It seems that whenever I put up pieces from my own personal collection in my Etsy shop, the most interesting people buy them. Often they are customers whom I already know and love, which feels great (a validation of "I knew that dress wasn't destined to be with me!")... and sometimes I get to make a new friend! This was the case with this adorable gingerbread corduroy dress that I decided I needed to finally part with last month. I noticed that the buyer, Sara, (aka forestlass) was featured on one of my fave blogs, Moonshine Junkyard, and that she had a shop of her own. We started chatting, and I realized that this cool lady who lives in Turkey is fully on what I think of as the "California Boho" wavelength. Come to find out, that wavelength is international, and it is made more so every day by the blogging community!
I had to know more (I am one curious cat) and she agreed to do an interview with me. I think you will agree that she is totally "kin", and totally awesome!
So I am so curious about where you live! Could you tell me more? About your country, your culture, and about this place you live in particular, "high up on a mountain"? Have you always lived there?
Of course! I live in Southwestern Turkey outside of the major tourist town called Bodrum. My house is “high up on a mountain” by the Aegean Sea, in one of the many old-timey villages that are scattered throughout the countryside. People up here still make carpets from yarn they’ve shorn, dyed, and spun from their own sheep! If that isn’t old-timey, I don’t know what is. Our land is an olive grove surrounded by pine forest, and we’ve got lots of room for our dogs, chickens, and horses to run wild. We’re super lucky to have the olive trees because we get organic olives and oil every year. Plus, it's prime real estate for birds, which I love to watch.
I only lived here for two years, and before that, I lived in upstate New York my whole life. I’m Turkish by heritage though, so I don’t feel all that out of place. One thing that has thrown me for a loop though, is how friendly Turks are! People who hardly know you invite you into their homes for tea and a meal; they’re just so warm and open. And they’re very encouraging to folks who don’t speak Turkish that well. I only started learning since I’ve come here, and people love my accent; it’s cute, supposedly.
The only bad thing about a lot of Turks is that they’re crazy drivers! It makes venturing out on the road a bit of an (sometimes scary) adventure.
How did you get into the creative life, particularly knitting? What other art forms do you work in?
When I first moved here, I was going to attend a university in Ankara but decided that it wasn’t for me. Cities aren't for me, and I liked the feeling of living near the sea. Ankara is surrounded by these lonely, rolling hills, which are beautiful, but they're no substitute for the feeling of openness and freedom that the sea lends to an area. The overall effect was suffocating and I couldn't stay. So I went home, took a year off and began knitting and crocheting to pass the time. That’s when I first set up an Etsy shop. I made too many hats to just let them sit around with no one wearing them, so Etsy seemed like a good choice.
Other than knitting, I draw and paint. I also play the piano, mandolin, cello and flute. Singing is also a hobby of mine, though I’d like to make it more than that (anyone want to form a bluegrass band?). At the moment, I’m earning my BA in creative writing through SUNY Empire State's distance learning program, so I write quite a lot as well.
What projects are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m finishing up a sweater for myself, and also working on cropped cardigan pattern for my shop. I’ve got to knit a test first and if it works out, I’ll start offering them in an assortment of colors.
I’ve also got two stories in the works, but my summer classes are taking up so much time that I don’t have the energy to work on them as much as I’d like.
Tell me a little about your inspirations!
I find inspiration everywhere: in nature, from people I see on the street, from blogs, from other Etsy sellers. I’m taking an Ornithology class and got an idea for the colors for a neck warmer from a Ruddy Duck. The duck’s bill is an eye catching blue that contrasts sharply against the rusty orange of its body. I liked it so much that I did knit in similar colors.
Other times, I’ll see something I like on the street, on the net, or in a store and I’ll say, “Hmm, that’s cool. How can I do something like that?” I make all my own winter knits now, and my best-loved scarf was made after I saw an image of a favorite musician (Chris Thile) wearing this awesome burnt orange scarf. It looked so great on him that I thought, “Why not?” and made one for myself.
Okay, I see in your profile that you are an Elvis fan! (Me too!) What are your top five Elvis songs?
1) Got A Lot O’Livin to Do
2) I’ll Hold You In My Heart
3) (There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley- though Johnny Cash does it well too.
4) Bridge Over Troubled Water- his version is infinitely better than the original!
5) Anyway You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be)
(yes, that's Elvis on the shirt that Sara printed!)
How did you get into blogging? What are some of your favorite blogs?
I’m definitely more of a blog reader than a blog writer. I think I first happened upon the blogging world through Etsy. So many sellers have their own blogs, and I wound up reading theirs. It didn’t take long before I branched out to others. Now, my main distraction from homework is reading my favorites!
I’ll give my top five favorites:
Astral Boutique (of course!)
How did you discover Etsy? I know you are an Etsy seller as well as a buyer, and you have great taste- could you recommend some of your favorite Etsy sellers?
Why thank you! I first found Etsy three or four years ago, completely by chance. I can’t remember exactly how I came upon it, but I do remember thinking, “Oh, wow,” after taking a peek around. From then on, I was always on the site browsing around and drooling over items.
I love so many shops on Etsy, but I’ll write down the ones I visit most:
For the immediate future, I'd just like to keep doing well in school and graduate, then possibly move on to my Master's. Long term is pretty simple too. I just would like to find my niche in the world, find someone to share it with, and live a happy life that’s close to nature. Oh, and finally figure out how to have perfect summer/winter gardens.
Check out Sara's shop, forestlass, for gorgeous hand-knit creations and vintage treasures! My thanks to Sara for doing such an awesome interview. (-: