Welcome back to this week's edition of the BEST blog interview, today I am in... Oh, wait, I think this could be her...
Hey, you there, who are you?! Are you the one I am supposed to meet here?
My name is Talia Halliday, and my business is Conduit Press. You can find me in my Etsy shop , on my blog, at facebook and at twitter. I also have a Flickr account, but perhaps those are enough links to get us through the day;)
I live in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana; the home of the Hoosiers and the Crossroads of America. Really, it's a beautiful little college town that surprises me every day.
Ah, so it is you :-) Is there a story behind your Etsy-Name? When I was a senior in college I took my first book-binding class. It was called 'creating the artists' book' and it was an amazing class that challenged me more than I'd ever been challenged before. There, we were to create a 'press' name and I really wanted 'ampersand press' because, well, I really like ampersands and I loved the way ampersand just rolled off your tongue. But another girl had grabbed the name first, and I wasn't about to create a doppelganger. I went home that night and thought and thought about other cool words- so sad that 'ampersand' was gone, and I looked over at my video collection (VHS at the time) and noticed an episode named "The Conduit" and that was it. I was Conduit Press after that. I really like the connotation of what 'conduit' stands for, and I kind of figure I'm a conduit for whatever creativity it flowing out their in the universe. Or something like that. The episode, of course, was from the X-Files. I don't generally freely admit that;)
How and when did crafting and bookmaking come into your life? Crafting has been a part of my life ever since I was a kid sitting around some giant 'spool' table with my Grandma painting ceramics and hot gluing raffia onto country crafts. Once in college my mom bought me my first scrapbook which I filled with obnoxious collages and photos. The natural next step was to start creating those very books on my own. And it came about my senior year in college with the class I spoke of earlier: "Creating the Artists' Book". From there I just never stopped. For every gift almost everyone I knew could expect a book of some kind. Whether it be bound with shoe string and using the Japanese stab technique or with real book binder's thread using a coptic stitch. When I had friends do favors for me (like watching our house while gone, or feeding our cats) I would leave little books for them as thank-you's. Only recently have I begun really getting into selling my wares, instead of just giving them as gifts. Which is funny, since I now have a baby on my hip and less time than I've ever had in my life to do so. Oh, karma.
Do you have a crafting hero or role models?
Tracy Bunkers is my journalling role model. I LOVE her journal pages. She gives me an inspiration for creativity that I feel I wouldn't otherwise have. She uses things around her house/studio (buttons, string, bricks, etc) as stamps and ephemera in her journaling and I like to think that I learned to use reclaimed materials a lot because of her.
Do you have another day job different from being an Etsy seller?
I'm a mom. I have my undergrad in English and am still working on my Master's in Education. I have my certification to teach High School English whenever I get off my lazy bum and do so, but instead of looking for a teaching job when I finished my certification I decided to try and have a baby. And it worked! I have a beautiful 8 month old little boy, and I get to stay home with him every day. I wouldn't give that up for the world. Some day, when he's older, in school perhaps, I might think about being a teacher again.
Walk us through your typical day
The babe tends to wake between 8:00-8:30 so we wake up, eat breakfast and get dressed. We play for a little bit, and after a little while I'll check my email to see if I've sold anything overnight. I then package those items up to take to the post office later on. Then it's baby's naptime so I take him up and lay him down and that's when I get to get some work done: Generally I check Twitter and Facebook and update a bit there, then figure out what I need to get done.
Then there's lunch, more playtime with the babe and a walk. Then naptime again and I get to finish whatever I started at first naptime. By the time he wakes up for the last time the rest of the family is home, so we deal with homework and school drama and the husband and I catch up. Dinner. Another walk. And then while daddy and the older kidlets play with the babe I try to finish up whatever work I've started for the day.
I work like an assembly line most of the time; creating 'sets' of similar books so I can get more done. So I might only work on covers one day, or tearing pages, or binding. And that breaks it up so when I'm finished (maybe about a week) I have 4 books to show for it instead of just one. :)
Tell us a little more about your shop and your crafting: What do you make and sell?
I make handmade and vintage books, albums, journals and cards. I make quite a few different kinds of books: leather bound that are from reclaimed leather and recycled paper, vintage notebooks that are created out of vintage (often library) books filled with 'no new trees' paper, and most recently I've begun creating hollowed books out of vintage books- these came out of a need to save the spine of the vintage book because it was the most beautiful part of the book.
I'm the only one who makes things in the shop though my husband ships everything and helps me with the paperwork. He's definitely a godsend at times when I'm ready to throw my hands up. The kids sometimes help me make buttons. Oh yes, buttons. I also have cards, photography, a few knits, and buttons up in the shop.
I like to use mostly reclaimed and recycled materials (hence the reclaimed leather and library books) simply because there are so many books out there (and other items) that can give new life to new books, so why not use them? Techniques? I love the long-stitch binding. There's something about that long exposed thread that makes it strong and gentle both at the same time.
What do you call yourself: Book Artist, Book Maker, Book Binder - or something else? I am a book maker and book binder. I do make books and though I wouldn't call spiral binding (my vintage notebooks) it is something a book binder does, the other kinds of binding that I do are: coptic, long stitch, japanese stab.
I am a book artist, too, but I don't sell my shop Artist's books in my shop. I have made quite a few, but they aren't something the general public is usually interested in - and honestly, they take a LOT more time and thought than I am able to give right now with an 8 month old screaming 'mamama' in my ear;)
Do you have special plans for your crafting and your shop for the future? New skills you would like to acquire, new techniques to learn, new materials to use, new ways for marketing and promotion to go? I would definitely like to learn a little more about how to make photo albums. The ones that I've made in the past have all been single sheets bound generally in the Japanese stab way or some variation and I would like to learn another technique that works for albums. I would also love to learn how to better market and promote my business, but I think that's something that comes with time, and well, there's never enough time.
An especially warm thank you, then, for spending some time to let us in to the secret live backstage of Conduit Press!
Thanks so much for this opportunity, it is is a pleasure to be a part of the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team and great experience getting to be interviewed in such a venue.