Thursday, January 7, 2010

Featured Etsy Artist - Kara of Vive Le France Design

A new year.  So many exciting things in store for me and my family, how about you?  And so many new Etsy Artists to feature!  Here's my first feature for 2010, Kara of Vive LeFrance Design.  We've got a few things in common.   We're both Kara/Cara, both card makers and we are both on the fabulous EtsyGreetings Team.  Kara is also a painter.  Here's an original oil painting of her view along the paths through Orton Plantation near Wilmington, North Carolina. 

Some of her cards are prints of her original oil paintings.

Let's see what other talents she has.

1.  Tell us about you ~ your name, location, hobbies and interests. Where do you sell your handmade items?

My name is Kara LaFrance and I've lived in Coastal North Carolina for the past 4 years. I went with Vive LaFrance Design because LaFrance is my married name... and I think it kinda rocks. Since I've changed my name, people everywhere would say, "oohhh, LaFrance. What a great name" It's kinda funny so I went with it.

2. Tell us about your art and how you got your start selling your handmade items on Etsy?

I have been painting since I was seven and have a BA in Graphic Design -- I love combining art and design. I really enjoy the hands-on part. I found Etsy about a year ago but flip-flopped because of my health. I have a rare pituitary disease that was elusive for a decade and took away everything that made me me --except my creativity. So anytime I could muster up the energy I would work on a painting or a freelance design project. It eventually lead to making scrapbooks for people. Then I had lots of paper......paper makes me happy! So I started making cards again. (I had been making watercolor cards and selling them at local craft fairs but lost interest). I had a pituitary tumor removed 2 years ago and it took a full 2 years to feel any better which equalled a bit more energy to work on my art. So I finally opened an Etsy shop.

3. What inspires your art?

My new surroundings in North Carolina have been inspirational for my paintings. The old south, especially the trees, have captivated my attention for the last few years. I have been working on my southern series with breaks in between for commissioned paintings. I am currently searching for my next inspiration.

For my cards, I work both ways. I let paper or embellishments I find inspire me or an idea pops into my mind and I find the pieces to put it together.

4. What is your own favorite design and why?

My current favorite in my shop is "Give Me A Kiss."

I love cards --making them, buying them, giving them. When I first started dating my husband we were long distance for 6 months and I would send him love notes. They were romantic or funny or sexy. Now I leave them where he will find them and make him smile or laugh. When I was looking through our wedding proofs I found so many photos of us kissing I decided to make him a tiny 2.5 x 2.5 book of all the photos and went searching for the perfect quote to accompany them.

Give me a kiss,and to that kiss a score,
then to that twenty, add a hundred more:
a thousand to that hundred:
so kiss on, to make that thousand up a million.
treble that million, and when that is done,
Let’s kiss a fresh, as when we first begun.
Robert Herrick
To Anthee: Ah, My Anthea

We will be married 6 years on January 17th and we both love this quote so I use it for a lovely black and white card. I think it is elegant and romantic and perfect for Valentine's Day, an anniversary or just because. 

5. Do you have any advice for those who are new to selling on Etsy?

I have not found success yet on Etsy but I plan on persevering. I'm working on the community aspect of Etsy. I need to find the energy to create and participate. I have not found the balance yet. So I guess that would be my advice - find the balance and participate!

6. Do you have any favorite Etsy artists?

7. Do you have anything else you'd like to share? Are there any other websites or stores where we can find you?

If anyone is thinking about joining the military, I just completed illustrating "The Idiots Guide to the ASVAB" (Military Entrance Exam). It can be ordered through Amazon here.

I also sell handmade baby cards at Addison Marie, A Baby Boutique. The cards are in store but I designed the store's identity and website. Check it out!

Thanks so much, Kara, for sharing your talents with us. Wishing you all the best in 2010 and Happy Anniversary!


vivelafrance said...

Cara, thank you so much for the lovely feature. I was pleasantly surprised to see my paintings up front. I never know if people lean towards my paintings or cards.

All the best for the New Year!

Kristen said...

My sister is a Kara! Do you pronounce yours Care Ahh or Car Ahh??? We pronounce my sister's Care Ahh. I have heard it both ways. I love the poetry, and the bold graphic cards the best on this post! I need to get myself out there more this year, I think that will be my resolution.
In fact, I just signed up for the DCRU DT call, I have never been on a DT, so I have my fingers crossed!!!
Happy New Year, Cara, no matter how you say it :)

Tricia said...

what talent!

vivelafrance said...

Thank you Kristen! I too am a Care Ahh.
Cara which are you?

Cara said...

Care Ahh except my southern cousins who jokingly call me CAR ahh. :o)

Sophia said...

Cara, LOVED this feature. What a fantastic individual you are to do this. I'm looking forward to readin the others. :)

Happy New Year. I wish you the very best! Hugs!