I just love Toil and Trouble's fiber art! Her shop is unique and showcases her talent quite well! One of my favorite items is this cowl, also pictured below. It would be great for anyone, but perfect for cyclists of either the pedal or motor variety. Warm and cozy like a scarf, without the danger of it flying away or coming loose!
Here's what she had to say:
What's your sign?
I am a Virgo born right on the cusp of Libra. In a nutshell, I am a neurotic perfectionist.
What is your inspiration?
That's a tough question. It really depends on the day and what I am doing. Sometimes I see an item of clothing I like, and think about how I would change it. I play around with it in my head, and then it eventually becomes something I want to make. Sometimes I wander through a yarn store and pick up several skeins that catch my eye because of color. Then I sit there, stare at them and touch them. I get rid of the ones I don't find soft enough. With the soft ones, I day dream about the feel of the yarn, the kind of texture that it would go well with, how it would drape, and so on (My husband hates this part, he stands around looking grumpy because I take forever). I take home the ones I fall in love with.
Some nights I dream about knitting projects (I think I may have a problem), so I wake up and sketch something out quickly. I also ride the train to work every morning, so I end up spending time daydreaming about new projects, and I think that's where most of the ideas end up coming from. Sometimes, I will see something that just happens to inspire me, like a beautiful photo.
What led you to sell on etsy?
As a child, I wanted to grow up to be an artist. I always drew and painted, and thought I would grow up to be an illustrator. When I was 9, I learned how to crochet (poorly) and went through a phase of making rings and necklaces out of crochet. I tried to sell them to my parents' friends, but that didn't work out very well. I found Etsy when I saw a friend of mine making something, and I asked her about it. She told me she had a shop, and gave me the link. I fell in love with Etsy right away, and knew I wanted to have a shop one day. Originally, I was going to have a joint shop with a friend, and we were going to sell all sorts of crafts. We signed up in January of 2008, and the project never went anywhere.
I had learned how to knit a few years back, but it hadn't occurred to me to try selling that. I had given up on knitting because I realized I would never have enough closet space or days to wear everything I wanted to make. At one point it just made sense. So in February of 2009, I took the shop that my friend and I were originally going to share and turned it into a fiber art shop.
What is your favorite song and why?
This is a really hard question to answer. There are so many different songs that are associated with good memories, and other songs that I just enjoy listening to. I would have to say that my most important song is Time Has Told Me by Nick Drake. I love Nick Drake, and that song became very important to me and my husband when we went through a rough patch.
What is your favorite handmade item that you've bought?
When I was a little girl, my mother took me to an art fair. There was an artist who would take tiny quail egg shells and paint very detailed and beautiful images on them. I fell in love with one of them, and my mother humored me and bought it. I still have it sitting on a shelf in my apartment. Technically I guess didn't buy it myself though...
The sun finally came out in Boston today, so I am in a great mood!
Etsy is a wonderful place. It has helped so many people pursue their dreams of being artists, and it brings so many beautiful things into people's lives. I hope more people keep supporting the handmade movement.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Hello, my name is Krishna. Actually my name is:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
but that's a mouthful so you can call me Krishna. Mom just calls me Handsome, which is appropriate, I feel. I put a picture up there so you can see it's true. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally down to earth. I love to be brushed and petted and held. I give hugs, which Mom says is very strange for a cat but quite wonderful. I'd be very happy if Mom would hold me and carry me around forever.
I'd be very happy right now, for instance, if Mom would stop playing with those shiny things and play with me instead. She says I'm not allowed in because of something called allergies that some people have to me. I say pish posh! I wash thoroughly at least once every fifteen minutes and she only washes twice a day. Isn't that gross? Maybe cats have these allergy things against people!
Anyway, I'm still quite pleased with my life. I get square meals, a lap to purr on, a bed to sleep in, and these fantastic handmade organic catnip balls to play with.
See, my life before wasn't so good. Someone threw me out, which really hurt because I love to be loved and give love so very much. I like it even more than those Turkey Jerky treats, and that is saying a lot. On the streets I tried very hard to give my love away, but no one seemed to want it.
I was so sad, until one day I smelled a smell. It was a smell that made me feel like I could have a home again. I followed my nose up, up, up the stairs and saw an open door. Luckily, the smell was coming from that apartment so I followed it until I saw Mom for the very first time. She was sitting on a recliner, talking to a friend, and I was so overjoyed that I found my forever home! I already knew you see, we felines have a sense for these things. I jumped up on her lap, gave her one of my special hugs, and purred my heart out!
Mom says she loved me the moment she saw me, even though it was a very strange way to find a kitty. I think she's taking all the credit- I found her, mind. After calling all the vets, shelters, and rescues she could think of and found no one was looking for me, she let herself fall for my debonair charm. We've been living happily ever after since!
In the process of those calls, she happened upon the Siamese Cat Rescue Center. They are really great people, and Mom hopes to foster for them one day. I hope she does because of my cousin Fred- but that's a story for another day.
They have saved so many of my cousins, and hopefully they would have saved me if I had been sent to that awful concrete place I heard about on TV where cats go in but don't come out. Unfortunately, they need money to save my cousins.
All the good will and love in the world won't buy food, litter, and veterinary care. I hate the vet, let me tell you, but the vet helped my cousin Fred walk after an accident and the SCRC paid for the whole thing! He has a forever home now too!
I would get a job and help the Rescue but I don't have one of those Social Security numbers, only a tag with my name and Mom's phone number, and all the jobs I applied for said that won't work. Instead, I tolerate the shiny things and let Mom work on them so she can get some money to send. I would help but I don't have opposable thumbs.
So to the point- I'm taking the time away from my lovely catnip toys to ask you to please donate to the Siamese Cat Rescue Center, or maybe even look into adopting one of us. We get a bum rap as being mean, I blame it on that Lady and the Tramp movie, but that is another story for another day.
Also, if you buy one of the shiny things Mom makes she will donate 20% to the Rescue Center. Most of the rest will go to feed me, my brother, and my sister.
Thank you for your time ladies and gentlemen. I hope to blog again in the future, it has helped a lot with the separation anxiety I feel when Mom is busy.
Friday, July 3, 2009
I love SatinDolly's handmade clay flowers! She's extremely creative and very talented, and to top that off she's a joy to know! As such, I've chosen her as my first "focus on" seller. Here's a short interview I did with her to find out what makes her tick.
You can find here etsy shop here!
What was your inspiration?
As a little girl, my family and I would always take trips to go see my family in Northern California, The Grand Canyon and once a road trip to Texas. We would never travel by plane, but only by our cars. And at that time, we didn’t have cell phones, TV’s in the car or gaming systems; so I would just stare outside of my window memorizing how beautiful nature really is. I would gaze into the sky and watch the clouds form different shapes, at memorize each curve a mountain has and where shadows placed. That’s when I developed an obsession over nature beauties. I’m a huge rose lover, so making each rose by hand is a natural thing for me. Every rose I receive I sit and stare at it. Memorizing how each petal sits and how it curves, the smell, colors and texture. So when I began making roses in March 2009, it was so simple. I’ve never looked at anyone’s work on Etsy until recently. I actually had no clue if anyone had done anything like me, but it turns out that yes they do. I also love making flowers that are just different. I’m a very outgoing energetic woman that loves to wear simple but sometimes bold items. And that’s where my art comes from…me…and my visions. But I must say…my love for floral hasn’t been my passion my whole life. I actually used to hate floral on clothing, and my mother would always make me wear it. It’s probably why I now wear solid colors but use bold accessories!
What led you to sell on etsy?
In December of 2008, my dearest friend Melissa and I were discussing Christmas presents and figuring out unique items. She then told me about a necklace she had received from a friend. She bought it from artist that made an original hand painting on the back of a scrabble piece. The box the necklace came in matched the painting as well. I thought it was such a original idea. She then proceeded to tell me about how artists around the world sell their products on their website and it’s all handmade. I then opened Satin Dolly in January, but did not put anything in it until March 2009. So I owe the biggest thank you to her, for showing me a whole new world and hopefully a brighter future.
How does being a mom affect your crafty life, more time, less time etc?
I wish my day was organized in a way, to fit it all in. Because I’m a single mom, I have my daughter every day (and I wouldn’t ask for it any other way), but my day is filled with being mommy, chores, my full time job, crafting, sewing and organizing bills. I have to set myself time especially to my daughter and boyfriend, and that’s on weekends. That’s my time to relax from all the madness I go throughout the week. But I do all of this to support my little one. She’s the main reason I do this, so I can provide the important things she needs, even if I have to set aside the things I want. So all the craziness is completely worth it.
What are some other things you enjoy doing?
First and foremost I love going to Disneyland with my daughter. We have annual passes so we go all the time. Sometimes we go just to ride a few rides then we leave. I’ve loved Disneyland since I can remember, and it’s nice being able to share new memories with my little one. I also enjoy going to the beach, or even taking a drive down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). My family has recently moved out of state so whenever they come to California, I love spending every moment with them. I have a close family so just sitting around with them watching TV is special to me. Also spending time with my boyfriend is my hobby. I love hanging out with him. I don’t think he knows it, but he’s my rock.
Art wise, I love to draw, paint and sew. December 2008 I decided I want to learn how to sew and my mom bought me a sewing machine for Christmas and now I practice every week. I started teaching myself how to draw when I was little. Remembering when I would go up North and visit my favorite cousins, I would watch my cousin Joey draw these amazing characters. I mean words can’t describe how detailed and spectacular they were. He won first place so many times for his artwork, and I remember thinking that I wanted to be that amazing at something as well.
Eek! I have definitely been neglecting my blog! I've also neglected the subject of why we're here in the first place, and why I do what I do.
Why buy handmade?
I buy handmade because I know I'm getting something that was made by someone's two hands, creative mind, and caring heart. It wasn't mass produced for a big box store by either an underpaid employee in a third world country or stamped out by a machine. No one else in the world will have exactly the same earrings/vase/painting etc. I wear/use/enjoy the fruition of an individuals hard work, time, and talent.
When I buy a handmade item, I know I will get something I love while supporting the artist to do what they love. Buying handmade connects me to people. When I use my unbleached unpaper towels, I think of AthenaCreates and the lovely interaction we had.
As an independent jewelry artist, I do what I love. I get to meet people that have the same values and similar goals for the world we live in. When someone purchases one of my pieces, it isn't just a financial transaction to me, I feel honored.
Taken from buyhandmade.org:
Buying Handmade makes for better gift-giving.
The giver of a handmade gift has avoided the parking lots and long lines of the big chain stores in favor of something more meaningful. If the giver has purchased the gift, s/he feels the satisfaction of supporting an artist or crafter directly. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention that canbe seen and touched. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.
Buying handmade is better for people.
The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. We are encouraged to be consumers, not producers, of our own culture. Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost. Buying handmade helps us reconnect.
Buying handmade is better for the environment.
The accumulating environmental effects of mass production are a major cause of global warming and the poisoning of our air, water and soil. Every item you make or purchase from a small-scale independent artist or crafter strikes a small blow to the forces of mass production.
You can take the pledge to buy handmade here!
Friday, May 22, 2009
My strawberry fields in technicolor bracelet was featured in a treasury by DipYourToes!
See it here: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=59362
Stay tuned this afternoon- my first featured seller is SatinDolly!