Or they won't and you'll still be genuine. ;) 

8. What has been the hardest part of getting to where you are in your Etsy shop?

Struggling with self-doubt seems to always be the hardest part of any creative venture. And since it's more or less me here behind the scenes, I've got no one else to blame for failures or shortcomings. That's a lot to take on. But at the same time failure can often be a good thing with a huge potential to learn important lessons. I think success is virtually impossible without some kind of failure to act as a teacher. 

9. What is your favourite thing about handmade goods?
My favorite part of handmade is seeing the unmistakable imperfections of the human hand; a crooked line, a disproportionate figure... anything that is obviously made by a human soul. That can't be replaced. It's priceless.

Lisa has been kind enough to offer all Seductive Mania readers 
20% off all orders with the code: GOOD2013

Check out her website here: www.lisabarbero.com/

And check out her Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/lisabarbero

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If you're interested in being featured in a I Heart Handmade feature, feel free to contact me

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