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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Talented Tuesday - HandmadeinKeswick

I would like you to meet Lu Smith and her Etsy shop:  HandmadeInKeswick.

If you are looking for Original art: striking colourful portraits for the modern interior; pocket size handmade notebooks for doodling, compulsive list making, or a stylish memory book; and sketchbooks and Journals for all sorts of creative ideas. Then you will love the items at HandmadeInKeswick
Let's get to know HandmadeInKeswick and Lu:

What would you like us to know about you?
My name is Lu Smith and I’ve lived in one of the most beautiful places in the UK since 1998 when I completed a year long, round trip. It was during that trip that I decided I was going to live somewhere beautiful – and here I am!

I’ve always been creative – I made my own clothes from jumble sale finds when I was 13, and I was trying to pretend that punk and the New romantics had all actually made it to Norfolk.

I studied at Norwich School Of Art and then Epsom School Of Art and Design, where I majored in Jewellery Design Crafts. I still occasionally make jewellery and indulge in ‘altered’ shoes and clothes. At the moment, my passions are painting, free machine embroidery and bookmaking.

What prompted you to open an Etsy Shop?
It was a long time coming. I have been selling offline for years, but had no marketing plan, no regular selling outlets. I went through a period when I wasn’t creating at all and (this seems strange to me now) had other interests.

When I returned to ‘normal’, I decided that I wanted a constant selling presence. Online seems the simple solution (or so I thought, before I knew how much work there is achieving Search Engine Optimization!), and Etsy is a very easy, user friendly platform. I also use Folksy as well as, like many British makers, I would prefer to give my business to a British based platform. Using both, does get my product to a wide audience and I’m currently in the process of separating out the stock so that they sell different things.

How did you come up with your shop name?
I wanted a name which immediately told people that this is a local business (useful for offline selling), and that I do make my own product. I played with idea in my head for a while, and was going to go for Made In Keswick to start with, but there is a local brand called Made In Cumbria, and my brain kept saying the other name instead of mine, so I assumed everyone else would do that too. Putting Handmade at the beginning seems to work. It is easily remembered, and a few different people from Etsy have contacted me to say they have realized that they live nearby.

How would you describe your shop?
Arty. I struggle to keep it cohesive as my interests keep zipping off in another direction. I have a few items I haven’t got round to listing yet for that very reason.

What inspires you?
I’ve always been interested in drawings of people doing ordinary things. I have sketches of people standing bored in a queue, kids building sandcastles, and a series of my husband washing his clothes in a bucket whilst we were abroad. More recently that interest has moved more specifically to faces –there are one or two in my shop.

The only constant, at least, in recent years, has been the soundtrack to my creativity. I’ve noticed that if I’m ‘stuck’, more often than not, I haven’t got the radio on. I listen to BBC 6 music and even if what is playing is not quite my cup of tea, I still find it very motivating. I don’t know if that’s because 6 feels very ‘arty’ to me. There’s quite a lot of serious musician talk, and, although often funny, its ‘grown up’ as well, which is something that most music stations don’t manage to achieve. Plus, on a Sunday, they have the sexiest voice in the form of Jarvis Cocker!

Which item in your shop is your favorite to make/find?
My favourite is usually the item I’m working on at the time, so its not yet in my shop. For the next few days, I’ll be working on some machine embroidery, which I plan to list on Etsy and maybe Folksy as well, as sold well offline.
If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what are the 3 crafty must haves?
This is a really hard question. I think I’m going to go for things that’ll keep me sane rather than just be useful:

Sewing machine (solar powered)
Never ending supply of thread
Some kind of receiver for hearing 6 music (again solar powered)

Where else can we find you?!/HandmadeInKeswi

Is there anything else you would like to share? 
Blog readers can save 25% at HandmadeInKeswick
by using coupon code: Lilees1

Thanks so much Lu.  It has been great getting to know you and discovering your shop and your lovely items.

Now please show Lu some support and let us know which of her pieces are your favorite from her shop! Oh...and go ahead and heart a few of her items along with her shop :)

Have a great week!

knitting yarns

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Talented Tuesday - HapiStitcher

I would like you to meet Donna Grace Hinton and her Etsy shop:  HapiStitcher.

If you love handcrafted, Original Ideas Translated Into Fabric , Then you will love the items at HapiStitcher

Let's get to know HapiStitcher and Donna:

What would you like us to know about you?
I have great fun designing and creating original items like Hankie Pankie Tissue Box Covers, Love Handle Pillow Covers, or the Knotty Girl Bags, but the greater pleasure lies in knowing someone else is enjoying them too. An Etsy shop gives me the perfect venue for offering my work to the world.

An Aquarian, in my eighth decade, I remain curious, and optimistic about life, people, and how things work. 
What prompted you to open an Etsy Shop?
I have wanted to open a store for years. An Etsy shop was a natural choice for me since that enables me to spend my time creating, instead of putting in tedious hours tending a traditional brick and mortar store.

How did you come up with your shop name?
Only one name, HapiStitcher, could adequately describe my process of creating an array of items in my store. I am, indeed, happiest when either dreaming up a new project, or working at my machine. I love to see new things manifest under my hands as I work with fabric, thread, and machine.

How would you describe your shop?
My shop reflects my ‘what if’ personality, and my love for functional beauty. I like to experiment with new ideas, creating wholly original items, or improving upon what already exists. Sometimes my new creations are borne of frustration. For example’ as an allergy sufferer, I often needed a handy place to put used tissues, so the first two-story tissue box cover was for myself. My husband needed a cushion for his bony knees at night, hence the Knee Comfort Pillow. The e reader covers in my shop were first created to fill my own need after receiving a Kindle Fire for my birthday. I guess my shop reflects my life!

What inspires you?

Nothing inspires me more than an unmet need. I once made maternity bathing suits because so many pregnant campers from the city asked me, a local at the swimming hole across from a large, remote, Forest Service campground, where they could get one. A business was born, and it was a win-win situation for a young mother living in the country in the 60’s, and the women wanting to cool off in the river on a hot, summer day.

Colors, and textures inspire me. As I sort through (make that fondle) my large fabric stash, sometimes it seems the cloth almost speaks to me. Suddenly, the yardage I am holding can become only one thing, and I see it in its entirety, as a finished project, before the first cut, or stitch.

Which item in your shop is your favorite to make/find?
Every item in my shop is a beloved brain-child. Each one gave me joy as I brought it from my mental drawing board to fruition. Each one is my favorite as I work on it.
If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what are the 3 crafty must haves?
Since pressing is an absolute essential to making a quality creation, I would need an old fashioned iron that could be heated over the bonfire, and I would sprinkle seams and edges with ocean water to create steam. Naturally, a lovely old, treadle machine with drawers full of thread would float in from the sinking ship, as would a few bolts of brightly colored cotton fabric.

Whoops, that makes four must-haves – sorry, they are just the barest of essentials.

Where else can we find you?
Creativitycheck-in on blogspot is a new blog I recently started. I am hoping it will become a place where Etsy sellers, and other creative individuals, will brainstorm with me about what sparks the creative spirit, and what fuels it long term. I am also on Facebook, and participate in a number of online groups.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
I rejoice in the fact that my two daughters share my love of sewing. One is an accomplished quilter, and is in demand as a designer of memorial quilts. My granddaughter has been sewing since childhood, and one of my great granddaughters had a quilt she helped design in a show when she was only seven.  
Thanks so much Donna.  It has been great getting to know you and discovering your shop and your lovely items.

Now please show Donna some support and let us know which of her pieces are your favorite from her shop! Oh...and go ahead and heart a few of her items along with her shop :)

Have a great weekend!

knitting yarns