May 28

cupcake charmYvette makes adorable handmade charms – love ’em!

Shop name/URL: Sweet Surprises : http://sweetsurprises.etsy.com/

Tell me a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m Yvette, and I’m from sunny Tucson, Arizona. Um, I guess I can say that I’m a self-taught artist. I took a few art classes in high school, but the teachers would always leave me to do my own thing. I’ve always used drawing as my way to express myself, but it’s also become so much funner for me to be able to come up with cute little designs that I can make into accessories. What started out as a hobby has turned into a passion; being able to see people smile when they see my charms makes me so happy, and that just inspires me to keep going.

octopus charmWhat are your main inspirations?
My main inspirations come from my love for cute things, and I guess I’d have to say cuteness in Japanese culture. I try to find anything that I can try to make cute, whether it be a design of a gumball machine, a teacup, or even lipstick. Life is so fast-paced now- and even though we may be busy and have all these things to take care of, something as small as a charm can bring a little fun and remind us that we can still be a kid at heart.

What is your favorite material?
I like working with polymer clay. You can create so many things with it!

teacup charmWhat new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?
Recently, I’ve been trying to learn how to crotchet, but the truth is that I’m terrible at it! Maybe I’m better off sticking with my charms. I will keep working at it though, I really admire people who can crotchet little dolls and such. I can’t imagine the time and patience it must take to complete one.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?
I’m excited about my newer plastic charms. I’m constantly trying to come up with new designs and trying to improve my technique. Every new item is just a reminder of how far I’ve come since I first started.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?

cupcake necklaceHmm.. starting a business is not easy. You might make mistakes, sometimes you’ll even have to learn the hard way, but don’t let fear hold you back! If you’re passionate about what you do, just knowing that something you’ve created is being enjoyed by someone, can become very rewarding and motivating. Don’t worry about competition, stay focused on what you’re doing and where you want to go from there. Also, try your best to make sure that you leave your customers happy.

May 8

tree of pinwheel broochCROQ Readers: Get 10% off at Glintbymich’s etsy shop until June 8th, 2008. Just need to put comments to seller on yourpurchase, that you were referred from CROQ

Shop name/URL:
www.glintbymich.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself.
Glint is the name of the shop my partner, Chad, and I started. We realised Glint could be a common name for jewelry and tagged my name ‘Mich’ to it. I’ve always had a quirky fashion sense since I was a kid. I would go to school with colourful ribbons in my hair (even though the school colour was brown) and get into serious trouble with teachers for being an ‘accessory rebel’. I think that was the start of my lifelong passion of self expression with unique hand-made jewelry and accessories.

What are your main inspirations?
I still have scrapbooks of sketches and ideas that I collected in my childhood, which I still refer to for inspiration. We love watching old movies especially with Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, visiting antique fairs and shops, reading books on the history of jewelry and icons like Josephine Baker, Marie Antoinette and Queen Elizabeth etc.

art deco bakelite necklaceWhat is your favorite material?
I like working with vintage plastics like Casein, Lucite, Celluloid and Bakelite, and I tend to mix modern materials with old, soft with hard, to create textural contrasts. Other materials include chrome, acrylic, gemstones, czech and bohemian glass beads.

What new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?

It’s not really a new technique but my partner, who happens to be the ‘engineering’ behind the designs, have been experimenting with new materials such as silk in chinese knot earrings, hoping to breathe new life into vintage designs.

deco ringWhat new item in your shop are you excited about?
It’s hard to pick just 1, but I’m rather excited about my latest ‘1 is not enough’ series (no pun intended) which is a collection of versatile jewelry with more than 1 ways of wearing (i.e. a bracelet can be converted into a necklace or a choker)

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?
it sounds cliche, but it’s obviously true. There’s a lot of hard work, be patient, and you gotta love what you do.

May 6

I love these little polymer clay portraits, called “Deditos” (Little Fingers) by the artist!

Shop Name/URL:
fric_de_mentol
fricdementol.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m Ana, i was born in Portugal, where i live with a guy and my dog.
Since i was a child i knew i would became an artist, i was usually drawing all the time. I studied arts in university and i have a degree in painture. I used to paint things bigger than me but i had to change my way of painting, since i have to move to another city each year, because of my guy’s work. So i started to create smaller art pieces like brooches and gocco screen prints.

What are your main inspirations?

gocco cardEverything can inspire me but mostly the day-to-day happenings do. People portraits inspires me a lot as well.

What is your favorite material?

I have no favorite material to work with, but i have a passion for acrylic ink and clay.


What new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?

I have many projects i want to work on but someday i’d like to get back to the giant canvas i used to paint. I’m very happy with my gocco but i want to become a better printmaker.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?

I love my latest polymer clay brooches, particularly the “deditos” series.


What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?

Mainly be yourself, demanding with your product and never give up.

May 5

wing of bee pendantFree Shipping discount to CROQ readers at JessicaJane.etsy.com. Just enter “FREESHIP” in the notes to seller when checking out, and you’ll receive a revised invoice, through May 31, 2008. Sweet! JessicaJane features unique jewelry inspired by nature.

Shop name/URL:
www.jessicajane.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself:
Hello! My birth name is, in fact, Jessica Jane, but I really go by Jessi 99% of the time. I am 22 years old and I was born and raised in the heartland of Ohio. My husband and I just recently moved to California for military orders. I am a proud marine wife and proud member of the Etsy community. Etsy has been such a gift because we can travel anywhere in the world and I can still do what I love and pay the bills while I am at it. When I am not creating things for Etsy you can find me taking photos outside, at the beach, knitting, spending time with the husband, cooking + cleaning (my domestic gifts, haha), or enjoying a nice honey hazelnut latte at the bookstore.

birch wood faux bois pendantWhat are your main inspirations?

My main inspirations come from nature, animals, textures, and old things. I love trees and birds. Sometimes I wish birds could talk, so they could tell us of all the places they been and sights they’ve seen.

What is your favorite material?
My favorite material would have to be paint. I have always painted since I was young. Painting was my main thing until I met clay. Haha. Clay is so fun to work with also, if you mess up you can just start over again.

black bird charmWhat new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?
I would really love to do some sculptural paintings. I plan on that someday. I would also really love to try dyeing and spinning my own yarn. I am in the process of knitting a blanket right now and I would love to have more control of the colors and textures of the yarn.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?
I am really looking forward to doing more ceramic pieces. I love the way the glazes surprise me every time.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?

Hmmm, advice for others. I would have to say let your own creative style shine through in your work. When I first started selling on Etsy I made pendants with image transfers, they were okay, but I didn’t feel like my own style was showing through in those. I ventured into painting and sculpting more, and I feel like I am letting my own creative style come to life. Be true to yourself and love what you do!

May 5

Corra cuts her whimsical designs into hand-carved stamps just for you! Check out her awesome work, and read this little interview with her while you’re at it!

Shop Name/URL:
www.corrabelle.etsy.com

The Mayberry Sparrow

Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m an illustrator/designer living in Hamilton Ontario, Canada. I’m also the mother of two little guys. Between them, wholesaling, and etsy, i’m busy!

What are your main inspirations?
So many things. Antique patterns, vintage children’s illustrations, the foxfire books, nature, my garden especially, the list goes on.

Sometimes all it takes is just seeing two colors together that aren’t normally paired. Color combinations are like candy to me.
Sometimes it’s the scenery of a movie, or the setting. Even songs. I seem to find inspiration even when i’m not looking for it. Inspiration can be overwhelming when you’re already swamped! I have to usually jot down ideas, and save them for later.

What is your favorite material?
This is tough. While I obviously love linoleum, I also am a huge fabric pack rat. And Paper too! Anything with a unique design.

When it comes down to it though, i just couldn’t live without paper and ink. If I have my sketchbook, i’m home.

What new technique or craft has caught your eye lately?
Want to try anything new? I’d love to try using a letterpress in the near future. I drool over all the letterpress designs I see all the time on etsy.
Needle felting has definitely caught my eye as well. I’ve made a few things and i’ve enjoyed it quite a bit.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?
Even though I haven’t actually sold any yet, the yoyos. It was such a refreshing change to be making something totally different for a day. I also like actually using my stamps to make prints, instead of just selling the stamps themselves.
Same with the pill boxes…which seem to be a slightly bigger hit than the yoyos. I’m sold out of those already. Go figure.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?
Be true to yourself. While certain things might be popular, if you don’t enjoy creating those things, don’t! If you love what you create, it will show through your creations.

Don’t dwell on people selling similar items. There will always be more than one person with the same idea. Its unavoidable. Trends do happen, and everyone wants a piece of it.

Pay no attention to what everybody else is doing, just pour all your love and devotion into your own work.

I totally agree! Thanks for the interview!

May 4

Eva does the most amazing things with polymer clay. Her craftswomanship is superb, and her prices are super affordable.
Shop name/URL:

Green Leaf and Owl
GreenLeafandOwl.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself:
My name is Eva Bush, I’m 25 and I live in Flint, Michigan. I’ve always been creative and really enjoyed art classes in elementary through high school. In undergrad I studied a bit of graphic design, web design and Postmodernism. During this time I met my the man of my dreams, was married and now have a sweet little boy. After my son was born, I was fortunate enough to stay home with him and also create small, colorful treasures to share with others. I opened Green Leaf and Owl on a whim to try my hand at selling my goods. I love my life and the freedom I have to explore new artistic endeavors.

What are your main inspirations?
I have many inspirations – Bright colors, textures and nature. The amazing work of other artists. Cute squirrels running around my yard. The idea of filling my home with handcrafted items made with love. I’m also inspired by the amazing old things I find hidden away at antique stores. I have a small collection of old typewriters and would have more if I had somewhere to store them.

What is your favorite material?
I love acrylic paint, but I also love using vintage materials in my work. Oh, and I love brass because it can achieve such an amazing color over time and it is great for sensitive skin.

What new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?large tree pendant

I’m always wanting to try something new. A couple months ago I taught myself to crochet and my mom taught me how to knit. I only made two crocheted beanies – one for my husband and one for my son, but it was a completely useful craft to learn. I also like to sew handy items to use around the house.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?
I?m super excited about my new line of vintage necklaces. I salvage old books from antique stores and use the original illustrations to make one-of-a-kind pendants. I?m striving to use non-toxic and reusable materials to cut back on pollutants and unnecessary waste in my home and elsewhere.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?
Create things that you love and don’t give up easily. Get your ideas out there and be consistent. Great customer service always helps too.

Apr 30

squid tieI love Jessica’s whimsical applique! Check her shop out for some wonderful one-of-a-kind items!

Shop name/URL:
aorta
http://aorta.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself.
My name is Jessica Wynne Plymate, I’m 33, I drink too much coffee and I have a very overactive imagination. Since I was very young I knew I wanted to be an artist. A few years ago I had my last exhibit as a painter. The show went well, but something was missing from my work- I suddenly felt like I was trying to be a part of something in which I didn’t really belong. I decided to take a break from it and, although I don’t remember the catalyst, I ended up putting my designs on clothes instead of canvas. It felt so natural to merge my hobby of sewing with my need to doodle. I find it more personally rewarding to see someone wearing my designs than just looking at them.

What are your main inspirations?
I find inspiration everywhere- a joke between friends, a song, a face, a feeling, my obnoxious dog, staring out the window… I am constantly amazed at the talent of others and it pushes me to think harder about what I’m doing and to put more of myself into it.

What is your favorite material?

With a little embarrassment, I have to confess my love of polyester. It comes in the craziest colors, prints, textures and it sews like a dream.

What new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?

Wow, I don’t know how to answer that. I have a lot of new ideas swimming around in my head right now but not enough time to make them all happen. Some of the very talented sellers on Etsy have given me a new appreciation for things like polymer clay and recycling trash into jewelry, but I’m pretty focused on continuing to grow in my craft of applique.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?

Right now I particularly like the jellyfish skirts and the way all the different trims and textures flow and intertwine when worn. I originally came up with the jellyfish as a way to use up my huge pile of notions. I quickly fell in love with the design and had to buy more rick rack and lace so I could make more of them.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?
Do what you love, not what you think will sell. Putting passion and personality into what you do is what makes you stand out in a crowd. Take risks, don’t be afraid of change, be willing to work harder than you smoking deerever thought you could and don’t give up.

Apr 29

ladies of soul tank

colored fountain teeI am digging on these creative and graphic garments from Chanel of Junkprints. Check out this interview with this super creative soul:

Shop name/URL:
junkprints
junkprints.etsy.com
junkprints.com
dookyblog.com (extra credit)

Tell me a little about yourself.
My name is Chanel Kennberew and I’ve been living in Brooklyn for about 2.5 years. Before BK I lived in Toronto and had the opportunity to study Photography and Graphic Arts at Ontario Collage of Art & Design and Ryerson University. Before TO, I was in Denver, CO and I spent most of my ‘formative’ years in Pomona, California. I’ve been working since I was 13 years old, so you know I’ve had a billion jobs, (especially to get through school) from Hooters (just imagine a hooters girl with an afro, that was me) to vintage store buyer to newspaper photographer you name it I worked there…and usually 2 or more jobs at a time. It was crazies but I guess it shaped me. Now I make my living off being creative, making my junk and doing art direction for some big-o-companies and some itty-bitty companies.

What are your main inspirations?
I’m a salvager and duplicator who is super fascinated with propaganda and how we as people relate to our social environments. I start off by hoarding stuff (anything from vintage fabric packaging, news paper clippings, magazines, zippers etc.) in categories, do some research and then remix the topic. I’m inspired by the world around me and how people relate to one another.

Does your neighborhood influence your work?
Definitely, but I’m pretty nomadic and if I stay in one place too long I start to go crazy. I love to explore new places and gather new ideas and perspectives. It makes me a more understanding person and challenges me deal with social complexities in a three dimensional fashion.

What new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?

Well, not sure if this counts but I have two new skill interests. Number one, learning Flash, it’s true, I’m a nerd, and have no trouble spending ridiculous amounts of time staring at a monitor. I’m in the process of teaching my self now ;) The second skill is basic carpentry, mostly cause I love power tools.

immigrant beaterWhat new item in your shop are you excited about?
The Colored Fountain tee and Immigrant beater are def in my top 10. It’s funny because I designed those and basically sat on them for a long time before releasing them to the public, I guess i just had to make sure that I was stepping deliberately and gently at the same time. The main goal of my work is to bring people together, but sometimes pointing out occurrences of discrimination can do the opposite. I once worked for a lady (who happened to be white) who told me a about her childhood experience of moving from the north to the segregated south and thinking that the colored water fountain meant that the water was flavored and as she approached it, she was reprimanded by one of the locals. I thought her story was awesome and needed to be visually told.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?
BE CONFIDENT about what you do and stick with it. I’ve learned in a really short amount of time that it is futile to wonder if what I make is ‘good enough’, The best I can do is ‘own’ my skill set, do the very best I can in all aspects (even the parts that seem mundane or painfully numerical) and practice excellent business etiquette.

Apr 28

hello

I stumbled upon Reinked via Etsy’s “Pounce” application, and I was impressed by this mother-daughter-run letterpress company that makes a point to recycle.
Shop name/URL:
www.reinked.etsy.com
www.invitedink.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself.
My name is Sally Ann and I am a letterpress printer and designer. I own a small letterpress print & design studio with my mother, Kathy. We like to joke that paper is in our genes, my grandma & my greatgrandma both worked for Zellerbach Paper Co. (our Etsy avatar picture is my greatgrandma on strike at Zellerbach c. 1960ish!) I have loved paper, well, forever. And even with working in the printing industry for over 18 years, I still, LOVE paper!

pinup

What are your main inspirations?

Right now, vintage books and magazines. I have hundreds of them taking over my house! Immersed in them so it hard not to be inspired! And of course my grandma & pa ho have made their living being artists, my grandfather makes recycled aluminum airplanes, (www.rigorshanger.etsy.com) which got us thinking about how we could reuse paper.

What is your favorite material?
Paper, Paper & more Paper :o) And letterpress printing.

savedate

What new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?

My mom recently took up book binding as a hobby. She created a really beautiful photo album for a friend, she learned quit a few new techniques which we hope to intertwine with our invitation company.

arrgh

What new item in your shop are you excited about?

Our new recycled line, RE*INKED has me really excited right now. It is something that I have wanted to pursue for many years and just didn’t have the time for.

letterpress invitation

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?
Don’t have any advise, but would encourage anyone thinking about starting a indie business to pursue what you love to do, life is to short to work a job you hate!

Mar 5

Check out this interview with us from Kristin of PlushYou, and comment at their site to WIN a free issue of CROQ! Here’s an excerpt to tempt you…

S- I really loved #10 issue: Travelin’ Crafty. There were some really great articles on crafts to do in the car, traveling for craft fairs, eating cheap on the road and a great interview with Jenny Hart. Does Croq do a lot of traveling for events? How do you guys spread the good word of Croq?

CZ- We haven’t done a whole lot of CROQ-specific travel, although our staffers live in all parts of the USA (and also in other countries), so we are represented in different regions by our staffers who attend craft shows and events. Maybe someday when we get a bigger travel budget, we’ll be able to do a bit more!

How do we spread the word? Well, lots of online methods (advertising, giveaways, blogging), and donations (goodie bag donations for various craft shows, prizes for shops and other websites). I also leave CROQ at my local hip hairdresser’s shop! Ha ha!

S- I feel so lucky to be apart of the craft community. As a kid I would never have imagined that I would actually have a wide community, all over the world, that enjoy the same sorts of things that I do. It is a really great time to be involved and to see it grow. Portland seems like an amazing place to be for the craft community. It seems like a strong place for community and craft events. For people that aren’t so lucky, do you have any suggestions for how to build up their own craft community in their local town?

CZ- Before I answer your question let me just extol the virtues of the internet! Without it, we would not have this awesome craft movement! It’s the juice that makes the craft scene go. Next, let me say how great of a craft scene Portland is… on ANY given day there are multiple crafty things happening. We have so many things happening that we have our own email list that emails us about every week’s events (DIYAlert.com – it’s AWESOME!). I wish I was twenty again so I had enough energy to go to every craft event… there are so many great things happening in Portland.

Okay, so now to answer your question. How do you build up your craft community in a town that isn’t so craft-crazy as Portland? Use the internet to find others like you in your community. If you can’t find any, make sure you post around on all the crafty sites to let others in your community know that YOU are out there (sites that come to mind: the regional boards on Craftster.org, getcrafty.com, and supernaturale.com). Create groups on your blog site, Facebook, or Myspace. Post notices on
craigslist.org. Participate in any small craft happening that happens within reasonable driving, biking, or bus distance. Put on your own events – organize a knitting group, a Church of Craft, or a Dr. Sketchy’s. These can be done with as few as two or three people. Once you establish a regular routine, more people WILL come. Organize classes or a craft show. Again, these can be done with a few people working together.

Not to tease, but we have an excellent article about “Crafting in a Small Town” in issue #11 of CROQ… it addresses this question better than I have here.

Read MORE…

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