Designer of the Week - Sweet Imaginations

This week meet Susan Van Horn of Sweet Imaginations. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Jack, two daughters, ages 8 and 5.

See Susan's current eBay auctions: sweet imaginations and add Sweet Imaginations to your favorite eBay sellers list: Click Here:

JM: Susan, when did your interest in painting start?

SUSAN: As soon as I could hold a paintbrush! I've always loved art. When I was in kindergarten, the high school art teacher came to our school with a huge giraffe the high school kids made for us with papier-mache. We all were to create a picture of the giraffe to send to the him as a thank you. The art teacher called my mom at home to tell her he thought I had a future in art as he was so impressed with my picture. I've seen this famous picture and didn't think it was anything too phenomenal for a 5 year old, but it's a fun story since I now am a working artist.

JM: Are there other artists that inspire you?

SUSAN: I love so many artists it would be impossible to mention them all. I love all the little details Mary Engelbreit puts into her designs, I love the unique creativity Michelle Trent of tortoise*and*hare*clothier uses in her applique designs, and I love all children's book illustrators. I find that my favorite children's books tend to be those with the most beautiful art. The pictures are as important to the story as the words... pictures can tell the story on their own.

JM: When did you start selling your designs on eBay? Do you sell anywhere else besides eBay?

SUSAN:I've been selling on ebay since 1998, but started selling my paintings in January of 2003. My husband gave me oil paints, canvases, an easel, and permission to turn a bright corner of our basement into my little art studio for a Christmas present. His intentions were for me to create "grown up" art for our home. My girls both had fairy princess bedrooms and I really wanted art to match...so I made it myself. I had so much fun painting little girl pictures that I didn't want to stop, so tried some pieces on ebay and was thrilled that they sold! I also sell my paintings at www.blossomst.com in my Arbor shop and accept occasional custom orders via my mailing list.

JM: Do you remember the first item you sold on eBay? How much did it sell for?

SUSAN: I think it was a set of two 11x14 princesses which were patterned after a princess doll from Pottery Barn Kids...one blonde and one brunette. The set sold for around $30. I still have the photographs of my earliest designs and cringe at the art...my style has really improved since first starting three years ago! Practice definitely helps!!!

JM: How did come up with your name, Sweet Imaginations?

SUSAN: Finding a good name on ebay that isn't already taken is difficult. I spent hours trying out names I liked and sweetimaginations was the first that fit well with children's art and wasn't taken. My art is inspired by the imaginations of sweet little girls, so the name was perfect. My website is www.mysweetimaginations.com, because sweetimaginations was already taken...by a company that sells little girls bedroom furnishings! I thought that was a funny coincidence.

JM: Do you belong to any boutique group?

SUSAN: I am a member of the Threadin' Betties. Michelle Trent (tortoise*and*hare*clothier) and I chatted a bit about our art and designs and hit it off in the summer of 2004, which led to my invitation to join. I love that we are a tight knit group with high standards. Everyone is so creative and original....and fun! We all get along so well and have similar interests and values when it comes to design. I love each and every one of the Betties and feel so honored and priveleged to be associated with them.

JM: What is your favorite thing to paint?

SUSAN: Fairies. I love painting fancy little dresses, transparent wings, and imagining the world a tiny fairy experiences. My favorite fairy painting is one in my daughter's room...she is riding on a frog as though he were a horse. It was one of my first paintings and I still love it.

JM: If you could learn some new skills, what would they be?

SUSAN: I would love to take some art classes at a local gallery here. I took art in high school and had a few classes when I was just out of college. I was amazed at what I could create with a little instruction. I would love to take my art to a new level....and work more on my "grown up" art for our home so my husband would stop asking me when I was going to paint something for HIM!

JM: What was your first job? How much did you earn?

SUSAN: I worked at an athletic shoe store owned by a friend of the family...The Sports Scene. I think I earned a little under $4/hour...minimum wage. Shortly after I started I was left alone one afternoon and was robbed. It wasn't a scary robbing...but a crafty one. A group of teens from a neighboring town came in and were browsing around. One boy wanted to try on shoes...he wasn't liking the fit or style, so I kept having to go in the back and get him different pairs. When I came back after several tries, they were all gone...and worn out, used shoes were in all the boxes and clothing was missing from racks. It didn't scare me...it just made me mad because I was pretty sure this was going on while I was helping them but had no idea what to do. Turns out I probably did the safest thing in just acting like everything was fine, then calling the owner and the police.

JM: What other things do you enjoy besides painting?

SUSAN: I love crocheting, scrapbooking, gardening, piano, cooking, and jewelry design. I took lessons in jewelry design at a local artisan shop when it first opened next to my daughter's school. I've now been creating jewelry for children and adults for over a year and sell my designs on both eBay and Blossom Street.

JM: Anything else you would like to add?

SUSAN:I have been a huge fan of Journal Modiste since it first opened it's doors. I have found many new favorite designers from browsing through the featured accessories and banner ads and love reading about the featured weekly designers. Thank you so much for inviting me to be one of them!

Do you have a question that you are dying to ask Susan? Comment about something she said or designed? Post it here and she will answer it!

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Comments

| Thursday, November 30, 2006 9:31 AM | flag
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| Sunday, December 4, 2005 11:22 PM | flag
My daughter is desperate for a horse painting for her birthday. Her birthday is in June so I am saving up now. Can't wait to own one your paintings!

Susan (sweetimaginations) | Thursday, December 1, 2005 1:57 PM | flag
Thank you, Robin! I have painted aprons, totes, and suitcases for my own girls, but never for sale to others. I have contemplated it, though! Perhaps it's something I should pursue in the new year!

Robin (my3luvbugz) | Thursday, December 1, 2005 12:08 PM | flag
Susan, you are an amazing artist-I love your work. Have you ever painted your artwork on clothing?

Some past Sweet Imaginations Designs

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