What a better thing to do on a Saturday, then to shop! I love to browse around the net looking for items to add to my wish list. I thought it would be fun to include those here. Not only the items I like, but a little bio about each of the artist who created them. I am on the art sites a lot...and I do mean a lot (just ask Ky the Amazing) When I found an item I liked I bookmarked it, then asked the Artisan/Crafters to tell me a bit about themselves. I’ve not edited the responses, nor did I give them any sort of direction- just asked for 500 or so words telling us all a little bit about themselves. Personally I have loved reading the bios and hope you do too. I do not endorse any of them personally of course, I just can’t do that. But I have found them all to be very friendly and wouldn’t hesitate to click the buy button. You can get to their stores by clicking the store name!
Be sure to come back next week. I will have more! This week I brought you 10 items from my wish list, next Saturday I will bring you 5 more!
P.S. Don’t forget to check Huckleberry Bumpkins Folk Art while you’re shopping! *wink*
COOL STRAPS (please see the ad on this page!!!)
Terri began making guitar straps in 1998 when her then 14-year-old son asked her to decorate his $5 Ernie Ball strap. After conducting a series of interviews and surveys of musicians, she developed a strap design to address their concerns about quality, construction, durability, functionality, and appearance. The result of those surveys is an intentionally over-engineered, extremely durable, absolutely unique guitar strap.
Terri’s strap foundation is a 6-foot long, 3-inch wide, 2000-pound-test commercial grade polypropylene strip. The 3-inch width addresses the issue of weight distribution on the shoulder, a major comfort consideration for guitarists. The 6-foot length addresses the concerns of bass players and tall guitarists who need a considerably longer strap. A decorative top fabric is based-stitched to the foundation and embroidery, beads, appliqués, pendants, jewels, or other ornamentation, are then applied to the top fabric to create the image her buyer wants or the image she has in her mind. The back of the strap is lined with complementing satin or rayon, slick materials that keep the strap from grabbing and bunching musicians’ shirts as they play.
Terri’s leather button tabs are unsurpassed in their strength and longevity. A common failure of conventional guitar straps is the eventual tearing of the single layer leather tab, which renders the strap completely unusable. Terri’s leather tab design has overcome that problem. Her preferred leather is an 8-inch length of suede that has been doubled over a commercial grade anchor bar. The two halves are glued with professional strength tanner’s glue, then double whip-stitched around the perimeter of the tab with heavy waxed leather sewing thread. While ordinary strap tabs are always black, Terri uses a variety of stained leathers—not only black but chocolate, brown, grey, and buckskin, creating a truly customized quality to the strap’s appearance.
All this attention to the quality of materials and construction, and the creative freedom that comes with a strap created utterly from scratch, does not overshadow the paramount consideration of cost. While Terri’s straps have been bought by well-known musicians, her heart is really for local musicians. With her two sons in their own band, Tailgunner Joe, Terri realizes how precious every dollar is to young, struggling musicians and how important confidence is when a musician steps onstage. That is, ultimately, what Terri wants to give her buyers, not just a great guitar strap but the sense of specialness every musician needs to succeed? Consequently, her straps are priced to be accessible to even the most modest budget. Musicians need not settle for the ordinary anymore when the extraordinary is available at Cool Straps Custom Handmade Guitar Straps.
I tried many mediums over the years, but about 10 years ago I found polymer clay, completely by accident. It moved me like nothing else did. The colors are spectacular and mixable and it is easy to use. It allows for so many possibilities. More than anything I like making more sculptural pieces. Making creations and figures are especially fun. I feel like they came to life in my hands; after a certain point they have their own personalities and I am just adding the finishing touches. I love making fantasy pieces because the rules are my own and I can go in any direction with how I want them to look. They are like little friends; each one is completely different being, even when I made similar items.
I like to keep expanding my repertoire. I started adding beaded embellishments to some and then tried steam punk, using gears and metallic’s for an old fashioned industrial look, most recently I have started making faux rock beads. I don’t stop with the older techniques; just add to what I already know. Each new technique just builds on what I already know. Part of keeping fresh is doing custom work. I always accept custom jobs, if I am capable of it. Customers can have great ideas of what they want, things I wouldn’t have tried unless someone requested it, either because I didn’t think of it or just let it go. Sometimes it is a brand new technique or item for me, other times it’s using a color scheme that hadn’t occurred to me for a type of piece. I keep myself open to new ideas where ever I can find them.
Carla & Crew
At Christmas I have a kiosk that is shared with a friend at our local mall (it's a small mall compared to most but it's pretty busy at that time of the year) and we are right beside a craft consignment store near JCPenneys so we get a good amount of traffic. We're there from a few days before Thanksgiving all the way through to Christmas eve, 7 days a week.
There were several customers asking me if there was any way I could do personal photos so after about 2 years and spending more money than I care to admit to, I figured out a way to make them. They take quite a bit more time to make but they are so much more personal than any stock design ever could be. At the mall we got orders for over 200 custom ornaments. (I stopped taking orders about a week before 'normal' because I wanted to make sure they could ALL be done in time for Christmas.) Last year I think I figured we made over 6,500 ornaments (I won't tell you how many were broken on purpose because I didn't like the way they looked but I have standards that they have to meet before I'll even try to sell them) and of course since they're glass we usually break a couple in transport from 1 show to the next no matter how hard we try.
When we make Awareness Ribbon ornaments we donate a set amount to that charity, for example, 2 years ago I made 12 dozen Breast Cancer Awareness ornaments and donated $144 to Relay for Life. We have a growing number of Ribbon designs now with more coming soon.
I got my business name because of the pond at my mom’s house. The neighbor boy saw that some feeder goldfish got thrown out to die and he tried to save them by putting them in our pond. Well save them he did. It just so happens feeder goldfish are a low oxygen carp and guess what kind of pond we have, that’s right a low oxygen pond. My family is now the proud owners of hundreds of feeder goldfish is all colors and sizes.
I started my business by making jewelry for the people I worked with and it grew from there. What was once a way to make money on the side is now my full fledged business trying to make it out in the big wide world. I hopefully will be in business still when I am 90 because I truly do love to design and make unique pieces for others to enjoy. I find my inspiration for many of my designs from everyday things... while on a walk or playing with my dog, or just hanging out with my family or my guy. The world is endless when it comes to new ideas to design into jewelry.
Tell me about your craft/mediums. I have been obsessed with crocheting since I taught myself about 5 years ago. My new passion is Tunisian crochet. It's easier on my hands and the finished piece has the look of knitting. I also love creating jewelry. I'm partial to semi-precious stones, copper and silver. Oil painting and pastels are other mediums I hope to enjoy again sometime in the near future.
Why do you love your particular mediums? I derive tactile pleasure from handling yarn. Just walking down the aisle taking in the variety of textures and colors makes me giddy. I also enjoy the look of crocheted wire, in particular copper.
What are your influences? What doesn't influence me would be easier to answer! Designs pop into my head all the time just from looking at a flower, magazine or just about everything around me. My head hurts sometimes because I can't make things fast enough! So I have started to keep a notebook in my handbag for sketching.
Tell me about your most enjoyable experience with a customer. To date my most enjoyable experience was receiving an order for a moonlight mohair shawl I had made. A lady in Australia ordered it for her wedding. I was honored that she chose something I made to wear on her special day.
Any advice to new or young sellers just getting their feet wet? It's not easy and it doesn't happen overnight. I am constantly learning about new ways to promote my stores and I spend an inordinate amount of time doing so. I discovered the Forums on Artfire and have met so many wonderful, inspiring and helpful people. I have to be careful not to spend all day interacting with them.
Tell us a bit about the space you create in? How has it evolved since you started your craft? My space? That would be my dining table for sewing and my couch for crocheting. I keep a project bag in the car and crochet whenever I have to wait or while my daughter is swimming.
Who is the person most supportive of your craft business? How do they
support you? My close friend Gail. She has been feeding my yarn addiction for a while now. She finds cool yarn in Miami and mails them to me all the time. She also gives me input and ideas on my items
I started making jewelery with a small pack of fimo clay, wow it has been a year now and if you see my first itmes now I see them horrible. I improved a lot and will improve more and more. At this moment I am having a Pandora crisies, I really got in love with these beads and so I am trying to make everything with these fatastic beads. You can see some of my works on my blog which is http://www.timecreations.blogspot.com/.
I am doing this as a part-time job since I have also a full time job. My job is a secretary where sometimes it is really boring. Well since i got these Pandora craze, I am making my colleges spending money, since they are all my loyal clients. Well my wish is that one day I will open my fatastic shop not only online but also a real shop in Malta.
Eruanna on Artifire
Clack House Handmade Candles and Tarts