Thursday, January 31, 2008

KIG Gifts


"It all started with seedbeads, anklets, then hemp, earrings, earrings bracelets and necklaces. Now it’s pendants. Pendants have been the longest stretch so far," says Kathy of KIG. "I think what I like most about them is their simplicity and ability to make a statement without being too showy."

She likes to make are of places that she has already visited or that she aspires to visit one day . "My pendants make me think of my travels and all the great experiences that I had." Teaching in Southern Japan for a year was one of those experiences, and has led to a deep love for Nippon and all things Japanese. So it's no surprise that many of her pendants are of Japanese stamps, images and maps. "The stamps that I use in my pendants are from my personal collection and stamps that I have acquired through the years."

Kathy is inspired by other talented artists on Etsy. "There is such variety here it’s amazing." She is also inspired by her sister who has made art her career, and who also has a shop on Etsy and is featured in many galleries in Montréal. "I would love for my jewelry to be my career... I admire those who have taken the leap."

Visit her blog to learn more about Kathy and her work.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Designs by Tami



"I am a typical craft junkie artist," says Tami, of Designs by Tami. "I have always been a crafty person." As a child, she drew, painted and made and sold bracelets. She eventually moved on to sewing and crochet, and today, she loves making custom designs for people! "It is wonderful to make knitting needles with someone's beloved pet, or a necklace with a new grandbaby's photo. I am inspired by so many things and I am constantly inspired to try new ways to express my creativity. Happily, I will never be able to put out that fire."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

TN Glass Stains


If you visit the studio of TN Glass Stains, you'll find a Dachshund named Gracie, Macy the spaniel mix with ADD, and 2 cats-- Jager and Lexxus sharing the space.

The artists have been working in stained glass since 2001, and each item is one of a kind, "so if you like it, get it." Fused pieces are made mostly from hand-rolled Bullseye or Specturm glass, and panels are usually constructed in the copper foil method. See stained glass panels on their Flickr site.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I was someone's featured shop today


If you'd like to read more about my shop, visit dreamsaboutart by Mary of DreamON.etsy.com.

BONZIE


BONZIE has been obsessed by art and design since she was small, and suspected even then that she would study fashion design at the National College of Art and Design in Ireland, where she lives. " I'm consumed by creativity, my mind is always churning over with ideas," she says.

Her favourite items to make are corsets. "These have always been a fave of mine because i guess they remind me of yester year, I love the oldy worldy look about them, not to mention the fact that they are very feminine and seductive. Love to see a clients face light up when I give that final tug on the lacing and they realise they look a size smaller -- it's priceless," she says.

Bonzie is constantly thinking about design and her next project. "I suppose we pick up inspiration from our environment all around. I would say however, that I get a lot of ideas from looking back. I love anything antique or old or aged, always prefer fabrics that are somewhat old; if I have to buy new pieces I can't help but distress them in some way!! I feel its more romantic, and has more character." She loves anything Victorian, Medieval, Renaissance, Gothic, basically anything with a bit of history and drama attached.

Be sure to stop by and visit her blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Magdalene Jewels


Magdalene Jewels is named after Mary Magdalene. Pamela Baker works from home and sells her jewelry on both Etsy and in craft shows. She also designs and makes quilts, knits, and crochets. She is also a calligrapher. She uses Swarovski Crystals in all of her designs, "mainly because of the intricate colors which, when reflected in the sunlight, make each piece unique."

Don't be surprised if you also detect traces of India in her work -- it's her favorite place. "If I could be anywhere in the world, I would love to live in India." She has visited several times and spent time especially in Southern India where she visited many temples. She loves the peace that she finds there.

Don't forget to stop and visit her blog.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Susarto


"I decided i wanted to be an artist when I was three years of age," says Susarto with a huge grin.

Her true love is painting -- mostly in oils, but sometimes in acrylics or ink. Her favorite topics are people and still lifes, but she sometimes likes to break out of that, and do some collage or acrylic stuff -- "it keeps me thinking and changing," she says.

But she has also created the "weirdo," a style of doll that she first made for her niece, and she loves the ones that make her giggle. For her son, she created the "zombie" line of dolls. "I started basing the weirdo descriptions on myself. ie: my sugar addiction, fear of squirrels, painting, etc... they now have spread into descriptions of people I know, as well...I know a lot of weirdos," she says, smiling.

She suffers no shortage of inspiration. "I guess in my painting, I'm inspired by shapes, and simplifying objects. There's a definite shape there, and I tend to make it obvious by surrounding it with line. People inspire me, color, and maybe even humor.

Susarto is a member of IrishRogueArtisans and the Etsy plush team. She currently lives in Pennsylvania, and has a B.F.A. from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she majored in painting and drawing. She has been a professional artist for several years, and exhibits in local galleries, and sells to individual collectors in the U.S., and also in Ireland and England. She is also married and has one son. You can see more of her paintings at her Web site.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Flurrsprite's Nook


"I've always loved crafts, but only came upon bookbinding recently while I was doing a theatre internship out in Pennsylvania," says Maiko, a member of BEST and proprietor of flurrsprite's nook.

I stumbled across bookbinding after a friend of mind posted in her livejournal about her new shirt that she had sewn, and a friend of hers commented with links to craftsy livejournal groups, which led to the bookbinding group. Tthe rest is history, she says.

Maiko's interest in jewelry evolved later, when she had "a ton" of vintage and antique things that she was either reselling or recreating into something new in her shop. Recently she has made some linocut cards, returning to a skill she learned in high school.

"I enjoy making everything," she exclaims, noting that each craft brings a different mood. "I get a bright sparkly feeling when I finish say, a pair of earrings, but there's a satisfactory mellow feeling when I finish a new book. Imagination is fun!"

Learn more about Maiko at her blog.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nancy McNally, LocalColorist


Nancy, the proprietor of Local Colorist on Etsy is a native San Franciscan, and mother of two grown children raised in SF (all three are practicing artists). "Some people are compelled to create art and crafts whether or not they have an audience. I am one of those people who keep on making art no matter what is going on. I do appreciate a community like Etsy," says Nancy. "Today it takes an electronic world wide village to help keep art alive."

Nancy began painting at age nine because art was a life preserver in a stormy childhood. A mother of one of her classmates in 4th grade, "a beautiful woman from France," taught her class watercolor and chalk pastels, beginning a life-long love of both art and France.

As a teenager, Nancy began creating theater sets, costumes, landscape and interior design. She simply can't resist adorning myriad surfaces with color, form, and light. "Learning new techniques is crucial for me. Joining Etsy is a an opportunity to learn about other practicing artists all over the world." She is active on Etsy in the California Crafters Club of Etsy, and enjoys discovering and promoting new artists on the site.

Right now, the ancient art of origami has her attention and her love, and it shows in the beauty of the peace cranes she creates. She shares her love by teaching children, teens and adults how to make peace cranes at public forums.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Artemisia Designs



"Let the beauty we love be what we do."
-- Rumi

Her jewelry has the appearance of music, and it's clear that this is a woman whose many talents feed each other. "I really like the creative process of designing something new or stumbling upon a great combination by accident," says Lupe of Artemisia Designs. "Having a new idea is so fun, and seeing how unlikely things can be put together to make something beautiful." Lupe particularly likes interesting color combinations and mixing and matching different metals and. She has been reconstructing jewelry from found objects and old jewelry from thrift stores for over 20 years. With the opening of her Etsy store, she's begun to do more cold forging with silver and copper. "I really enjoy that process of moving the metal around," she says.

Like many artists, Lupe finds her greatest inspiration in nature. "Plants and flowers are sort of a theme in my life -- gardening, farming, spending a lot of time in nature hiking. I have a deep admiration for nature's beauty and the perfect imperfection and purity. I am also inspired by the bold colors and designs in tribal/ethnic styles from all over -- India, Africa, Middle East, Mexico , and native American," says the proprietor of Artemisia Designs.

Lupe has so many creative pursuits that she feels there are just never enough hours in the day to pursue them all. "I have 12 years of stained glass experience and a deep love and appreciation for the craft. I have also made and sold basketry, jewelry, pottery and seed beadwork for years. Then about six years ago, she began painting with acrylics and finds it a fun way to create and express ideas. In addition, she has gotten into photography -- "almost by accident...I got a camera just to take pictures of flowers so I could have them when it was winter for drawing...but then the love of photography took hold." Nonetheless, given the opportunity, Lupe will be outdoors in her garden where the light is perfect for drawing plants.

Her creative endeavors seem almost boundless -- she has played the violin for the last 15 years and has begun to write music this last year. "I guess I pursue alot of creative paths," she says. "I am so grateful for these pursuits, they're teaching me a lot and give back so much."

Racheal Anilyse


Racheal, proprietor of RachealAnilyse has always loved art -- drawing, photography, doodling, making cards, scrapbooking, etc. since she was little. "I made my first pop up book in 6th grade. It was about a mouse. It never survived our basement flood unfortuantely," she says, ruefully. She began school thinking she would be a teacher, but an intense art history course convinced her that she was surpressing myself, leading to a shift to art school and an art degree.

Racheal is inspired by some very famous people: Gustov Klimt, Aubrey Beardsley, Norman Rockwell, Alphonse Mucha, DaVinci, Raphael, Edward Dulac, and Arthur Rackham, as well as by what surrounds her -- family, nature, and life's chance encounters. Learn more about Racheal Anilyse on her blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

KDemArte


Karen of KDemArte has always loved making art, and has worked in a lot of different media through the years. Currently she's working with metal -- using fine, lead-free pewter -- and using an ancient method of gravity casting. "I love the earthy, rustic quality that it gives my work." In addition to her metal work, Karen also paints pet portraits. She finds her inspiration in nature and its tiny details.

Winemaker's Sister


Winemakerssister is a new Etsy shop currently featuring handmade notecards, charm bracelets, and other whimsies. Her background includes many years of graphic arts, a production artist in a major art fair, and lots of nonprofit marketing experience. Wondering about her name? She currently runs her family's winery ("my sister is the winemaker").

Visit her Flickr site and blog. To sign up for her email newsletter, send contact info to winemakerssister@yahoo.com.

She is a member of EtsyPaper and EtsyGreetings street teams.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Natural Historie


Natural Historie is a fanciful collection reminiscent of the past and of nature, crafted in girlish pastels, delicately designed and prettily packaged, says Livy, the proprietor. "I want you to feel as though you’re gazing upon antique maps, leafing through a naturalist’s sketchbook, and trifling through splendid little treasures Marie Antoinette might have envied." Her expedition into the world of Etsy began this past summer, and she’s planning to concentrate exclusively on art prints and paper goods printed with her own original designs. Currently, Livy is a UCLA undergraduate double majoring in History and Art History, with the hope of a career in advertising. Her painting, “Waiting” was her first published piece, appearing on the cover of the 2007 UCLA literary arts journal, Westwind. Etsy has been such a lovely -- and excellent outlet for her creative endeavors, she says. Visit her shop and her blog.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jenngee


Sewing may just run in her genes. Although both of my grandmothers are superb sewers and quilters, Jenn George, known on Etsy as Jenngee, grew up a great distance from both of them and wasn't lucky enough to learn directly from them. She dabbled with sewing and needlework off and on as a kid, but became serious as a freshman in college where she had a design school student for a roommate. "I was fascinated with the things that she made with her sewing machine. I asked for my own machine for Christmas that year and that is when Bertha (my straight-stitch-only, loud as a freight train, workhorse of a sewing machine) came into my life," she says. "At that point there was no turning back."

She learned everything her roommate would teach me and then bought or borrowed every book she could find that would teach her new skills. "I became obsessed with the quilting show that Georgia Bonesteel was doing at the time (she was the first TV quilting diva as far as I know) and decided that quilting was my calling. I spent all my extra money on fabric yardage or quilting notions. That was almost 13 years ago and I continue to learn new things almost every day," Jenn says.

These days, she finds real joy in making smaller items like the Coffee Corsets she sells on Etsy since she gets all the pleasure plus the added bonus of finishing them quickly, but she still loves making quilts. She also enjoys creating her own fabric with inks/dyes/paints, carving her own stamps (for the same purpose), painting and embossing metal hardware, machine needle felting, cross stitching, and hand embroidery.

What inspires her? "I'm very heavily influenced and inspired by the work of others." She became a craft-show junkie way back before the craft shows on HGTV, PBS, and the DIY Network became popular, and the DVR in her sewing studio works overtime recording every show that is even remotely craft-related. "I enjoy watching these shows to learn new techniques and to see the work of other artists. I also have a huge library of books and magazines to reference and I make a special effort to visit traveling quilting/textile exhibits whenever they come to my town. When I see something that makes me say 'WOW' it just renews my creative spirit all over again and I want to make more and more."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Amanda May


Amanda May has been a practicing artist all her life, and enjoys working with fiber, many varieties of paint, soft and hard sculpture, and in graphics - from papermaking and pen and ink to web site design and digital editing.

"I have an artistic personality," she says. "I just love to try new things." And her shop is full of the creative expression of an excited artist. She maintains a website where she tries to keep track of her work, and a blog called Artistically Speaking where she talks about arts and crafts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Heidi Burton


"I have always been surrounded by creativity," says Heidi Burton. As a child she used to ponder over the sweet drawings her mother made when designing beautiful clothes that her children would later wear with pride. Her father painted as a hobby, and his employment involved cartography ("which is probably why I love maps so much!" says Heidi. Her interest in old black and white and sepia photography derives from her father's interest in family history, and she gains further inspiration from her sister's success as a photographer and fashion designer.

She hoped to attend art school in college, but got a nasty surprise when she was rejected. This led her to move from job to job and feel creatively stifled and emption -- feeling what she thought was an unrequited love for art. But her confidence was restored when she re-applied six years later and was accepted, finishing last summer with a degree in illustration. "The most important thing I learned from my degree is that, at least in my case, imperfect drawing has so much more character and energy than that of accurate perspectives and flawless shading. My critique feedback was always 'your sketchbook work is so much more interesting than your final piece.' I discovered there is such a thing as 'final-piece anxiety' where one can try TOO hard. Draw now, think later!" she laughs.

She loves to draw people when they don't realize they're being watched, and she appreciates vulnerability of the subconscious self. Heidi also draws inspiration from the patterns and sysmmetry she sees in nature. "I love geometric lines, simplicity, and experimenting with texture." Her work is also inspired by poetry; at the moment she's in love with the work of Sylvia Plath, Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, along with novels by Haruki Murakami.

For Heidi, the best thing about being a seller on Etsy is the heart-warming feeling she gets from the knowledge that people all over the world have her prints and cards in their homes. "It is the best incentive to be creative," she says.

Visit her blog as well as her Flickr account.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Seven Bridges


Elizabeth of Seven Bridges studio has considered herself a writer -- far removed from visual arts -- for most of her young life. "When I was about 17, I was first introduced to digital art, and I found a world of tools that could bring my inspiration to life," she said. But it would be another 10 years or so before she actually picked up a camera.

Elizabeth loves to create images that stir the soul. She finds it difficult to tell what that will be, and shoots 300 to 400 frames during a good week. Her favorite moment is when she looks at a shot and can tell that it will evoke emotion for someone. Inspiration is her constant companion -- "I have more inspiration than time," she says. Her latest fascination is fashion photography.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Keri Love Jewels


Keri of Kerilovvejewels has a Barbados-based Etsy shop, specializing in jewelry and ornaments. She has been crafting for three years, and is a university student pursuing a bachelor's degree in ecology and psychology.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

pumpkin sputnik



Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to go to art school, says Emma of pumpkinsputnik. "I never wanted to do anything else - I just loved to draw." At art school that passion turned to jewelry design as well as computer graphics. She has since combined the latter with an interest in photography and turned the combination toward making simply beautiful notebooks and stationery. "I love notebooks and usually have about three on the go for different things."

Winter and autumn are the times of the year when she's most inspired by nature and the shapes and silhouettes of trees and flowers, and the colours. "Whenever we go out walking in Scotland," says this Glasgow-based artist,"I'll take my camera - I usually get left miles behind my husband and children because I'm taking photos of trees!"

Friday, January 11, 2008

joemomma



Alysa began sewing in a junior high home economics class, where the first project was a pencil bag. "I was so proud to use something that I had made myself," she says. "After that I sewed off and on with my mom's help for a few years." But she engaged with sewing in earnest during college when her sister-in-law taught her how to make patchwork quilts. "I made quilts for everyone and loved it." The quilts were followed by baby blankets, then bibs and burp cloths as gifts. Then she had a baby of her own (Joe, as you might have guessed) and found out that the things she made worked better than anything store-bought. "The absorbency and stain-resistance amazed me! I thought I should share my baby items with others."

Then she found Etsy. It seemed the perfect venue not only for her handmade baby items, but for other things she can sew as well. Now she makes bags and pillow covers as well, and is looking forward to including some fun headbands and covered buttons in her shop. The different items allow her to work with unique vintage fabrics -- her only problem is too many ideas and not enough time.

Fabric inspires her. "My favorite thing is to go searching for vintage fabric. I have a great little store near me where I walk in the door and the owner goes right to her fabric closet and pulls out funky, bold, bright vintage fabric for me to look at. It is so fun and I love to imagine what I will make with each piece. Sometimes the fabric is so nice and so unique that I just hold on to it for a while because I want to make sure that I use it in the best way possible. I don't want to waste it!"

Joemomma is the name of her shop, which has recently been joined by a destash shop as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Valentine Story


Today I was featured in Signature Sterling's blog. But that's not the real story. The real story lies in the card she selected from my shop. It's as sweet as they come. You can also visit her shop.

K is for Calligraphy


Katy of K is for Calligraphy, has a bachelor of science in accounting and a minor in French, so she never expected to be a self-employed professional calligrapher. Her mom, however, had a hunch that calligraphy was in her daughter's future, and nudged her toward a calligraphy class as soon as she learned how to write. But it was a couple of decades before Katy followed her mom's hunch (and a prompt from the other side of her brain) and enrolled, and now has a career as a professional calligrapher.

"Handmade is my creative choice," she says. "Whether it is a handmade birthday card or an original place card, it is my belief that giving is best when you are giving handmade. I cannot imagine a day without doing calligraphy or creating something new."

She is a proud member of Etsy Paper.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Featured by Citrus Tree Designs


Citrus Tree Designs wrote up a nice feature about my shop today.

Art by Heather


"I've been making messes since the day I was born," says Heather, proprietor of Art by Heather. "I love to create but the process is slightly disrupting! At the moment, I am intrigued with altered art and random creativity."

This stay-at-home mom, a self-described Pollyanna who always looked at the bright side, has always "dabbled in artsy-fartsy, crafty stuff." The offerings in her Etsy shop are only the latest in a long line of creative endeavors. She tries to reflect her positive outlook in her art, and likes to make things that make her laugh. "Hopefully you'll chuckle a bit as well," she says. The cards and dominoes in her shop were born as she looked through her collection of old photographs one day. "Chuck and Barb wanted to share their love...then Mildred gave me a dirty look and just to spite her I put her on a card. The others soon followed...and there are lots more to come!"

Heather is inspired by people...all kinds of people. "Preferably fun, quirky, ODD people. The kind most of us can relate to! My primary goal is always to make people smile...preferably to break out into a full-on knee-slapping laugh!"

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

National Letter Writing Week Jan. 8-15


Katydiddy of Etsy fame has posted about National Letter Writing Week, which is coming up Jan. 8-15. Make plans now to get out your best paper and pen -- and if you need a card -- stop by my shop, or by one of the many other Etsy Greetings shops.

Shell Mitchell



Shell Mitchell has always loved to make pretty things. "When I was five I begged my mother to let me use her sewing machine so I could make a fluffy pink skirt - the ones in the store were just not fluffy enough! Under her supervision, and many yards of tulle later, I had my very first one-of-a-kind creation."

Today, the joy of making and wearing unique, one-of-a-kind items is still with her. "As someone who gets cold when temperatures dip below 70, having a good pair of gloves suited for wearing indoors is really important to me, and I need them to be fingerless so I can still get my work done." Shell started altering her own gloves 10 years ago after not being able to find any fingerless gloves that were cute enough to wear to the very stylish office she was working in at the time. A decade later, she is still making and selling them as a part-time job. She is, in fact, in the middle of a long love affair with gloves. "Taking something basic and turning it into something beautiful and functional has been tremendously satisfying for me." Shell also likes to recreate vintage dresses into modern, wearable pieces.

Shell is inspired by people, travel, life, nature, art - you name it! The whimsy of Japanese street style fascinates her and she strives to incorporate that into her life. She makes an annual pilgrimage to the Burning Man art festival, "The creativity there is always amazing. Somehow that week of craziness always gets me back on track with my priorities in order."

Basically, however, she finds inspiration most often in small ways every day. "Sometimes it is a flower blooming in the yard, a girl walking down the street... anything that makes my heart smile will find it's way into my work sooner or later." Find out more about her work at her blog.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sew Much Detail


Sandee of SewMuchDetail has been sewing since she was 14. She decided to turn her passion into a new business, featuring vintage and vintage inspired cottage fabrics from designers like Rachell Ashwell and Laura Ashley which you are likely to find among her designs, which include some of everything -- totes for Mom and baby, the little princess, table linens, stockings, sachets, towels and a special teachers section. She specializes in affordable, handmade pretties for every gift occasion -- especially a gift for yourself! She'll be happy to add monograms or other details to your specifications, and is happy to do other kinds of custom work as well.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

TEMNO


Teresa of TEMNO is an Italian architecture student who has a fondness for high-quality paper and functional yet aesthetically pleasing notebooks and sketchbooks. "That is what I often indulge myself with, and what I am offering in this little corner of Etsy," she says. Each of her journals, sketchbooks or albums is unique and handmade, so it might not be perfect as an industrial product, but that's what she likes most.

She's also a photographer, and often her papercrafts feature some her photographs. Sometimes, you'll also find a small selection of Italian beads and copper in her shop as well. You can see more of her work on Flickr and read more about her on her blog.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Front page for a little while


I got a huge surprise today when friends let me know that this card made it into the Etsy Valentine Gift Guides as well as making an appearance on the front page. Go figure!

Sea Glass Designs


"I have always gathered sea glass."

So says Rita, a nurse, wife, mother and crafter who grew up on beautiful Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. "My father was a lobster fisherman and we lived just a few feet from the sea -- close enough that we sometimes had seaweed on the doorstep after a storm!" As a child, she and her brother and sister made crafts with beach rocks and sold them to the tourists who visited their fishing village. She pauses a moment to wonder how many of those glued together contraptions are still out there.

Collecting treasures from the sea remains a family affair. Her partner and children help with collecting the sea glass. "None of us can stroll along a beach, just enjoying the day. We can't help but walk with our heads down, eyes peeled for that little piece of colour hiding in the sand and rocks." Because their beaches are snow and ice covered from December to the end of March, the hunt is over for this year; she uses the winter hours to work with the beautiful pieces -- ranging from vibrant reds to turquoise -- that they have found through the summer and fall months. "There is history behind some of the pieces- there are books such as Richard LaMotte's 'Pure Sea Glass' which help to identify the age of certain pieces of glass, and where they may have come from. Its thrilling to find a piece that is particularly old or rare."

Rita started making jewelry with my glass collection about 5 years ago. "I took silver smithing and jewelry courses at our local art college, loved everything about it, and decided to incorporate some of our glass into the pieces. The designs are inspired by the glass itself. Sea glass, also know as beach glass or mermaid's tears, is nature's answer to bottles, china and pottery carelessly thrown into the sea many years ago. The glass is tumbled on the ocean floor, smoothed by the waves and sand until it washes up on shore, waiting to be found by a lucky passerby. Because every piece of sea glass is different, no two pieces of jewelry are exactly alike, which keeps it interesting," she says. Her work can be found in her Etsy shop as well as at craft fairs and a boutique in Halifax called Love, Me, which carries Canadian handmade goods from several Etsy shops.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Subu



subu was created in loving memory of two amazing women: Sue (aka subu) and Rose, says Emily, the proprietor. She explains that the company was started as a way to indulge her crafting and artistic adventures, as well as to be in wonderful and supportive community of like-minded individuals. Emily's primary modality is paper - using it to create books and notepads. She is fascinated with bookmaking and the variations that it allows. In it she finds the amazing range of materials and the technical detail that combine the gifts of my mother's creativity with my father's scientific inclinations. Her father Rich, who is a potter, has in fact recently joined Emily on Etsy.

The two developed their crafts from very different experiences. Rich began to learn how to be a wheel potter when he was a third year medical student and needed a way to relax and do something non-medical. "I was fortunate that there was a ceramics studio near where I was living and the owners were very kind and patient. Over the next year or so they taught me the basics." Over 30 years later, he still enjoys throwing on the wheel and developing new shapes and decorative approaches for his work. In general, he wants his work to be affordable and for people to use his ceramics on a daily basis. He hopes that people will also appreciate the hand-made nature of a wheel thrown pot and the beauty and variation of the form and glaze that make the piece unique.

Emily started bookmaking about a year and a half ago and fell in love with the craft. "I love the detail and the variability that bookmaking allows. i have always been creative and used many different outlets to channel it." Although she enjoys all of her bookmaking, her favorite work is her recycled notebooks. "They are super fun to make and satisfy my need for instant gratification." By contrast, she finds the handbound books satisfying in a different way. "They take a lot longer to make, but seeing the end product makes the wait worth it in the end," she says. She draws inspiration from numerous sources: paper and fabrics, stamps and inks, buttons, and color; by seeing other people's creativity; by reading Martha Stewart Magazine and real simple; by listening to good music; through hearing other people's ideas for books. "They all make my fingers tingle and get me excited to make things."

Emily is a member of the Pittsburgh Craft Mafia and also the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team (BEST). She invites you to check out her blog.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sheeps Clothing


It's a common story, she says.

"When my boys were babies I looked and looked for high quality, stylish knitwear for them. Sure there was some nice looking stuff out there, but some nasty acrylic fabrics. No way was I putting man-made fibres on their tiny little heads," Stacey exclaims.

So coming as she does from a long line of knitters, ("I was taught by my Mum at a young age and she in turn was taught by her Mum"), she experimented with a few different styles and types of beanies and scarves. The kind comments she and her sons received convinced her that she was on to something and Sheeps Clothing was born.

That experimenting allows her to make up a pattern as she goes along, inspired by the yarn itself. Growing up in rural Victoria (Australia) we were surrounded by sheep and I have always been interested in the transformation from raw wool to finished, ready to use yarn. Every item in the Sheeps Clothing range of hats, scarves and hair accessories is lovingly hand knitted using 100% Australian pure wool. "As is the beauty of hand crafted creations, each article of Sheeps Clothing is subtly different: a unique designer piece for each owner. However, one attribute they all share is stylish yet functional design and quality to last," promises Stacey.

You can learn more about her work on her blog.

Featured by Craftymoose Crafts and Lazy Cat Gifts today


You can read a nice feature about my shop in this blog or at this one today.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Kiley's Handmade Books



"I have always been a crafty kind of girl," says Kiley. "I grew up in my Dad's studio classes as he worked towards his BFA, and I learned to make all kinds of items." A love of all kinds of arts and crafts was instilled in her from a young age -- she was in a 4-H sewing group, had a beading loom on which she made bracelets, made macramé bracelets, "the list could go on forever," she says.

Bookbinding came later, however, when she worked in a library while working on her undergraduate degree. "I knew I loved working in libraries and started to look for the area of specialization that would fit me. After an extensive amount of research I found a specialization that I thought I would love; I wanted to be a conservationist." She began by taking a series of book binding classes to get her feet wet and see if it was something she could do. She started with a basic class on small books and took another class on larger book making as well as a class on making protective boxes. "As long as I have known about handbound books I have loved them. Books have really become my passion."

From there I took off on my own, bought some books, and joined a local book arts group and have learned a lot of really unique and fun book structures. She began to build a a 3-D portfolio for graduate school admission. "I had a blast in the classes and it was something that came very naturally to me. I fell in love with the craft and have never looked back. I now spend most of my free time folding, sewing, cutting, gluing, and whatever else I can think of to do to paper with the end goal of a book in mind," she says.

Right now her two favorite structures are the Celtic Weave and her Origami books. "I just got a great deal on some larger paper and am going to start offering my origami books in a 6" square size. I love the Celtic Weave because it opens flat like a Coptic stitching but I think it is a much more eye-catching sewing," she says.

Kiley gets most of her inspiration from her paper stash. "When I start a new project I almost never start with a color, pattern, or style of book in mind. I start looking for the paper, or fabric, that stands out that day. From there I pick a structure and a size and start working."

She also get great rushes of inspiration from custom orders, trying to create the perfect book for someone she's only communicated with for short time spans. "It's always a challenge, but it's also very rewarding. I love the feedback I get from the custom books I have made that also drives me to create more wonderful books."

If you see a book in her shop that you like but don't love, she invites you to send her a message so she can do a custom order for you. Similarly if you see something in her sold listings you love, but she doesn't have any currently in stock, she'd love to make one for you. "I love doing custom orders and would love to create a book just for you!" You can keep up with Kiley's Etsy activities on her blog.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Raydel Photography



You'd never know it, but Raydel Photography is a Florida-based, self-taught photographer. "I really have always had a love of photography. I have only been shooting for about 6 months. I have always had a camera but I never though of using it as a professional." But it's a little more complex than it seems on the surface. "I have had the training and nurturing of two wonderful and professional photographers. My sister (a photographer and illustrator) and brother have taken me under wing to help me grow with my love of the photographic arts and fine tune her skills." She is in love with creating vintage style images and finding beauty in things often overlooked -- small trinkets often overlooked. "I like to find items in thrift stores that people often toss aside and make them my own little unique works of art.

She also finds inspiration in her children and in her surroundings. "Florida has so many images -- especially sunsets -- just waiting to be photographed," she says, "and I hope to someday capture them all."