Friday, October 30, 2009

Featured Artist: Kelly Murphy of Kelly is Awesome


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Kelly Murphy is an artist who was born in Brooklyn and currently lives and works in the suburbs of New Jersey. She holds a B.F.A. in printmaking and art history from Mason Gross at Rutgers University. Kelly has exhibited work in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Her work is inspired by natural and man made structures, childhood memories and an overactive imagination.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I have always been making things whether it be for fun or more serious artwork. I started making this series of drawings of chickens singing rap songs and mailing them to my friends. They thought they were hysterical and wanted to pay for more! So I started an Etsy shop to sell my drawings and recently some jewelry.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

Mainly I like to make things that amuse me and will amuse my friends. I'm pretty simple, I do it all for a smile.

3. How did you find out about your selling venue and why did you start selling there?

I sell on Etsy which I had heard of through friends and felt comfortable with the paypal set up.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

Sometimes, I will get random purchases and appear on blogs of other Etsy goers which is nice. Otherwise I have no idea who or if anyone is looking to buy my stuff.

5. Do you rely on your selling venue to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

It's mainly for fun and a little extra beer money.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your selling venue & why?

I do sell at Urban Alchemist which is a super cool design collective in Park Slope Brooklyn.
I like both venues for selling. Sometimes it's nice to see things in person especially the scale of the drawings and the frames they come in, but online shopping is quick and easy and safe through Etsy.

7. Where else can you be found online?

Twitter: Kellyisawesome
Blog: http://suburbansabbatical.typepad.com/
Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6772803
Shop name: Kelly is awesome

Friday, October 23, 2009

Real Life's Ups and Downs


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Once again, I am sorry that I have not posted in here for a while beyond my Featured Artist of the week. I haven't even had a moment of peace to post the Top Ten Artists of the Week, and those are chosen by others. All I have to do is post. I will get them caught up though.

Life has been crazy. The little human is teething. She started showing signs of her first tooth almost a month before we ever saw a tooth, so she was miserable, even with Baby Tylenol and a frozen teething ring. And since that tooth has broken the gum, it's been like back to back teething. Not even a week after the first tooth peeked, her second bottom one appeared, and now that it's slightly out of the gum, she's chewing like a puppy on a chewbone to get pressure on her top gums. Poor little girl.

We've also been trying to find a new house. When we moved into this one, it was within our means to rent it and pay all our bills. Now that I'm staying at home and it's reached the slow season for Mortar & Pestle, the rent payment has become a little more than we can afford with baby necessities taking the foreground. Our neighborhood has also been very active lately with unsafe things (gunshots, racing cars, fights, etc.), so my parents offered to let us put a single-wide trailer on the back acre of their property where there is already a septic tank and electricity and water access is very nearby. We had found a trailer we wanted and tried several times to contact the people selling it (my cousin and his wife, to be honest). Each time we called them, the house was still available but they didn't have a time that day that they could be home to show it around. Understandable; people work. However, after four days of this, my mom finally called his mom to see if they would be able to get the key and let us see the house, and his mom informed my mom that he had already sold the trailer like a week beforehand. Now, I know the world seems to have forgotten common courtesy these days, but damnit, tell someone when they are calling about a house that it has already been sold. Don't string them along. We had our hopes up and everything.

So, after all of that, we are back to square one on finding a used single-wide to move to the back of my dad's property. But on a good note, as soon as we find the single-wide and get it moved and set-up, my dad has all his connections coming to hook up septic, water, electricity, and heat/air within a week.

Must go for now. Have to get my husband out the door so he can bail hay all day. Toodles!

Featured Artist: Kerry Wilkinson of Penny Dog


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1. When and why did you start crafting?

I have always crafted since I was at nursery, I guess I've always been creative, but not artistic as I can't work with pencils, paint, etc. I started making jewellery 11 years ago when I was 12 and haven't looked back.

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

I like coming up with my own techniques and having my own recognisable style. I think it's taught me a lot about myself; my likes and dislikes, etc. It also relaxes me, I get quite anxious and stressed sometimes, but never when at home crafting, or even promoting my work.

3. How did you find out about your selling venue and why did you start selling there?

I first started selling on Etsy when I discovered it through Google a couple of years ago. I can't remember if I was looking to buy something or not but I found it completely by accident as it's not that well heard of here in the UK, and then I decided to see if I could sell some of my photography prints. I've closed that shop now, but it was a good taster to see if Etsy was for me or not.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

I dislike the irregularity of selling, and the fact that I sell more if people can actually touch my pieces and study them in real life. I don't mind promoting but struggling to get into Facebook!

5. Do you rely on your selling venue to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

I can't survive purely on my job because of debts that I need to pay off, though if I stopped buying supplies, who knows! I do now sort of rely on it, and I hope to gradually cut down my working hours to devote more time to my business as I'm doing quite well getting into bricks and mortar shops at the minute.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than your selling venue & why?

I like selling offline because the customer can get a better idea of the product. Sometimes it has been more successful that others, but it's about finding the right location and the right market. I lie the feedback I get from the shop owners and the cheque in the post is quite nice to open too!

7. Where else can you be found online?

I have my own website: www.pennydog.com The UK has it's own versions of Etsy too, so I can be found at http://pennydog.folksy.com, http://pennydog.coriandr.com, and http://www.misi.co.uk/handmade/pennydog.html as well as on twitter: http://twitter.com/pennydog and my blog http://pennydog.wordpress.com.
There's also Facebook and Flickr but I think there's plenty of links to be getting on with there!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Featured Artist: Theresa Cole of Michigan Hemp


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I am 33 years old, married to the man of my dreams, mom of two boys, step mom of three boys, and am currently pursing my bachelors degree through Oregon State University's online program. I hope to transfer to The Academy of Art before the fall term starts. A few of my favorite things include sunsets over water, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the smile of a child.
My Etsy shop is full of high quality hemp items at affordable prices. While surfing my shop, you will find necklaces, anklets, bracelets, Soulful (barefoot) sandals, keychains, and just recently I began selling my photographs in ACEO form.
1. When and why did you start crafting?

Over the years, I have always enjoyed crafting and art.
All through school, art was my favorite subject, and I absolutely love to make things with my own two hands. It was about six years ago that I began making hemp jewelry.
My husband and I were at a small craft show here in Michigan and I fell in love with the cutest, simple little hemp necklace! It was at the point where I picked it up to purchase it that I noticed the price. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the value of handmade, but this little necklace was way overpriced. It was then and there that I knew that I could make better items from better supplies, and offer them at better prices. We stopped at the craft store on the way home from that show for hemp supplies, and I have been creating my jewelry ever since.
2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

The versitility of design and the beauty of the lampwork beads are my favorite aspects of making hemp items. I love the fact that if I can think up the idea for a different knot pattern, it is almost always possible to make it come to life with the hemp. Lampwork pendants and beads are amazing inspirations for my designs. It is usually the pendant and beads that inspire the design of the item I make.

3. How did you find out about Etsy and why did you start selling there?

For six years I have been trying to find places to sell my items, with almost no luck at all. Only once did I find a shop willing to try my stuff, and I had to sell my items for less than what the supplies had cost just to get him to try them out! I wanted a place where I could sell my items and actually get out of them what I have put in. I had only heard of Etsy once before our local news channel had a small blurb about selling online one morning. After hearing it on the news, I figured "Why not?" and opened up shop that same afternoon.

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

The hardest thing for me is promoting my shop. I have literally spent at least 8 hours per day, every day for the last 5 months, online trying to get the word out about my shop. So far, I am doing OK, but finding my target market is a little trickier for me than for most other people. Not everyone loves hemp the way I do, so it can be difficult.
5. Do you rely on Etsy to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

When I opened my shop, it was just for fun and a little extra spening money, but the economy has definitely gotten worse since then. Now, what ever money I make goes towards helping to pay the bills since both my husband and I have become unemployed.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy & why?

Only once did I find an offline shop that was willing to sell my items, and I had to sell my items to the owner for such a low price that I actually made nothing through the experience. I much prefer selling on Etsy even if my sales are slower because at least there, I feel that I am getting what my items are worth.
7. Where else can you be found online?

I also sell on Zibbet. http://www.zibbet.com/michiganhemp
I have a blog: http://michiganhemp.blogspot.com
and I twitter: http://twitter.com/michiganhemp

Friday, October 9, 2009

Featured Artist: Heather Gaff Mewis of Feathered Friends Mementos


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My name is Heather Mewis. I'm a full time paramedic and a life long artist who started Feathered Friends Mementos in August '08 and have been having a blast ever since! I specialize in feathered jewelry and personal items for the mainstream and not-so-mainstream. If you ever thought feathered jewelry was not for you then you haven't seen my shop!

http://jinx1764.artfire.com

I've always been an artist and crafter. Started when I was a small girl and have been picking up and putting down different crafts and hobbies ever since. I started making jewelry last summer and immediately became addicted!

I love crafting because it allows me to express all of the ideas banging around in my head! It's very therapeutic for me.

I first sold feather earrings on Ebay and when my first three pairs sold, one of the outbid buyers emailed me and asked if I was going to make more. She then referred me to a forum that was discussing my earrings, I joined and from there I was referred to Etsy and found Artfire from Craft Cult. It's been fast forward ever since!

The hardest part is staying in touch online with old and new contacts. I don't mind online promoting itself but it can be so time consuming and obsessive that it's easy to forget about everything.

My business is mainly for extra money to reinvest in the business. I fortunately have a stable, well paying job and my ultimate goal is to retire in 12 years and have this business well established and perhaps making extra money.

I haven't tried selling in other shops but have done several craft fairs. The fairs are a lot of work before and during but at the right venues I have always been very successful. My last fair I made more sales then any of the other vendors! I do really enjoy meeting my customers in person and my work sells extremely well in person. The online photos just don't ever do the pieces justice, unfortunately.

www.jinx1764.etsy.com
www.featheredfriendsmementos.com
http://jinx1764.blogspot.com

Friday, October 2, 2009

Featured Artist: Theresa Kwong of Studio 618


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I'm a practicing licensed architect and jewelry artisan/ metalsmith, using traditional metalsmithing techniques to create modern metal jewelry and Judaica gifts.

My inspiration comes from my past experiences in life, my cultures, my environment, or a specific moment in time. Sometimes interesting techniques will challenge me to come up with different designs too. My work keeps evolving, with fresh ideas all the time.

1. When and why did you start crafting?

I took a class in the local bead shop back in 2005 and was instantly hooked. The piece I made in class gave me a feeling of accomplishment and total freedom of expression. It is so strange but I never had any interest in jewelry before that. Haha!

2. What do you enjoy most about your crafting?

Besides the satisfaction of “I made it myself”, I find the crafting community to be a warm and supportive group who eagerly help each other. We all know how hard and passionately we work towards our dreams. Since we often work in individually to create our art, it is great to have a larger community to tap into for support, exchange of ideas, motivation, inspiration, and much more.

3. How did you find out about Etsy/Artfire and why did you start selling there?

I found out about Etsy from a friend and joined July 2008. Then I saw Artfire’s button ad on Craft Cult and opened up shop there December 2008. Although I sell at local fairs, I’d like to have a wider audience that these two venues can provide. It would be a dream to be able to sell full-time online and not having to do physical shows. That, would be totally awesome!

4. What is the hardest thing to do for your shop or you dislike the most about selling online?

I find marketing to be the challenging, especially I’m just not comfortable pushing my wares. Since I make jewelry, it is extremely important to create unique pieces and to market them and let people see my work. Joining teams on Etsy and Artfire is a great way to “work around” this because we promote each other’s work. I’m on the Twitter committee for Artfire Jewelers Guild where I tweet about our members’ shops and other committee members can tweet about mine.

5. Do you rely on Etsy/Artfire to help pay bills or is it mainly for fun & extra spending money?

Oh, how I wish I can – but I’m working towards that goal, where I can rely solely on Etsy and Artfire income.

6. Have you tried or do you sell in offline shops? Do you enjoy that more or less than Etsy/Artfire & why?

No, I don’t have any retail presence at this time. I do participate in local fairs, and would enjoy the indoor shows more so I don’t have to deal with weather issues and transporting/setting up my canopy and such. The fees of fairs are getting quite high and with the current economy, I’d be ecstatic to make enough to pay for expenses only. I see each show as an investment (paying fees, my time away from production, gas mileage) and hoping that I see at least an equal return. I do enjoy meeting other artists at each show.

7. Where else can you be found online?

I can be found –
http://studio618.blogspot.com
http://studio618.artfire.com
http://studio618.etsy.com
http://twitter.com/studio618
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Studio-618/131484845570

Artfire:

* I was given an Artfire code for the main post and the sidebar. The sidebar code works fine, but this one just will not load. Please visit http://studio618.artfire.com to visit Theresa's Artfire shop. Thank you. - Jessica