When I joined etsy several months ago, one of my most favorite discoveries of all time was Terry Graziano's shop. She designs the most amazing hats I have ever seen and I often visit her shop just to drool and window shop, picturing which outfits would go best with her many different styles. Not only are her creations sleek and ultra stylish from every angle... I love that they are so incredibly versatile--a characteristic you normally don't attribute to hats! I've never been a hat person (basebal caps during my sporty days in college doesn't count), but one of my new ambitions in life is to become one, just so I can wear Terry's hats. So as soon as I go back to my day job where I'm not in "mom gear" 100% of the time, I will have the best dressed cranium that my clients have ever seen!
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A random fun fact about yourself:
My childhood idol was Carol Burnett and on Saturday nights, my dad would let me stay up late to watch her show. My best friend Jill, and my sixth grade teacher Mrs. K, were big fans too. Every Monday at recess, Jill and I would perform the entire show from memory for Mrs. K. She would laugh in all the right places, and it made me want to be an actress and comedienne for real someday.
What's your favorite read of all time?
Fiction: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Non-fiction: Mary Cantwell’s trilogy “Manhattan Memoir”
Any guilty pleasures?
The Lawrence Welk show. Seriously – those costumes! those hairstyles! those ridiculous song set-ups! Love it!!
If you could be any place in the world right now, where would it be?
Paris, always Paris
(Ok, now onto business)
How would you describe your work?
Audrey Hepburn meets Judy Jetson.
How long have you been at it?
On and off since about 1991, but obviously not yet long enough!
So for you, is it an innate talent or practice makes perfect?
Oh, definitely practice! I take an average amount of talent, add lots of hard work, and keep trying until I get lucky.
From where/how do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere, in nature, art, architecture, industrial design, etc. I’m especially inspired by silhouettes, whether it’s a tree against the sky, or the shape of someone walking toward me on the street. Often it’s a trick of the eye, where I think I’m seeing one thing when I’m far away, and it’s very intriguing. Up close it may not be anything interesting at all, but I hold on to the far away.
What was your most memorable creative experience?
My first costume design job. It was for a small theatre company in Philadelphia, and it was not only the first time someone paid me to design something, but also the first time I felt like I may actually have a thimbleful of talent. I stretched myself far beyond what I thought I was capable of, and I learned so much! Our production ended up winning Philly’s first regional theatre award for costume design and we were up against much bigger companies with much bigger budgets, so it was incredible validation for me.
What do you do when your inspiration and creativity is tapped?
Take a break, go for a walk, go to a museum, read a book, cook something. I try to allow myself the space to not create for a while, and to give myself a chance to refill the well.
Any memorable low points that you've learned from?
Oh yeah. Probably the lowest were when I’ve had to set aside my design work and toil away in dead-end office jobs to make a living. It’s happened more times than I care to remember, but it makes me really cherish the life I have now.
What is your formula for success?
I’m still tinkering with the recipe, but for me the most important ingredient is to simply show up every day and remember that talent is a gift that’s meant to be shared.
Was there a moment when you realized that you'd achieved success?
Every time a customer writes to tell me how much they love their new hat! If the hat inspires them, helps them feel beautiful, and brings them joy, then I feel like I’ve done my job.
Any advice for those having a bad case of artist woes?
1. Be nicer to yourself: talk to yourself the way you would to your best friend if she/he was struggling.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others: your path is uniquely yours.
3. Seek out and surround yourself with positive, supportive people: listen to them and let them love you.
4. Most importantly: breathe and surrender.
When not hard at work on your designs, what would we most likely find you doing?
Thinking about them.
In a parallel universe where you are not an amazing artist, what would you be?
I’d love to work in a museum doing costume conservation. It would satisfy my artsy, geeky and introverted sides all at once!
What are some of your favorite etsy shops?
So many, it’s difficult to narrow down! A few of my current obsessions, in no particular order are:
Clothing: 13threads, sohomode
Knits: tickledpinkknits, olivebrown
Jewelry: envejewelry (I didn't pay her to say this, I promise), tinctory, jennifermorrisbeads, wearnoevil
Art: roadside, kikiandpolly
What's at the top of your etsy wish list?
A high-waisted pure patchwork pencil skirt from sohomode.
Any suggestions for my next featured artist?
And last but not least, as a fun tribute to my inner psychologist, I had to throw in this final question....
What might this be?
A Parisian in a snow drift.
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Thank you for your time, Terry!