It’s important for Head of Crafts for FleetingStates Studios, Sienna, to make sure her crafts stay true to the mantra, “Learn. Create. Inspire”. She is doing just that with her FleetingStates Studios.
GCX: What or who first peaked your interest in arts and crafts?
FSS: My father is an artist. I grew up without him, so pursuing art was my way of having a connection with him before meeting him. Once I got into it on my own, it became an important part of how I process the world, express myself and connect with others.
GCX: Why did you decide that you would make a particular type of craft?
FSS: Numberism is my technique. It started as a personal treatment for anxiety. It roots me in the present; later it became a learning device in the sciences. I like to play with different styles and materials for fun and learning experiences. Everything is about learning and expression for me.
GCX: How do you feel about the artisan crafting community and their ability to benefit from GeekCraft Expo?
FSS: I don't know much about GeekCraft Expo, and this is my first time attending one of your shows, so I don't yet know how it can benefit artists and craftspeople. Looking forward to finding out. I'm happy to give you a better answer after the show.
GCX: Are you from the Portland area? If not originally, what brought you here?
FSS: I moved here six years ago. The arts community drew me in as a place to grow my art business and find a place for myself in the community. That and the environment, having a “big” city surrounded by nature is a magical combination.
GCX: What is your favorite thing about creating your product and being able to sell it to people personally vs. through sites like Etsy?
FSS: That's two very different questions for me. Creating my work is a constantly challenging and educational experience. My favorite part of selling my work is making connections with people from all walks of life. The Etsy community is a nice place to connect with art lovers who support handmade art and the artists who make it. Monetarily, Etsy is supplemental to my local shows, galleries, events and personal website.
GCX: What is the story of how you got to this point (beginning to now)?
FSS: That's a long story. The short version? My interest in the scientific world and our place within it inspired me to delve further into my personal research into science. Connecting this research to my work makes my education a living and fluid world that I can share with others. I am inspired and curious about everything. My business started tiny and in the beginning we had nothing. We were broke, possibly “poor”. My dedication to my work created a flourishing life for my small family and me, both monetarily, creatively, mentally and emotionally and in education. If not for the continued support and collaborations with my husband and a small group of friends, this would have been impossible. I am lucky to be surrounded by intelligent, creative people who don't know the meaning of “impossible.” I have been self-employed and a full-time artist for eight years. The past 6 of them have been what I would call stable to flourishing. I am currently invested in being more involved in the community of art, science and education. I travel for shows and am more and more involved in the world of scientific art. I'm happy and excited to be where I am now.
GCX: Is it important for people to understand that your product is not “mass produced’? Why?
FSS: In that if they thought it was mass produced, they wouldn't understand what I do or why, but I'm not offended by folks having an incorrect view of me or my work before they speak to me or read up on my work. Every point of being wrong is an opportunity for information and learning.
GCX: What is the most special thing to you about your business?
FSS: Every aha moment provided through personal research, artistic exploration and from the incredible people I meet and am lucky to talk to these people. The connections you forge from people of all walks of life are the things you find continuously inspires you long after the meeting. This business also gives me personal freedom to explore, learn and create on my terms and at my speed. This opens up a world of possibility.
GCX: What do you want to do with your crafts long term?
FSS: Learn, create, inspire.
GCX: Are you picking this particular location because you live here or do you travel to multiple shows a year?
FSS: Both are true. I do multiple shows a year, but I live in Portland. If I have a good show here, I'll likely want to try out a GeekCraft Expo in another city.
GCX: What do you like about the overall arts and craft experience?
FSS: The joy is in learning, trying new things and seeing how far I can go and what I can create. I love learning from others and pushing my boundaries. I love working with my hands and watching something slowly come into being. I love being surprised with results I wasn't looking for initially. It's about the experience, not always the product.
It's always important to know who you are and why you do what you do. Sienna seems like she has her love of what she does and why she does it down to a science. We look forward to seeing all of the wonderful creations she has at GeekCraft Expo PDX.