Posts Tagged: featured artist series

pomomama – feature #4

from the archives: 22.06.09

company: pomomama design
name: Amanda
links: website | etsy | blog | facebook | twitter

What do you make?
In a nutshell, I make jewelry and accessories from wire, metal and fibre, usually as wire crochet incorporating glass and gemstone beads with fibre elements. I also sew, knit and crochet with more traditional materials. Two new skills are art clay silver and metalwork which I hope to use more frequently.

What or who inspires you?
My parents’ garden in Scotland, where I grew up, still inspires me. The fibre bug came about after meeting Tanis Alexis at the first Vancouver Etsy sellers meet up, way back in summer 2006. I got her felted cuff and handmade felt in the crafty gift swap. Artists Deebs and Kirsten Chursinoff both inspire further fibre adventures, and William Morris for the sheer beauty of design.

How did you get started?
I needed to mend the jewelry that my son was breaking! I was also homesick and wanted to wear some of the seaglass from Scotland and Northumberland brought with me to Canada. Once I got started I found that settling down with something crafty kept me occupied and relatively sane as a new mum.

Following a house move from Vancouver, life got even more frustrating. As a diversion I took a beginner wirework class at my local bead shop and found that I could wire wrap my seaglass and wear it. Then I discovered Etsy and ebb and flo was born. My hobby had to be financially self-sufficient right from the start and selling online/at craft fairs seemed to work.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
wire …. any kind of wire that will yield to the crochet hook (artistic plated wire, sterling and fine silver, copper, brass), hand dyed roving (alpaca is a firm favourite), glass (handmade fused or beach glass)

What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
The hardest part is finding the time! I craft in, around and in spite of my family in an effort to stay sane … but family life does come first. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to pack it all in and by evening I’m often too tired to do anything other than snooze.

My favourite part of crafting is seeing something take shape in my hands where it has only existed in my head up until that moment. Usually it works (but there are some hideous apparitions best left in the closet …). I also love selling in person – nothing beats seeing a buyer snatch up one your pieces and get totally excite about finding it! I have had some very passionate customer!

List a few of your favourite links and why you like them
Flickr: it’s great! an online gallery and portfolio (stick to the ‘no selling’ rulle though!) which you can blog from, order prints thru, join in social networking, make slideshows …… need I go on?

Twitter: another multi-function social networking site (are you picking up a theme here? I try to be efficient with my time since it’s in short supply). Within your twitterverse and with just a few widgets and applications you can publicise your blog and etsy, etc. listings, update your Facebook status, share interesting news items, promote yourself, and so on

Maille Artisans: I don’t look at many how-to’s for jewelry on the web but this site is a great one for learning new chainmaille weaves

Giant Hamster: I tweet with a capybara, what more can I say?

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Keep a simple accounts sheet for your business, detailing all expenditure and incoming cash. It will help you plot what is working and where your profit is coming from (or being spent on). Do it right from the start! and be diligent!

Art vs. Craft – Are these terms different? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I think inwardly there is no difference between the terms. If you consider that art is something that makes you feel accomplished or is beautiful/thought-provoking/satisfying then it’s easy to apply to your own work. However, as an external label it’s much more difficult to categorise. I think a lot of craft is art, but the distinction seems on a much more personal level. There certainly does seem to be a snobbish cachet about being considered an artist but since I never went to art school it probably flies right over my head.

(photo images courtesy of Amanda)

If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.

GroovyGlassGirl – feature #3

from the archives: 15.06.09

company: GroovyGlassGirl
name: Poppy
links: etsy | blog | facebook

What do you make?
I make jewellery (I know…everybody does) but mine is unique in that I use a combination of fused glass, stained glass & metal work techniques to achieve the end product.

What or who inspires you?
I love this question because inspiration is found in the most unusual places sometimes. Of course I’m inspired by the organic lines in nature, the silhouettes of Asian architecture or quite often products found in home decor magazines…..but sometimes it’s strange things like the colour of a beverage, a picture in a children’s book while I’m reading to my daughter or the shape of a vintage car.

How did you get started?
I started making jewellery years ago while working in a bead shop and somehow developed a fascination for glass. I then learned stained glass, lampworking, silversmithing & finally glass fusing over the course of several years.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I guess the most obvious is glass. I also love copper, silver, paper and beads…..I just can’t seem to stop buying beads, it’s an addiction that many crafty people have I think. I’m also really liking the fusible decal paper that I can use with my laser printer….technology is an amazing tool for crafters/artists.

What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
Definitely the most difficult part of crafting for me is marketing my craft. I am just so lame at sales. The hardest part of actually assembling the products is waiting for the kiln to cool down so I can open it and see the surprise inside!

Hot glass is tricky to work with and sometimes the colors don’tcome out the way I thought they were going to come out….this is not always a bad thing! This is probably one of my favourite things about crafting….finding a new color combination by accident is awesome. It’s almost as good as executing a new design perfectly. Crafting for me is also very cathartic, I NEED to do it or my mind feels like it will explode.

List 5 of your favourite links and why you like them
Bakerella: I love to bake, and although my purple Kitchen Aid mixer is lovely to look at…it’s even better for making cupcakes!

design*sponge: “sneak peek” is awesome….I love seeing inside other people’s homes

Etsy: of course I love shopping for handmade stuff…so how great is it to be able to buy supplies at the same time, yay!

The Nourishing Gourmet: again….more cooking only this one is healthy & delicious recipes

Flickr: photos of everything and anything….I could spend hours on Flickr

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Make what you love to make. It’s so much easier to sell yourself when you are truly proud of your accomplishments. Not making what you think people want to buy….but focusing on creating piece’s that you are in love with is the only way to succeed and be happy about it.

Art vs. Craft – Are these terms different? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
Good question….will you let me know when you find the answer to this one? I feel like I am somewhere in between. Every time I learn a new technique I feel like I’m a step closer to being an “artist” and one day with the wisdom of old age I hope to find the answer to this question….. I still get the feeling that when the words “craft fair” come out of my mouth the people around me that aren’t familiar with modern day fairs are thinking “toilet paper cosies & crocheted baby booties”.

I think we need a new term for the modern day crafter….maybe that’s what an artisan is….who knows. What I do know is that the crafters I am surrounded by when I am at local events like “Got Craft” are definitely exceedingly artistic in their craft’s of choice and there is a camaraderie between us that brings good vibes….and that is all that matters right now.

(photo images courtesy of Poppy / GroovyGlassGirl)

If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.

BuenoStyle: feature #2

from the archives: 09.06.09

company: BuenoStyle
name: Christi York
linkswebsite | etsy | facebookblog

What do you make? 
Mostly vintage re-worked jewelry. Though past items have included scarves made from “rescued” wool sweaters, brooches made with vintage ribon, and sushi for kitties made with felted wool scraps. And of course there was the organic cotton panties screen printed with “eat organic” on them. Cheeky, yes.

What or who inspires you?
I’ve always been inspired to work with existing materials; thrift stores have been a huge inspiration to me. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure is pretty much my personal motto.

How did you get started? 
I always used to be crafty when I was young. I remember making an entire stable for my toy horses out of cardboard boxes. Shredded newspaper was the straw in their stalls, and I used twine to fashion halters for them. Then I became a graphic designer and channeled my creative energy onto the computer. Then I got burned out on being in front of the computer all day and started making stuff by hand to get away from the that.

I rode the wave of the revival of handmade stuff about 6 years ago when I walked into a store wearing one of my scarves and the store owner said she wanted to carry them in her boutique.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
Vintage, thrifted, recycled, refound, back alley finds….

What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
Without a doubt, the hardest part is keeping up with the paperwork that comes along with being a sole proprietor. I took art in high school, not math!

My most favorite part is when I am selling at a market and I get to see one of my creations find the perfect home with a lovely woman who really appreciates the work.

List 3 of your favourite links and why you like them
Etsy: Well, I’m on etsy pretty much every day. It’s a been such an amazing, affordable way to set up an on-line store.

Cute Overload: If I have half an hour to waste, I’ll get on and laugh my guts out.

Super Naturale: A fantastic source for all things creative. I look forward to their newsletters.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Don’t be too precious about the stuff you make. It is a business transaction, and as such, you have to develop a bit of a thick skin and view your products from the customers point of view. That said, don’t ever make and sell something you are not 100% in love with… and pricing! Gah – I hate it when I see a new crafter/designer/artist selling their stuff too cheap! Pay yourself a decent hourly wage, remember to include any overhead you have, and for god’s sake, build in a profit!

Art vs. Craft – Are these terms different? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I think there is a difference… related to artists dedication to a consistent vision / body of work over the years….. but I’m not going to presume to fully answer that question ever! I consider myself a designer.

Check out Christi on the Steven and Chris show: Episode 120 – April 10 (approx. 25:35)!

(photo images courtesy of Christi York / BuenoStyle)

If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.