Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Parrish Relics

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Jen of Parrish Relics. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
One of a kind jewelry made up of Stained Glass in Architectural & symbolic designs & found images held within hand sculpted shrine like clay frames. Bracelets, earrings and Crowns join the necklaces...I feel like I can never make enough to fulfill my inspirations and fill my shop!


What is your creative process?
Gothic Architecture, Pre-Raphaelite painters, Victorian Illustrators, Medieval religious Art and Nature inspires me to no end. Constantly sketching in a little book I carry around to movies and museums, or ideas that come from daydreaming.

In my studio I begin with either a piece of Stained Glass or a tiny found image of a work of art that I admire, cut and grind the glass, then sculpt a frame out of clay that highlights the beauty and shape of the glass or painting. After baking, I paint each piece with up to four different metallic finishes, as I prefer an aged, weathered patina. Then I choose beads or a chain to finish off the design, some of them seem to make themselves as I get deeply lost in the process.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL, Folk Reveries & Cabinet of Curiosities



Scheherazade's Window Amber Stained Glass


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
On the homefront~ walking in the woods with my husband and new puppy, entertaining our three cats, decorating our purple Victorian. We go out to as many concerts as we can, music is a huge passion. Visiting museums, restaurants, historic homes...Boston is so rich in Architecture and experiences, and making time to see friends is very important when you work
from home.

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
I am obsessed with moss.
Had a necklace in Cher's short lived Sanctuary catalog.


What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Having so many returning collectors, there really isn't anything better than that or more of a compliment.



The Little Brown Owl Pictorial Pendant


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Create what is in your heart, be original, be yourself. Keep learning new photography techniques, don't lose hope.


What handmade possession do you cherish?
A quilt my mother made for me, many beautiful costumes and bags from fellow Etsy artist and good friend medievalmuse (http://www.medievalmuse/etsy.com), also very lucky to have art & photography from many talented folks in my home including an original drawing from Daniel Martin Diaz and work from fellow Etsy members LizzieSiddal, pascal4aqua, babastudioPrague, mysterycottage, wildmuse, kerrykate, and a tiny white owl that lives at the top of my attic studio stairs by VintagebyCrystal. I am constantly in awe of the creativity and original work that is out there.


If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
This beautiful Stained Glass Fox!

I would also love to commission Tina Imel to paint a family portrait, including our three cats and dog of course!


What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
Animal rehab, I would love to be able to have a sanctuary in the woods somewhere for orphaned or injured creatures.




Where else can we find you on the web?
Main Website: parrishrelics.com
Facebook: facebook.com/parrishrelics
Blog: parrishrelics.blogspot.com
Twitter: twitter.com/parrishrelics

My new line of wedding/special occasion jewelry on Etsy, regular updates
coming back in the Spring: LyraParrish.etsy.com

That's all for this time! Thank you for reading, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Crafty Willows

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Amy of Crafty Willows. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I primarily make wire wrapped jewelry in interesting and flowing designs. In the near future I hope to expand to stained glass and etched glass pendants.


What is your creative process?
My creative processes are all over the place! For awhile I was getting inspiration from crop circles and gothic gates (still have a few more of those planned) and sometimes I just get inspiration from just staring out the window. Most of the time I just take a piece of wire and start shaping it without any real idea of what I am trying to make.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBpal
Amys in the Arts
Bringing Unselfishness Your Way



Autumn Copper Necklace


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
Chatting with people on the BPAL forum! GUSPers Forever! ;) I also am interested in mead-making and brewing, though I guess that kinda counts as creating things.


Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
1. I used to be a karate instructor in high school.
2. I loved rapier fencing in the SCA and really wish I could start that up again. My sword's name is Precious!


What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Probably my first sale. This really nice gal from the Etsy forums saw one of my necklaces and just had to have it! It was really a moment of "I can't believe someone actually wants to purchase something I made!!"



Brilliant Carnelian and Copper Necklace


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Use the Etsy forums! There is a TON of good information on there! If you have any questions about picture taking, improving your listings, and such, there are tons of topics there to help you out!


What handmade possession do you cherish?
There are so many! I really cherish this rainbow knitted blanket my grandmother made for me years ago. Also, this cute dragon that my friend crocheted for me. He lives above my computer!


If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
I would definitely have to have a house built around these!! I also really love this gown!

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I definitely wish I had explored the sciences more while I was in college. I kept telling myself that I hated math and chemistry which really wasn't true. I was actually pretty good at math... I would have loved now to go back and try a different major like Marine Biology, Engineering, or Astronomy. I majored in Film Studies and Anthropology which was fun, but it has been impossible for me to find a job in those fields.




Where else can we find you on the web?
Facebook: facebook.com/CraftyWillows
Blog: littlebitcrafting.blogspot.com
Twitter: twitter.com/CraftyWillows

That's all for this time! Thank you for reading, and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Palimpsestic

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Jenn of Palimpsestic. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make original collage art, including bookmarks, art cards, and square inch art. I work with real vintage ephemera (usually from the 1940s or 50s, but sometimes even earlier), never with photocopies or reproductions. I also make pennant banners and garland from vintage maps.


What is your creative process?
I was an English major in college, so I'm inspired by books, paper, and words. I work a little at a time, adding and removing layers as I see fit. As I work, I construct stories in my head and, often, those become a part of the works. All my full-size collages include storylets that add depth and meaning to the pieces.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
In addition to Team BPAL, I belong to two treasury-building teams. Northwest Treasure Chest is a regional team for shops in the Pacific Northwest, and Team Discovery is a team that seeks out and promotes shops with fewer than twenty sales.



ExtraLong Personalized Mini Pennant Banner from Vintage Maps


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
I'm mom to a 9-year-old son and I volunteer teaching art in the school to his class and several others. I'm also a published short-fiction writer and I try to balance my visual art with writing and submitting.


Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
I collect vintage stereoscopes and Viewmasters.
I have always loved dance and I was part of a tribal belly dance troupe for four years before moving to Washington.


What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Last week, I curated a treasury that put many, many shops on the front page for their first time. I loved having given new shops the opportunity for that kind of exposure.



The Raven Bookmark Collage (No. 2)


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Use the treasury! Etsy mines the treasury, not only for the front page, but for most of their email and web features. I had six sales in my first six months on Etsy and more than forty in the two months since I started avidly building treasuries.


What handmade possession do you cherish?
My son's kindergarten handprint. I'm sure every parent has one, but I love it anyway.


If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
I am in love with this tweed coat from 13threads

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I always wanted to be a ballerina.




Where else can we find you on the web?
Web site: jennifertatroe.com
Blog: jennifertatroe.blogspot.com
Twitter: twitter.com/jhtatroe

That's all for this time! May you have a cozy, healthy, happy December as we hustle to prepare for the holidays.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Panopoly Creations

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Lynae of Panopoly Creations. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make a variety of ceramic wares, both decorative and functional, and including housewares, jewelry and gifts. Most of my work includes cheerful colors and whimsical touches.


What is your creative process?
I'm honestly pretty haphazard. Many of my sculptures come from images in dreams or stories. Because I'm a 3D artist, I have the luxury/burden of conceptualizing things either as a shape, form, or function first, which I then decide how to decorate, or as a design or image that I can then adapt to adorn a form.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
In addition to Team BPAL, I'm a member of two regional groups, California Crafters' Club of Etsy (CCCoE) and San Francisco Etsy (SFEtsy), as well as the Etsy Mud Team, for ceramic artists.



freeform bowl -- woodland tones


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
I collect a lot of different things--animal figurines, interesting rocks, My Little Ponies, for example. I love to take long aimless walks and explore new places. I'm a voracious reader and a habitual thrift store/garage sale shopper.


Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
I've been cutting my own hair since I was 15.
I spent time living in the Caribbean as a child.


What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Seeing my work for sale and on display in a cafe that was featured in Sunset Magazine.



pigface -- hand-carved plate


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Seek mentors. Look at shops you like and/or that are selling well and see what they're doing right.


What handmade possession do you cherish?
The burlwood coffee table my grandfather made me when I was just a toddler.


If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
I'd get one of these gorgeous lamps.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I wish I could carry a tune, or play an instrument. I love music, have been told I have good taste, but am apparently tone-deaf when it comes to playing or singing.




Where else can we find you on the web?
twitter.com/panavatar
Flickr
panopoly.org
Facebook (still under construction)

That's all for this time! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we will return in two weeks!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Nightshade

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Jesse of Nightshade. Let's go!

Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make jewelry from semiprecious stones, vintage beads, copper, brass, ribbon and any other elements that inspire my imagination.


What is your creative process?
I like to start with a focal element and build around it. I may begin with a color, a texture, a shape or a gemstone, but once I have my foundation in place, I try to take it in an unexpected direction. This has led to rustic antique keys on whisper-light gossamer ribbons; refined moonstone briolettes with distressed copper; and sparkling quartz with dark gunmetal. I try to connect to a fantasy world when designing my pieces, considering what mysterious amulets you would find in a woodland grove, a foggy beach or even a dark alley.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
I’m a proud member of Teambpal!



Night Magic I


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
I am a culinary publicist promoting chefs, restaurants and cookbooks. I am also a bellydancer who focuses on American Tribal Style.


Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
Switzerland is my favorite country to visit, and fondue holds a special place in my heart. There is something about being in the mountains listening to the cowbells bouncing around in the air like windchimes that just brings me to happy tears.

I am a native Kentuckian, and I think the beauty of my home state is one of the best kept secrets around. I wish everyone could experience camping in the Red River Gorge or viewing the moonbow at Cumberland Falls at least once.


What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
My first sale…that wasn’t to my mom!



Sunset Pumpkin


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Promote your shop outside of Etsy-start a blog, link to your Twitter and Facebook page-drive traffic to your site to make sales!


What handmade possession do you cherish?
My mother made my wedding dress-a simple cocktail length number inspired by Audrey Hepburn. The silk dupioni has a gorgeous rustic texture.


If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
The Under the Apple Tree canopy bed by attiladesign.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I am amazed by the passion and resiliency of the jockeys who run the horse races that are iconic in Kentucky. They have such a connection to the horses, and their courage out on the track is inspiring. I think it would be amazing to train for that-it’s not just a career, it’s a lifestyle that challenges your fear and determination.




Where else can we find you on the web?
Facebook
Blog

That's all for this time! Have a wonderful autumn weekend and we will return in two weeks!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Gala's Gourmet

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Jessica of Gala's Gourmet. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make jams, jellies, butters, pickles, and hopefully in the near future some baked goods also.


What is your creative process?
Reading food blogs, and cookbooks. Looking at what's in season. Taking my favorite things and adding them to the local selection of fruits.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
Just TeamBPAL!



Double-Spiced Apple Butter


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
Chase my little girl around, do some catering on the side, and work in the family business (light manufacturing of therapeutic magnetic products).

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
I double majored in History and Psychology in college.
I love playing old school games (ie board, card, physical type – not really video or rpg kinds)

What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Being sneakily promoted by my friend and author Cherie Priest on her blog.



Pear and Vanilla Butter


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Take good pictures! I have a hard time with this myself though. Jars of jam just tend to look visually boring to me no matter what I do to make the picture look better. But, when I'm shopping etsy, if you don't have adequate pictures of the product, I'm on to look for something else.


What handmade possession do you cherish?
I have quite a few actually, a quilt from my grandma, blankets from friends for my daughter, a purple hat from a friend, an art quilt from a family member, photography from other friends, a handmade board game based on the tv show Firefly, hand carved goddess statue and pottery from Nicaragua. All of them have very special meaning to me.


If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
Right now it's not something terribly expensive, but it's something I would like to have to complete my steampunk costume for a con next spring: Green Velvet Steampunk Button Tab Corset.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I have a fist full of hobbies, I could happily spend my time doing any of them. Plus, I want to learn to play mandolin.




Where else can we find you on the web?
Gala's Gourmet on Facebook
twitter.com/galasgourmet
Galatea's Glamouries blog

That's all for this time! Have a wonderful autumn weekend and we will return in two weeks!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Ocean Street Spa

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members. Alicia's gone this week, so I'm posting this in her place. I hope I get it right!

This week, we're chatting with Amy of Ocean Street Spa. Let's go!




Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make hot process soap in small batches. I love the flexibility of
it. I am impatient, and having to wait six weeks to use my soap would
drive me crazy! I also have room sprays. I love to create a
different ambiance to my living space depending on my mood. With two
inquisitive (read: nosy and pushy) cats, candles aren't a good match
for my lifestyle. I also will be offering more glossing oils. When
one of my favorite soap companies closed, my favorite product was no
longer available. I had the list of ingredients, so I tinkered with
recipes until I came up with a close match.
I'm also in the process of creating a new line for Ocean Street Spa.
The new line will feature the scents of my favorite microbrews. It
will be a departure from my normal line, as this will be glycerine
soap, but I'm very excited about it.


What is your creative process?
My creative process really varies. I can be inspired by a word, a
fragrance or a place and time. My Carver Pond products are based on
my college years and the parties I'd go to in the woods. (Typical New
England college party!) The scent of autumn leaves, bonfire smoke and
the touch of spilled beer bring me right back to when I was 19.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL




Loup Garou Soap


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
When I'm not creating soap, I'm usually doing something else creative.
I love to cook and make great jelly. Last weekend I made grape
jelly, bread and butter pickles, pumpkin butter and chardonnay jelly.
To unwind, I love to relax by reading.


Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
1. I grew up doing ballet and Scottish Highland Dancing. My sisters and
I were very focused and for many years we danced with two different
ballet companies. I still love the smell of rosin and being
backstage. We also competed in Scottish Dancing all over the world.
When I was 17, I was ranked 3rd in my age group and competed in the US
National Championships for Scottish Dancing in Seattle. 3 dancers
from each region of the US got to go the the US Championships.

2. I work full-time as a Town Clerk and am a Notary Public, Justice of
the Peace, and a Passport Acceptance Agent, among many other duties.
I never thought I'd work in an office, much less excel at it.


What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Definitely my first sale. My friends and family loved my soap, but to
have a complete stranger pay for my soap was a huge deal for me.




Carver Pond Room Spray


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Don't stop marketing yourself. Try to stay visible as much as
possible and get as much advice from other Etsy people as you can.


What handmade possession do you cherish?
I have a blanket my mother made me when I was about 2. It's a
hideous orange gingham, and I love it. It was on my bed all through
childhood, it went to college with me, and I still use it during the
winter and when I nap. (Love naps!) Feeling it on my cheek when I
wake up brings me back to childhood, a much simpler time in my life.


If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
http://www.etsy.com/listing/48936684/dingle-bed?ref=cat2_list_1
I love how funky it is.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I've always wondered if my life would have been different if I had
majored in Theatre Arts in college. I'm happy with where I am, but
seeing one of the girls I took acting class with on TV sometimes makes
me wonder, "What if?"



Where else can we find you on the web?
I'm on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Lynnfield-MA/Ocean-Street-Spa/87231972755?ref=ts

That's all for this time! Have a wonderful autumn weekend and we will return in two weeks!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Elements & Artifacts

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, your trusty blogger is finally up for her own Friday Spotlight! I'm Alicia of Elements & Artifacts. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I create inspired artisan jewelry and artwork based on various myths, legends, histories, cultures, and customs. I tend to release my work as collections with overarching themes, while also including items that reflect the seasons and elements for that particular time of year. For instance, every year I reinterpret the months of the year (in Latin), the pagan Sabbats, and various symbols that reflect the ebb and flow of the four seasons. I adore the aesthetics of the fin de siƩcle and Art Nouveau movement and my favorite time of year is Autumn and Halloween.

My jewelry work has a very strong focus on ornate/filigree wire work, hand-forged wire elements and earwires, textured metalwork, precious metal clay (in fine silver, bronze, and copper), and of course sparkling gemstones.

I love the added challenge inherent in difficult materials and advanced techniques and I find it very rewarding on a personal level. As an artist I always strive to evolve my work and, in turn, myself. Elements & Artifacts will always be a work in progress. My ultimate goal in this is to tap into each concept in a way that best evokes its feeling and mood. I draw upon my inspiration, research, and personal style—as well as reaching into new materials and techniques—to offer what I hope are unique, wearable artifacts.


What is your creative process?
My work is very conceptual and my creative process with jewelry mirrors the creative process that my art professors taught. At any given moment, I am brainstorming for upcoming collections. My creative process involves an ever-rotating medley of research, reading, and sketching ideas in my idea book. There are times that ideas for collections will percolate years before I ever start the actual work on the jewelry. Even so, most of my planning and sketching involves one or two key design points per item. When it's time to create, I sit down and open myself up to see what sort of spontaneous inspiration comes to me in creating the rest of each piece. I love having a balance between planned elements and spur-of-the-moment creativity.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL, the California Crafter's Club of Etsy, and the San Francisco Etsy Street Team.



Late Autumn Rustlings: Bonfire


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
Most days, I am wrangling the chaos that is parenting an energetic toddler. I also take ballet and pointe classes with Western Ballet Company and do freelance graphic design, illustration, and tattoo design. I love to travel, visit the ocean, fire dance, play WoW, and find new/cool places in the city.


Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
1. I have spent the better part of my life in art classes. However, I absolutely cannot stand the feeling and texture of charcoal and dry pastels. It literally raises the hair on the back of my neck until it's off of me and I can no longer hear or sense the way it rubs on the paper. I have had to struggle through numerous semesters of 3-hour studio classes with my hair standing on end, goose bumps on my arm, and the occasional body-wide shudder.

2. Forget dinner and a movie! I can eat inhuman amounts of movie theater popcorn, and would choose it over many other things. I also carry a miniature salt shaker in my purse for my popcorn.


What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
It's so difficult to pick. I will never, ever take for granted all of the lovely notes that I get from happy customers. I still recall the first sale I made to a stranger. I am still over the moon that Gail Kops of Beadles offered me a designer page on her website. I am also very excited about having my work shown at Modern Eden, a fine art gallery and studio in San Francisco.



Enchanted Oak Forest


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Be consistent in your efforts and creative output, remember that you are your own best marketing tool, don't be shy about getting the word out about your work, always strive to improve your photography since that is the most important selling point for online sales, be honest about your inspirations, be supportive of other creative friends and teammates, and most of all have fun!


What handmade possession do you cherish?
There are countless that I'd like to name, but I'll go with my sacred talisman which holds a magical symbol on the face of it. It was hand-carved by a dear friend of mine and finished into a pendant.


If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
It is so difficult to choose only one, but lately I've been fascinated with the art of lost wax casting, so I'll link to these Smoke Wing Cicadas. I'd probably go with garnet, and possibly a pendant rather than a ring.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
While I would not trade anything I have in my life right now, I have always wondered where I'd be if I had pursued a performing career in dance. I've also had many daydreams about getting a culinary degree.




Where else can we find you on the web?
facebook.com/elementsandartifacts
aliciadabney.blogspot.com
twitter.com/alicia_stardust

That's all for this time! Have a wonderful autumn weekend and we will return in two weeks!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Nevermore Bits & Baubles

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Naomi of Nevermore Bits & Baubles. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make necklaces and earrings using silver, pewter, brass, and other metals. Primarily, I work with polished and faceted stones to create my pieces. Sometimes the stones determine the design, meaning I see a stone which catches my fancy and I build the jewelry item around the ‘feel’ of the stone. Other times, the metal piece determines the design. Soon, I hope to work with Precious Metal Clay and to incorporate my interest in Sumi-e painting and miniatures.

What is your creative process?
Like my personality, my sign, and the items in my shop, my creative process tends to be a bit unpredictable and multi-faceted. Sometimes a piece of literature will form a picture in my mind which I seek to bring to life. Sometimes the slant of light on an autumn afternoon inspires me to attempt to render that feeling in jewelry. Other cultures and peoples inspire my designs, as do artists. Finally, I would say I am inspired by all that I find beautiful, as I would happily own and wear any of the pieces I make.

Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
Just TeamBPAL at this time.


Nyx Goddess of Night


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
I sing, paint, dabble in photography, hike, dance for fun and exercise, expand my children’s horizons (attempt to, at any rate), try to stay healthy, volunteer, learn how better to love and care for all children, dj, read, rail about the inequalities in the world, spend what little free time I have with good friends, copy edit, write, cook, and a few others I’ve surely forgotten.

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
1. In a broad sense, I have linguistic talent. If I study an accent for a little while, I can mimick it well. My range is from the mid-range of soprano to the mid-range of bass. I make cartoon voices and noises (this comes in terribly handy in my work with children). I can understand a good deal of written (and a wee bit of spoken) French, Italian, and Latin, though I have never studied those languages. My slight grasp of Spanish has opened that door for me.
2. I sense I am becoming the exact opposite of who I was when I was younger. This is a good thing, but it makes me wonder IF I ever ‘was’. This line of thinking twists my head in knots. I don’t suppose that is terribly interesting, but I couldn’t top #1.

What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
I am tickled pink when friends ask me to design items for them for special occasions!


Le Danse


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Promote, promote, promote! Also, be willing to hear constructive criticism. Ask trusted friends or acquaintances, not just in an open forum. Set aside any stings and listen to the crux of things. Finally, try to market your goods to local shops and at fairs and bazaars. This will open up more doors than Etsy alone can!

What handmade possession do you cherish?
I cherish items others have hand-made, and simply enjoy things I have made. With that said, probably my most prized hand-made item is a gorgeous bit of intricate, Victorian-style woolen embroidery crafted by my dearly-departed great aunt Winnie. Additionally, a friend gifted me (for no reason) a stunning painting of an ethereal angel. I am delighted to own an original work of art! That it is also amazingly-rendered is the cherry on top.

If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
How about this bed? I haven’t owned a nice bed ever in my life. This would totally fit the bill! And I can’t resist also listing this ring and this ring. I do love shiny things!

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
Oh my goodness, what a cruel question. One thing I will always regret, sometimes bitterly, is that I was unable to stick with professional vocal lessons. I would also love to be able to cook Ethiopian and Indian foods well from scratch. Finally, I would love to be a talented and trained actor and dancer.



Thanks for the interview, Naomi! We'll return once again in two weeks with another interview.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Seawall Glen

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Angela of Seawall Glen. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make what I broadly refer to as "folk art", starting with Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky), a tradition which goes back thousands of years, and ending with black velvet painting, which is usually dismissed as '70s kitsch but I find charming and really lovely if executed properly. :) I also paint on regular canvas, do the odd bit of jewelry, and play around with Sculpey when the mood strikes.

What is your creative process?
It can go either way. Sometimes an image catches my imagination (a bird, a face, or a feeling given shape) and I work on reducing to an abstract representation. Sometimes I'm in the art store and I see a new medium (like Kleerkast, most recently) and think to myself, "Oooh, y'know what would be really cool to embed in clear resin?..." I have a LOT of ideas that can float around for ages until one of these processes pins them down.

Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL!


Koru


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
Drinking tea, inventing new recipes, reading books or blogs, going to movies and endeavoring either to enjoy them or pick them apart (most of my uni coursework was in film theory).

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
I have held a live hummingbird (it had stunned itself against a window, but a classmate and I rescued it).
I can twitch my ears independently of one another.

What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
My first sale! :D People always compliment my work, but going so far as to pay money for it, maybe I'm shallow, but it's validating.


Drakling


What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Promote yourself outside of Etsy. Keep adding new items. And join a team!

What handmade possession do you cherish?
I would have to say this mug I bought from a fellow TeamBPAL member. It's beautiful, one of a kind, and it holds 16 oz of tea---that's the sort of thing Finnish folk heroes sail across oceans to fight monsters for. :)

If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
Probably one of these taxidermy unicorns.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I would opt for more talent as a singer or an instrumentalist (piano, guitar or drums).



Where can we find you on the web?
www.twitter.com/seawall

Thanks for the interview, Angela! We'll return once again in two weeks with another interview.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Laura Salisbury Design

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Laura of Laura Salisbury Design. Let's go!



Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make handcrafted jewelry (mainly necklaces, bracelets and earrings) using silver, brass, gemstones, pearls, lampworked glass and other bits and bobs. I really enjoy working with unique natural stones so a fair amount of my necklaces are on the chunky side with a sort of Dr. Temperance Brennan feel to them but I also like doing smaller, more delicate designs as well. I love playing the colors of the stones off of each other and coming up with unusual but complimentary combinations.

What is your creative process?
The creative bit is trying to evoke things or feelings with design and color - the color of morning sunlight as it's filtered through leaves on a tree, the way candlelight reflects off of a wineglass, the brightness and variety of colors of the neighborhood flowers in the Spring, the gray subtleties of an overcast day at the beach, the dry heat of a desert, you name it. Color is a huge part of my inspiration and I generally end up spreading all of my stones out and look at them as a palate. The process bit is more mundane. Sit down and look at the stones, get up to make tea, sit down, answer a question from my son, turn back to my worktable and stare blankly, get up to go to the bathroom, come back to remove a cat from the middle of my stuff, push a few stones around, go off in search of a snack. Eventually, I'll settle into a good place and see what speaks to me. I'll chose a main focal stone or some really cool components and play around with pairings until I find something that just feels right. Sometimes I choose stones solely based on color but other times, especially for custom pieces, I'll go more on the intent or meaning behind the stone. When I get on a good roll, everything else just drops away.

Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
PDXEtsy and TeamBPAL



Bold Necklace in Serpentine, Carnelian, Red Jasper, and Fire Agate



When you are not creating things, what do you do?
My mom showed me how to knit a little while ago and I'm finding it to be very fun. I love to read and frequently have my nose buried in a book (recently I've been devouring all of Christopher Moore's books). I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer doing things of questionable worth. When I have a working sewing machine, I like to sew. I have two of the most awesome cats in the world that I love cuddling up with. Since it's summer now, I've been spending a lot of extra time hanging out with my son and husband, which has been really lovely.

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
Random? Certainly. Interesting? Debatable. 1 - I was on the track team in high school even though, bizarrely, I have no real memory of it. I only rediscovered the fact after an old friend from high school made a reference to it on Facebook which prompted me to pull out a yearbook and look up the team pictures only to see myself there. Brief snippits of memories have since come back but it's all very strange and makes me wonder just what else I've forgotten. 2 - I am capable of eating obscenely inhuman quantities of the following in one sitting: guacamole, ice cream and breakfast cereal. Its disturbing, really.

What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
I think my proudest moment was the first time I was asked to make someone's wedding jewelry. She wanted me to make her jewelry and the necklaces for all the bridesmaids as well, all of them unique. I was so excited and nervous and when they were finished, and she loved them as much as I hoped she would, I felt so very happy, privileged and proud to have contributed something special to her wedding day.



Flourite Cluster Earrings



What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Professional-looking item photos are crucial. Learn a bit about lighting and learn about the manual settings on your camera. I, myself, am finding this to be a thing easier said than done and continue to struggle with getting good photos. I've had days where I wanted nothing more than to smash my camera with a sledgehammer but I really do believe it's worth the extra effort.

What handmade possession do you cherish?
The jewelry I made for my wedding will always be close to my heart even though it's not exactly an example of my best work. It was made while thinking very happy thoughts and it made me feel beautiful. It still makes me feel beautiful every time I wear it. One other handmade thing that I cherish is not technically mine and I didn't make it. When my son was born my father made him a special quilt that he designed himself. It turned out beautifully. He'd never made a quilt before and did it with the help of a friend and every time I see it I see all the love that went into it. There are so many other things...the dolls my mother made for me when I was little (I still have them), the teapot cozy a good friend knitted for me, my husband's paintings. Personally, I think that when someone makes something for you, and they focus all of that care, attention and intent on what they're doing, they instill a bit of themselves - a bit of their own uniqueness - into whatever they make. Handmade items have a spark in them that makes them very special.

If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
This gorgeous French Style Curved Front Antique Bed. I'd probably paint it black if I got it but I love this bed!

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
My dad's a professional musician and I love music but the talent skipped me. He tried to teach me any number of instruments as I was growing up but none of them took, mostly because he was my dad and I was stubborn. Now that I'm grown I could kick myself for not sticking with it. I've always wanted to be musical in some way, either by singing or playing an instrument. I'd love to be able to dance. I also have an inexplicable desire to learn how to weld.



Where can we find you on the web?
www.facebook.com/laurasdesigns
www.laurasalisburydesigns.blogspot.com
www.twitter.com/laurasalisbury

Thanks for the interview, Laura! We'll return once again in two weeks with another interview.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Milling in Line

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Chris and Claudia of Milling in Line. Most of the answers below are from Chris, with little tidbits from Claudia. Let's go!




Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I produce unique table top cabinets of my own design, for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab clients to hold their perfume oil collections.

What is your creative process?
The original box, designed as a birthday present for my wife, was meant to solve the storage problem of a large collection BPAL bottles. I wanted an original design that was reminiscent of an apothecary’s portable store. The paint and hardware scheme I chose for my wife was that of an old and well worn box; at present I ask clients to describe thematic elements and color preferences so that the product they receive is unique for them. I converse and sometimes send sketches to the client till we are both clear on what they want then I commence to build and paint.

Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL.





When you are not creating things, what do you do?
I spend time with my wife and daughter, and I work for the local college performing arts theatre as the scenic arts/ prop master.

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
I have a home grown, large curly “Snidely Whiplash” Mustache, and an embarrassingly large amount of LEGO building toys. Seriously, like my weight in LEGO. (He does! We've got a little city in our garage- Claudia)

What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
One of our clients took some very nice photos of the box I made for her and posted them to her blog, and then my wife and partner asked if we could post one on our sale page. When shown the pic I didn’t realize at first that I was looking at the box I had built just weeks before, but something more professional than I believed myself capable of.






What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Ask others for advice, compare and contrast products in your field, play nice and be happy someone else likes what you do enough to buy it.

What handmade possession do you cherish?
Starting at age five my daughter developed a fancy for pottery and we have a number of objects thrown on a wheel by her and other ceramics hand built and glazed by her, including Father’s day gifts.

If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
Very small bookbinding is a popular but nonetheless unique talent, I like things that are useful but don’t take up a lot of space. Like this.

From Claudia: I see so much on Etsy that I love- something that jumped out at me recently was this. It's whimsical and creative- although there is little need for a warm coat in California, I'm quite enamored of it.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I would like to have developed more musical talent including the ability to write and arrange music. (I wish I was as creative as Chris and our daughter, but I'm very happy to be surrounded by their art and the art that our friends make and share with us.- Claudia)



Where can we find you on the web?
I'm best reached at the Etsy page- Claudia is all over the web- on the BPAL forum of course (Lunakitten) and her Twitter is twitter.com/Lunakitten or Facebook at facebook.com/Lunakitten.

Thanks for the interview, Chris and Claudia! We'll return once again in two weeks.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

TeamBPAL Charity Sale

TeamBPAL is happy to announce our first-ever team sale, and this one is for a good cause: every item currently at teambpal.etsy.com will benefit the Sea Turtle Restoration Project which is providing aid to the sea turtles affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf.







The Sea Turtle Restoration Project fights to protect endangered sea turtles in ways that make cultural and economic sense to the communities that share the beaches and waters with these gentle creatures. With offices in California, Texas, Costa Rica, and Papua New Guinea, STRP is leading international efforts to protect sea turtle populations worldwide. STRP is a project of Turtle Island Restoration Network, a 501c3 organization.

Sea turtles are a window into how we treat our oceans and our environment. The same factors that are causing declines of sea turtles - unsustainable fishing, coastal habitat destruction, pollution, and overconsumption of natural resources - are the same ones contributing to the decline of our oceans.

Protecting sea turtles is more than just about protecting these gentle creatures, it is also about returning to balance with the natural world.

Please help TeamBPAL support this cause while treating yourself to some lovely handmade items!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Otter's Daughter Designs

Welcome to our next Friday Spotlight! Every other week, we feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

This week, we interviewed Coral of Otter's Daughter Designs.




Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make jewelry from stone, wire, metals and sometimes stray things (like watch part vials) that catch my eye. I’m just beginning to branch out into more complex wire work.

What is your creative process?
My creative process is a bit all over the map. Off the top of my head I can name three main methods I use. The simplest is that I sit down with my tools and see what speaks to me. Some days it’s a certain shape, some days it’s a certain combination of colors, some days nothing is feeling talkative but those are pretty rare.

The second way is new; I only started using it when I started working more with wireframes. It starts with me just doodling in my idea book – I don’t call it a sketchbook, I doubt anyone but me would be able to recognize anything in it! I doodle freeform shapes until one of them catches my fancy and then I work with and refine it until I have an actual design. It usually goes through another refining process once I actually get my hands on the wire so the final piece rarely looks like much like the original sketch.

The third way is when I see something (or read something, or have a conversation about something) that sparks off an idea. Occasionally, when I am very lucky, it sparks off a cascade of ideas and that’s when I end up with a series of conceptually related pieces. I’m working on one now that I’m very excited about – it’s centered around the Firefly/Serenity universe.


Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL is my first and thus far only.



Mechanical Temporal Displacement Device Crash Kit: Series E



When you are not creating things, what do you do?
Mostly I’m a soon-to-be more than full time student. I’m entering a compressed program this July that gets me through my Master’s of Education, student teaching, and licensing all in a single year. I’ve the distinct feeling it’s going to eat my life but when it’s over I’ll be done - more importantly I’ll be employable!

I’m also an avid amateur gardener (testing the waters of permaculture this summer), a weekend pirate (somewhat similar to the SCA), a fire spinner, a computer gamer and in what little time I have left after all that I write Sci-Fi.


Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
When I was five I was on the Bozo the Clown show. Proof that before I read Stephen King’s “It” I actually liked clowns.

I have two cats – Siddhartha, who hates nearly everyone but me and Vishnu, who is submissive to everyone and just wants to be loved. Both are female. Obviously I fail at names.


What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
My proudest moment was being asked by a friend to make the jewelry for her wedding. It’s a huge honor to be asked to take part in creating someone’s wedding day. It was also more than a little intimidating but luckily she loved what I made her.



Sylph of the Summer Evening



What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Make things because you love doing it, not to get rich. While you might eventually make some money, maybe even a good living, it’s going to take time. If you love what you’re doing then the process itself is satisfying and anything else becomes a welcome bonus.

What handmade possession do you cherish?
There are a lot of handmade things that are dear to me but I would have to say the one I most cherish is a wooden talisman carved by a close friend.

If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
I’m absolutely in love with this jacket, though I want it in dark brown. *makes grabby hands*

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I wish like mad that I had some talent for drawing – I have none at all. I try to share the pictures in my head in other ways and I think I do pretty well; but I still think it would be easier if I could just draw!



Where can we find you on the web?
On Facebook I’m Coral Ann Gilbert
On Live Journal I’m Dragon_Mintz
On Twitter I'm Ottersdaugther

Thanks for the interview, Coral! Have a great holiday weekend, for those of you in the U.S.! We'll return once again in two weeks.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday Spotlight: StoneTotem

Hello, and welcome to our next Friday Spotlight...on Saturday! Every other week, we will feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

Let's learn a little more about Jackie of StoneTotem.

Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make "intentional jewelry" and pendulums. I work with stones in an intuitive way to create pieces that can help support personal and spiritual growth, though of course many people buy my work
just because they like the way it looks.

What is your creative process?
My studio is on the second floor, right next to a stand of spruce trees. I feel like I'm in a tree house! It's important to me to be surrounded by beautiful things when I'm creating. I have an altar on my desk, pictures of things I love, notes from friends, and an inspirational quote taped to the wall; I have sculptures and stones and my paintings all around me. Sometimes I play music when I'm creating - chanting most often. I smudge the space and myself (for those who don't know, it's a ritual of burning incense to purify), and I get to work. I pretty much let the stones tell me what to do. Sometimes I have an idea that I want to make something specific, for example a third chakra piece, or something with a specific type of stone, or a word I've stamped on metal. From there I just go through my boxes until I know I've got the right stones. Then I have to see how they all fit together. My moon is in Capricorn - I think that dictates my style, which is on the minimalist side and very earthy. I especially love doing custom work, because I'm thinking about the person when I'm finding stones - that feels very intimate on a soul level and is a deep honor - even when the customer isn't looking for that metaphysical aspect.
Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
Just this one


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
I'm a full time mom to 2 teenagers who keep me running.
My daughter is an actress and my son a musician, so their lessons, rehearsals and performances keep me very busy. I recently started taking yoga classes, and have been focusing on my health with pure food and exercise. I spend far too much time on the computer... shopping and chatting. I also have a vegetable garden, and flower gardens and about an acre of land to mow and keep up. I've been reading memoirs like crazy lately... Oh, and I love thrift store shopping!

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
In my mid-20's I lived in New Orleans and was a hot glass major in art school. Hot glass is the most magical experience, I think, anyone can ever have. My true love is color and painting, but glass is WOW! And, my son was born at home, on purpose. The midwife arrived 5 minutes after he was born, so it was just my husband and I birthing him. It is by far the best thing I've ever done.

What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
The first time I was ever in a treasury was thrilling, but I think that getting feedback from customers who are really touched by my work has to be the best part.




What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Hang in there! Make sure your photos are the best they can be and give detailed descriptions so that people know what they're buying, and to show you care. If your work is good, people will find you.

What handmade possession do you cherish?
I don't know - I don't really cherish things so much. It would most likely be a sash that I made for a movement therapy class when I was in Art Therapy graduate school - with a goddess and "jewels" and gold thread embroidery. It hangs at the top of the windows next to the desk where I make jewelry.

If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
Well, I can't have this because it's sold... but I'd have to win the lottery anyway to get something like this!

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
Everyone in my family is a talented and accomplished musician except for me. My daughter sings, my son plays drums, guitar, bass, recorder, and percussion, and my husband plays clarinet. I am so non-musical that it's painful. I feel left out sometimes because music is such a powerful medium and I'd love to share in it with them.






Where can we find you on the web?
Right now, I am only on etsy. Very soon I hope to take my website live - but I am still working on it. When it comes into being, it will be www.stonetotem.net.



Thanks for the interview, Jackie! Have a great weekend, everyone! We'll return in two weeks with another spotlight.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday Spotlight: Gracie's Treasures

Hello, and welcome to our next Friday Spotlight...on Saturday! Every other week, we will feature a new interview from one of our TeamBPAL members.

Let's learn a little more about Sara of Gracie's Treasures.




Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
We love to make clothing of all kinds, with an emphasis on natural fabrics, corsetry and tailoring. I also hand embellish laces and fabrics, and make flowers out of fabrics. We make a lot of wedding gowns and evening/formal dresses, but it's not limited to that. We've also made individual garments like jackets, cloaks.. That kind of thing. We also create special costumes upon request, which is always a lot of fun.

What is your creative process?
For sample projects or for my own ideas, I can be inspired by movies, places, music, books, a fabric or a historical figure. Pretty much anything and everything. For clients, I listen to their ideas about what they like, the event or place they're going to wear the finished outfit to and then look at their body type or measurements. From there, I get a lot of ideas about the style, what kind of seaming or tailoring will flatter them best and fabric suggestions are a natural progression. Once we agree on that sketch, my mother sews the garment in her workshop and sends it to me if necessary for any hand finishing or beadwork that needs to be done.

Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
Just TeamBPAL for now, though I might be interested in joining wedding, fashion or LA specific ones down the road.



Bettie


When you are not creating things, what do you do?
I'm a freelance writer and a full time mother to two small children. My life is fun, full and very varied.

Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
I don't know about interesting, but I can do random. I'm a compulsive reader, and love to settle down with a cup of hot tea and a new book. I'm from England, and have a degree in Religious Theology, which my mother told me I'd never use in my chosen career. She was right!

What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
Well, I'm a little embarrassed to say that I haven't really focused on my Etsy shop until recently, but being included in Treasuries always makes me proud. I also do a little happy dance every time I get a convo from someone, telling me they love something I made. On the other hand, we've been doing this in a bricks and mortar capacity for well over a decade now and I've had some 'best ever' moments. I think the most memorable (aside from particular clients) was having one of my dresses be a finalist in Conde Nast Bride & Setting Up Home magazine's Best Of British Bridal Awards in 2000. Each category had thousands of entries, and the finalists were selected by a panel that consisted of editors, journalists, designers and celebrities. It was the only awards that were chosen by a panel as opposed to just votes, so that was a huge deal for me.



Dita



What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I'd tell them to do their own thing, believe in their work and be original above all else. Originality is integrity, and if you don't have that you don't have anything.

What handmade possession do you cherish?
I have some handmade jewelry pieces that I love and wear regularly, but my most beloved item is a satin and lace corset and skirt outfit my mom and I made for my wedding. It was so incredibly special, and every single part of it was everything I could have dreamed of, regardless of who made it. There's something so perfect about having something made just for you, exactly as *you* want it to be down to the last detail.

If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
A signed first edition of Where The Wild Things Are, signed by Maurice Sendak.

What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
I'd love to be able to *really* sing. That would be rad! Alas, my 6 year old is our Rock Band lead singer. Hahaha.




Thanks for the interview, Sara! Have a great weekend, everyone! We'll return in two weeks.

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