Monday, January 18, 2010

Featured Artist - Katiusca Polanco-Guzman of Humanidad

This week’s featured artist is EtsyNJ member Katiusca Polanco-Guzman of Humanidad, Katiusca has a way with fiber, offering hats, scarves, purses, bangles, and more (see some of her lovely items here)! Take a peek in her shop for something to take the chill out of winter.

1. The Tote Trove (TTT): Tell us about the inspiration behind your Etsy shop name, Humanidad.

Katiusca Polanco-Guzman (KPG): The name, Humanidad, which means humanity in Spanish, arose out of the idea that everyone is an inspiration to someone, whether they know it or not. I realized that many of my friends inspired me to make things, whether it was a hat, a scarf based on their favorite colors, or something else, such as a bag based on a need they expressed.

2. TTT: When did you begin knitting, crocheting, and sewing? What is it about the fiber arts that sparks your creativity?

KPG: I began crocheting around the age of 17. I would crochet sporadically throughout college. I started crocheting regularly while in law school. I mostly did it as a stress reliever, but as I made more things I began giving away the items as gifts. After a while, I started getting orders and opened up my own shop on Etsy. I still get many orders from Etsy. I began sewing and knitting about two years ago. I wanted to learn both to challenge myself. However, I mostly began sewing because I wanted to line the crocheted purses I made, and hand sewing wasn't really working for me. My mom, who knows how to sew, has taught me a lot. I decided I would learn to knit after that, mostly for fun and because I like the finished look of the knitted stitches. I took a class at FIT in New York. It was a really great experience. I learned to knit continental style because I'm a crocheter.

3. TTT: How did you decide to turn your passion for creating accessories into a business?

KPG: I turned my passion into a business when I was approached by friends and family to make accessories as gifts.

4. TTT: What is your favorite item in your shop?

KPG: Right now I have two favorite items: the tribal clutch and the knitted neck warmers. I love the neck warmers because they can keep you warm without the extra bulk.

5. TTT: What items, if any, would you like to add to your shop?

KPG: I would like to add more men's items, like beanies and ties. I also want to add mittens and a couple of clutches that I have floating in my head.

6. TTT: Describe your creative process. Do you follow a routine, create when inspiration strikes, or a little bit of both?

KPG: I do a little bit of both. Most of my creative juices flow while I'm at my day job (lawyering) or when I wake up in the morning. If I can, I write down my idea, or draw it out and then go home and try to create it.

7. TTT: What is the best thing about running your own business? The worst?

KPG: I think the best thing about running your own business is that you can make the rules. I also love the creative freedom that I don't have in my day job as a lawyer. The worst thing for me is marketing. I've done craft shows, ads, etc. I'm not a marketing person but I hope to change that and have my shop be more visible.

8. TTT: How did you discover Etsy?

KPG: My friend, who is a visual artist, told me about Etsy a few years ago.

9. TTT: Do you sell your work in venues outside of Etsy (i.e, other sites, craft shows, etc)? If yes, then how does selling online differ from selling in person?

KPG: I've tried to sell my items via other venues. I mostly sell through Etsy or to people who know me. Selling in person is definitely different and takes a lot of personality.

10. TTT: Who is most (emotionally) supportive of your business?

KPG: My husband, my daughter, and my friends. I have a great set of friends who love my work and promote me. My husband and daughter are my number one fans!

11. TTT: Are there any new artistic/creative skills you’d like to learn?

KPG: There are probably a billion out there. I love to make things, create new things, etc. But my current interests lie in learning to make a skirt and a shirt. I’m looking forward to some free flowing clothing for the summer.

12. TTT: Tell us about life outside of Humanidad. Do you have a job in addition to your business? Hobbies? Family? Pets?

KPG: As I mentioned, I'm a full time lawyer. I represent clients who cannot afford to pay for lawyers. I practice consumer law (bankruptcies, foreclosures, etc.). It’s rewarding and challenging work but not as creative as my other endeavors. I have a husband and a daughter. We have no pets, as we just aren't good with them. Also, I'm allergic to dogs and cats and probably anything else furry. I love to organize events, rooms, and other things. I'm into photography and baking and making jewelry for personal use.

13. TTT: What are your hopes for Humanidad in the future?

KPG: My hope in the future is to get my business more exposure. I'm working on marketing my products on and outside of Etsy. I would like to eventually sell items from my own web site. And hopefully quit my day job and pursue my creative desires.

14. TTT: BONUS QUESTION. Just for fun, if you were stranded on a deserted island and had to eat the same thing every day, what would it be? You can pick a drink and a dessert, too. (I find that dreaming up a whole meal makes this game more entertaining!)

KPG: If I were stranded on a deserted island, I would want to have flour. I think flour is so versatile. Because I like to bake and make breads and pizza, it would be perfect to experiment with it and the edible things I could find on an island. I could easily roll it into a ball with some sea water, strike up some branches, and cover it with leaves to bake it. Definitely fun!

Thanks for stopping by to find out more about Katiusca and Humanidad! Need to know more? Find her here:

We’ll see you back here next week for another illuminating featured artist installment.

Interested in being a featured artist or know someone who would? Then drop me a line at, and I’ll make it happen! :)


Made by Melissa said...

Very interesting interview! And a great shop!

trentongal said...

Great feature- it's so interesting to read about all the creative people on Etsy

The Tote Trove said...

Thanks for reading. And I know what you mean; I'm always stumbling upon new artists, even within our own little NJ group. It keeps things interesting!

Laura, Pet Scribbles said...

Great interview - fun questions! I can't believe a full-time lawyer has any time at all, let alone time to make such gorgeous items! :)) Impressive!