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It is my pleasure to introduce Ioana Iacob from Bucharest, Romania who creates small paintings on local reclaimed wood roof tiles. Her Etsy shop is filled with colorful paintings that are perfect for small spaces.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art?
I have been dreaming of this all my life. Having grown up in a family where almost everybody was drawing and painting, art and colors have fascinated me since I was a little kid. Both my grandfathers painted and I loved the smell and feel of the painting studio. However, I always believed I was not good enough. Fast forward many years later, after finishing photography school and having had a few group exhibitions, I started believing in myself as an artist.
As I got older, I also realized that life is too short and that we should do what we love. Painting came easy, after I discovered acrylic painting. I could not stop painting after discovering the little wooden tiles I use as support for my mini paintings. I came across them when refurbishing my parents house, in the mountains. What are they? They are actually pieces of wood used for roofing houses, the traditional way, in some areas of Romania. They are hand carved by local craftsmen and nailed like pieces of puzzles to make a perfect cover for any house.
What is life like in Bucharest, Romania? Do you have any favorite spots you can recommend visitors?
Life in Bucharest is great. So is Romania. Do come to see for yourselves! I have lived in the city all my life, but rural life and Romanian traditions and country lifestyle have always attracted me. You can catch a glimpse of these by visiting Bucharest Village and Romanian Peasant Museums. There you can also see houses that have roofs tiled with small wooden tiles, like the ones I use for painting.
Where do you draw your inspiration and vibrant color schemes from? Why the use of wood?
I like living a simple life, enjoy spending time with my family. They and my friends are my main inspiration.
I also love the bright colors that bring life to the wood, make it more animated. Each small painted wooden tile can sparkle up any room.
Do you have any favorite music that you like to listen to while you create?
The laughter of my three children is music to my ears and the one I listen to every time I paint. In the rare moments they are asleep, I like to listen to classical music or turn on the radio.
Are you working on any new and exciting projects, or have any outstanding artistic or business goals for the near future?
Plans for the future? I have read that you become a real artist after you have painted 1000 pictures. I have yet to reach that number and call myself a true artist :). I also dream of my own studio with a garden, where I can paint under the sun.
You can like and follow Ioana on Facebook to stay updated on her latest tile paintings!
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I’m happy to introduce Anastasia from the Etsy shop Asilda Store. Anastasia’s shop is based in Playa del Rey, CA, and focuses on selling pins, patches, and stickers for photographers (especially film photographers!). Feel free to read my interview with her to get to know more about herself and her life selling on Etsy, and make sure to check out her shop!
I got involved in a pin/patches project for a motorcycle company back in May of 2014. Then I did a trip on Route 66 and bought everything I could find along the way. I looked at all displays, all packaging, all patches and pins I could find. At that time I got the bug. After doing 6 tour patches for the motorcycle company, I got more into it and wanted to expand the lineup to more designs and more stores. That didn’t get any support, so I was sitting at home around Xmas time thinking I should just do something for myself. I knew film photographers including myself who are very passionate about the craft, so that was clearly a great starting point. I am currently selling products in 2 series, with the future plans for 2 more themes. It’s all coming up, but in a remote future. With 3 designs I launched the store and in an hour got an order for 5 items. Then more orders started to come in, and more… I think this is very much a skyrocketing business to be in right now.
If you read my bio, it’s kind of a wild jungle :). Tennis player, entrepreneur, photographer, store owner, web designer, etc. I have many interests and if we’re talking about Asilda Store, it was never the main thing I always wanted to do. I see my career in photography as the focus. Just so happened that I also really like working on the business side too, and am involved with multiple companies on that end. I love doing reviews, I love working on new pins and patches…it’s just all part of a mix of who I am. I tend to mention just a few things when I meet new people because everything together becomes too much. But it feels comfortable to me to have so many interests. Asilda Store somehow combined all the things I learned from everywhere else and added up to become this awesome venture that I am very proud of.
There is a lot of research and preparation involved. I start with general ideas and things I want to tell people through the phrases and designs. I look up tons of inspiration photos and pull everything I can to give to the designer. I usually work with 1-2. It’s been a challenge to find new designers to keep the volume going and stay true to how I want things to look. So there has been many times when I had to back away from working with some designers. I have a briefing document on the specifics of manufacturing of pins and patches with thread colors, guidelines on borders and coloring. Both pins and patches are pretty technical when it comes to making them, so I’m still learning what works best and what doesn’t. For a new person it’s not easy to imagine how a vector design will look as a product, so I try to train and help my designers as much as possible. I have one awesome guy who did most of what I have in store right now and he keeps getting better and better. Once the illustration is complete, which usually takes weeks before it’s looking exactly how I imagined it, I talk to the manufacturers and get the digital proof with recommended changes. After that I choose the materials and sizing and send all this off to production, which is another 3-4 weeks. It’s a long process…
It’s picking up. I am doing much larger volume through the main website store (asildastore.com), but Etsy is a perfect place to capture the audience that’s craving for cool things like pins and patches. Etsy is for people who appreciate all the different crafts and that is why it’s a great place to reach many passionate enthusiasts for specific products, like mine.
Make and sell what you like. Also, enjoy the process of promoting your products. I’ve started a business before where I liked building the product, but not selling it and that whole things failed pretty quickly. You need to have a bit of an obsession :).
Make sure to visit Asilda Store on Etsy to get one of these awesome pins/patches/or stickers! Anastasia also sells t-shirts.
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It is my pleasure to feature Vera Jonkers from the Studio VerSie Etsy shop in Delft, Netherlands who makes modern woven wall hangings! I hope you get some awesome wall decor ideas after reading this post!
I’ve been a crafter for as long as I can remember. As a child I was always drawing, painting and making things. But it wasn’t until I got pregnant with my first child that I started gravitating towards yarn. I studied Architecture at the Technical University of Delft, but that didn’t result in a creative job. This creativity had to come out somehow, so I dabbled in a few creative hobbies, like knitting, crochet, painting and even screen printing. That’s when I discovered woven wall hangings in magazines, online and in stores, which sparked my interest towards weaving. It wasn’t until my husband coincidentally bought a loom for my daughter that I really started to pursue the idea of weaving. I started looking for tutorials online, stole my daughters loom and got started. It instantly got me addicted! I’ve been weaving almost every day for a year and half now and I love it. Finally, I have found something I am very passionate about.
Most of the time it starts with me seeing something inspiring, like a combination of colors or an interesting pattern. This usually gives me a visual idea of something I could make. Then I will sit on it for a while to let the idea grow and take form. When I feel it’s time, I make a little sketch in my notebook and lately I even paint them. From there I start weaving. It usually takes me about a week to make the larger weavings.
At the moment I have a temporary studio, but in a few months I’ll be moving and I’m so looking forward to that. I really love everything interior and I want my work space to be a happy place. I envision shelves filled with yarn, a large desk with a lot of space to weave and pack orders, a lot of light and inspiration on the walls.
I love listening to music. My taste is very diverse, it depends so much on my mood. Among my favourites are the soundtrack of the movie ‘Into the Wild’, the Common Linnets (Dutch) with ‘Calm After the Storm’ (you should really listen to that one!). One of my favourite songs is ‘Follow the Sun’ from Xavier Rudd. But I also love to listen to Dance music, from artists like Martin Garrix. You can find me dancing in my studio regularly!
Besides the weather, I love living in the Netherlands. The people are fun and outgoing, the cities are filled with so much history. The Netherlands is a small country, but we are an innovative little bunch of people and I really appreciate being a part of that. There is one thing I miss though and that is mountains, it is so flat here. I guess that’s why we can basically live on our bicycles!
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Hand painted clothing and totes from the We Are Hairy People Etsy shop.
It is my pleasure to introduce Kat Lendacka, a printmaker from the UK. You can visit her shop at katlendacka.etsy.com!
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with printmaking?
I am a printmaker and my favourite technique is lino cutting. I live in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom, with my family and a whippet called Spot. After studying Graphic Communications (Illustration) and working in the graphic design industry for some years, I gradually moved away from sitting at the computer all day to using my hands (although a bit of computer work still remains)!
I was born and grew up in Litomerice, a rather picturesque small town approximately 40 miles north of Prague in the Czech Republic. My first ever try at lino cutting was when I was about 13 years old with a retired art teacher and an academic painter, to whom I used to go for art lessons with several other youngsters. I wish I liked the man more! I might have done a lot more lino cutting! Next time I had a go was while a first year student of Graphic Communications (Illustration) degree at Northampton University. This time, I fell in love! Linocut images appeared in many of my student graphic projects as well as in the final major project.
It still took some years before it became my every day obsession due to a full time job, lack of space and then babies taking over my time and the house! In the last 3 years, lino cutting has taken over the dining room and conservatory which are essentially my make shift studio. It is also where I run very small workshops.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you use references for your work?
Inspiration for me is everywhere. While walking our dog, exploring the countryside with the children, day trips to old cities (Oxford being my favourite), visiting my old home town Litomerice which is adorned with the most beautiful old houses! Animals in the British countryside and some fabulous gardens (Coton Manor Gardens being my absolutely favourite place on Earth). There are also a few artists that I find mind blowing – Angie Lewin, Emily Sutton being a couple of them.
Your work is so detailed. What does the process look like for one of your multicolored animal prints?
In the last 2 years, I have moved away from only black and white (one layer) images to multi block lionocuts. I prefer this technique to reduction linocuts. Using various materials (Japanese Vinyl, soft lino and old flooring vinyls), I like to cut out shapes and play ‘jigsaw’! Usually, I stick to 2 – 3 colours.
How has business been these days? Are you working on any new and exciting projects?
What next? I am happy doing what I am doing, more images as they pop into my head. Grow my Etsy shop. Pluck up courage and try a couple of art fairs! Experiment with some more products. But most importantly, have fun (as my Uni teacher Ian Newsham used to say ‘if you are not enjoying it, you are doing it wrong!’).
I am pleased to introduce abstract artist Melissa Mary Jenkins, a 2016 Etsy Awards Finalist based in Erin, Canada. Please visit her shop at melissamaryjenkins.etsy.com. In the following interview she discusses the creative design process related to her abstract contemporary art paintings and her small business on Etsy.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and the development of your artistic style?
I was a high school teacher for several years before I began painting. I would say that I was always a creative person, from a musical and artistic family, but I didn’t begin painting till about 10 years ago. A good friend of mine and a very talented artist @kylahkussmannart began painting with me to help guide me through the loss of a pregnancy. I was immediately hooked on the magical feeling that arises from being the sole creative force behind creating a piece of art. I feel as though I progress daily in my artistic style but I struggle between the ease of creating abstract floral paintings and the freedom that abstract painting provides. I love interior design and how art can enhance and “complete” the look of a room.
Do you use any kind of reference for your abstract pieces?
I often try and picture my abstract art in a room in my home. The colours of blankets, pillows and plants in specific rooms will often inspire my paintings. I live in an old stone farm house surrounded by farm fields, a pond and ever-changing gardens which also influence my colour choices. We spend most of our summers up North on a lake, so my paintings often tend to take on the vibrant colours of the lake and trees in the summer months. Instagram also plays a huge role in providing inspiration for my paintings. I live with a chronic illness and often don’t venture out into the world as much as I would like to, so following artists, interior design feeds and travel photography on Instagram helps to spark my creative juices and be connected to a fabulous support network of artists.
Can you tell me a little bit about your mudcloth paintings and the process that goes into creating them?
My mudcloth paintings were sparked by the desire to provide a more affordable alternative to the typical (and gorgeous) mudcloth pillow or tapestry. I wanted to be able to incorporate the mudcloth trend in a unique way.
I was first attracted to mud cloth because it creates a touch of boho with handmade whispers of the clean geometric lines of a modern aesthetic. But when I started to research the process of creating this traditional Malian textile, I was drawn even more to the idea that each symbol creates a story that is meant to be interpreted and that it was believed that the mud cloth had the ability to absorb powerful negative experiences. As I create each piece, I think of my story that brought me to this artistic destination. I suffer from a chronic illness, but when I am able to create, I like the idea that the work of art can absorb my pain and dashed hopes and create a story of beauty.
Are you working on any new projects? How has your experience with Etsy and your buyers been?
I am currently working on a large floral commission and when I need a “break” I am creating mini abstracts inspired by all of my house plants and terra cotta planters mixed with my love of indigo blue and a pop of blush pink. I have been selling artwork on Etsy for about 5 years and all of my experiences with customers have been amazing. All of my commissions have been positive experiences and I am yet to experience a disgruntled customer. I was honoured to be a 2016 Etsy Awards Finalist, my work was featured in a collaboration by @houseandhomemag and @EtsyCA this spring, and I have been selected to be featured on @EtsyCA social media channels in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Etsy has provided me with a platform to sell my artwork without having to leave my home (except to mail the artwork), which works for my energy level and family responsibilities.
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It is my pleasure to introduce the wonderful Nessa Ryan from Tel Aviv, Israel ~ visit her Etsy shop at nessaryandesign.etsy.com.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, your shop, and your creative process (materials, thought process, etc)?
“I studied fine art and specifically sculpture in Ireland and also Rotterdam. After graduating I moved to New York and started to paint. I worked as an interior decorator and muralist and had my own art studio. I exhibited and performed with my band in many venues and galleries. I had a child and moved to Tel Aviv, where I started primarily to illustrate. I currently work as a children’s book illustrator and exhibit my illustrations. I work with paper, paint, ink, pen, markers..anything really. If I work on a book it is a collaboration, a dance of sorts, where sometimes the image takes the lead and at other times the text does. When I work on my own illustrations, my inspiration comes from everywhere..movies, poetry, books, memories etc. I love the meditation and process of creating an image , the excitement of colour and mystery of line. It is a wonderful world to be apart of. I joined Etsy to get a larger audience and try my hand at attempting to run a small business, I am afraid I am not a very business minded person, and have little time for marketing and promoting my shop, but every now and then I make contact with someone through the store and I find that valuable enough to keep my shop open.”
Where does your inspiration come from for the content of your work? Can you tell me a little bit about how your content and style work together?
“As I mentioned above, my inspiration comes from everywhere, I collect images in my head from just being awake ( and actually dreams are a pretty good source of inspiration, too). I do not like to take photos , so I suppose I consciously memorize something and know that it will appear if needed when I work. Most things evoke some sort of emotive response, and if not then an intellectual one. It is interesting to play with this and see where the idea decides to land.”
Is there any significance behind the oval shape that you use as a kind of frame for your illustrations?
“I wanted a free floating image, I think it seems less restrictive – it’s like an atom or a cell..it has its own energy/story in an infinite space (the page being the infinite space). The confines of the page size are irrelevant , as the page just becomes part of everything else around it. However, I am not loyal to any format, so things can change.”
“I am have almost finished my latest book, I am very excited about it, it was a collaboration between my friend and I. It is a Hebrew alphabet book, each letter is given a poem or a story, the writing is fantastic, it is philosophical, funny and sentimental, both kids and parents will enjoy the read. I found illustrating it to be a joy, as the text was so inspiring and free – children’s books can be so ‘safe’ this days and lack a juicy text, so it is rare to have this much fun illustrating.”
What is life like as an artist in Israel?
“I think it is the same as anywhere else. Life as an artist is intellectually and emotionally stimulating and financially devastating. If you are inferring that because of the occupation and violence here, then it maybe different, and it depends where you live. I live in Tel Aviv and I am Irish, so I can focus on raising my child and work. If I were a Palestinian living in Gaza or the West Bank, I would still be trying to raise my child and work, but on top of that I would have to deal with the ongoing brutal occupation. It is, for sure, a very uneven and unfair reality here.”
Nessa Ryan’s Etsy shop: nessaryandesign.etsy.com
Photographs from DreamTreeShop on Etsy
See more at www.dreamtreefineart.com
(Photographs © Amy Cater. All Rights Reserved.)
For those of you who may not know what an artist book is, be my guest in explaining them! Each one is unique, sometimes made in editions like prints, sometimes “printed” by a press, other times not, cataloged in the library like books with a call number, often displayed in museums as art objects behind glass – each one may look, feel, or even sound different from the next (queue Keith Smith’s string book).
A few brave and creative souls have started selling their artists’ books on Etsy. I found these recently and thought I’d share!
Butterflies from TheMuseumShelves
Night from SignOfTheLadybug
Nachtmahr Box from buechertiger
Miniature Black Artist Book from PegandAwl
Book of Nonexistent Animals from HandmadeBook