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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Featured Seller - Prairie Peasant

Our new featured seller is Winnipeg-based Laura from PrairiePeasant and PrairieThreads.   Laura is the creator of upcycled handbound journals and fabric goods.

There have always been two creative passions in Laura's life.
From her early beginnings of finger-painting and hand sewing doll clothes, Laura was torn between creating with paper or fabric right from the beginning. Primarily self-taught, she has developed her artistic skills through local classes including marbling, bookbinding, fabric dying and quilting, and through small guilds devoted to bookbinding, calligraphy and quilting. Laura is employed part-time as an Occupational Therapist at a local hospital where she must think creatively to help her clients maximize their ability to function independently outside of the hospital.


Laura has been on etsy for over three years.
Laura first discovered Etsy through a craft magazine and soon became hooked. After a few months, she opened her PrairiePeasant shop (3 years ago) where she sells handbound books, envelopes and cards. A year and a half later she opened her PrairieThreads shop, where she sells hand sewn and hand knit items. Etsy has proven to be an ideal venue for her, allowing her to invest as much time and effort as she has available, while balancing work and family time.


Creativity is a family affair.
Laura is fortunate to be married to a very creative man, and to have two artistically inclined daughters. She loves nurturing her daughters’ creativity, making jewelry with them, teaching them to sew and even bind books. Her family is very supportive of her endeavors, and she knows she has a good product when her daughters beg for it not to be listed, but to be used at home instead.

Re-Purposing materials
Both of Laura’s shops, PrairieThreads and PrairiePeasant, have a focus on using re-purposed materials to make something new and useful. Her Rebound Journals are made from once-loved-but-now-discarded old books and her coiled matts use vintage clothing and fabrics in a new way. When she is not in her studio, she can often be found searching for new materials at thrift shops and garage sales--or maybe relaxing with a book or digging something up in her flower gardens.




A bonus for our readers
From now until October 1st,  Laura is offering 15% off all items in both her shops, with the coupon code CANADA2011.  Click the photos above to be taken to her shops.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Featured Seller: Minouette

Our newest featured seller is Minouette.

There's a science to Minouette's art!
I'm a printmaker and a scientist. I joke that I'm a marine geophysicist by day and a printmaker by night. My professional training is all in physics. As a marine geophysicist I use physics and build giant machines to image what's below the ocean floor. I find I really need balance and to also use the right side of my brain,
so art making is very important to me. This might seem a funny combination, but it turns out that printmaking is particularly popular amongst scientists who make art, and science seems popular amongst printmakers.



Most of what I create uses the technique of relief printing. This involves carving an image in reverse, say on linoleum or wood, applying ink and burnishing it onto paper or fabric. Some printmakers use a press. I work from my home so I've adapted techniques from traditional Japanese 'moku hanga' woodblock printing. I employ a baren (a flat disk wrapped in abamboo leaf) to print fine art prints and textiles. When I print on fabric I make pillows and stuffed animals and the like. I first learned printmaking as a child when I had the chance to take courses at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Science often meets art in Minouette's pieces. 
So, now that you know my day job, I think you can see my left-brained interest in science comes out in my art. I have a whole series of portraits of scientists because I love the history of science.

Most of my prints depict some sort of natural history - from microorganisms, to mushrooms; to the moon, to the classification of clouds.There's physics visible in the Cloud Chamber print; and paleontology in my dinosaurs, and ocean science in the abundant sea life.



And travel is an influence, too. 
I love travel! It's one of the great perks of my 'day job' as a scientist. Obviously, I'm inspired by getting to spend time at sea. You wouldn't believe the sort of sea creatures (including jellyfish, octopi, crustaceans, and even microorganisms like giant bacteria mats) you get to see when using a ROV (remotely operated submersiblevehicle) to position equipment on the seafloor. Many marine animals appear in my art. I think also the way one's fate is intimately tied to the weather, inspired the cloud classification prints. The moon reflecting on the water is obviously something inspired by travelling on a boat. I've had the great good fortune of spending weeks off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada and the US (still working on getting to that Arctic coast) as well as in the South Pacific off Chile.

I also had the opportunity to spend a month in Tokyo, where I used my spare time to see as much art as possible. I am definitely influenced by traditional Japanese printmaking techniques. I think I also learned
the importance of business cards in Japan. ;)



On getting started on Etsy.
I create almost compulsively, and used to do a lot of swapping of handmade goods on Craftster.org. I first found out about Etsy when it was starting up through Craftster. I didn't join right away; I wasn't sure the idea could really work. Eventually (by late 2007), I thought I was creating so much I may as well give it a try - especially since I make prints and have the benefit of having multiples (so I can always keep a copy for my own collection). Also, many of my close friends are in the arts and make art. I wanted to inspire them to try
to sell their art. In the process, I found I could readily sell my own art.


Minouette loves the international aspect of selling her art.
I love having a creative outlet. It's really gratifying to see that people would like to own my art and know that it's spread around the world.

On handling adversity, Minouette offers these words:
Friends! Seriously - it really is all about networking and making connections. When I was younger I would have thought the idea of a role model was rather corny, but in my professional life, as a woman in a highly male-dominated field, I've found that it is really important to have someone to relate to who has done what you want to achieve. When I first started selling on Etsy I was really pleased to find the TCET so there was a smaller group I could connect to, who had something (Canadianess... if that's a word?) in common. In my personal life, whenever I face any adversity, I always call my friends. You can't discount the help you can get from having people to communicate with, to seek advice from, to offer another point of view or ideas to conquer a stumbling block or setback. You need people you can rely upon for solidarity and support.

 To see all of Minouette's fantastic prints, visit her etsy shop, Minouette.

Minouette is also pleased to offer free shipping, for the next two weeks, to any buyer who includes "TCET Profile" in the messages to seller at checkout.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Featured Seller - Chicki

Our next Featured Seller is Chicki of Chicki. and ChickiBeads. Chicki hails from nearSaskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her shops offer up beautifully crafted handmade jewelry and the supplies to make your own.

Chicki is a master of finding ways to fit her love of crafting into her busy family life:

"I am a proud stay-at-home mom. I love my children and am very grateful that I get to be at home with them. I have always loved creating, crafting and making an artsy mess! This is what I do when I have free time, which is usually when I can squeeze in a minute here or there. I have been known to work at night when the kids are in bed sound asleep. I also have a very supportive husband who is a great help!!"




Chicki's love for working with polymer clay has lead to the start of her jewelry line and had brought her some fame too:

"Several years ago, I dove into the exciting world of polymer clay and have not looked back. I absolutely love working with clay and the versatility clay has. It can mimic many things, makes great jewelry, and is so lightweight!

I started with polymer clay and bead making and started to accumulate a lot of inventory. I sold a few pieces locally and I had compliments on many of my pieces and thought I would start selling online and found Etsy. It looked like a great place with a lot of wonderful handmade goodies and I thought my stuff would fit in. The rest is history!

I have recently had my work published in Polymer CafĂ© Magazine in the August 2010 Reader’s Gallery."




Recently she's started to move beyond clay into new and exciting jewelry creations:

"My newest interests are of wirework and chainmaille. I have recently started working with wire and metals and find it very enjoyable as well! I love to create free-form pendants of sterling and copper as well as funky and fun earrings!" [Blogger's note: I have a pair of Chicki's copper hoop earrings that I love]



Chicki shares the ups and downs of have a small home-based business:

"I love the flexibility it brings. I can work how much or when I want. But the unpredictability of sales and even views can sometimes be frustrating and hard. But being able to do what I love and stay home with my kids is a reward in itself."

She has many different influences when it comes to creating:


"I love nature and the outdoors. Some pieces are influenced by that. I personally love earthy type creations. I also enjoy colour, which influences my work as well. I love to look at all the talented works others have created as well which sometimes fuels my creative fire.

I love music and always have. My ipod has almost 1000 songs on it and when it is time to create I take it with me down to my small studio. I put it on random and just let the music play. I like all types of music from pop, rock, hip hop and even a bit of country. Quite an eclectic mix actually. I just go with the flow and see where it all takes me. Sometimes great things are created, others not so much. These pieces are set aside and reworked later."




Thanks for sharing Chicki!

You can see and purchase Chicki's fabulous pieces at:

chicki.etsy.com

chickibeads.etsy.com

And you can visit her blog at: www.chickismusings.blogspot.com

Friday, July 15, 2011

Featured Seller - String Me Along

Our newest Featured Seller is Carol of String Me Along from Halifax, NS.

Jewellery design was a serendipitous accident.
Carol says:
I have a very scattered background. I graduated from university with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Anthropology. Truly, not the most useful degree. It led to a variety of yawn-worthy office jobs, that did their part in helping me break free of the student loan debt. Once those were done, I took a look at life a little more thoughtfully, realized that the jobs I had been working made me truly miserable, and were just not worth it in the grand scheme of things.
So, I decided to return to a job that I loved while I was in University, which was at a local bookstore. I am now a manager there, and my days are much happier.
At the same time I also returned to jewellery making on a more permanent basis. My foray into jewellery making also began in university. It started with a quest for a necklace that I saw in a movie that I loved. I could not find a version available for sale anywhere, so one day as I passed a bead store, I spied some beads that looked like those on the necklace. I went in, bought a package, asked for some quick instructions and - BAM - I was hooked. I made several versions of that necklace for myself, and then started making them for friends. Finally, I booked a table at an annual December craft market near my university. I needed to broaden my scope a bit for the market so learned how to make some earrings, and bracelets, and the rest is history.



Of getting started on etsy: 
When I left the office world behind, I decided that being creative and crafty was what I most loved. I decided to make it a permanent addition to my life and founded String Me Along jewellery as a result.
I learned about etsy from a crafter at a Toronto craft show. I set up shop here in January 2007. I loved the idea of having a global audience. In 2008, we moved from Toronto to Atlantic Canada which meant access to fewer craft show opportunities. At that point, I needed a way to get my work out there, and it has therefore become a much more important venue for me.

Carol's favorite thing about crafting

Basically, I just love creating. Some days when I feel blue or frazzled or bored with life, just sitting down in my studio and pulling out vials of beads, and clipping bits of wire has a truly uplifting effect. It also means that I can on occasion spend gobs of money on beautiful beads and supplies, and just call them a tax write-off when my husband raises an eyebrow at me. LOL



What influences her creative process?
I love to both travel and read. I get great inspiration from travelling. From the cobbled streets of Paris to the secluded beaches of Atlantic Canada, there is usually something that is visually stimulating.
Reading is also great for breaking me out of a rut. A quick tour through some Austen classics and I am filled with wonderfully romantic images that find their way into my pieces.



And a special offer for you.
I am happy to offer a 20% discount on all items in my shop. Simply use coupon code TCET20 at checkout.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

The Trans-Canada Etsy Team wishes all Canadians a safe and happy Canada Day. Thanks for celebrating with us!

Click here to see the fabulous Canada Day promotions some of our team shops are running:
http://transcanadaetsyteam.blogspot.com/2011/06/buy-canadian-handmade.html


If you'd like to join the team please click on the red "join the team" box on the left hand side of the page. And remember to check back here for all the exciting things the TCET has coming.
Happy Canada Day!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tickled Pink!

Celebrate Canada Day with this sweet pink TCET treasury by FiveForty: Canada Day in Pink!

Happy Canada Day, July 1st!