Artist: Erin Zamrzla
Web sites: erinzam.com, erinzam.etsy.com, erinzam.com/blog
Location: Hays, Kansas, USA
What do you create?
Hand-bound books and paintings and more.
Where and when do you do your creative work?
Here and there. I have a small studio where I paint and I will shamelessly sew books anywhere... especially when waiting in line.
Do you have another "day job"?
As of yet, nope! I recently completed graduate school. In the meantime I've had enough of a taste of "self-employment" to cause me to take my sweet time in entering the rat race.
Where and what did you study?
With an emphasis in graphic design, I also studied painting and art history at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.
Where do you find inspiration?
All over... often in the little things that I see and use every day. I love giving a new purpose to something that's considered mundane or even junk. I'm also very inspired by the artists in my life, especially my husband. He is a designer and illustrator who is always creating something fantastic. Here's a shameless plug for his cool website at benschlitter.com.
What motivates you?
Internally, I have a little creativity motor that must keep running. If it stops, I get grouchy.
When did you start doing this?
I first learned bookbinding about seven years ago through a college course. For some reason, I never took a painting class until I entered graduate school. When it was time to choose a minor, I picked the one that would irritate my sensitive skin the least... and fell in love with acrylic paint.
Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
It kind of happened accidentally. I taught a book design class when I was a graduate student and as I created examples to assist my students, the books began to pile up. I thought I'd try to rid myself of them via Etsy. It didn't take long for me to realize that I could continue to make books (and other stuff) and not have to store them (yay!).
How did you choose the name for your business?
I couldn't think of anything cute or clever and my last name is virtually unpronounceable. So, I went with a non-cute/clever abbreviation of my name.
What do you love most about creating your work?
As much as I love the process, there is something extremely satisfying about completing a project.
What's the most fascinating place you've been?
Israel... it is a country full of contrast and mystery.
A book you love:
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
Interesting... or strange? I grew up in a town of less than 300 people in the middle of Kansas. I went to space camp. I don't eat beef, even though I'm surrounded by cattle ranches. I have an affinity for contemporary Icelandic music. I love going to grocery stores.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Anytime someone enjoys something that I created.
What advice would you give women starting their own business?
Take a good inventory of your goals and your personal needs. Once you know that you're headed in the right direction, give it your best shot! Things change quickly and often, so it is important to be flexible and willing to learn.
What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
Creating is the easy part. Keeping my mess to a minimum is a challenge.
What do you love to do in your free time?
I love to cook and I love to eat! Thank goodness I also love to ride my bike.
What are you working on right now?
I'm just about done with a book made from a fantastically cheesy Tiffany cassette tape.