We just love Etsy and helping support the many artists who sell there! Especially, Becky Strahle of Farmgirl Paints. If you have not had the pleasure of finding Becky Strahle on Etsy, or social media, or in person - well you are in for a treat! She's such an inspirational person, wife, mom and friend! Just follow her on Instagram and you'll see what we mean! Speaking of being so incredible- at the end of this interview you will find a Coupon Code to purchase your Farmgirl Paints items on Etsy...
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your beautiful family.
My name is Becky Strahle. I'm a 40 year old mother to two beautiful girls and wife of 21 years to my high school sweetheart. I was born and raised in the Midwest and moved two years ago to the Richmond, Virginia area.
When did you first begin designing and selling on Etsy?
My Etsy shop was a real leap of faith for me. I was a nervous wreck listing my art at first. I had a friend walk me through the set up and I remember listing my first few items...feeling completely exposed. I had art in there for awhile and then moved onto glass pendant necklaces...but nothing really took off until the cuffs came along. A few years ago I signed up for a class at a local bead supply shop. I went alone. I had never tried it and thought it looked fun. I LOVE words and thought that would be meaningful reminder jewelry. I loved the thought of making a bracelet or something I could see all the time. So I bought some supplies and figured out how to make my own cuffs...attaching the stamped part to the leather. I experimented with thrifted belts and just completely stumbled onto the greatest idea ever!!! Pretty soon I was making them for friends and family and it naturally progressed into my shop. I had NO IDEA it would grow and take off like it has. I credit IG/social media for the growth.
A while back the Lord told me to close my shop and make it occasional. I'm only open 10 days every other month or so. At first I was like UH GOD...no one's going to wait around on me to go shopping. They'll forget about me. They'll go somewhere else...but HE blew my socks off. Becoming occasional caused a frenzy. I have this cult like following and people just LOVE these word reminders... they are being used to share faith and love and hope and it seriously humbles me to have a little part in what HE is doing.
Obedience can be scary. It just is. There's a whole lot of jumping in clueless...blogging, meeting new people, opening a shop, learning photography, taking classes...starting a business with wholesale contracts and customers and now HELPERS!!! Possibly branching out with my first love of PAINTING!!! I am completely dependent on His mercy...His grace. It is only through Him that I'm able to achieve any amount of success. He has literally mapped out each step...preparing me for the next. Saving me from falling...leading me down this path and I just want to be obedient. I just want my life to be USED! That's my hearts desire to be open and spilled out for HIM!
How did you get started in your many artistic endeavors?
I'm completely self taught. I have no idea what I'm doing...thus the complete childlike look to my paintings:) My interest in creating art actually began while I was in college for Occupational Therapy. Our teacher would have us do craft projects, to learn how to break down the steps for our patients goals. But I fell in love with the crafts themselves. I'd never painted anything before and I fell more in love with the little projects she gave us. It was a whole new world. I started painting little name signs that Pottery Barn kids had in their catalog. Then moved onto some basic copying of other artists I admired...Bella Pillar etc...
Through another blogging friend I found myself flying to Idaho to attend an art retreat called Brave girl camp and learned the new joy of mixed media...so I started with a little girl series and then I eventually moved onto house paintings. I painted a picture for a friend of a house I saw in a magazine. It was adorable. I posted that on my blog and then from there started getting requests to make them. It was LABOR intensive. And I wasn't confident enough in my work to charge the appropriate price, so I eventually burned out and felt that God was telling me to shelf that for a bit. My inspiration now comes from Pinterest and magazines. I'll see barn scenes or critters photographs and it completely inspires me. I just go for it. The process is painful. It always looks awful before it looks good. I'm actually in the process of licensing my art into canvas prints for a website and providing prints/cards etc...for my own shop. It's a LONG time dream come true. I would also love to illustrate a children's book in the future. I feel like the skies the limit. You just have to keep moving forward. Keep inching along taking baby steps towards your dreams.
How has your faith helped you in your journey to making this dream come true?
He's always been my underlying reason for blogging/painting etc... I feel like life is meant to be shared and what better form of sharing then from behind a computer screen in the safety of my office. How many of us really go out gun blaring and talk about our faith with complete strangers. I know I don't, but to blend it in and share how He is helping me from day to day. How He is teaching me complete dependence through life situations...it resonates and people can completely relate. Because we've all been the new girl at one time or another. We've all been lonely, or scared to try something new. We've all gone through loss and heartache. And if I can share Jesus in the midst of my meltdowns. If I can show how He carries me through I'm pointing to Him...and I always want to be pointing to Him. He's the reason I'm here...my reason for being. Let my life matter Lord. My favorite quote is from Erma Bombeck...When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit