Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Interview with Judy Goddard

Hi everyone! My name is Judy Goddard and I’ve been selling on Etsy since April of 2008.

I've written my article in the form of an interview using the questions posted on the IA backroom blog. So... here I go!

The name of my shop is
Judy A Goddard. (JudyAGoddard.Etsy.com) I’m currently in the process of moving my items to their own shops with their own names.

After several false starts I have finally found the things that work for me. I am making and selling canvas growth charts and hand painted inspirational puzzle canes.

I started painting growth charts in 2002. My growth charts are all completely hand constructed and each is an original design. They are priced at $45.00 Their new shop name will be;


My Inspirational Puzzle Canes begin with unfinished hard wood canes that I purchase wholesale and then stain, paint and varnish myself. All of the design elements are my own original art, except for the special orders I get that may incorporate a school logo or the like.

What makes an inspirational puzzle cane a puzzle cane? I weave phrases of scripture or ancient prayers into them in such a way that if you don’t know the key, they are very difficult to read. But once you have the key they are very easy to read.

They range in price from $40.00 up to $120.00. Their new shop name will be ; leaningonthepromises.etsy.com

I only started painting canes a little over a year ago. My godmother went on a cruise through the Panama Canal and needed a cane. She asked me to paint one for her that would draw attention and give her opportunities to share her faith with others. So, I painted one covered with different symbols of Christ and Christianity. She loves it!

I am a very, very nearsighted person. I’ve worn glasses since I was two years old. I’ve tried contact lenses but they have never been a good fit and, I have discovered, as they do not help me in the choice of art I create. I love painting little tiny, intricate things; rose buds, lady bugs, snowflakes, daisies, butterflies. In order to do this I have to get my nose right up to the painting surface. Contacts didn’t allow me to do that.

Describe the feeling you get when you create a piece you love.

As a 51 year old woman with two adult children struggling their way to adulthood, I have discovered that the hours that I spend in my studio consume me in a way that that delights me as nothing else ever has. You’ve heard the expression, “ The hours fly like minutes”? Well, it’s true! My afternoons consumed in painting take me away!

When I have completed a cane, growth chart, or painting, and I stand back to scrutinize how well I’ve done, I amaze me! I cannot believe I have reached a place, inside myself, that can look at what I have created and be absolutely delighted with it! That’s not supposed to happen, right? Aren’t we supposed to never be satisfied with our work? Don’t get me wrong... I make lots of mistakes and have to fix lots and lots of boo boos. But the feeling that I get when I have done the best job I can and it has come out exactly as I have envisioned it, makes me feel exulted!

Whose art/craft do you really admire?

Whose work do I admire? Here in IA, everyone! But I do have to say that I am partial to Grannie Annie and her Whimsey Asylum.


In the greater world of timeless art I love Maxfield Parrish, Arthur Rackhum, Susan Jeffers. I guess I’m an illustrative kind of gal.

Where else do you sell your creations? What do you find works best?

Besides on Etsy, I sell my works at high end craft shows, (Right now that means Sugarloaf Shows) and through word of mouth. I am hoping to build enough confidence to take on more big shows all over the country.

What art/craft supplies can’t you do without?

As far as art supplies goes, I cannot live without my Apple Barrel paints! I know they are really inexpensive, but their wonderful, loose quality is perfect for me! I have not found another paint that flows so well. I only buy red, blue, yellow, green, black, white, gold and silver. Part of my process is mixing my own colors. That’s why everything seems to get along with each other. (Does that make sense?)

Have you always been creative?

I’ve been an artist my whole life. I can’t remember a time when I did not have a pencil in my hand. Before kindergarten I was drawing horses and continued drawing horses right through high school. My mom was an artist. My son is one too. My father and daughter, each, were/are writers.

Having grown up in a poor, extremely dysfunctional family, art was an escape, in much the same way it is now. There was no talk of college or art school. I was married when I was 18 years old and settled into stay at home motherhood at 22. When my daughter was 2, in 1990, I began to dabble in professional art as a batik artist, selling t shirts to pay my way through community college, where I graduated with an AA, summa cum laude.

How do you keep the ideas coming? Where do you go for inspiration? Who inspires you?

How do I keep the ideas coming? I believe that God has a plan for me. I believe He guides me in the direction He wants me to go. I believe that if I listen to Him, my life will flow, rather than go jouncing along. He is my inspiration. He has placed me in my own little slice of paradise, that is my 16 acre farm on the edge of the Pine Barrens, in New Jersey. The nearest thing to heaven that I know! The beauty of His creation is a constant source of inspiration.

Where would you like to be artistically in one year, five years?

Right now my goal is to make enough at my next Sugarloaf show to firmly place my steps on the path to the next big show. As always, it’s a learning thing.

As I peer into the future I know that I would like to be able to sell my work myself at shows all over the country. I’ve always thought that traveling with DH would be such a cool thing! It would be nice to reach a place where I make more than just the amount to justify keeping going. And now I think I may have hit on the things that will provide an actual income.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to explore their creative side?

Advise for the artistic masses? S..T..R..E..T..C..H..!! don’t be content with what you do. Take the chance to see how much MORE you can do! Go bigger! Go smalle

r! Be intricate! Paint your dreams! Be consumed!

The art that I create serves me in two special ways;

  1. I have always been a kind of “Function Follows Form” artist. I love that I can create something that is useful and beautiful.
  2. I love the concept of “Something From Nothing”. I can take a yard of canvas and some paint and make something extraordinary! I can take a plain wooden stick and do the same thing! As a fiber artist, I can take a fleece and turn it into a garment. As a potter I can dig the clay from ground and make a beautiful, useful bowl. How cool is that??

Why should customers buy your art/creation (What is so special about handmade?)

I think that my art has a signature to it. I think that, in time, folks will be able to look at a cane and say, “ Wow! That’s a Judy Goddard cane! Where did you get it??”

Do you find it hard to part with your art/creations?

I have no problem with selling and giving my pieces away. It thrills me to receive notes telling me how much someone loves my work. And I often say, upon selling a piece ( or losing it!) It’s all right! I’ll make another one!

At my last show several people asked for canes with no writing. So, when I go in March, I’ll have a section just for them. I’ve also begun to make my growth charts longer. They used to go up to 5 feet. Now they go up to 6 1/2 feet. And I’m putting together a more professional looking display.

My next great idea is to continue my gorilla paintings. I want to make enough of them to put together a wall calendar. That’s if I have the time!



Shelinwa said...

Love getting to know you better RIGHT ON I love it and we are very much alike!!!

Tammy said...

Great interview, Judy. I love that you are making progress towards what art makes you happy and is sellable. You seem to be smart in only choosing 3 things, your growth charts, the canes and a calendar. I am all over the place. You are very talented and I think it's great you are doing shows and hope to travel all over the country with your husband. That would be so much fun. It is so nice getting to know you better. I am glad you are in a happy place in your life. It comes through.

artangel said...

Great interview Judy! I love the idea behind your puzzle canes, it's so creative, and your new shops are very exciting!

I know exactly what you mean about becoming so involved in your art that the hours fly by!

I hope your dream of travelling around the country with your DH and your wonderful work comes true - and I'm pretty sure it will!

Judy Goddard said...

Thank you so much, Shel, Tammy and Angie! I had a good time writing it, and, yes! I am in a happy place... at least as far as my art is concerned! ( in most other areas too!)

Stephanie Mealor Corder said...

Wow, Judy, it was so nice to learn more about you and your art! You already know that my favorites of your work are the gorilla series- I think they would make for a brilliant calender. Especially if you incorporated your "gorilla lore" into them!
Also, I really enjoyed hearing the story behind the puzzle canes- I didn't understand what made them puzzles before and now I do!

IM GIRL said...

Aside from your beautiful work, I knew you were this amazing person.
We all have baggage don't we? But God helps us to empty those bags every time we try to fill them back up with unnecessary things that take our focus off of his plans for us. Keep your bags empty and your blessing full. I love your all your canes and your gorilla...well he just makes me happy!
Keep doing what you love girlfriend!


Magpie said...

I enjoyed this interview Judy! I loved getting to know more about you. You live in such a beautiful spot, I'm sure it helps keep you inspired! I liked hearing the story behind your puzzle canes. Like Stephanie, I did wonder why they were puzzles :) I hope you do the gorilla calendar, I think people will love it!

priti.lisa said...

Hi Judy, this was so much fun to read...I always admired your canes, but I never realised the had a puzzle scripture on them...fascinating. I think the calander is such a good idea.

pat said...

great interview Judy! I, like the other gals now know the secret to the canes. a super cool and unique idea. I think it's probably a good idea to have separate shops. your items will stand out more for their uniqueness. nice to know you better! warm wishes for success!

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