Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Say "Hi" to trees not just hug them!

Wild trees, colorful mushrooms and bloody neck unicorns are just some of the fun art work that Tina Rodas makes in her Hitree studio in Highland Park located on Ave 50.
Rodas left her home in Jacksonville, Fla. and headed west to L.A. "The energy out here was so creative. Many people are making art and have more opportunities here to do what they want." she said.
In 2007 when she was at home with her young daughter that she decided to sew and try to make something.
Rodas had the sewing machine for awhile, but never really knew what her style was. When she took it out she thought of one subject that she liked, trees.
"I was very determined to make a tree and I did."
Her first art piece was a cypress tree made out of felt and from there she has refined how they look.
In 2008 Rodas stumbled across the Etsy website that allows you to sell products online, while she searching on the Net.
While starting her business she already had a name in mind for it. "My daughter was always saying, "Hi" to trees so I thought that would be a great name." And that was the beginning of Hitree.
Once she posted her art pieces, they took off. Within a week she had many people ordering her work.

Rodas had only 15-20 items on her site to sell. "I was still trying to refine my style." Now she has gone up to roughly 50 items. Her work consist of pillows, earrings, key chains, rings, tote bags, hair pins and more.
With the growing of her art and business, Rodas needed a new place for her work.
Then she found a room in the Ave 50 Studio for rent in a Arroyo Secco newsletter and moved her work in January of 2009.
At the studio Sonia Romero, who paints, says compared to her work Rodas art is "Great, accessible and it is functional and usable." she said. "People can feel the artwork."
Kathy Gallegos owner of Ave 50 Studio says Rodas art work is "a different art, hers is a craft. and that it how she expresses herself."
One day while talking to each other Gallegos mentioned her leaf collection and then Rodas thought of a new idea of making the leaf earrings. "Her leaf earrings are one of her top selling items" Gallegos said.
Rodas also credits her old sketches that she drew to get new ideas. "The hardest part is trying to make the subject three dimensional."
Rodas has many great ideas ahead. Her goal now is to have a larger scale of her handmade art work so people can see and appreciate her artwork.

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