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

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Designer Profile - Pam McFadyen, Lurearts








Hand wheel thrown pottery by Pam McFadyen, Lure Arts



1.) What do you enjoy most about having an Etsy shop?
I love that I can reach such a wide audience all around the world and it feels like they are just next door. I also love being a part of the EtsyMudTeam. We have challenges and swaps scheduled year round. Potters are crazy people for the most part so the team is always a lot of fun.


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

Good question. I am a Pisces so I wanted something watery (lure = fishing lure). Also, the colours I create are very watery like Midnight Sea and Waterlily. I would also like to think that my pottery lures you into my shop (ah ha ha ha).


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

As a potter, I love making new forms. My hubby inspires new ideas because he is always requesting the impossible form and I am challenged to find a way to make it work. I am also inspired by the simplicity of Asian design and the complexity of Rococo embellishment. Aiming to create a balance between these two contrasting sensibilities keeps me creating new and interesting works.


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

I fell in love with pottery when I was in University and gradually worked up to having my own home studio so I could make stuff at all hours of the day (and night). I also teach art and am lucky to have a great pottery studio at the high school where I work. I have been selling on Etsy since 2006.

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

Hmmm...It all depends on my mood. Most of the time I just sit down at my wheel and throw. Sometimes I feel like knocking off a dozen of the same form by weighing and measuring my clay. Other times I let the clay guide what form takes shape. I do sketch out new designs and ideas, especially for my hand-built ware. Most of my best ideas are drawn while I am at a coffee shop or stuck in an airplane.

6.) What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I have a few more local shows that I’d like to participate in. Then the whole summer is spent either in my studio making new work or sitting on the beach with a good book. I have a lot of new designs on hold, just waiting for the time to flesh them out. I also plan on experimenting with my glaze chemistry to add a few more colors to my shop.

Visit Pam on her blog Lurearts Ceramics or at her Etsy shop Lurearts

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Designer Profile - Minouette

Over the next few weeks leading up to A Spring Handmade Market we will be featuring profiles of all the designers/artists participating at the Market on May 16th.

Introducing Ele Willoughby of Minouette

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

I love the idea that things I create are spreading out into the world.
Through having my Etsy shop, I know my art is now in destinations I have never been, in Canada, the US and Europe. Also, I have met some really great, creative people. I really enjoy being part of 'street teams' - groups of like-minded people who sell handmade goods .

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

My Etsy shop, and on-line presence in general are named after my cat Minouette ('minou' from the French for 'kitty' and '-ette' because she is dainty and feminine). Minouette (the cat) has an active imagination and many a secret lair. Thus, I bring you 'things from secret minouette places.'

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

I’m a very visual person. I love a wide variety of visual arts and am inspired by the work of many different people. I love colour. I think a major theme, lurking behind a lot of things I create is the old fashioned cross between aesthetics and natural history: the Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosity.
Something that appeals to me is that the amateur gentleman or lady collector was laying some groundwork for a lot of descriptive science, and yet this was a world still open for myth and magic. Taxonomy of life forms and natural objects (birds, reptiles, shells, eggs, rocks and minerals) co-existed with legendary creatures like mermaids and unicorns.
I find fairytales, folklore and legend, from a variety of cultures, a source of inspiration. I think I throw all these things together, with a hint of history of science and a hint of whimsy.

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

I've been printmaking since I was a child. I had the good fortune to learn about lino, silk screen printing and etching at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I've taken a variety of art classes over the years. Most recently, I studied hand paper-making and Japanese-style wood block
printing.

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

I'm usually up to something- things come in series. Recently, I completed a series of 12 Chinese Zodiac prints. I'm also printing panels on fabric for an alphabet quilt, as a personal project- so there are prints, which are a by-product of this process. Generally, I print things from nature (mainly animals) or myth (which often includes composite creatures, which are at least part animal), and recently, I've begun incorporating characters from the history of science. I tend to look at a lot of images to gain an understanding of anatomy or structure (these can include photos or other artworks) and a sense of how an animal typically moves (which is both anatomy and 'personality'). For the Chinese Zodiac prints, I'm also learned the associated Chinese characters, and looked at a lot of Asian art, to try and reflect that influence. I mull these images over for a while and then draw. Sometimes I sketch (particularly if I need to work out the balance and composition), but sometimes I draw directly onto the lino. Often they evolve as I carve and make sporadic proofs, so the end product is not exactly as imagined or drawn.

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

On Sunday April 19th, I will be participating in the Hibiscus and
Rosehips Folk Tea Party/Bake Sale
, a fundraiser for the Hibiscus Fund
for Hope, a lymphoma charity. ) I have donated some artwork. There will be live music, art, crafts and cupcakes! I have a lot of creative projects on the go.
I am really looking forward to meeting all these creative Torontonians at A Spring Handmade Market too!

You can also visit Ele at her blog Minouette