As far as I am concerned, any girl that has a keyboard next to her bed is cool with me. So, this week we are visiting the eclectic home of artist and maker, Barbara Hester of Indiana Blue. There are so many things to look at in her West Virginia digs. And Barbara shares some great advice with us about starting your own business as well. Enjoy…
Tell us about yourself Barbara.
Hello! My name is Barbara Hester, and I live in a small college town in West Virginia where my husband is currently attending medical school. I work as a bookseller during the day at a bookstore in the childrens department. I also run a small Esty shop, as well as write a blog, called Indianablue. I make paintings, embroideries, and books, which is what I mostly write about. That, and whatever other creative endeavor I happen to be working on.
What kind of home do you live in?
I live in an apartment building that was built in the 1970s. I have heard at one point it was a gym, and at another, a small grocery store. Its got nice open spaces, but is very plain, all white walls and neutral brown carpeting. When we came here from Georgia we took this apartment site unseen. Though we did not do badly, I “˜m hoping to find an apartment with a bit more character when we move!
How would you describe your design style?
My style is very much a patchwork of eclectic. When I was a little girl Id stay with my grandmother in the summertime in Indiana. Shed take my sisters and I with her around to garage sales and since those early days I have had an incurable passion for thrift. I tend to look for things that are practical and functional and try to buy mostly vintage or handmade. I struggle between wanting to have lots of little collections of things or as little as possible.
Lately, Ive decided to go more minimally, because there is something so gratifying in the power of editing. I also like that it cuts down on the amount of time I have to spend picking the apartment up, so I can spend more time making.
On average, about how much time per week are you able to put into creating?
I try to use any of the time that I am not at the bookstore to work on my creative goals. Im not sure how it all adds up, but essentially my weeknights and my weekends. I do, however, also try to work in extra creative tasks at my day job too.
Since it is retail, I try to be involved as much as I can in doing any displays that my boss will let me, like creating the store window displays. It gives me practice and it also builds my confidence, because it gives me more experience to draw from. It also makes being at my job more fun for me.
How has having such a creative career inspired you in decorating your home?
I think that it has translated itself into me using my home as sort of a training ground to learn display. I often am rearranging and editing, trying to broaden my ideas how to create a more richly layered home. Since I joined Etsy I also try to buy items for my home from other small businesses that are either vintage or handmade. I am also more likely to repurpose found objects. We use an old door as a coffee table in our living room, and a broken coffeetable top has made the loveliest wooden shelves in our kitchen.
What is your favorite room in the house and why?
I go through spurts, sometimes it is my workroom, and then other times it is my kitchen. Right now I especially love my kitchen. My grandmother recently gave me some of her old dishes and they remind me of being at her house and the summers spent there. I love cooking, and how much the kitchen plays such a central in our lives. To me it is the most comforting room in our apartment.
We usually like to wrap things up with some advice. So, what advice can you share with others on getting a business started?
At this point, I am still learning a great many things myself! Id advise him/her to have lots of perseverance and tenacity. Take good photographs; get your work out there, I have a Flickr account and that in addition to submitting my work to various sites has led to some great opportunities.
I also think when you put your work out on that big sea, the Internet, you can see a little more clearly what exactly your strengths and weaknesses are, because there are so many other people out there running Etsy shops and writing blogs. The trickier part of this is not getting too caught up in comparing yourself to others”¦and realizing that things may happen for your business at a much different pace than it happens for others.
Great advice Barbara. Thank you so much for the tour of your home.
Please visit Barbara’s shop, Indiana Blue, to view more of her work. More links…