We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Ivy Daugherty. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Ivy below.
Ivy, appreciate you joining us today. Can you talk to us about how you learned to do what you do?
I have been crafty and creative my whole life, but it wasn’t until my mid 20’s when I really began to Blossom. When covid came in 2020, like many Americans, I was temporarily laid off. This seemed to be the motivation I needed to finally take the leap and create my Etsy shop An Altered State of Mind. Although I loved the things I made, I didn’t honestly think anyone else would .That is why I decided to sell vintage items as well. I figured if nothing else, it might at least help to fund my passion. My first 10 sales were all for vintage items. About 2 months in, my first handmade item sold! I was over the moon, I couldn’t believe it. Over the last two years, I have expanded my craft and fallen in love with the world of dolls. I have also learned more about myself than I have ever known. I feel like the everyday skills that I have learned over the years are the ones that come in the most handy when creating my kookie, weird, and beautiful art pieces. I wish someone would have told me a long time ago, not all art is typical, Art is what you make it. Sometimes, I still struggle with calling myself an artist. I feel more like a tinkerer. While there are certain skills that I have developed over time, there is still a lot of trial and error. I’ll get inspired by a random idea, or maybe even see someone else’s art and instead of googling how to do it, I just sit and begin experimenting. Sometimes I create something amazing and other times, I make a complete disaster. Either way, I learn and grow with each and every creation. I think the biggest obstacle still standing in my way is myself. Despite creating and running a successful Etsy shop and selling hundreds of my handmade items as well as thousands of vintage items and craft supplies, I still often compare myself to other artists, often doubting my abilities. That’s usually when I look back at all the art pieces I have sold and remind myself, even if I’m not as good as other artists, someone out there loved this piece enough to buy it and display it in their home. I can’t imagine a bigger honor than that.
Ivy, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I am not your typical crafter or artist. I consider myself to be a “Junk Artist” using up-cycled, recycled, salvaged and/or vintage materials, to make my art. I gather my materials from all over including garage sales, estate sales, auctions, and even down by my local river. I try to buy as few things as possible from an actual store. It began as an affordable way to make cute decor for my own home but now I see it as a way to help keep things out of the landfill. This does mean it can take me months to finish a project, but also makes my business more economically sustainable. I also try up-cycle as much of my packing materials as possible, helping to reduce my ecological footprint. Keeping the planet healthy for my children and future generations is extremely important to me.
Something else that’s very important to me is being true to myself, I don’t make things just because they are trendy, I create my art and decor based solely off whatever I am inspired by. Sometime I will look at an object be it a box, an old can or even just a random chunk of metal and something instantly takes shape in my minds eye. Then I bring it to life. Does this mean that sometimes, some items just wont sell, sure, but that’s not really the reason why I make my art. I make art because it’s my passion, it provides an escape and allows me to express myself in ways that I just can’t do with words. The fact that I get to sell it to help pay for my bills is just a bonus, not my driving focus.
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
I became a mom at a very young age. I got my GED and completed a semester of college and then got pregnant with my second child. After that I just couldn’t afford to go back, I also didn’t want to miss out on their childhood by trying to work and go to school full time. I always figured I could go back later, when they were older and didn’t want to spend time with mom. After being a stay at home mom for 6 years, I went back to work in the food industry. The first time one of my kids said, ” I want to grow up to be just like you and work at (such and such food place)”, it instantly broke my heart. I wanted to much more for them. I wanted to have a career, not just a job, that I could feel proud about. Today my 10 year old daughter will watch me work and say “I have to pay close attention, so that someday I can take over moms business” and I couldn’t be prouder! My dream is to have my online business turn into a physical one. A place where creatives, collectors and shoppers of all kinds can all come together. I’d love to have a shop where I can sell mine and others handmade treasures, as well as vintage items and unique craft supplies to inspire the next generation. A business I can hand down to my children.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being creative?
One of the most rewarding parts of being a selling artist, is getting to know my customers. I love getting to see the artwork that’s created using the craft supplies they’ve bought, seeing one of my own handmade creations on display in it’s new home, or hearing the back story of a vintage purchase. I love when a customer reaches out to me and I can read the excitement they have. The only thing better would be to actually see a customer come into my store, looking for a certain treasure and getting to see the look on their face when they find it.
I am honestly so proud of how much I’ve grown. Not just in my artistic abilities but my business as well. When I first started, I honestly didn’t think I would get very far. I figured I’d get frustrated and end up giving up after a few months. But I surprised my self and stuck to it, even when it has felt like I was failing, I pushed myself to keep going. It’s been two years since I began my crazy journey and I have currently had 2,811 sales! I have had the luxury of having amazing wonderful customers who come back, time and again. A couple even have my personal cell phone number! Because of starting this business, I have met and spoken with some amazing artists, crafters and just normal everyday people. I have had the amazing opportunity to help someone with replacing a treasures heirloom and providing birthday gifts for loved ones. There is so much more to owning a business than just making money. I enjoy every part of it. Okay, maybe not the marketing or book keeping part so much, but everything else about it is amazing. It is so much more satisfying than I could have ever possibly imagined. Helping customers find what they are looking for is very gratifying, even if it means recommending a different Etsy shop or supplier. Sometimes, I just don’t have what they are looking for but if I can point them in the right direction, I still feel like I have accomplished something.