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Artist profile: Krystal Backer

Krystal Backer
Business name: MonkeyBuns
Location: Mason City, Iowa

Websites & Blog:
MonkeyBuns etsy shop
MonkeyBuns facebook
Krystal Backer blog

Krystal, how do you describe your work…and why MonkeyBuns?
MonkeyBuns is my son’s nickname. I started making jewelry when I was up to feed him at night so it seemed only natural to name my business after him. I would describe my work as unique and on the cuff of being outside the box.

What is your creative process like?
I have a few ways of working. Some times I make sketches of projects if they come up at a weird time like just before bed. Mostly I see the finished piece in my head and go from there. Sometimes the piece ends up the way I saw it in my head sometimes not. I usually have the TV on when I’m working but find I’m a lot more productive if I listen to music. I especially find I’m creative when listening to the Beatles or 90’s music. I tend to work on a project of a span of time. I work 2 jobs and have a son so as much I as wish I had hours on end to create I just don’t.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I am as self taught as I can be using other people’s tutorials. I have not taken any formal classes although I’d love to. I never set out to become a jewelry designer I just originally wanted something to do when after I was done feeding my son in the middle of the night. I lack the ability to just go back to sleep after waking up. Eventually there came a time when I had to many jewelry pieces so I started selling them.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
The one tool I depend on a lot is my bead trays. My favorite material is Delica Beads.

What inspires you to create?
My son mostly inspires me. He’s very artistic himself and his energy really inspires me. I find inspiration in other random things like nature or a floor rug. Being an artist tends to make me look at things different.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
I am very lucky that I belong to a great group on Etsy, JETS. This group of ladies is just awesome about helping each other get through our frustrations and disappointments.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
I would tell them that the first year is rough. No matter how great of a product you have it takes time to get seen in the sea of other great artist. You have to be willing to market yourself other wise you’ll drown in that sea.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
My son is a huge priority in my life. I spend as much time with him as I can which often means that I don’t get time to create until he goes to bed. I also work so that takes up a lot of my time.

What’s your favorite comfort food?
My favorite comfort food is food my mom made me while I was growing up.

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