Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Interview with the artist behind Midnight Boudoir

If you have ever taken time to really explore Etsy...you will find many talented artists.  You may find a skillful painter, a phtographer with an eye that evokes emotion, a  designer with whimsy for the child in you, or an artist that takes you back to a certain time or place.  I have met the later.  Her name is Glenda Weitz and her art will take you to good ol New Orleans to a time when women were flapppers, men wore tailored suits with their hair parted in the middle and cabarat was the talk of the town.  Glenda designs, produces, owns and runs Midnight Boudoir out of the state of Massachucetts, but will tell you her heart is still in New Orleans where she once lived. Her shop is full of sensuality, romance, and class.  I have had the great privilege to get to know her and interview her.

Glenda can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
"I have had the great and wonderful fortune of traveling the world, living internationally (I grew up in Taiwan and Hong Kong), living in several different states, and have been exposed to all types of cultures, food, and art. I am also obsessed with creating things, from silly little sand castle forts (it’s what I still do on beaches, and I am in my 30’s), architectural designing (I once created and participated in the construction and interior design of a New Orleans mansion), interior decorating, painting large canvasses, to making hair accessories. It is quite an expansive love of creating.

I totally understand that! I always say creativity consumes me.  I am either writing music, singing, acting, painting, designing or constructing clothes. Now I know you are passionate about something else too...
"I am also an avid believer in health care reform on a preventative level, changes in health care education, and above all, pediatrics. In my other non-etsy life I am a nurse with big goals of furthering my health care career and education into one where I can make a large impact for those who desperately lack access to proper health care."

How did you get started on making these beautiful feathered hair pieces or accessories rather?

"Well, first off I should say that I’ve always loved making crafts, drawing, and painting. I was that girl in school that would doodle on all of her school notes, and come up with all kinds of ideas for a new project. I believe that my love for making hair accessories came from my family. My father taught me to draw flowers and how to work with colors. One of his first jobs was working in the millinery business way back when wearing a hat was a social ‘must’. He then went on to become one of the founders of the silk flower industry. He had even changed the fabric by which the silk flowers were made of. Once upon a time, the dye from silk flowers would run each time it rained; not a good thing for a woman caught suddenly in the rain!

One day, while shopping in New York City, I came across a gorgeous peacock fascinator. It was simple really, a peacock feather pad with a little jewel at the bottom. I just had to buy it. I really loved the fascinator, it was gorgeous, elegant, reminiscent of an older time, and actually looked good on me (I look a little silly in most hats- kind of like a smurf). I figured out how to make one. And as they say, the rest is history."

Wow...sounds like the arts are in your blood.  What inspires you?
"I have several inspirations. My love of color and things that sparkle, my father, and my mother’s incredible ability to make phenomenal flower arrangements. Truly, I have never seen flower arrangements quite like hers. I also love theater and burlesque. I always found that cabarets were so much fun, beautiful, and a celebration of the female form in a sensual and whimsical way. I love the huge feather fans that they dance with and the giant headdresses that you see in both shows and in costumery. In New Orleans, during Fat Tuesday, the Tuesday after the Mardi Gras weekend (when most of the raunchy debauchery was gone), we would walk around the french quarter in many of the parades, and I was astounded by some of the most creative costumes you see in the streets. In fact, it is said that a true New Orleanian will always have a closet specifically designated for costumes. I was no exception. I wanted to go beyond the realm of costumery; I decided to make fascinators that any woman could wear, day or night.

I think ever woman is looking for a little pizazz to dress up that date night dress or night out at the club.  No matter how old you are or whether you are single or married, I think we women love a little bit of sparkle or wow factor.  I understand you are a nurse by day, is that why you give to charity through your shop? How does that work?
"I am a nurse by day, however, it is not my reason for giving to charity with each and every sale that I make. I have always been a volunteer for different causes. I feel that it is important to give to the community at large. I have also devoted over a year and a half of my life to service in Nicaragua and South Africa (public health education, and providing health care services). I continue to volunteer when I am able to based on my schedule.
"With each sale, I donate 10% of my proceeds to a selection of different charities. I add up the totals for each charity that the seller chooses, and when it reaches $10 dollars, I send a check to the charity. I am so thrilled about this part of my store because I feel that everyone wins out in the end. The buyer knows that they are helping a worthwhile cause (as do I), and the charity makes good use of the donation. Everyone is happy."

That is so awesome!  We need more people in this world to give back. My passion is Cancer and Spina Bifida so those are the charities I give to through my shop...but when I saw what you are doing with the idea of letting the customer choose the charity of their choice, I thought ,"why didn't I think of that???" lol

Switching gears so we can see a bit about who you are...If you were a color what color would you be and why?
"I am a huge color person, so this is a hard question for me to answer. But if I did only have one choice, it would be green. I love nature, especially spring, when the first grasses and leaves awake from the long cold sleep. It is also the time where many animals give birth to their babies. It is a joyful time and a true celebration of life."

When I asked Glenda to share with us her favorite pieces from her collection she responded,
"Some of my very favorite pieces are the ones that I give to my family and friends. I say that because I specifically tailor the pieces to that person’s personality and tastes. It’s a lot of fun. My favorite pieces that I have posted online are my portrait of a butterfly (it is a homage to victorian avant garde), my peacock feather hair comb, and the Chinese brocade flower fascinator (so Edwardian!)."

Glenda is looking forward to expanding her creative horizons into a variety of feather pieces for masquerades, pet costumes, and feather adornment on other accessories and items.  She is in the process of planning a blog with bi-weekly giveaways, monthly specials, DIY projects and lots more information and fun.  So look out for all that. 
You can find Midnight Boudoir on etsy.com  at this link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/midnightboudoir

One can see in the pictures how much artistic workmanship, love, and passion she puts into each original and one of a kind item.  Midnight Boudoir offers a wide range of prices too, anywhere from  nine dollars up to seventy five dollars.  This makes it so that anyone can afford to to have a little midnight in their boudoir.  :)

Add a little Mardi Gras to your life!!!

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