Thursday, June 3, 2010

Interview with Happy Shack Designs

Meet Kelly of "Happy Shack Designs"

Who are you?
I'm Kelly Warren! I work full-time as the Director of Student Life and Leadership Development at Florida State College (been doing that for about 16 years now!). I have two beautiful red-headed soon-to-be-seven-year-old twin daughters, a very supportive husband, and oh yeah, an art business! I create artisan jewelry as well as fine art photography and dabble in mixed media and bookmaking.

What do you create?
The majority of my jewelry designs are one of a kinds. I love to work in handmade lamp work, and use beads collected from talented bead makers the world over, plus a few made here and there by my husband. I've played with photography for years and now love the versatility the digital format gives me. I also combine my photography with my jewelry by turning my photos into glass tile pendants.

How did you come about your store name?
a "happy little shack" has just always been in my mind. I wrote about it in this blog post:

What is the crafting utensil you cannot live without?
bent needle nose pliers for my jewelry and glue dots for everything else. I love glue dots. I use them to mount and matte my photo as well as for innumerable other uses

What is your favorite material to work with?
Hmmm...sterling wire for my jewelry and my trusty Nikon for my photography. Actually I have three Nikons and have been eyeing another. It's a very expensive addiction. :-)

What is your life like outside of Etsy?
My job and family life are very demanding and both take precedence over my art (unfortunately on the job part, wouldn't have it any other way on the family part). My job is very hectic and requires a crazy schedule at times. In my role at the college, I handle all cultural and leadership development programming as well as advise the Student Government Association and oversee all clubs and organizations. I also teach English and Student Life Skills (basically a "how to succeed in college" class) one night a week. My girls will be seven in July and are so much fun I can hardly stand it sometime. I would love to be able to quit my day job and spend all my time with the kids making art, but that's just not in the cards for us. As far as hobbies, we love to spend lots of time outdoors doing just about anything.

What is your favorite feature on Etsy?
I like the Shop Local. Love seeing who else is in my area.

What do you enjoy "window shopping" on Etsy on your free time?
Lately, I've been "window shopping" small mixed media pieces and book arts. Some very inspiring stuff out there!

Is there an online "tool" that you like to use?
I wish I could say I spent a lot of time doing advertising and research, but there's just not enough time in the day for it for me. I post my work on Facebook, and I try to blog regularly, which tends to bring in a lot of traffic. I'd sure love to hear what others who work full-time, have kids and juggle their art are doing!

Where in Florida do you live?
I live in Jacksonville and have been in this area for more than 30 years. I'm a Florida native, born in Miami. My family is from the Keys!

Could you recommend a fun activity near your Fl home that other members might enjoy?
Little Talbot Island State Park is one of those undiscovered jewels of North Florida. It's all the way up Heckscher Drive/A1A on the beach heading up to Amelia Island. The drive up Heckscher itself has always been one of my favorites, and my DH and I built our home on Heckscher 10 years ago.

What are some other sites to find out more about you and your art?
Facebook Fan Page:,
Three Etsy shops: happyshackdesigns, kellywarrenphotoart, and knwarren65 (destash!)

What animal would you like to be for one day and why?
When I die, I want to come back as one of my dogs. What a life they have!

What was an embarrassing moment in your life?
And speaking of dogs...we had a black lab, Oprah, and a yellow lab, Bear, that we wanted to be a breeding pair. Couldn't get them to breed for the life of us...until one day, they decided to, um, hook up, while I was walking them through the neighborhood on our morning walk. You know what happens when dogs "hook up", don't you? They can't get unhooked for a while. So I just had to sit there on the curb and wait. It was one of the most mortifying moments of my life. :-)


  1. Thank you for sharing this interview. Your photos make all the right colors pop out. It's beyond beautiful. I hear Nikons are the best cameras, I am thinking of investing in one. But even your angles are beautiful. A true inspiration.

  2. Great interview Kelly. Love the hairdo your girls gave you! Your pucs are awesome!

    aka AudreyGardenLady

  3. Kelly, your work is stunning! How do you do it all?
    A really nice interview.

    I have twins too, but mine are 32 years old now.


  4. A talented, generous artist! I have a pair of Kelly's earrings and they are fabulous!!

  5. A talented inspiration with so much get up and go! Thanks for such an upbeat post letting us know there are still highly gifted artists out there who can multi task their live and enjoy it all!

  6. Your work is absolutely gorgeous! I love everything... Wonderful interview. Thanks for sharing.