Mar 22

I am in love with the textile art of Vanessa from Ziazia! I love her use of color combinations and texture in making her beautiful purses, totes, wallets, and wristlets. Here’s a little interview:

Shop name/URL:
Ziazia http://ziazia.etsy.com

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 23 year old visual arts student, mother of a lovely 3 year old boy, I live in Tijuana, México with my son and my boyfriend. I am obsessed with color and fabric, I can´t seem to have enough. I started sewing when I was in high school wanting to alter a few of my clothes because they didn’t fit right. My mom bought me a sewing machine and that same machine is the one I’m still using.

What are your main inspirations?
Right now I’m working on pieces that are inspired by the human body, especially the female body. It started with a project I’m working on for a class at the University, and it’s about the formation and transformation of my body in different contexts, starting with family and how we each have pieces of us that we didn’t actually choose: the nose of our father, our skin color, etc. And investigating the body, I grew fond of the pleats in our skin, the lined that time draws in us, a lot of texture. I’m also inspired by the fabric I use.

What’s your fondest crafty memory?
I have a lot of memories from when I was a child, maybe 3-4 years old, and watching my mom make me big bows for me to wear on my pony tail. I loved those big bows. I used to go with her to the crafts store and pick out color ribbons to match my outfits. It makes me smile just remembering those times. My mother was and still is quite a crafty person, I think she was a role model in that aspect and what got me started working with my hands.

What’s your favorite material?
Cotton fabric, hands down. Any kind of cotton fabric in bright bold colors. I love combining different textures and colors.

Any new techniques or crafts that have caught your eye lately?

I want to take on screen printing full on. I have done it in the past and it pops up in my work every now and then, but I want to set up a work area especially for it in my home. I learned the non toxic way in a class and I loved it so I’ve been saving up and thinking of the space in my little home. Expect some screen printing work in the fall collection.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?
I’m really excited about a basic design I’ve been making for the spring collection that consist of bright bold colors, round corners, a tote type bag but with a more flexible use, a bag that goes everywhere with you. It closes with a zipper and it has adjustable strap. The idea is just that: adjustable, comfortable and bright.

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

Work, work, work, and work some more! I think that’s one key point. I’m really bad at promoting and joining social networking sites but I do try a lot of thing and I think that everyone should do what works and feels well for them, whether it be with promoting, events or material for their pieces. Different things work for different people.

Nov 11

I have recently become acquainted with One Pretty Thing, a blog that scours the internet to bring us amazing DIY projects (20 or more of them!) every day! I have been so impressed with Rachel’s picks that I wanted to interview her to find out more about how she does it.

Rachel as Mrs. Lovette

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello CroqZine readers! I’m Rachel, the face behind the website One Pretty Thing. I’m a twenty-seven year old happily married California girl who’s two biggest loves are DIY and her (mostly!) furry family. I think that blogging comes in a close third!

Tell us about One Pretty Thing.

One Pretty Thing is the ultimate stop for DIY inspiration! Everyday I scour multiple forums, websites and blogs to bring together 20 projects for the Daily DIY post. I also post a variety of seasonal and holiday Roundups, kid’s Roundups and I’m getting ready to dive into the Handmade Gift Guide. Phew! Altogether One Pretty Thing links to around 40 DIY projects a day!

When did you get the great idea to create One Pretty Thing?

I think the blogsphere is the most amazing source of crafting inspiration but it can become a little overwhelming. When I realized I was spending more time tracking down projects than actually crafting, I thought that other crafters might benefit from my travels. From there One Pretty Thing was born, and now three thousand people a day head over to check out a wealth of creative ideas.

How much time does it take you to track down all the great things you find and post about every day?

Right now I spend about four hours a day putting together Roundups, around two doing administrative tasks (your email is on the way, I promise!) and another couple of hours a day developing new features that will add more functionality to the site. It’s a ton of work but it’s so much fun!

What kinds of things always catch your eye?

Since I’m currently renovating, anything for the home! I also love unique art projects, such as the junk mail canvas we featured recently, and projects featuring recycled materials.

What kinds of items get the greatest response from your readers?

Reader love projects that make great gifts! I’m seeing a huge focus this year on handmade gift items, and décor. I anticipate my Handmade Gift Guide to be my most popular post series to date.

I seem to dream about crafting (and blogging about it) every night. Do you ever suffer from DIY/Pretty Thing overload?

So far I have yet to grow tired to searching for projects. I’m hoping I never do because I’m having so much fun with this site, not to mention all the amazing people I’ve met! I will occasionally dream about my site crashing or loosing all my unread emails. I’m constantly worried about something happening to my email backlog-I don’t want anyone to think I’ve ignored them!

What’s your fondest crafty memory?

My husband and I had our first date on Halloween and three weeks later, I brought a small potted Christmas tree. I took my then-boyfriend to the fabric store and told him he had ten minutes to spend ten dollars on anything he thought would make a good decoration for a two foot tree. We left with ric-rack, feathers, bells and glittered pom-poms. Watching him carefully choose his supplies and deck out our tree with handmade creations is one of my all-time favorite memories. I remember being so impressed with his creativity and how he turned glitter and feathers into a tree topper. And, eight years later, we still have the potted tree!

I love that story, thanks for sharing! What’s the last crafty project you did?

The night before Halloween I decided to make 20 feet of lit creepy garlands for a friend’s Halloween party. I was up all night cutting tulle but the look on her face made it all worthwhile.

What’s your favorite material?

Currently it’s cork! More specifically, cork on a five foot roll! I recently discovered a waterproof cork sealant that will allow me to cover my dining room table in cork. It’s a project I’ve had on my mind for sometime. I was SO excited to finally find that sealant!

Any new techniques or crafts that have caught your eye lately?

For the last two months I’ve been completely enamored with felting. I’d been oohing and awing over other crafters tiny felted animals for years, but I finally took it up because I wanted to make cute toys for my cats! Yup, I’m totally one of those people.

(Feel free to not answer this, but for the sake of our aspiring professional crafting contingent) Is maintaining your site worthwhile, financially?

Right now the site actually makes no money. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to put up ads for awhile now but I’m still undecided. On one hand, my hobby site has turned into an additional full-time job but on the other, I really want to maintain the integrity of the site. For now my plan is to host an ad space giveaway for indie designers over the holiday seasons. After that, I’ll get feedback from the readers and reevaluate.

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

I’m seeing a lot of indie business owners concerned about the economy but it’s actually a great opportunity for smaller designers. People are focusing more on meaningful, handmade, independent goods that are made to last. Indie businesses can also take advantage of the current economy’s lower costs to stock up on supplies and expand into other markets.

What one thing should every crafter who is marketing her wares do?

Start a blog! I’ve found so many wonderful handmade items from the bloggers I visit. I also love visiting my favorite artist and designers blogs to see what they’re working on and what’s coming out next. All of my holiday gifts this year will be purchased on Etsy and all of them will come from bloggers that I know and love!

What are your kitties’ names?

Lil’ B (Little Bottom) and Chewbacca! They LOVE that I’ve started a website. There is no more valuable real estate to my cats than a lap that stays in the same place for multiple hours. When Lil’ B sees me heading for the computer she jumps on my chair and waits for me to sit down. Every post you see on my site was put together with kitty approval!

Thank you so much, Rachel! I know you’re busy putting together your kick-craft blog, so thanks for taking the time to chat!

Aug 27
Attorney Sarah Feingold is the in-house lawyer at Etsy.com and has agreed to write a regular column for the print CROQ! We are super excited to bring you more info to help you run your indie business. In honor, we asked Sarah a few questions to get to know her better. You can read more of her writing at The Storque, Etsy‘s online magazine.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sarah Feingold. I was born and raised in Rochester New York and I currently live and work in Brooklyn New York. My parents are both artists and they started a business while in college which they continue to run this very day! And so yes, I was raised in a very creative and entrepreneurial home. I currently enjoy eating chocolate, going to the theater, reading, and making art.

When I was 12 years old I took my first metalsmithing class at our local art gallary and was hooked ever since. But I knew that as much as I loved metalsmithing, it was not my career path. My love of art made me very interested in the legal issues concerning designs. I minored in studio art in college and even completed graduate level metals classes while in law school. My professional experience includes working as an in house intellectual property attorney for a publisher, interning for a barrister in London, clerking for a constitutional law attorney, working as a legal journalist, and serving as a corporate and business attorney before joining Etsy as their in house attorney.

You’re the in-house attorney for Etsy.com. What does your day look like?
The best part about my job is there is no average day. From looking over contracts, to research, to writing, I do it all. Most people would probably not enjoy all the research and writing, but I find it fascinating. I’m always learning!
You’re also a jeweler. What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love creating jewelry because of the inherent challenges with the medium and scale. I like keeping my pieces wearable, yet geometric and unique, which is a challenge in itself. I have a soft spot for silver, but lately I’ve been getting into copper enameling. I’m also addicted to buying beads and stones of all kinds.
What’s the number one most important legal issue crafters should be aware of?
As an attorney, I have found that many crafters simply do not understand copyright law as much as they think they do. There is a lot of incorrect information out there. It’s important to learn about what copyright law does and does not protect. Sometimes a little research can prevent many headaches.

You wrote a book about copyright called Copyright for Artists, specifically directed at the Etsy community of artists. What inspired you to write it?

I became an attorney because of my fascination with art and my desire to help artists. I wrote my book because I realized that although there are dozens of copyright books out there, most books were really long and written in crazy legalese. My book contains the necessary information concerning copyright law in an understandable format tailored to the artistic community (my book also contains many visuals, like cartoons). And so far so good. I received some amazing feedback. My book is primarily sold at www.attorneysarah.etsy.com as an ebook so I can keep improving the content, keep the price down, and save trees.

Jun 20

I’m loving these hand-etched, hand-painted pendants from PamelaMichelle. Check out this interview with the artist!

Shop name:

PamelaMichelle

What are your main inspirations?
Right now I’m interested in the forms of nature, modern design, Scandinavian art and graffiti. I like mixing inspirations and finding new ways to interpret the things I like to create new ideas and art.

What is your favorite material?
I love wood! I love to cut it, paint it, drill it, form it, burn it, destroy it, etc.

What new technique or craft has caught your eye lately? Want to try anything new?
Screen printing has come back into my artistic picture lately. I took a class in college, and I loved it, but haven’t touched it since. Now I’m picking it back up and being more experimental with techniques and processes. I love it. It’s a fun hobby.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?
My newest items are always my favorites, but this one I’m super excited about!! My Coral Butterfly is part of the ongoing evolution of my work. I plan to make more like this one.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?
Hmmm, I’d say always have fun doing what you’re doing and always strive to be better at what you’re doing.

Jun 14

sweet pea jewelry setI love this jewelry, and the price is definitely right. You can get some extremely tasteful jewelry for very low prices! This shop is definitely a find!

Shop name/URL:

www.muyinmolly.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself.

I was born and grew up in Taiwan. I have always been artistic and crafty and love trying out different art media. I love everything handmade and if I had enough time to learn the skills I probably would try to make everything myself! When I was in high school and college, my handmade cards were a hit at school fairs, but I never thought about making a living with crafts. At age 21, I went to England for my gold ringbachelor’s degree in music. After that I came to the US and finished my Master’s degree in piano performance. During the course of my study I picked up jewelry making by browsing instruction books at the bookstore. Two years after jewelry making, I opened an Ebay store selling jewelry and some household collectibles. A year later, I started selling on Etsy, and closed my Ebay store one month after that.

What are your main inspirations?

I am inspired by everything beautiful. Even though I had been trained to be a professional writer/musician who only does “serious Art”; my goal has always been to produce art that can be enjoyed and understood by amateurs. I love browsing through Etsy just to see other artists’ works and I am often amazed by the great variety and imagination these artists have to offer.

I also learn a lot from my customers. They often come up with different color combinations and designs that never came across my mind.

What is your favorite material?

Silver, pearls, gemstones and lampwork beads.

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

I am always ready to try something new. I tried to make lampwork beads but haven’t touched the torch since I burnt myself last year…But now I am again ready to try PMC (precious metal clay) and basic metal working skills, which also involve a torch. I am hoping to have better luck this time.

What new item in your shop are you excited about?

I like the adjustable gemstone ring in my store. It combines wire and metalwork and has the look of fine jewelry without the price tag. I have done some custom work based the same design.

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

Understand the environment you are selling in. I never sold at craft shows in the U.S., but my jewelry has sold well on both Ebay and Etsy. I believe this is because I spend a lot of time studying the structure of the website, so I can come up with the most effective business strategy.

Jun 11

paper flower necklaceShop name/URL:
Pequenio Craft by Munieca
www.munieca.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself.

My name is Andrea, but I prefer that people call me munieca (that means “doll” in Spanish) I live in Argentina, I am a twin, I have two kids, a husband and a dog. I have degrees in Cinema and Photography, I am a Professor of EGB (basic general education) but actually I work in a studio of design. I love to draw, paint, work with paper and make collages.

matroyshka earringsWhat are your main inspirations?

I always feel inspired by big artists, crafters that I find on Flickr, blogs and etsy. I love toys and any stuff for kids! I am always inspired by Asian culture, like anime, movies, and its folklore. So I think, my little dolls, the infantil faces, birds and flowers, the colors, the kawaii are present in my crafts because this reason.

What is your favorite material?

Love Paper!!

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

I use the technique of lamination, collage and illustration, all this is about paper… I feel attracted to this kind of crafts and art. I try to update and develop upon my own techniques. I can’t leave my principal material, the paper, but I always try to create over the created, with that I feel comfortable.


black butterfly broochWhat new item in your shop are you excited about?

My brooches are my weakness! I put on them all that I like! Illustrations, the paper, accessories, beads and charms! I think they are very cute!

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

Do what you love! Put effort, originality into your stuff, be unique.

Jun 4

Beadruby: Inside the lampworker\'s studio!

I came across Beadruby on Etsy and wanted to share her beautiful lampwork beads!

Shop name:

My shop name is Beadruby
The URL is Beadruby.etsy.com

Tell me a little about yourself…

My name is Joanie Coffey-Taylor…I live in Seattle, Washington. I have made things with my hands for all of my life…and it makes my world seem right to be engaged in creative activity…I’ve worked with many textile techniques…including handmade clothing, batik, Seminole patchwork, and needlepoint. hollow glass bead necklaceThen followed a few years of drawing, and acrylic and watercolor painting…Then unexpectedly, I became mesmerized by the beauty and the challenge of working with hot glass…That happened 4 years ago…

What are your main inspirations?

I love color…I try to take time to slow down so that I can see things very well…I am inspired by my time in nature…my gardens…the wind in the trees…birds… and plants. When I work on a piece I keep going until I reach the point where the color and form of it hums….it’s as tho I can lampwork braceletalmost hear a sound when I get it “right”…

What is your favorite material?

Of course I love glass..While working with hot glass you don’t think about anything else, because the heat is so intense…It’s enjoyable to be so focused…But honestly, my favorite materials to work with are paint and canvas…but I keep those for myself…

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

I keep looking at hand-stitched beads made with glass seed beads….Also, I may add some silver smithing into my jewelry designs…

vessel of pink necklaceWhat new item in you shop are you excited about?

I really enjoy making the necklaces with multiple large hollow beads…I love the mixing color and pattern up into something unique…never been seen before…and beautiful…

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

Do what you love…make it hum…

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…