Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekly Treasury winners!

Dear all,

it has been a while since we posted treasuries created by our team members.

Here are the two that certainly won our hearts:

1) "Spring colors from weavers workshops!" treasury created by Mireloom, featuring many members of our team!!!!

2) Beautiful "Serenity" treasury created by TheHermitsLoom, featuring our team member Amy aclhandweaver

We encourage you to check them out, click on your favorite items and make new friends by creating new "Favorites"

Great job, guys!

Captain of Etsy Weavers team

Friday, March 18, 2011

Meet our Team - Interview with Pamela

“I cherish my “handmade” life”
Today we feature our interview with Pamela, representing the “inkleing” store

   I live and work in the wilds of New Mexico the “Land of Enchantment”
The name of your store
        The name of my store is “inkleing” spelled with a small “i”. It’s a play on a type of loom I sometimes use, little ideas and the writing group “The Inklings” that had Tolkien, Lewis and other writers from the 1930's and 40’s as members. I am an avid reader!
URL location on Etsy:
Random Facts about You?
       I grow most of my own food, keep chickens (for eggs not eating) and I’m a beekeeper… how’s that for random.  I spin and make my own natural plant dyes.  I’m also a wicked woodworker and build my own looms and weaving frames. 
How long ago have you started weaving?
         It’s been several years I don’t remember exactly. In recent years it’s been mostly Tablet Weaving.
What got you started weaving?
        Ha ha… I started weaving when I realized that I have no talent for knitting… none what so ever. Can a person have two left hands? LOL
Any particular technique(s) that you enjoy the most?
         Absolutely, Tablet Weaving is my favorite. I love the fact that it requires very little in the way of equipment a few cards with holes and a frame, that’s it! I made my own frame from a picture of one found on the Oseberg Viking Burial ship.

What part the process makes you the most passionate?
        For me it’s not about the sale or the end result. The process and the experience of doing something that’s been done the same way for more than a thousand years it what does it for me. You just can’t beat Iron Age technology!
What is your source of inspiration?
         Wow that’s a tough question. I draw from so many things for inspiration. Sometimes a trip to a Museum to look at ancient textiles, I can stand and stare at a fragment of cloth or trim for hours. I also keep a pad of quad paper and a jar of colored pencils out at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike. We have the most amazing Sunrises here all I really have to do is step outside and there it is painted in the sky.

Where do you sell?
        Most of my business is word of mouth and referral I do a tremendous amount of custom work. Occasionally at the Renn Faire and SCA events and until very recently on Ebay I just closed my shop of 10 years in October and of course Etsy!
 Apart from creating things, what do you do?
         I hike in the spring and summer with my Border Collie Grace, my best friend and constant companion. A favorite past time is “Shed Hunting” hunting for the antlers that deer and elk drop in the early spring every year.  Really that is more of a work related thing since I use those for Runes and jewelry.  In the winter I study early Medieval Migration Period history, art and textiles, take classes or whatever else strikes my fancy. It's pretty cold here in the winter we sit at just below 6000' so it does freeze and snow. It's not what people think of when they think New Mexico.

What first made you want to become an artist?
         I’m pretty sure that happened in kindergarten when we did our little handprints in clay!  When I worked at a “real” job I was a make-up artist for Estee Lauder for 12 years. I guess it is always there front and center or just off in the periphery.
Please describe your creative process
         That would depend on the purpose of the piece.  If it’s a piece of period trim I ask lots of questions. What fabric it will be paired with, is there a persona, character, role or part you are playing?  If it’s a Tarot or Rune bag I need to know the deck being used or divination tool that the bag will hold. I prefer to use natural fabrics and fibers. Then again sometimes I just have a pattern or color combination stuck in my mind that has to come out to make room for other things.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
        It would be impossible to pick just one thing.  I guess I would have to say I cherish my “handmade” life.  I try to make or buy handmade whenever possible. I have many thing in my home created by friends and I cherish each and every one of those things.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
         Keep it fun and do what you love.  My target audience is fairly limited but it is those people and that lifestyle that I am most passionate about, so for me high sales and big numbers is not the point of my Etsy shop, I just love it that my stuff is out there. I think the most important thing is to examine what it is you want from the experience.
What do you like about Etsy?
         I love that is basically a handmade world (with a side trip to the vintage store..always welcome) it can be hard at times to stand out but there seems to be a niche for everyone.
How do you promote your work?
          I’m pretty much a referral business.  I do like the new "Circles" feature Esty has it really helps to promote your own things and the items and shops that you have marked as a favorite. I do have a personal Facebook page but no blog no website no twitter....yet.  Mostly because I have so many other activities I just can’t fit those things in.  Plus I need 8 hours of sleep. (Remember I love Iron Age technology) LOL
What weaving activities or guilds to you participate in?
             I’m a member of Las Aranas Spinners and Weavers Guild here in New Mexico and I take a few classes every year at the best shop in the state “Village Wools"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Interview with Lynn

Hello all,
the best way to end the week is to meet another great member of our team - Lynn.
She is a bit discrete, but that doesn't diminish her fascinating personality!
Your name, your location, the name of your store, URL location on Etsy
My name is Lynn.  I live by a lake in upstate New York near the Vermont border, in the United States.   My loom is on the enclosed porch right next to the lake, so I have a wonderful view while I am weaving.  I design and weave one-of-a-kind scarves.  My shop is called LoomOnTheLake and it’s at 

Random Facts about You?
I play the recorder (soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and great bass) with an ensemble of talented musicians, both amateur and professional.   In our concerts, we have performed music ranging from some written in medieval times through baroque and classical music to contemporary music composed the year we played it. 
My education is highly technical.  My scientific career has involved much original and creative thinking, some of which has used a lot of mathematics and has been of a very abstract nature.  Outside of my career, I’ve done design work in areas such as architecture and civil engineering.  So I’ve thought creatively both in abstract and in concrete ways.
What got you started weaving?
I wanted to put something over my recorders to protect them from the sunlight.  I bought a used floor loom and taught myself how to weave.  This is true!

What part of the process makes you the most passionate? (Choosing the right materials, the actual process, the end result, the sale, etc.)
I like both designing and weaving.  In a sense, they represent the abstract and the concrete parts of a process, respectively.  I’m not interested in weaving the same thing over and over again.  Once I’ve woven a scarf and my curiosity is satisfied, I’m ready to design a different one.  Whenever I finish a scarf, I analyze which elements are pleasing and which are not.  Then on to the next!  
Making a sale is of secondary importance to me.  But it is very satisfying to have customers who appreciate what I have woven.
What is your source of inspiration?
Nature and music. 
I am fortunate to live in an extraordinarily beautiful location.  Things are always changing and they are always beautiful: the jaggedness of pine branches, snow on the frozen lake, a spectacular sunset, autumn colors in the mountains, whitecaps on the lake before a storm, moss and pinecones on a rock.  My creativity comes at the time I see something.   Since weaving is a slow process, I finish an autumn scarf as winter approaches or one about snow and ice as people are thinking about spring.  But I’m going to create what I want to, rather than what “the market” wants me to do at a certain time.
Music plays a large part in my weaving, too.   The sheer act of treadling and throwing a shuttle is easy for me because of my musical training.  Playing music and weaving reinforce each other in unexpected ways.  Sometimes, when practicing a technical musical passage, it helps to play the notes backwards.  That’s sort of like reading a draft from right to left instead of left to right (or vice versa).  When I play music, I am aware of patterns and wonder how I can incorporate them in my weaving.  I’ve done this in many different ways.  Sometimes I’ve mentioned this in the description of a scarf and other times it’s my secret.
One of my favorites is “Winter: Icy Wind” (now sold).  It came from nature (a winter sunrise), nature again (the colors of ice), and music depicting nature (a fragment from Vivaldi’s “Winter.”)  It was Vivaldi who figured out how to make music imitate nature (the icy wind).  I tried a whole series of fragments from his phrasing to find one which would look good visually.  Then lots and lots of analysis to see why I liked the result so well, so that I could take the concepts and apply them to something else.  That scarf took months to design. 

 What first made you want to become an artist?
The world is calling me an artist, so I am playing along with it and calling myself one.  Personally, I don’t see any difference between being highly creative in a scientific world and being creative in an artistic one.  I don’t understand why people build a wall between art and science.  To me, there is no boundary, and there is beauty in both.
Please describe your creative process: how, when, materials, etc.
I am driven by curiosity and, above all, by the need for intellectual stimulation.  Some designs take me months to create, especially when I am figuring out to use music in them.
I’m playing some Bach now.  His music has a lot of structure to it and sounds wonderful.   Taking elements from the music and weaving a scarf as beautiful as the music sounds is an interesting challenge to me.
Once I have an idea, the selection of colors usually comes easily.  So much comes from nature, and I only have to look around me and then choose the colors.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I have only been selling on Etsy since last September, so I need advice myself!  What I can say for sure is that good photography is very important.   I figure that I only have about five seconds in which to make a sale.  That’s how long a potential customer is likely to look at a photo of one of my scarves before moving on to some other photo.  So if I haven’t attracted the customer’s attention by then, I’ve lost the sale.
Instead of giving advice, let me frame this as a question, because I think it’s relevant for many of us weavers in one way or another.  My scarves tend to be very intricate, with complex designs and subtle changes of color.  How do you present that, give a feeling for how a scarf drapes, and also convey a sense of high quality to a customer in five seconds?  You may choose different characteristics to define your weaving, but you still have to present them to the customer very quickly.
What weaving activities or guilds to you participate in?
I am a member of a very active weaving Guild.  We learn from each other, inspire and challenge each other, and admire each others’ talents and weaving ability.

Thank you, Lynn, for this interview!
I can certainly hear the music and see so much more in those scarfs after getting to know you!

Captain of Etsy Weavers team.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meet our Team - Interview with Jeanette Newton

Good Friday everyone! This week we have another weaver from Canada. We are proud to introduce to you Jeanette Newton, from Vancouver, BC.
Please check out her Etsy store: Raincoast Handwovens

Random Facts about You?
I am married with 2 children (adults actually), ages 25 & 27.  After my son and daughter moved out I decided to take over their bedrooms for myself. One room is my weaving studio and the other is my sewing room.  I spend most of my spare time in these two rooms lost in the creative process.  I never thought being an empty nester could be this fun! 
What got you started weaving?
About 2 years ago I started developing arthritis in my hands and was having a hard time knitting (my favorite pass-time at that point in my life).  I knew I would be lost without some sort of creative hobby but wasn't sure what it could be.  That autumn my husband and I were at a local arts event called the Eastside Culture Crawl.  There I came across a woman selling her woven blankets and scarves.  She had her loom set up with many beautiful yarns scattered about the room.  I was instantly intrigued and decided that perhaps this could be something for me.  I wasted no time in finding someone to take lessons from and by January I had bought my own loom and was completely hooked.  Since that time I have continued to learn on my own, teaching myself different techniques from the many books that I have purchased. 
Any particular technique(s) that you enjoy the most?
I don't really have one favorite technique.  I love experimenting with colour, often with disastrous results, but the more I weave the more successes I have.   I find it fascinating the way different colours interact with each other, often with very surprising results.  I am quite passionate about being as kind to this earth as possible and try to incorporate that into my weaving.    I realize I have a way to go yet with this but I nearly always use some eco-friendly fibers in my weaving, such as Bamboo and Tencel.  I also love unusual fibers and am always on the lookout for something different.  I recently found some Possum yarn!  My goal is to start dying my own yarns soon with natural dyes only.  

What part the process makes you the most passionate?
I sometimes feel like the planning process is in some way the best part.  As I am weaving a project on my loom I often find myself daydreaming about the next project and what yarns and colours I will use.  I very often lay awake at night thinking of patterns and colours instead of falling asleep.  It is impossible for me to walk past a yarn store and not pop in for a quick look, just in case I find something wonderful that I just have to have.  It’s pretty rare for me to walk out empty handed!  Having said all that, just the process of handling the yarn, or weaving those first couple of inches and seeing the whole thing come to life is also wonderful. 
What is your source of inspiration?
I find living on the west coast so inspiring.  I have lived here all my life and am still in awe at the beauty of my surroundings - the ocean, the gulf islands, the mountains, and the forests.  I am also very humbled and at the same time inspired every time I go to one of the many arts events here, or visit the many artisans living on the gulf islands.  There are so many talented people out there and they are a real source of motivation.
Where do you sell?
I have sold some of my scarves at a local Christmas craft fair and recently have set up a shop on Etsy. 
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I work part-time at our family business.  My husband is a Tool & Die Maker/Machinist and has had his own business for 25 years.  About 5 years ago I decided to make a change and join him.  I do the bookkeeping.  Aside from that, I love gardening and have starting growing my own vegetables, which has been very rewarding.  Since our children now have lives of their own, my husband and I have also started to do some travelling.  We love cycling and have taken our bikes on three trips now to England, France and Scotland.  It is a real adventure and such a fantastic way to travel.
What first made you want to become an artist?
Although, until recently, I have never thought of myself as an artist, I think I have always been one.  There has never been a time in my life when I haven't been creating something.  I have tried just about everything now - soap-making, candle-making, knitting, cross-stitch, needlepoint, sewing, watercolour painting, mosaics, pottery, basket weaving, card making, dried and fresh flower arranging, etc........
Please describe your creative process
Colour is usually the first thought I have.  As I mentioned earlier, I usually begin the planning process long before I have finished my current creation.  Once I get an idea in my head I can't stop thinking about it.  It almost becomes an obsession until I can actually begin creating it.  I love looking through all my yarns (I have quite a collection now) and placing different ones together to see what might work.  The actual pattern is very often the last thing I decide upon, although I also love the idea of creating works that are more textural than colorful.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a beautiful crocheted tablecloth that my Grandmother made.  I remember her making it when I was a little girl and how much she loved the pattern.  It is a round tablecloth with daffodils all around the edge.  I think I probably get my creative side from her.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
As I am pretty new to Etsy myself it is hard to give advice.  I have noticed that renewing items on a regular basis is very helpful as it means that your item will show up in the first few pages of a search giving you more exposure.  Good photos are also extremely important and of course excellent customer service goes without saying.  I always wrap my scarves nicely and include a hand written note.
What do you like about Etsy? 
I love the connection it gives me with other like-minded people.  I think it is such an amazing opportunity to sell handmade items that at one time would have been impossible.  Through Etsy you can sell your handmade creations worldwide and without the huge commissions that shop-owners charge.  I used to sell my mosaics through a shop and they took 40%!!  I also love looking at all the beautiful things that other people are making.
How do you promote your work?
I haven't really done much to promote my work I'm afraid.  I'll have to work on that. I spend very little time on the computer.  As it is, there never seems to be enough time in the day to do all that I would like to.  I don't tweet or blog and, to be honest, have no idea how to.
(on a bicycle trip in UK)