Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Interview with Crafty Hag

Meet Coralette of CraftyHag:

Who are you?
My name is Coralette Damme and I am the woman behind The Crafty Hag! I am an artist, printmaker, and compulsive crafter. My official artist bio says that I am an artist with Midwestern roots, currently located in St. Petersburg, FL. My work is about variety and I don't believe in limiting myself to one type of creativity! I let my sense of humor be my guide. Artistically my affinities lie with the German Expressionist movement combined with a touch of Dada.
I work in a spur of the moment/what is inspiring me right now method. I am fortunate to have a variety of media to use in my efforts to create something that expresses my mood or my perception of a situation. My creations tend to be based in reality and are figurative for the most part -- you can usually spot the source of my inspiration right off the bat. I infuse bold contrasts, heavy outlines, strong colors, and a sense of humor in my work.
Aside from art I have a passion for the ocean, scuba diving, and keeping active.
My studio is crammed to the ceiling with supplies and pets--I have 3 cats and a dog and usually at least 2 of them are in my room snoozing while I work.
I'm fortunate enough to have a small bedroom dedicated to The Crafty Hag where I have my studio space and computer. Someday I hope to have my own small brick and mortar shop where I can expand my printing opportunities and offer classes etc.

What do you create?
I mostly work as a printmaker, creating linolium block prints and my own hand carved stamps. I also do a lot of screen printing on textiles. Right now I am looking at ways to combine multiple art techniques in one piece, like combining screen prints and paintings or sewing screen printed pieces into plus creatures or block printing on fabric and sewing them in to pillows. I want my art to be accessible to everyone. I think sometimes art galleries can seem sterile or intimidating and people are afraid to get up close to the art but my work aims to be more casual and part of everyday life.
I also want my work to be fun for both me and the viewer. I love color and the power it has to alter mood. I think a sense of humor is obvious in a lot of my work. Although I work hard and take my business seriously, I never forget that joy of creating and that is what comes out in my prints, paintings and other wares. So whether it is a card, a t-shirt, a plush creature, or art for your wall, any of my creations will hopefully make you feel so good you can't live without them!

What was the main inspiration for your shop?
I decided to open an Etsy store as a way to reach more people. I have done countless weekend art festivals and craft shows but I can only be in so many places. Having an online shop lets me be available to people all over the world which I think is really exciting.

How did you come about your store name?
My business name, The Crafty Hag, came about as a result of a nick name. When I moved to Florida to pursue a life of scuba diving I took an email address of Florida Dive Hag. My friends out of state would jokingly call me the dive hag in emails etc. So when it came time to start my art business I thought well, I like the idea of being crafty, and hag has an edge to it that will lure in some folks with a sense of humor or broad curiosity so The Crafty Hag was born. I like the double meaning of crafty, as in sly or as in hands on since I would aspire to be both. Also it is a lot easier to spell and remember than my name so that is also an advantage.

What is the crafting utensil you cannot live without?
The one tool I can't live without is my linolium cutter. The tools I use to carve my blocks and stamps are essential to me! The other must have is a pencil. Everything I do begins with a pencil, be it a drawing, a painting, a relief print, a screen print... So the humble pencil is priceless to me!

What is your favorite material to work with?
I am addicted to Mod Podge. I use it to glue collages for mail art, to block out my screens for screen printing, and it smells kinda good in an elementary school paste kinda way...

What do you enjoy most about making the things you make?
What I really like best is seeing how other people react to my creations. Whether they love it or are repulsed by it I get a kick out of their response. It lets me know that I did something right if they take notice in some way.

What is your life like outside of Etsy?
Outside of The Crafty Hag, I work nearly full time for a non-profit visual and performing arts center called The Studio @ 620 and I teach group exercise at our local YMCA. I love to go on photo safari and just take my camera out on a walk.

What is your favorite feature on Etsy?
I love the networking and street teams. The community and chance to connect with other artists is great. In addition to FEST I am also a member of Printsy which is a printmakers of Etsy team and Etsy Dark Side Street Team.

What do you enjoy "window shopping" on Etsy on your free time?
I like to see what other people make in my category, see what they are inspired by, learn new techniques.. It’s a good way to guage where you're at with pricing too, if you're competitive or under priced etc.

Do you have a tip for other Etsy sellers?
You get out of Etsy what you put into it. Having a shop is a lot of work and it doesn’t stop with listing items or renewing regularly... I don’t have the time I used to have to promote my shop like I did when I first started on Etsy but I still like having the opportunity for sales and exposure.

Is there an online "tool" that you like to use?
I have a business page for The Crafty Hag on Facebook that I really feel does a lot to help get my work out to a broader audience. I am big on internet marketing--I have photos on Flickr, I have a mail art blog, I have a website, myspace, facebook, twitter...... But you can only keep up with so much.
I do maintain the Facebook page for the FEST team so I hope everyone tunes in to that and checks out the featured items from Florida!

What other interests do you have?
I love nature, wild life, and holidays especially Halloween! I like to read about odd inventors and world mythology and religions. You'll see all these things reflected in my art.
I also am getting more and more involved with mail art. I love the idea of sending and receiving cool stuff in the mail from strangers. It is fun!

Where in Florida do you live?
I live in St. Petersburg, have been in Florida for 10 years now, having moved here from the Twin Cities in Minnesota. I get very homesick for the mid-west and hope to return north in the near future but until then I like our town here. St. Pete is a very creative town and I have a lot of great friends here, many of whom are fabulous artists and crafters as well. I enjoy the variety of exotic plants and animals we have here and try to appreciate the natural beauty around me no matter where I am.

Could you recommend a fun activity near your Fl home that other members might enjoy?
Most folks who come to St. Petersburg will visit the typical tourist sites, I do like the pier and our many great art museums including the Dali. Of course the gulf beaches are gorgeous and so far remain clean of oil. St. Petersburg also used to be the shuffleboard capitol of the country with a large historic complex near downtown. You can do the St. Pete Shuffle every Friday evening, the people are friendly, it’s a cheap thrill and great fun for folks of any age.

What are some other sites to find out more about you and your art?

Friend me:

Is there a funny/touching/sad story behind any of your items?
There is are a couple, I guess 3, block prints of cats I have done based on my kitty Hairy-ette. She died suddenly of a heart condition that we weren't aware she had--something hereditary. So there are a few angel cat images that were created out of that grieving process. But now the bright side is I have these images and they make a lot of people smile.

What super power would you like to have and why?
I have been asked this before and my answer was to be the power to create ice cream, any flavor, any time...... I love ice cream, my dad was a milk man when I was a kid and I have been addicted to ice cream forever so being able to have instant ice cream would be awesome!

What was an embarrassing moment in your life?
Uh...embarassing...well.. Once for my birthday I went on a scuba diving trip with a group of friends and they surprised me with a cake etc on the boat. It was so nice but I was so seasick I was basically hanging over the side of the boat the whole time and couldn't even read the nice card they had all signed for me.... So that was not the greatest moment by any means.

What famous person would you like to meet?
Vincent Price! He was an avid art collector and I love his old scary movies! I think we would have an interesting talk over lunch and a glass of wine or while walking around some interesting place....


  1. What a nice well rounded talk with "The Crafty Hag". Is Vincent Price still alive?

  2. sadly no, vincent price passed away some years ago...

  3. I love your work! I think your prints are amazing. Nice interview :)