Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pilgrimage to Providence

This morning we packed my collection of felty goods and drove down to Craftland in Providence, Rhode Island. I don't know Providence at all but I instantly fell in love with Westminster Street where Craftland is located, it's pretty, full of interesting retail and OMG there were more hipsters per square inch than any other place I've been. I just loved it!

The Craftland shop is big and bright and friendly looking. I got to see one of my Etsy faves, HeatherJeany, and I met Kristin of ScrapsofPaper. I had a lot of fun talking shop with them and looking for the goods of other artists I might recognize. I was so excited to see the work of alamodestuff, heatherwangjewelry and absolutelysmall in the year round shop.

Handmade cuteness!

LOVE the sign:

Since my husband's sister lives in RI, we arranged to meet her for lunch after the drop off.

I would love to go back when the holiday goods are out. I know it will be winter wonderland in there!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


As their adorable website explains:
Craftland Show is an annual holiday sale in downtown Providence, RI that celebrates all kinds of sparkly handmade objects and the people who make them.

Craftland is a juried seasonal shop and I am thrilled to be participating alongside so many fantastic artists! I've been working very hard to come up with a nice collection to take there.

Here I am with my goods:

And here are the goods closer up:

I hope you get a chance to stop by!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Intuitive Garden

I would like to take a minute to toot a horn for someone who would never toot their own. Candace just appeared like a crafty sister-separated-at-birth one day and immensely altered my life and business for the better.

All my life I have been crafting and selling my goods. In 2006 I started hearing about something online called Etsy so that fall I joined, giddy and hopeful. It seemed like a good fit for me so I decided to devote my full time attention to a crafting business.

All through the 90's I did craft shows but had taken a long break. In the spring of 2007 I read a forum post that called for Boston area crafters. The SOWA Open Market was offering free spots at their Sunday Market for first timers who were on Etsy. I thought this was a good chance to start doing shows again so I signed right up. We were to be 4 people sharing 2 tents. I did not have a tent and I wanted to be sure I was going to be compatible with these crafty strangers so I scoped out the three other shops, picked the one that looked the cutest and contacted the shop owner. Candace had a tent and yes, she would share with me.

Having that settled, we immediately faced our first crisis. Due to flying tents in high winds the previous week, the SOWA Open Market was requiring weights on all tent legs. We could use water jugs, or sand bags they didn't care. I nervously called Candace to find out how we were going to handle this little snag since I knew she didn't have sand. After a well-placed joke about "big jugs" I knew we would get along great. Dell and I brought sand, Candace and her husband brought sand, we were a team with a stable tent. And we smiled when we saw the other two Etsians sharing a tent that day; perfectly matched goth girls with black velvet and tattoos.

Since then, we have done many shows together and now have studios side by side in an old mill building. She knows more than anyone what my daily life is like, she has the same job as me. And she has great ideas for what I should make, how I can display things, all conveyed in an enthusiastic, friendly way that gets me excited about the possibilities.

Also, Candace is uncanny for giving me just the right thing at just the right time; a display, some mailing envelopes, jewelry findings. She is so generous and it's like she can read my mind. Which maybe she can, we are both Virgos :)

And look at her work! She's amazing! See, she takes photos, makes drawings, illustrations, then meticulously combines them with resin to create these little gems she makes into the most beautiful jewelry. You can't imagine how much craftsmanship goes into her items, it's incredible. I have seen all the steps, all the decisions, all the knowledge she puts into every tiny piece. I fall in love with her work over and over each time she shows me something new she is developing. How cool is it that I get to see new things being born right in front of my eyes? I'm a witness to the creative process, it's so inspiring.

Plus we can be snarky together, have a laugh over the hard parts of running our own businesses; the tedium, the let-downs, the weirdos we encounter. Everything is easier to handle when someone is on your side and knows what you are talking about.

All this is to say, I feel very fortunate to have had her placed in my life at just the right time and I don't think I would be this successful without her encouragement and camaraderie. I wish for every artist an artist friend like Candace. And if you have one, go ahead and toot that person's horn for them! They are probably too gracious to do it themselves.