Being all about details, Gretchen Tisch of Cobleskill, found Etsy when she was searching for a pair of owl earrings to match a jacket she had made. Upon finding Etsy, she also found a whole new list of possibilities for herself and the things she had been creating. She browsed the website for a while at first, but she did open her own shop, Catch a Turtle, and she hasn't looked back since. The shop slogan is "Catch a Turtle, Catch a Dream" and Gretchen feels you can do just that when you have one of her recycled art products.
"The whole idea to my shop is that I recycle already existing materials and work with what I have or find..." -- Gretchen Tisch
The purpose for the shop name came from a hobby her family does, which they call "turtling." The concept is that they pack some snacks, go canoing in a nice pond, and search for turtles. If they found one, they'd sneak up on it and try to catch it in their nets so they could study its markings to define what kind of turtle it was. This activity has been a part of who Gretchen is her whole life, that even her parents sent a picture in for her high school year book captioned, "Gretchen, always looking up...catch a turtle, catch a dream."
Receiving inspiration from all things nature, Gretchen loves to use old materials for making something new. She enjoys the idea of owning something no one else has and so she rarely sells the original piece she's created. All of the items she has listed on Etsy are recreated for the customer as they envision. When she is creating a piece for someone else, she keeps in mind to not get too attached to it and to use materials that aren't too sentimental for her.
She finds that art is everywhere she looks, even when she's at work teaching her dance students and art students. Everything in her home is handmade that she considers herself not only an artist, but a fashion designer. She is also a musician, performing Irish and Bluegrass music, as she is part of her family band known locally as The Tisch Family Band. She receives inspiration from this and working at various venues.
"My art comes from my heart." -- Gretchen Tisch
She likes to travel to different places in search of wildlife, scenery, small towns, people, and styles that will interest her. She usually doesn't go on vacation to popular destinations, rather she goes looking for things that might influence her work. She enjoys browsing through antiques and flea markets, and likes to use some of her vintage findings in her modern art.
Gretchen originally got her start creating things from old pieces when she wanted a couch in her bedroom. Her parents denied the request, but Gretchen was stubborn and rummaged through their woodshed and a cedar chest for pieces she could use to make one herself.
"If I wanted something bad enough, I'd always teach myself to somehow make it, and this has always been my creative thinking process." -- Gretchen Tisch
She's gone on to create many things that she wants, but can't have or find. She created herself a pair of colorful boots and a rug for her bedroom because she couldn't find any that really caught her eye or looked like she had imagined. She feels that when she went to Asheville, NC with her family during the summer of 2011, she was really inspired to make her Etsy shop reflect who she is as a person. The cool, crisp mountain air and vast colors of the city really helped to give her a distinct view of the world through her own eyes and see everything the way she does.
She does sell her product on Ebay sometimes, as well, but usually it's just Etsy or through her portfolio website. She plans to have some of her work available at local boutiques, craft fairs, and farmers markets but she doesn't have exact dates yet. To keep up to date on when where her products will be available, you can visit her portfolio website by clicking here.
"I create all kinds of custom pieces and would love you to welcome my art into your home." -- Gretchen Tisch
Don't forget to check out the slideshow video of her creations at the top left of the article, featuring music performed by The Tisch Family Band.
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