Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Spring Handmade Market - Saturday May 16/09





















































Saturday was fantastic!!!

It was a thrill to meet all the Etsy artists and see their creations in person. What an amazing, talented group of women. Everyone's table looked great. Pure eye candy!

Despite the somewhat rainy weather, loads of shoppers streamed in throughout the day to check out A Spring Handmade Market. There was a great energy in the Ballroom at The Gladstone.

I felt a little sad closing the doors at 4pm as shoppers were still coming in, but excited by the success of the day. Meeting this group of Etsy shop owners was inspiring and I hope to be able to get together again, really soon!

Here are some photos I uploaded to Flickr .

I had a lot of fun planning this Market. I'm going to take a breather for awhile, get back to my Etsy shop but I'll be back to plan another Handmade Market....soon :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Danielle Wright - Stitchface





















Eco-friendly plush animal friends by Danielle Wright -
Stitchface


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

There are sooo many things I love about having an Etsy shop that it's painful to just choose one!!! If I have to choose, I'd say that connecting with so many wonderful and crafty people from all over the world is the best. The people who buy and sell on the site are so friendly and helpful and it's such a wonderful community to be a part of.


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

My shop is named after my favorite part of the process of making my plush animals. Stitching on their faces is part that makes me giggle to myself because that's where each animal really gets their own unique personality.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I'm inspired by all things cute- I'm a huge kwaii fan and I also really love North American folk art. I'm also inspired by each piece of fabric I find and try to bring out the personality hiding within it when I sew.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I'm a mostly self-taught crafter. I've taken classes in drawing and jewelry making, but I learned to sew on my own. Sewing and I fell madly in love and hopefully will be together a long time.

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

I make all of my pieces with an aim to make them cute and eco friendly. I like that my work makes you feel good not only because they are sweet to look at but because they are kind to the earth too. I make all my creations with second hand fabrics, thrift store finds and recycled materials. I also love making things from thrift store finds because each piece ends up being unique; because I'm limited in the amount of fabric I have, I can only make so many of each item. There are so many mass produced things out there so I feel really good that each of my items is different and one of a kind.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Hmmmm... I have no grand schemes planned yet. I'd really like to buy a new bike for summer Toronto exploring. I'm new to Toronto and am so excit
ed for the show to meet the crafty people of my new city and hope to be involved in many more!

Visit Danielle at
A Spring Handmade Market on Saturday May 16th or at her Etsy shop - Stitchface

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Irene Wu-Lau - Dear Ms





















Introducing jewelry designer Irene Wu-Lau, Dear Ms


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

The shop provides me an opportunity to do what I like best and be able to share with others who also enjoy handmade goods.


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

The name of the store evolved from my secret desire to own a little boutique! I would love to own a shop that has hand made goods that all girls would love! And when people visit or purchase, I would send a note to that person to thank them for coming in and spending time! I would start the note as " Dear Ms....” The store would be small, pretty and intimate, which would give me a chance to meet more people and get to know them and find out what their likes and dislikes are! And of course... my dog Sam would be in the store and be the official greeter!


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

My inspiration comes from my love of clean, classical and simple looks in everything from furniture, houses, clothes, etc. I find that I always gravitate towards simple looks and I try to keep my pieces like this. For my hand stamping items, I really am influenced by family and friends. I love that pieces can be worn and reflect people's personal words, their love for others and their individuality.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?
I started hand-stamping silver by accident. I purchased my first set of steel letters used through EBay and thought what the heck! I played around a lot trying to perfect the technique. After awhile, my girlfriends asked me to stamp pieces for gifts, weddings, etc and it then just took off! I self taught myself re: hand stamping, wire techniques, etc. I have no formal background in design, but I think I'm doing pretty well!

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

My creative process is based on trial and error. I will think of an idea and will draw it out. If it looks pretty good, then I'll just do it! Since I am self-described perfectionist, I'll keep making changes until I'm happy. I'm influenced by things I see around me and what the current "hot" trends are. But, I really try to avoid being "trendy". I try to stick with what works and what looks good. If I make mistakes along the way, its just part of the creative process!


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Keep doing what works and figure out what else wor
ks well! I also want to challenge myself and think out of the box with some new pieces, but still keeping in line with clean and simple looks. We'll see what happens! I am also hoping to use my hand stamping techniques and pieces to benefit some animal charities. Since I rescued our first dog and adopted our second, I would like to give back to the agencies that helped me find the best dogs in the world! I have to do some research about how to facilitate this, but I am hoping to make this happen!

Visit Irene at A Spring Handmade Market this Saturday or on her Etsy shop

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vintage Paper Parade




Debra Norton – Vintage Paper Parade


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

Etsy provided me with the opportunity to try my hand at selling my designs to a wider audience. I love the community aspect of Etsy. That’s why I decided to organize this Market. I really wanted to connect with other local Etsy shops and provide a venue for Toronto residents to buy local, handmade items and get to know the great design talent that exists locally.


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

I love vintage books and paper ephemera. I started designing invitations for children’s events and thought that Vintage Paper Parade had a happy celebratory sound to it, reminiscent of the vintage children’s books that I collect.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I am inspired by and drawn to the fresh, colourful illustrations I see in vintage children’s books and old greeting cards. I love vintage illustrations but also admire clean modern design. I suppose I try to combine the two.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I have been crafting and creating for as long as I can remember. My parents are both very artistic. I remember sitting patiently as my Dad instructed me on painting in oil as a young child and watching my mother as she painted ceramics. I’ve been designing and creating cards for friends and family for years and decided it was time to put the “do what you love” mantra to work.

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.
I try to spend a few moments every day brainstorming ideas for new designs. I’m often inspired by the books I read with my children or via a story they tell me. I keep a journal and record my ideas there. I sketch out my designs on paper and scan them into my Mac where I colour the images digitally. I like the saturated colour I achieve using this process.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Well, after I wrap up A Spring Handmade Market, I will be participating as a vendor in The Children’s Trunk Show in the Distillery District on May 29th. I hope to spend a few weekends this summer roaming antique markets looking for vintage treasures and hanging out with my kids. I’m participating in Hoopla, another great children’s market, in October. One other thing on my list to do this year is to learn the craft of letterpress. I have taken an introductory course and would love to learn more. If only I could get my hands on a vintage press…

Visit me at A Spring Handmade Market on May 16th or at my Etsy shop!

Jessica Krecklo - Krecklo



Inroducing Jessica Krecklo - Krecklo


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

Starting my Etsy shop last year has been a great way to ease into selling the things I make. The site is so user friendly and community-oriented, and it has really useful resources about running a craft business. It's also been nice to meet people through Etsy and see all of the amazing things that people are creating.

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?
It's my last name. Ho hum.

3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?
I really enjoy putting things together in interesting and unexpected ways. An interesting colour scheme, contrasting patterns or a neat composition are the kinds of things that inspire me when I'm making things.

4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?
I've always liked making things, but until recently I've focused more on art than crafts. Sewing is a fairly new pursuit for me -- I only picked it up in the last couple of years. There are tons of sewing classes in Toronto and online resources, and it's much easier than you'd think! I'm kicking myself for not learning how to sew earlier. I highly recommend to anyone that wants to learn how to sew to just bite the bullet!

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.
I get ideas when I try to combine fabrics in interesting ways or try to find the best way of using an interesting fabric. I mainly use reclaimed fabrics, and the patterns and colours of older fabrics are really inspiring to work with.

6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Right now I'm working on a planning degree, so that precludes any big and exciting plans for the rest of the year. ...But! I have a few months off between my summer placement and the fall semester, so I'm planning to focus on my Etsy shop a lot more and do as many local craft shows as I can in that time.

See Jessica at A Spring Handmade Market this Saturday or online at Krecklo

Tanya Santo - Tanushka




Introducing Tanya Santo of Tanushka


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

I love knowing that people around the world are wearing my creations.
I love how I can create a piece to go with a specific outfit or look and how my designs bring out the natural beauty of those who wear it.

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

Tanushka was a nickname my mom and her best friend use to call me - it refers to Tanya in Russian (although I'm not Russian).


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

Everything and anything - I love the most up to date trends, I love colour and nature and all things girly!


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

Beading and jewelry making have been one of my passions and obsessions for quite a while now. Growing up I'd take necklaces and bracelets apart and start making my own little fashion accessory. Along with jewelry I've super creative always thinking of new projects to either paint or make.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.
I use a variety of beads, natural resources and unique shapes to make each piece unique. Because I'm a perfectionist I'm not 100% happy with what I've created until its perfect in my eyes!!


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I'm currently pregnant with my first child and due in June so along with the busy life of being a mom, I also plan to continue to run my Etsy shop and do local craft shows. I'm hoping that one day I too can show my little one to be as creative and artistic as me and so many other wonderful Etsy storeowners.


Visit Tanya at A Spring Handmade Market this Saturday May 16th or online at Tanushka

Monday, May 11, 2009




Vinyl Record Album Journals by Sandi Bates – Eyesore Designs


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

Everything. I love knowing my stuff is up there for people to see - buy - love, I love being apart of a community with so many talented artists. I LOVE that's it's a place we can all go to buy handmade stuff. It's just so neat.


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?
Eyesore Designs - I really have no idea...I came up with it 4 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. It was just one of those things that came to me...I find people either love it or hate it. When I say the name, it makes me smile.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

My kids are my inspiration, them, my husband and life in general. I have a drive to do something, to be someone important and it's all a part of my inspiration. And it helps that I really love what I make (I am saying love a lot)


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I have no back ground - other then the fact that I have crafted as long as I can remember - I used to have a craft box at my Aunt's house - I was 5 - odds and ends. I would build and create for hours. I am the baby of the family - by 5 years...explains a lot.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

With my vinyl stuff, my creative process has a lot to do with what I have on hand or what I can get my hands on - it's a pretty straight forward process - I don't get to be too creative in these steps. But when I create other pieces - mainly necklaces, I always do that when I am having a rough or bad day - I leave my kids with Daddy - go to my craft table - crank some Coldplay - close the blinds - and just pick part pieces. I just close myself out from everything. I enjoy coming back down the following day and just starring at what I created the night before - it's very surreal for me.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Well 1st off is getting ready for the Spring Handmade Market and taking part. I am also in the middle of trying to get another business off the ground - I am trying to open a store - separate from my Etsy stuff - I am excited about it. So I will be meeting with some advisers to try to get things rolling! Wish me luck!!!!!!

Visit Sandi at her Etsy shop or on the Etsy Ontario Team blog

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Jesse Truong - All Things Small



Introducing Jesse Truong of All Things Small

1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?


What I love about Etsy is that it allows me to share my creations with people all around the world and being part of an amazing bunch of creative people. Having an online shop has made my life much more enjoyable that I have an outlet that allows me to work from home on my own time.


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

Ever since I was little I loved all things small and toys that I could fit in my pocket and carry around with me on all of my adventures. Knowing that I had someone right there with me made it all better. I had a friend through thick and thin. Even to this day, I always have a little friend in my bag or pocket.

3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?
Standing on top of a mountain over looking a sea of green rice fields in Indonesia or swimming with colourful fish in turquoise oceans in Thailand or riding a bike in a very small town with friendly smiles in Vietnam. A lot of my inspirations come from my travels. My husband and I backpacked through Asia for about 8 months experiencing new places, new tastes and new colours; we are both itching to return to a much simpler way of life.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Design/Illustration and Printmaking. I stumbled upon a book binding class that allowed me to combine my love for children’s illustration and printmaking into stories and I started a small press called Silly Sasprilly. After working for an advertising company as their in-house illustrator I realize that even though I was working in a creative environment, that it wasn’t satisfying. Eventually, I was able to work at home doing what I loved.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

A lot of my creative process comes from the world around me especially now with two little ones they seem to spark a new creative juice, I love to watch them discover new things and see through their eyes.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

After my second child was born early this year my plan for the rest of the year is to catch up on some much needed rest, wishful thinking! As for my Etsy shop I’m working on illustrations and tiny books and I’m also thinking to get started on a blog to share my process, adventures and inspirations.


Visit Jesse at A Spring Handmade Market on May 16th or on Etsy at All Things Small

Danielle Zippan - Zippan Designs



Handcrafted sterling silver jewelry by Danielle Zippan – Zippan Designs


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?
Having my Etsy shop helps me feel like I'm part of a crafty community, it means a lot to me to be a part of it. I work out of my modest home studio and so Etsy is great for my connection to the outside creative world.


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

My shop name is the name of my company, Zippan Designs, which is my family name. My work is personal to me, and so my name should reflect that.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I find my inspiration all around me, from my surroundings. A leaf on the ground, or bird in the sky. My work is mostly nature inspired, so my love of animals and plant life tends to show in my work.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I have been an artist and crafter all my life with everything under the sun. Always had such a broad interest in the arts world. Luckily I've had inspirational family and friends in my life. The last several years were when I began to focus my full time on sterling silver, I just love having an idea and bringing it to life.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

I generally start with a sketch, reworking it until I'm happy, and then translate it into silver. It always ends with me showing the piece to my husband, who is incredibly supportive. Not every piece gets his approval, but I love the feedback. I don't usually work with several raw pieces and see where they take me, I like to have an end result in mind and then set out to accomplish that goal.

6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I plan to keep plugging away at it, I rely entirely on my Etsy sales, my web site sales, and some consignment income. I also plan to participate in as many shows as I can, and promote my business a little more. I would also love to
Linkget my work into more stores in Toronto and beyond.

Visit Danielle at A Spring Handmade Market on May 16th, her Etsy shop or her website Zippan Designs

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sonja Ahlers - Make It Awesome



"Fierce bunnies" crafted from angora sweaters by Sonja Ahlers of Make It Awesome

1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?
That I can send my work all over the world. I’ve sent my wares to Ireland, all over Europe (Paris, especially), and Asia. This was especially perfect for when I was in the Yukon in a fairly remote location. I can be anywhere and do this.

I love dealing direct with the customer. I love corresponding and I love sending out beautifully done up packages. I’ve always been a pen pal type so this is a great medium. I wish Etsy was around 10 years ago. It was something I needed back then. I was constantly making things and giving everything away (which one can only do to an extent). There weren’t many options in the mid to late 90s as far as alternative craft fairs go.

The other thing I love about Etsy is the feedback. Out of every art endeavor I’ve undertaken, I have received the most positive, heartfelt feedback ever. Etsy members are a very generous demographic. I love that it is lady-centric and basically a cultural phenomenon. I view it as baby steps toward an incremental shift in the global economic model.

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?
Kind of by accident and kind of as a joke. A few years ago I couldn’t think of a name for my website and was agonizing over it. My friend Brooke said on the phone, ‘Oh, just make it awesome’. I thought it was funny. I’m a wee bit on the fence about the name right now. As things keep evolving, there is a bit of clash with ‘fierce bunnies’ and using my actual full name as more of an umbrella. I’m open to suggestions.

3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?
My friends. Especially observing their actual work process. I learn by observation and osmosis. Watching my friends work helps me immensely. I’m going to make what I make no matter what but learning how to go about that and work smarter rather than harder in a timely manner is my ultimate goal.

4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?
I’m self-taught. I have had many mentors and sporadic education. I’ve participated in many workshops. I’m from BC and was very active in the whole west coast underground DIY movement making zines, having bands and such. I’ve been making my bunnies since the mid 90s using recycled angora sweaters. My family has always recycled. We’re pioneer types that way. I have a lot of hippie and punk rock in my blood, which is an interesting mix. Probably some preppie in there too for good measure.

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.
I am always making things. I have little installations going on all over the house. I do a lot of writing. Hand-sewing itself is a very meditative process for me. Quiet time. I keep a notepad beside me and write while I sew. I’m enjoying the sewing machine a lot lately. It’s like driving a car and takes up all my attention. I love that. When hand sewing I tend to watch a lot of movies but only with storytelling dialogue. I also burn thru seasons of good TV. I’m a pop culture buff of sorts in a super nerdy way. Mostly I listen to music and/or enjoy silence. Sometimes I work with friends. I’ve been up in the Coe And Waito ceramics studio a lot lately.

6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I want to finish my book!!!! It’s a tome of visual poetry. I’m also meant to do a colour book with one of my favorite publishers but I’m too scared to talk about it because I don’t want to jinx anything. I want to get some ribbon printed with my name on it. I’d love to do a storybook with the bunnies. I want to go to Niagara Falls. I also need to upload more stock to my Etsy store. I’d love an intern. I might do the Christmas One Of A Kind Show. I need some capital for a secret project I’m working on.

You can also visit Sonja Ahlers
on Etsy or at her website www.makeitawesome.com

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Diana Coatsworth - Flyball Bags



Repurposed vintage fabrics transform into stylish bags and accessories by Diana Coatsworth , Flyball Bags

1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?
Freedom to create items and easily list them. as well as change them whenever I want. I’m not amazing on the computer, so it's just a really low budget way to get FlyBall out to a larger audience without pulling my hair out!


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?
thesaurus.com ~ I looked for a name that meant unique, original and funky and up came Flyball... I thought it was such a cool name that I had not heard of before... well now I realize it's also a popular dog game. I still like it though!


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?
my fabrics! I use mostly recycled and vintage fabrics and I like to use that as the initial inspiration for all my designs to create one of a kind pieces


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?
I’ve been crafty all my life. made a biz of it about 6 years ago. I'm also an actor, singer and dancer in theatre and TV/film and it was initially a tool to keep my creative spark going when the acting was slow. Now it's like a balance between the 2 careers. I’m either fully into acting or the next week. I’m all about flyballbags. actually, a lot of times the worlds collide and it's really a juggle.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.
Scavenge for cool fabrics... play play play in the sewing room, make a mess. Come out with sweet unique bags for all to enjoy.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I have another quite successful shop on Etsy that I devote a good amount of time to. My vintage site www.atouchofvintage.etsy.com I’ll be at the Clothing show May 1-3 with my vintage fashion. I may be doing some other craft shows too. I’m also hoping to be accepted into the conservatory at Stratford. So by September, I could be full time Shakespeare! I don't like to plan ahead too much. I believe this year great things will happen. It's all a changing around us and I just know it's going to be good!


Visit Diana on May 16th at A Spring Handmade Market or on Etsy at www.flyballbags.etsy.com

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jennifer Aube - Urban Fusions


Jennifer Aube- Urban Fusions

1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

I like being able to list new items at any time and of course having my work seen and shown alongside so many other talented people from all over the globe. The great customers and friendly sellers are a bonus too!

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

I wanted a name that would represent my vibrant personality and tie in my craft, without using the word "glass". The urban is me, a small town girl in love and in awe with everything that is "big city". Fusions is literally fusing my inspirations and visions together through the medium of glass.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I’m inspired by bold or odd colour combinations and clean lines. I enjoy creating pieces that are simple from afar, yet intricate up close. My customers are also a large part of my inspiration because I receive a lot of unique and challenging requests and don't always have an instant solution. Working with others to bring their visions alive through my own creative expression totally inspires me to keep an open mind and to always try new things.

4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I have been making things for as long as I can remember. I tend to learn things the hard way and don't do well in formal institutions when it comes to anything art-related. I have been working with glass for just over two years now and taught myself through research and loads of experimentation. For me, the less rules there are, the more fun I have! What started off as some scrap glass and a pair of cutters, is now a full time business venture that makes me oh so happy.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

The process for me is very intuitive and natural. I never make sketches or drawings beforehand and usually have no solid idea of what I am going to create. I work best sitting at my messy desk surrounded by a sea of glass, working on more than one piece at a time just allowing the medium to speak to me. Coffee and music are a must in my studio.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I plan to do a handful of outdoor shows in the Niagara Region and the in the GTA this summer. When I am not working in my studio I plan to spend the rest of my time on my new boat fishing or camping with my friends and family.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009




Introducing Emily Jull – Nesting Emily


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?
Meeting new people for sure! I love getting to know other artists and craft fans. I have developed some real friendships and loving being part of the large craft movement. Selling something to someone who loves it doesn't suck either : )


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?
I love and collect fallen nests. I think nothing is more natural, organic and perfect than a nest. I also love that we humans refer to our homes as nests and the desire to put love and time into our home as nesting. I am a big nester and thus my name.... making organic, one of a kind things to put love into folks homes.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?
Nature is the big one, but I am also inspired by the most random things. My eyes are always searching for a line, colour, texture to take joy in.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?
I have been crafting since I was a little kid. I think most of us have.... the difference with crafters and artists is we don't give it up or we find it again. My first memory is my mother weaving. I was raised around a lot of art and craft. I have done embroidery, batik, beading, silversmithing, felting, painting, tie-dye, sewing, photography, graphic design, knitting, spinning and on.... I love them all. When I first did pottery though, at 17 in high school, I knew it was the one! I have potted off and on for years. Took a bunch of classes and eventually did an apprenticeship with a local potter. Now I am left to my own devices, playing- just like I was a kid again.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.
I generally throw on the potter’s wheel and while I know what I am going to make when I sit down I am also open to the clay dictating some of the beautiful organic lines that clay does so well. I consider it a partnership (hokey but true). Music is very important to my process too. It helps me set the mood for the day and the pots.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?
My big goal is to do some shows in Toronto. Thank you very much for helping that happen!! I also want to keep following my muse to make new things for nests : )

You can find Nesting Emily on Etsy at www.nestingemily.etsy.com
and on flickr

Keri Rounding - Seapod



Introducing Keri RoundingSeapod


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

I like the freedom. You choose when you list your items, what you list and how often you update the site. I also like to try out new products on Etsy before I take them to shows or stores. I find it useful to see what kind of response they get before making a lot of them


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

kerirounding: my name Seapod: The work was originally inspired by seed pods and also sea creatures. I combined the two to become Seapod.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I look at a lot of microscopic images- amoebas, cells, organisms. They are inspiring to me. I have always loved to re-create sea life as well.

4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I am a graduate of Sheridan Institutes Crafts and Design Program: Textile Studio. I decided to start my business shortly after my graduation and have been doing craft shows for about two years.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

I try not to force new ideas. If I don't feel like working, I'll do something else. When something comes to me, I usually do a sketch of the finished product and then get to work on developing it. If I want to feel inspired, I like to look through one of my books of microscopic images. I also have a few large bulletin boards with lots of clipped images and random pieces which help the creative flow.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I will be doing a few craft shows throughout the year including the Christmas One of a Kind Show- this one takes a long time to prepare for! I will also be continuing on product development, expanding into more clothing items and larger accessories.


You can see Keri's designs at A Spring Handmade Market on May 16th and on Etsy at www.seapod.etsy.com

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mr. Sköna



Upcycled textiles + Scandinavian design = Stylish Mens Accessories from Reva Quam of Mr. Sköna



1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

I really like being part of a community of makers. As well, it's great to be in such a trusted marketplace with such devoted and supportive customers.

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

Well, a little randomly to be honest. When I was setting up my blog, I was trying to find the right name. The word ’sköna’ came to me in a dream. I had no idea what it meant or where it came from but it resonated with me for some reason. I googled it and discovered that it means ‘beautiful’ in Swedish. It was the perfect fit for my blog since it references my Scandinavian heritage and the fact that I try to live a beautiful life.
Originally, I had a different name in mind for my line of men’s accessories. My boyfriend one day suggested Mr. Sköna instead and it was the same experience of it feeling right so I abandoned my first plan.

3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?
I am inspired by nature, Scandinavian design and traditional menswear textiles. I am also inspired my boyfriend who was the impetus behind starting Mr. Sköna. He couldn't find a wallet he liked so I offered to make him one and it took off from there.

4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I have always made things. Growing up, there was lots of art supplies around my house and more often than not, I was crafting things or drawing pictures of clothes. In high school, I got into theatre and wanted to be a set designer. At UBC, I discovered I was not that spatially inclined so I focused on costume design instead. I have been designing costumes for film, theatre and dance for the last 7 years.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

It often starts with a request from my boyfriend. He will need something and I will try to design something practical and beautiful. As I use a minimum of 90% upcycled materials, an idea for a product sometimes starts with finding an interesting material and then figuring out what it should be. There is a lot of trial and error in creating a new product, as I can't go usually go to the store and by exactly what I need. I often have to come with solution based on what I can find at thrift stores, rummage sales, etc.

6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I will be doing more shows and hopefully doing on holiday this summer.
Check out my blog, www.skonalife.blogspot.com for details.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Heather Dadswell - Little Ra's



Vintage inspired fashions for little girls by Heather Dadswell, Little Ra's


1. What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

I really love connecting with all of the interesting artists and people on Etsy. It's such a great community and has such an amazing creative vibe that I just feel lucky to be a part of. I also love being able to get my items out "there", it makes them more real somehow.


2. How did you come up with your shop name? Little Ra's comes from a few different inspirations in my life, a fascination with all fun things under the sun (Ra is an Egyptian Sun God) and two very special little ladies (one of whom is mine) whose names finish with "ra".

3. What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?
What isn't! Mostly my children, but I generally pick up inspiration here there and everywhere.

4. Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I've always had a taste for creative things, but never really settled on anything. Crochet, needle work, drawing, just making things, any things with any materials. I had always bought second hand clothes and altered them for myself but never really made anything from scratch, well, a disastrous yellow dress once but I would like to forget about that. About a year ago I started sewing for my daughter and some friends and I've been passionately at it ever since.


5. Tell me a bit about your creative process.

I'm generally a pattern free kinda gal. I see a fabric and think of how it would look as a dress. Sometimes by the time I get it home the idea has changed a few times. I lay the fabric out as big and wide as possible, take out every scrap of anything that can be spread all over the place for the most mess possible, cut, sew, tinker, all while muttering "I loves it, I loves it" more and more as it all comes together. I'm sort of a Tasmanian Devil creator.


6. What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Keep going! Keep moving! Keep doing more! I would really like to beef up my Etsy Shop and promote a lot more than I have been. I hope to do more shows and continue to create new and interesting items. I would really like to stop neglecting boys and make some items for them.

Visit Heather at A Spring Handmade Market on May 16th and on Etsy - Little Ra's

Friday, May 1, 2009

Apfelstrudel



Introducing the nostalgic whimsy of Apfelstrudel


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

It’s always a thrill having my artwork appreciated and bought by people from faraway places like Australia and Scotland.


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

I am a German translator by day and an artist by night. Or is it the other way around? At any rate, I was looking for a German name for the shop, and happen to like Apfelstrudel as well. Even though it’s German, I think it’s a word many people are familiar with. My husband and I jokingly call ourselves the von Strudels.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I draw much inspiration from music I listen to, from my travels, and from the most random conversations I hear.

4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I was a ballet dancer for 12 years, so I guess you could say that’s my artist background. I’ve also dabbled in watercolour for many years. I got attracted to its transluscent quality. It’s also a very unforgiving medium, so it teaches me to be satisfied with the end result, or somehow work with it. To this day, I use some watercolour in practically all my art. As for mixed media and collage, I first started about three years ago, after going to the One of a Kind Show. Someone was giving a demo on how to heat emboss. I stood there like a little kid, watching her, mesmerized. It reminded me of the alphabet rubber stamp set my dad gave me when I was in Kindergarten. That then became my favorite toy for many years. At the One of a Kind Show, I then bought some rubber stamps (I won’t say how many), some embossing powder, and Apfelstrudel was born.

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

I take notes on my BlackBerry or take photos with it so I can remember ideas or bad puns that pop up in my head. Most of my art reflects my off-the-wall sense of humour or my love for puns.
As for when I’m actually about to do some artwork, I turn to my notebook and pick an idea I’d written down or I sift through my “magic box”. The latter sounds exciting, but it really is nothing more than a box full of bits and pieces of antique images, paper, torn maps, buttons, pebbles, half a postcard, etc., or as they might say in Germany, “Krimskrams”! Whatever I do, however, I will use as many recycled materials as possible. Torn maps are a favorite, but so are antique book covers or pages from books people discard.

6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?
My art reflects my passion, so I will go wherever my passion takes me.

Visit Apfelstrudel at A Spring Handmade Market on May 16th at The Gladstone Hotel and on Etsy at apfelstrudel.etsy.com

Wednesday, April 29, 2009





















Handmade fashion & accessories for Blythe Dolls from Karen Tiveron of
Karen's Creations

1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop? When someone purchases something from my shop, it's a good feeling knowing that your work is appreciated and wanted.

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

For my shop name, I wanted something simple, but I also have a thing for alliteration.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I'm inspired by interesting and unique fabrics, which is why I recently started hand-decorating my own material. Usually, I find the fabric first and am then inspired to make something with it.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?
I only became seriously involved with arts and crafts about 3 years ago, but have always enjoyed sewing, painting, drawing and photography. I went to a high school for the arts, but with university and grad school I became so focused on my career that I forgot about paying attention to life-work balance. I eventually realized that I needed a hobby, so I dusted off my sewing machine, took some sewing classes and other crafting workshops, and opened my Etsy shop about 1 1/2 years ago.

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process
.
When I first opened my shop I wanted to make sure I had enough stock, and made things using patterns and templates, but now I focus on making more unique items that may not be found in other shops and draft my own patterns. For example, my Indian sari for Blythe dolls is my best-selling item, made with sari remnants found in Toronto's Little India neighbourhood. I believe in supporting local economy so I purchase most of my supplies from Toronto merchants. When I'm trying out something new, I've come to accept that trial and error is part of the creative process, and with some patience and perseverance, something wonderful will (eventually!) emerge.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Currently, I'm taking a printmaking class because I would like to expand my greeting card line, and I'm also planning on purchasing a button-making machine. Later this year I may open a second Etsy shop to separate my Blythe and non-Blythe items. I'm also hoping to participate in other craft shows in the summer.


You can find Karen's Creations at her Etsy shop www.kltrocks.etsy.com and on her blog www.librariankaren.blogspot.com

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sara Torrie - Sartoria



Eco-linen and Fair Trade designs
by Sara Torrie – Sartoria


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

What Google is in the world of search engines, Etsy is in the world of
craft shops + + +

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

I had a love affair with a boy of Italian heritage and during that time I
looked up my name in an Italian dictionary and found something pretty close ... super eerie since sartoria means 'tailor's shop' and I’m a Seamstress. it all went down around the same time I set up my Etsy shop, so it was kind of obvious

3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I think everyone is drawn to certain mediums and uses a similar medium
repeatedly to express with....for me it's material made from plant fibers and/or animal hair, which is an extension of my intense gravitation towards this earth organism. this spring what's getting me is the fact that every single leaf that is starting to poke out and become itself has never been before...this is it for this leaf; this is its go at life. and then I realize every single piece of food I eat is like this also. I’m not feasting my eyes and my tongue on a mass-produced original rip off, it is all one of a kind. I make things that follow similar patterns but all turn out different ...and I haven't always articulated it like this, but that's what I’m saying this time round the sun.

4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an Artist/designer/crafter?
After university I floated and spent some magical time in forests and
ocean, met a bear and cut my hair. I thought I might go to school again, for something artsy, but that's not what happened. I think what I did instead what pay close attention to my friends that did and learn stuff about process and themes and playing with a medium.

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

My friend Betty White, who is a brilliant painter, told me this winter
that artists typically have very little foresight. this was the moment I really knew what I am. but I don't know how to tell you what my process is (yet).

6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Ideally the Ontario government will bestow their blessings and I’ll start the
OSEB course in may. inshallah I will write a plan, get some tools and rock it in a way that makes rent easy. I will continue to sell linen wares and dandelion root cappuccinos at the Wychwood Farmer's Market every Saturday morning. I will also be at the Cabbagetown Arts and Crafts sale in September, and the mighty One-of-a-Kind in December.

Visit Sartoria on Etsy at www.sartoria.etsy.com

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tanya Roberts - Snap & Tumble

Tanya Roberts of Snap & Tumble and her lovely creations using a vintage table top letterpress....

1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

Etsy allows me to sell my wares without any hassles, which gives me more time to focus on and create my stationery.


2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

Long story here.
Short story is that instead of swearing at a mistake I had made one day, I said, "Snap!" and "tumble" was the second word that came out of my mouth. I just thought it sounded nice.

3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I am inspired by fine craftsmanship; ordinary, simple and beautiful things.
I am also moved by people who are passionate about what they do.

4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I studied Art History for three years at the University of Toronto. Following that I completed an Advertising program and interned as a copywriter at a mid-size ad agency. A few years later, I discovered printmaking. After taking several workshops and immersing myself in research, I picked up a vintage table-top press. I've been self-taught ever since.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

I try to be as fluid as possible about my creative process. It usually starts out on a whim, inspired by something I want to see in print. The most technical part happensLink on Illustrator or when I need to do tight registration on the press. Everything else is loosely planned out. This process suits me well and keeps me happy.

6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I've recently took on custom wedding invitation requests. I'm considering offering this as part of my services on a permanent basis. I also hope that the year brings on collaborations with other printmaking artists. There are so many talented people here in Toronto and it'd be a great experience to continue to join forces with local fellow artists.

For more Snap & Tumble letterpress visit Tanya's Etsy shop Snap & Tumble
the website or the Snap & Tumble blog

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lee Meszaros

It's hard to pick just one! Introducing the lovely silk-screened, hand-painted, and hand-embroidered Merit badges of Lee Meszaros...

1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?

I love having an Etsy shop because of the instant community it feels like I'm a part of. That I can connect with artists and creators all over the world through my work on Etsy is really special, and many great opportunities for me have come from it.

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?

My shop name is my actual name, so sadly that answer isn't so exciting.


3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?

I'm inspired by my life experiences, lovely friends, sweet strangers, good music, flea markets filled with forgotten gems, and my daydreams.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?

I've been sewing since I was around 15, and after high school and a misguided year in University I went to Sheridan College where I studied Textiles in their Crafts and Design program. After I finished that program I finished up my BFA at NSCAD in Halifax. I've been trying my hand at the craft business for a little over a year now, working full time on my merit badges.


5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process

I keep a notebook on my all the time to write down sayings that would be good for new badges my friends and family think of, or ones that I overhear in conversations. After that I think of suitable images for my favorite gathered sayings, and I start developing new badges. I do the new ideas in smaller batches every few months to keep the process fresh (I bore really easily). After that it's a matter of creating the silk-screens, printing/painting/embroidering the badge fronts, and then stitching them together.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

The rest of this year I'm going to be doing quite a few shows in Ontario, and in September I have plans to travel to Seattle for a show. I'm going to continue building the group of amazing retailers I work with, and also my online presence with a website that will hopefully happen before 2010.


Visit Lee Meszaros at her Etsy shop

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Melissa McColl - Vintage Baby Revival













Vintage-inspired baby lovelies by Melissa McColl, Vintage Baby Revival


1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?


Ironically it’s not all about making money. People always ask, “How’s your shop doing” and I reply “GREAT” but the sales
aren’t overwhelming. What I like most is participating in the opportunity for one person to give to another. One woman in one state entrusted me to give her friend in another state a cute little robot onesie to celebrate the birth of her baby. Wrapping the gift, adding a note, thinking about the child who will wear my art. These are the best things about having an Etsy shop. That somehow I can immediately connect with perfect strangers by each of us taking a role in this one event.

2.) How did you come up with your shop name?


I just wanted my shop name to reflect exactly what it is I do and who it’s for, that is making things for babies. Vintage Baby Revival is about bringing back things from the past that were good like my grandmother’s knitting and crochet patterns, using her old needles, tools and findings. I also incorporate vintage buttons, sewing thread and yarn that made its way out of someone’s stash and into my local thrift shop into my designs.

3.) What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?


I have the very unique opportunity to work very closely with the youngest of our population: infants and toddlers and their teen mothers and fathers. Besides being an artist I am a self-proclaimed “baby whisperer”. Spending time with these little ones brings me great joy and they inspire me to make the very best I can for any baby who wears my designs. All babies are beautiful and I just want to make something to enhance their beauty and unique personalities.


4.) Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?


I was never formally educated as an artist. My days of creating began early. As an elementary school student I would sneak into the supply cupboard at school and steal the shiny paper, lick and stick shapes, paints, glue, scissors and whatever met my fancy so that I could craft alone on the weekends in the privacy of my bedroom. I experimented with a variety of crafts throughout my childhood including woodworking,
macramé, cross-stitch, knitting and sewing. I was self taught in many of these areas and needed to be quite resourceful, as my mother could not afford to support my extracurricular activities. I would cut up old clothes, save bits and pieces of scrap wood, and borrow my mom’s old sewing machine to satisfy my creative curiosity. More recently I have delved back into this area of my life full force. I consider my crafts to be an addiction, something I am almost incapable of stopping in spite of injuries to my wrists, arms and shoulders (I’m not joking-you can ask my physiotherapist). There isn’t anything I am unwilling to try making at least once.

5.) Tell me a bit about your creative process.

First I buy yarn. I have to love it. I never really know what I am going to do with it until it tells me. Also, I troll thrift shops and collect endlessly. I never really know what I will do with it, but if I like it and it looks useful I get it, because I must have it. Then I play with my supplies. Seriously, I play with them. They may as well be action figures or Lego or something. I sort buttons according to colour. I wind all my yarn into neat little balls. I organize things into bins and boxes and then smaller bins and boxes, and then I reorganize. Because I am also collecting resource material for patterns I look at patterns every day. Then, once in a while I meet something I have to make because I have all the right materials. Then I make it over and over and over again. I have to make one in each colour, or in each size. Then I wonder what to do with them all, so I sell them.


6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?

My plans are to include recovery from my wrist injury (
tendinitis), I have to say this or else my physiotherapist will be disappointed. Because I also make jewelery and sew I want to host an event in my home and have a sale just before the holidays. I want to have lots of wine and cheese and yummy nibbles. I’d also like to teach an introductory class at Wise Daughters on crochet. Of course I’d like to keep on creating and building on my offerings for those beautiful babies of the world.

Visit Melissa at A Spring Handmade Market on May 16th
Melissa's blog
www.torontocloseknit.blogspot.com
or at her Etsy shop Vintage Baby Revival

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tracy East - Anvil Art Shop














Beautifully handcrafted leather goods by Tracy East - Anvil Art Shop


1. What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?


I really enjoy the global community that comes hand-in-hand with having an Etsy shop! From seeing my work packaged up and jetting off overseas, to interacting with other artisans in other mediums, from coast to coast. You just can't get that anywhere else.

2. How did you come up with your shop name?

My shop name came from a search for a suitable name beginning with A... and Aardvark was already taken, LOL! My custom clothing company (Abbey Hill Design) has a letter "A" logo and quite frankly, I wanted to be able to use it on more than just my clothing designs. To me, "Anvil" conjures up images of honest, handcrafted work -- exactly the image I wanted for my accessories line.


3. What is your inspiration as an artist/designer?


I'm inspired at times by my medium -- leather is such an amazing, versatile thing -- and at times by graphic shapes. It's amazing, you can create so much from a line, an arc, or a circle.


4. Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist/designer/crafter?


I have a degree in Apparel Design, from FIT in New York -- I'm not telling how many years ago, gulp! -- and I've been in business ever since. Leather is a relatively new medium for me, as I've been working with it for only three to four years, but I can see it being a part of my repertoire for a while to come. I'm also beginning to incorporate both vintage jewelry as well as my own metal-smithing into my designs, and I'm very excited about that.


5. Tell me a bit about your creative process.


My creative process can be fairly fluid -- all my clients know that the sketches at the beginning of a project may only be the basis for the finished piece -- and I need the room and ability within the medium to change and go in a different direction, if need be. When that internal voice says, "It's done," then I stop.


6. What are your plans for the rest of the year?


Plans for the rest of the year include the Unionville Village Festival, and the Muskoka Arts and Crafts Show. I'm also working on my own website, but I need to create a few more hours in the day first!

You can visit Tracy at her blog Anvil Art Shop
or at her Etsy shop