Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shop Spotlight: WesternArtGlass

Brian looking through a fragment of mouth blown clear and white flashed antique glass

Featured: WesternArtGlass
Interview by: MargotBianca

Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been making your glasswork? How did you get started down this path?

I started drawing when I was a wee lad. We were very poor, and the bunk beds that my older brother and I dreamed in were conveniently tucked into a corner of the living room. Under my brother's watchful eye, we made aquariums out of discarded cardboard boxes, and dangled crayoned paper fish with leftover twine. Running through the neighborhood bare naked, was another of my specialties! I enjoyed motorized street sweepers and trolleys as I peered into the goings on animating Winnipeg, Manitoba. "Street sweeper's crying," and, "Transfers OFF!" were a couple of my standard sayings.

Much later, my brother suggested that my drawings would translate well into stained glass. I spent part of a summer learning the different aspects of making stained glass panels and lamps in his studio in Winnipeg. That was over thirty years ago. At that time, I was pleased to sport the smallest ears in my family of origin. As the years pass, my ears keep growing (I have a daughter in law with smaller ears than me), as my glass work gets smaller--cutting little leaves from sides of beer bottles to dangle from earlobes!

What is your favorite item in your shop right now? Why do you like it the most?

My favorite piece in my shop is a simple leaf branch...

...with graceful leaves. I enjoy the simplicity and the organic balance.  My granddaughter enjoys delicately setting the mobile in motion.

Do you have any goals for your shop in the coming months, as we prepare for holiday madness? What new steps do you want to take with your work?

In case you haven't's almost Christmas!?! This year, I'd like to have more pieces already made. I'm toying with the idea of a Curio Shop section with tree and leaf drawings, weird vintage stuff (including books and vinyl), strange handmade books incorporating poetry, prose and drawings (little walkabouts in my neighborhood), and whatever pops into my so called head.

Check out Brian's Etsy Shop!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shop Spotlight: SweetandDirtys

Embroidery hoop wall art 
"This" is sweet, and the inspiration behind it is even sweeter.

Shop: SweetandDirtys 
Shop Owner: Logan
Member Since: December 2010

Working out of her Tennessee home studio, Sweet and Dirty's was born out of Logan's love of sewing.  She brings new life to vintage and recycled fabrics and you can tell she's having fun doing it.

From her fabric choices to her stitching and embroidery details you can see the love sewn into each of her one of a kind purses, pouches and wall art.

Orange dot floral pouch

The Mustard Kite

Midnight Mustard floral bag

Read more about Logan on her about page on Etsy.

(Spotlight compiled by NancyWallisDesigns.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Shop Spotlight: Xenotees

Collective Animal Nouns T-shirt in Charcoal

Shop: Xenotees
Shop Owner: Noelle
Member Since: July 2010

Working out of her Philadelphia workshop, Noelle professionally screen prints her original designs onto tees, scarves, totes and housewares.

You'll love her sense of fun with her animal lover's tshirts, pet lobster, oversized graphics and inspiring fortune cookie prints.

His and Hers Infinity Pillowcases

Nautical French Lobster T-shirt

Giant Fortune Organic Tea Towel

Read more about Noelle on her About page.

(Spotlight compiled by NancyWallisDesigns)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Member Feature: Jonathan (SawyerCeramics)

Featured: SawyerCeramics
Interview by: MargotBianca

Tell us a little bit about your background, how you learned your craft, and how you got started selling it on Etsy.
I grew up in San Diego, California where I still live and create my work. As a sophomore in college, I took a non credit beginning ceramics class at the UCSD Crafts Center. The class was once a week for a few hours in the evening, but lucky for me the course tuition included 24/7 studio access for the entire quarter. I took advantage of the open studio access but soon got frustrated with the amount of time it took to get to campus, pay for parking, park, and walk to the studio just to make a few pots. I went online and bought a used potters wheel and that’s when the whole pottery thing snowballed. For a while, I transported my work to the Crafts Center to be fired but once again, the added time commitment to and from was not practical.  By now I knew pottery wasn’t just a passing hobby so my next step was to build my own kiln. At that point it was a couple years since my first pottery class and I felt confident enough to start selling my work. I heard about Etsy from a friend so I posted a few pieces online and that’s how SawyerCeramics began. I sold my first piece for $6.00 with $4.00 for shipping, probably 5 cents profit… oops.

From your Etsy profile, I notice that you were studying Management Science when you took your first ceramics class. What is Management Science? Do you currently work in this field, too? Do you find that this knowledge and training helps you in running your own small business?
At UCSD I earned a B.S. in Management Science which is a major within the Economics department. I took classes including basic economics, statistics, and financial accounting which have all been very helpful running a small business. While I enjoy the art of making pottery, I also enjoy the art of selling my work and experimenting with strategies to become more successful. For example, one of the challenges with selling pottery online, is that high shipping prices can make sales difficult. As a result, I’ve had more success selling smaller items like mugs, small vases and butter keepers as the shipping rates are more reasonable. 

What do you think is the most rewarding part of selling your handcrafted work? What aspect is most challenging?
One of the most rewarding feelings for me is when I know someone truly enjoys a piece that I have made. A few weeks ago I was selling my work at a local Veteran’s home. I could tell that some of the people were truly excited to own something I’d made. It’s a special feeling to bring a little happiness to someone’s life, even if it’s only through a handmade mug used for someone's morning coffee. 

Right now the most challenging part of selling my work is deciding through what venues I will sell. Although my Etsy shop has been online for more than two years, I have only recently started selling my work in public. I have tried selling at local businesses’ craft shows and will start to sell at craft fairs and farmers’ markets in the future.

I see that your mom, Linda, helps you with your Etsy shop. That is pretty sweet! Can you tell us a little bit more about how you guys work together?
My mom, Linda started helping me with my pottery business late last year. Initially she helped by listing new pieces to Etsy, but now she helps me in almost all areas of my business from creating treasuries to firing my kiln. I am very thankful for the time and effort she puts into my business and I also value her insight and opinions on current or potential pieces for my shop. The air plants with small vases in my shop were her idea inspired by our friend Cathy from GlassEtc.  Cathy was also the one who got us or rather my mom in to the treasury making business.  

Why do you think it is important for people to use handmade dishes in their daily lives?  Do you have a personal favorite piece(s) that you use regularly?
I enjoy using handmade pottery dishes for the uniqueness and artistic flavor of each piece. Even if it’s just a set of four mugs, each has its own qualities created during the firing process. I don't have a favorite piece but I probably use my mugs most regularly.

What are your goals for the direction your ceramic work in the future? 
In the future, I would like to develop a better understanding of the relationship between my own wheel thrown forms, clay, glazes and the firing process that will allow me to express myself better as an artist. Right now my biggest challenge or obstacle is understanding my kiln…how to fire my kiln more consistently to achieve my desired glaze results.

On a free weekend, what do you find yourself doing?
On a free weekend I am often making pots, playing soccer, or learning how to fix my car. Usually it’s something outside where I can get my hands dirty.   

Visit Jonathan's Etsy Shop!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Congratulations to Jen of aubepine on the first Curation Nation/Team T Team Mixer treasury to make the Etsy front page, on March 15, 2012!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Member Feature: RosaMaría (464Handmade)

Featured: 464Handmade
Interview by: WallisDesigns

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Hola! My name is RosaMaría, I’m the eldest daughter in my family. For nine years I live with my love, my partner and best friend Alex, our three dogs and a very lazy kitten. We live close to the forest and to Guadalajara City, the land of mariachi and tequila, in Mexico.
I studied at Law school and have a master in Constitutional Law. I work in that area but since 2008, I looooooove to quilt and sew.

How did you get started on Etsy?
First I started to blog and through it I found Etsy.
In my every day work I analyze legal proceedings so sewing and having my Etsy shop is a way to de-stress after work. It keeps me busy, but also makes me feel creative and that is totally refreshing to me.

Where did you get your shop name from?
464 is our house’s number. In 2008 Alex and I got a bank loan and bought our first home that we love, it’s my favorite place to create and dream. Our home is our very happy place.

What is your favorite item in your shop right now?
Hmmm...the mini quilts and the wooden tape holders that Alex makes.
Making quilts is one of my favorite things to do, I love how the fabrics can be transformed into quilts and be cozy and warm for people. I love to spend days by myself making quilts, so they are always special to me.
The tape holder was a gift that Alex made for me to organize my japanese tape collection. After that I thought it would be great to have some of them in my shop and I love the idea of having Alex as a business partner too.

You are undoubtedly a treasury making machine!! How do you do it and where do you find the inspiration? ...and any tips that would help us in our treasury making.
Well, I think not having kids in home right now, helps a lot! I don’t watch TV so that gives me a lot of free time as well.
The inspiration comes from other Etsy sellers, the gorgeous vintage shops and other artists. Having an active circle helps you to find lots of beautiful stuff, and, of course, many of my treasuries are made as a wish list to myself. It’s always interesting and inspiring to see other people’s visions and choices and how they can make things work so well together in treasuries. Sometimes I feel that being a curator is like being a shopper but without having to add the items in the shopping cart, so in the end, your wallet is saved!

You recently participated in your first craft show. What was your experience doing this? What things did you learn from the in person contact with customers and your products.
It was an amazing experience, very hard and let me say very tiring but still amazing. Meeting the people who buy your stuff and seeing that they are happy with their purchase was the best for me.
On the other hand, I saw that not all the people appreciate the handmade process and many of them want to buy the things almost for free. I think the crafter or the artist must appreciate their own work and not to sell for cheap. This is a big problem in México because there is a lot of great crafters and artists here but many people don’t want to pay a fair value of their work. This is very sad and I lost many sales at the bazaar, but I’m happy I did it. We need to appreciate the creative process and the whole work in every item.

Happy Etsyversary as you celebrate your first year on Etsy! Do you have specific ideas or goals for your shop in the coming year?
Thanks it's amazing!!
More than selling in high numbers, I want my items to go to people who will love them. I sew in my free time, after my job and my home duties. Having very happy customers is always my first goal. Also, I’m working on new bags already and I want to keep a balance between my job, my home, my Etsy shop and my life.

Apart from creating things for your shop what do you like to do?
I love music, books, movies, travel, coffee and nature. I enjoy cooking for my guy and having friends over at our home. On weekends I love to spend time in my garden taking care of my plants (love succulents!) and playing with my dogs.

Ten years from now where would you like to be living and what would you like to be doing?
That is hard to say, but I hope it involves being happy and healthy, having a workshop, being a mom, and still making things.

Visit RosaMaría's Etsy Shop!