Category: featured artist series

featured artist :: the rice babies

from the archives: 3.15.11

name: Kellie
company: The Rice Babies
links: web | etsy | twitter | facebook

What do you make?
Pretty dolls and lovely crowns that inspire the imagination.

What or who inspires you?
My inspiration comes from my children and the children I teach through my art classes. I also love children’s literature and have a wild imagination.

How did you get started?
I picked up a camera when I was in high school, from them on art has been wooing me. It’s been a long time love affair.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Currently, I love to sew, so fabrics with textures and great designs coupled with embroidery.

What is the hardest and your most favourite part of crafting?
The hardest part is finding time with three little ones. My favourite part is seeing people enjoying what I have made.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
If you love it, just keep trying, and if you love making it, you will find the time.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I have an art degree, so I am inclined to say artist. When I set out, I hoped to be an artist, the word crafter didn’t enter my world until I opened an Etsy shop. I suppose the word craft comes from hand crafted, so I would think handmade would also then become craft, so I guess both.

all images via [stu-di-o] by jeanie except image one via Blue Olive Photography

featured artist: bubbly shnooks

from the archives: 31.3.11

name: Michelle Clement
company: Bubbly Shnooks
links: etsy | blog | twitter | flickr

What do you make?
I make cute illustrated paper goods for my shop, Bubbly Shnooks, and am currently expanding my line to include crocheted goodies, soft dolls, and accessories. I also design a line of scrapbook paper for Sassafras Lass, as well as work in the local Vancouver animation industry as my ‘day job’, as well as making a lot of crafts just for fun: I love to scrapbook, embroider, sew, cross-stitch, and am currently addicted to crocheting!

What or who inspires you?
I’m really inspired by artists, crafters, and illustrators who have made their own little thriving indie businesses! Artists like Elsie Flannigan of Red Velvet Art, Susie Ghahremani of BoyGirlParty, and Emily Martin of The Black Apple, for example – those who make their own unique and adorable goodies and have remarkable branding & a smart sense for all things indie bizz. Chasing dreams really inspires me!

How did you get started?
I started scrapbooking when I was 12 at a beginner’s class with my mom, and everything’s kind of stemmed from there! (I’ve been sewing and drawing and journaling for as long as I can remember, too, of course). I got really into scrapbook products and goodies about 4-5 years back, and my love of drawing led me to doodle my own scrapbook paper tags, which then led to also making cards and art prints, and it’s grown out from there. The collage-inspired way I scrapbook has now also led me to designing lines of paper – where I use every crafty technique in my arsenal, from embroidery to dying paper to drawing to sewing. It all started with paper and has grown into a creative outlet that comes out in a wealth of forms!

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I love to work with heavy cardstock and walnut ink (a natural brown dye that ages paper in a lovely way). I’m also partial to my trusty HB pencil and plain old white paper for drawings, and Photoshop is vital for everything! Fabric is also a favorite – especially neutrals that I can dye and scrunch and make my own.

I’ve also always been really into the mix of aged vintage & bright colors, so thrift shops inspire me, as does the magazine aisle at a big book store. Scrapbook galleries, numerous crafty blogs, children’s book illustrations, and artists like Mary Blair, Dr. Suess, and Edward Gorey have my heart. Calgary’s own amazing ‘Uppercase Magazine’ is also an amazing resource! I find inspiration everywhere, really. The world around me inspires!

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
I would say that the most important thing when you’re creating anything or opening a shop is to make what you want to make and stay true to yourself, not to make something because it’s popular right now or that it’s what everybody else is doing. It can be discouraging at first, sometimes, feeling like you’re a black sheep of sorts, but once you spread the word and find your niche, you’ll be glad you stuck with something unique that you love to do. You’ll find that other people will love that about it, to!

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Oh, this is a toughie. I’ve bantered over it with art school folk a few times, because it’s such a blurred line, now. I would like to say I’m a ‘maker’ – lol – aka, a crafter & artist all rolled into one. I think today that craft & art have joined forces – crafts are just as beautiful and inspiring during this handmade movement as art, is, to me.

featured artist :: cutesypoo

from the archives: 15.3.11

name: Jocelan + Jason
company: cutesypoo toys
links: website | blog | shop | twitter

What do you make?
My husband and I make cartoons for a living and formed this company out of our love of toys. I just wanted to recreate the kind of toys that inspire kids, instead of the toys you just get from the toy store that are made in china, why not make one of a kind of toys that kids really fall in love with? Plus we always wanted to make our cartoons come to life and animating them is ok..but when a kid can hold and touch and hug a toy…then that is really something!! Most of the toys we make are custom printed with ecofriendly inks such as the cone gnomes, but recently we are making embroidered toys with our new embroidery machine such as our cutesypoo pillows and plush kitties. Of course, we always try to make out toys ultra cute!!

What or who inspires you?
Kawaii culture like Hello Kitty, I worked on the Pucca tv show and that was an influence, japanese zakka style magazines, friends, flickr..food! I think of food when i make toys ..like the colours i will ask myself …does it look yummy enough to eat??

photo credit: studio jeanie

How did you get started?
I have been to japan twice and after i got back from the first trip there i started to try to sew my own toy bunny from a japanese felt book and when i did i was hooked! Funny thing is I tried hard not to create my own stuff because i am so creative at work I wanted to do a “mindless thing ” while i relaxed in front of the tv at night ..but eventually I couldn’t help myself when i started to draw something in my sketchbook i just HAD to make it!! The first thing i made was a plush coconut bun and i still have it.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Cotton canvas, vintage scraps of fabric because it looks good and fleece and minky because it is easy to sew.

What is the hardest and your most favourite part of crafting?
Easy! My favourite is drawing up the ideas and also the satifaction of a completed project and my hardest is the whole part between that!!

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
I know everyone says this but it’s true! Stay true to what you are and what you want to create but also be realistic with your products and see what sells and do research by doing craft shows to see what people think of your stuff. In other words..don’t just ask family and friends…

featured artist :: kove handmade

from the archives: 01.12.10

name: Kyla Leslie
company: Kove Handmade
links: website | blog | twitter | facebook | etsy

What do you make?
kove is primarily a line of knit and crochet scarves, cowls, warmers and wraps. There are a few necklaces and clutches in the mix as well.

What or who inspires you?
The line is heavily influenced by the west coast. I love living by the mountains and next to the ocean, so those textures inspire my work. Versatility is important to me, so I strive to incorporate functional elements like hoods and double sided buttons into the designs.

How did you get started?
I would say it was a combination of time, obsession and curiosity that lead me to launch kove. Reconnecting with a craft I had learned as a youngster (crochet) and using it to create something contemporary and wearable was something that I wanted to put out in the world. I opened my Etsy shop on Valentine’s day this year, and ended up realizing a dream I didn’t know I had.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I mostly use a chunky wool / acrylic blend of yarn, which is super soft to work with. I also love the contrast of incorporating hardware into my fibre jewelry.

What is the hardest and your most favourite part of crafting?
The biggest challenge is time – which I suppose is true of any small business owner. A lot of people use the insanity workout. I wish there were more hours in the day to just sit and design. But the best part is seeing people enjoy what you’ve made, and make it their own.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Love what you do, do your best work, and really get to know who your customers are.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Probably a crafter or designer.

featured artist :: laura bucci handmade

from the archives: 13.9.10
name: Laura Bucci
company: Laura Bucci Handmade
links: website | etsy shop

What do you make?
I focus on functional fashion, home & travel accessories. I like to use retro/modern fabrics but lately have started designing my own vintage inspired line. You can see my new fabric in action on the sustainable cup cozies. If I can’t produce the fabric myself, I’ll use unique indie designed fabric. You’ll see this used to make pouches, tea cozies and more. I am very conscientious about waste, so I started using fabric remnants to make fabric pinback buttons.

What or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the many illustrators of education and story books in what we now call vintage books. Often times the illustrators were not credited but a few were, so I’d to acknowledge Merle Smith and Maud Sherman.How did you get started?
I studied fine art and photography a long time ago. But what I do now is a real departure from what I studied. I am a self-taught sewer. Sewing was preceded by knitting which is what got me started being creative after a 10 year hiatus. This all came about from feeling a need to be creative and independent after working at regular jobs. I am slowly returning to my photographic roots but now within a new medium — fabric and functional objects.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I like fabric with different textures and I favour natural and vegan materials such as linen, hemp, and cotton.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Differentiate yourself from the rest. What’s different about you? Why would people want to buy from you? Think about branding, it’s really quite important and something I am thinking about right now. When I began crafting, I focused on products and I’m only now thinking about branding. When you think about your brand you are working on a style that you will convey to viewers. Consumers buy because of the perceived style.

Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Sometimes they are, sometimes they’re not. Some work is definitely plain and simple craft with not much artistic intention. Some craft is very much a work of art. Deep down inside I always thought I was an artist but I’m only now getting comfortable with that concept. I believe images on a t-shirt can be art, it all depends on how it’s done.