I’ve been a fan of Dana Suster’s handmade goods for quite some time now. It seems like more and more of her items from her Etsy shop end up on my personal Etsy Favorites page all the time now. I got in touch with Dana recently, and she graciously agreed to do an interview with me so I could learn more about her and her work. So read the interview below, then check out all her incredibly fun and addictively adorable creations!
How and when did you get started with creative arts?
I have always loved making things! When I was a little girl I would make clothing for my dolls and sew miniature bed sheets with matching pillows. When I finished high school I moved to Chicago to attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I graduated with a BFA in Fiber Material Studies. Finding the fiber department was like a dream come true! I couldn’t believe that things like sewing and other handy crafts could be considered ‘fine art’. All my art work was large sculpture, but on my free time I would go to the studio and silk screen shirts and patches and things for myself and my friends. I would also make pillows, curtains, wall art, and just about anything else to decorate the various apartments I’ve lived in.
I’m inspired by anything and everything! I love bright color combinations and anything that is beautiful and eye-catching. Some of the most influential things in my work come from my favorite artists, including David Altmejd (who is my very favorite), Andy Warhol, Eva Hesse, Darrell Morris, Kiki Smith, Rob Pruitt, Damien Hirst, & Lee Bontecou… just to name a few. I also find inspiration in movies and music. Most recently, my favorite movie is Eagle vs. Shark (so cute and funny) and my favorite song is Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.
As for the retro feel that some of my work has—I just can’t get enough of that kind of thing! I have always had a love of nostalgia and anything that has a history to it. I also have a vintage shop on Etsy called Tiger Vintage, in which I sell all kinds of vintage goodies. I sometimes think I’m addicted to vintage.
What are your favorite mediums to work with? Is there a medium you want to try that you haven’t yet?
Favorite technique: silk screening
I love silk screening! It’s my favorite thing to do. I made my own makeshift studio in my apartment and it has been going pretty well even though I do miss having a big studio with all the bells and whistles, like in Chicago. As for a medium I haven’t tried—that’s a hard one since I always want to know how to make and do everything! I took a class on casting silver jewelry and I would just love to be able to learn more and make more in that medium.
What’s the DIY/Craft scene like in Milwaukee?
I recently moved here so I can’t say I’m an expert in the D.I.Y. scene in Milwaukee, but from what I can tell it’s pretty fantastic! Lots of Indie shops. If you look up Milwaukee shops on Etsy you will find some really unique and beautiful things!
What’s the origin of the name Magical Pony Farm? Why did you choose it?
The semester before I graduated, the inevitable question of “What are you going to do now?” kept coming up. Truthfully, I had no idea, but saying ‘I don’t know’ got a little boring, so I started telling people that I was going to open a miniature pony farm and have hundreds of tiny horses for people to come look at. Anyone who knows me at all knows I still ask for a pony every year on my birthday. I did the next best thing: Opened up my own little Magical Pony Farm—right there on Etsy!