Thursday, 31 July 2008

Blog Interview: ThisisBexx

Name: Bexx

Company/Etsy Site:
BooksByBexx - thisisbexx.etsy.com

Location: Boston/Medford, MA

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
I've been selling on Etsy for about 15 months.

How did you get into crafting?
I have always loved crafting! I honestly can't remember a time in my life when making things wasn't an important part of my everyday life.

How did Etsy come into your life?
About 2 years ago my then roommate was talking the site up to me. I initially joined as a buyer, and then became a seller at the behest of my friends.

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
I had a few crafty hobbies, shopped at craft fairs, and took workshops. I'm really glad I found etsy - it has opened up a whole new world of shopping goodness, and it has given me the confidence to sell my work!

Do you have a day job?
I am a full-time student, so I'm not working right now. Etsy is my "job", and pretty much my only source of income!

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
I sell handmade books and journals made from cruelty free materials. I am vegan, and it is important to me that all of my items be vegan as well. I have a series of books about vegan nutrition, which includes "How I Get My Protein", "How I Get My Calcium" and "How I Get My Iron". I also make lots of miniature books! I do everything in my shop on my own.


What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Don't make or sell anything you yourself would not buy. If it's not good enough for you, its probably not good enough for anyone else either!

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
Working in a small space without all of the equipment I'd like to have.

Do you show your work locally?
Last year I participated in two shows and I hope to do more.

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
When I was in school getting my Masters in library science I started taking bookbinding workshops to hone my repair skills and fell in love.

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
I have always participated in crafting in some way, but only got involved in bookbinding about 2 or 3 years ago.

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I like making miniature case bound books the best.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
My teflon bonefolder!

Materials you use for your books?
I use high quality machine-made papers, linen thread, and eco-friendly book cloth.

What inspires you?
Everything I look at, all I see is books!

Guilty pleasure?
Soy ice cream.


submitted by Barbara, of moonbindery

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Blog Interview: shawcreek

Name: Vicki Holdwick

Company/Etsy Site: vfh Photo Arts/vholdwic.etsy.com

Blog: shawcreek.blogspot.com

Location: Pleasant Lake, Michigan

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
I've had an Etsy shop since early March of this year.

How did you get into crafting?
I am been crafting since a very early age. My godmother taught me how to knit slippers when I was only 6 or 7 years old and one year I made a pair for each of my siblings (I have 8 sisters and 5 brothers, so this was no small feat (pun intended)).

How did Etsy come into your life?
I subscribe to almost 200 blogs and many of them mentioned or showcased Etsy products and artists, so I investigated and liked what I saw, so I opened my own shop.

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
I didn't go to college until I was in my mid-30s which meant that with two children we became only a one income family, so out of necessity I started to sew my own and my children's clothes. From there I began making my own duvet covers, window treatments, quilts, shower curtains. I find that I tend to concentrate on one kind of craft and then go on to another. After my sewing frenzy, I moved onto cross stitch and then to crocheting. I began making books several years and fell in love. At that time I only made accordion books.

Do you have a day job?
I retired last year from teaching mathematics at a rural high school.

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
My shop is really small right now. I have some prints, photographs and a few accordion books. I am trying to perfect the coptic stitch before offering that style. No one helps me with my work, unless you count my husband's patience when I disappear into my craft room for hours on end.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Trust yourself and turn off your inner critic whenever possible.

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
Right now it is really difficult to find time to do what I want to do. My three grandchildren live within 20 minutes of me and I care for two of them three days a week, one of those being an overnight.

Do you show your work locally?
I have participated in a couple of craft shows with limited success, but haven't tried lately.

Famous last words?
Don't get even, get odd.

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
I am always drawn to journals and sketchbooks in the store, but they seem too plain or too expensive and I thought, "I could make those better than these".

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
I've been crafting for as long as I can remember. I've been bookmaking for about 8 years.

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
So far I really like the coptic stitch, but would also like to learn the long stitch and secret Belgian binding. I would like to feel confident enough to make a book with a leather cover.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
I absolutely couldn't live without my bone folder.

Materials you use for your books?
I am on a kick of seeing book covers everywhere I go - 33 1/3 rpm record jackets, cereal boxes, tins. Right now I am trying to combine mixed media art with book making by using book board that is painted, decoupaged, collaged. I also use watercolor and acrylic paints, pretty scrapbooking paper, PVA glue, and found treasures.

What inspires you?
I find inspiration in the everyday and never fail to be surprised how often I see something in my surroundings that gives me an "uh huh" moment.

Who is your crafting hero?
There are too many - right now I am seeing a lot of Suzi Blu videos (she's a nut, but very loveable), Claudine Hellmuth, Kal Barteski. I recently joined two new Yahoo! groups - arttechniques and milliandecreativityclub.

Guilty pleasure?
Staying up into the wee hours creating and then getting up at the crack of dawn raring to go with new ideas.

submitted by Barbara, of moonbindery

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Blog Interview: UberArt

Name: Beth

Company/Etsy Site: http://Uberart.etsy.com

Blog: http://UberArtshop.blogspot.com/

Location: Eastern North Carolina

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
8 months

How did you get into crafting?
It’s been my destiny since birth!

How did Etsy come into your life?
My husband saw an article in a business magazine about Etsy, encouraged me to try it out.

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
I have my undergraduate degree in studio art, and a masters in art therapy, but didn’t had the courage to put my creations out there. I consigned once and all my stuff got stolen which scared me off, so I didn’t do anything until Etsy.

Do you have a day job?
Taking care of my toddler (which is a night job also).

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
I have a 3 year-old assistant “hinder-er”, who does the opposite of helping, but otherwise it’s just me.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Do what you love and keep at it. Chances are someone else will love what you do also. And give it some time! Network and market your work as much as you can. It took me almost 4 months to begin to see the fruits of my marketing labors.

Do you show your work locally?
I’ve recently been accepted into a local art gallery and have sold a few journals there.

Famous last words?
I’m going to finish this one last thing and then I’ll go to bed.

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
I got tired of not being able to find the “right” journal and decided to make my own.

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
Forever.

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I use Coptic stitch because it the most functional stitch for me and I like how the books open flat.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
I need it all! I have my own art supply store in my studio. Now if I can just find what I’m looking for…

Materials you use for your books?
I love working with polymer clay and am always looking for ways to incorporate it into my books.

What inspires you?
I enjoy looking through art magazines for new techniques to try, but my main inspiration comes from being with other artists. I love working alongside others, sharing a creative aura and seeing the things we all come up with.

Guilty pleasure?
Hobby Lobby. It’s a good thing I don’t live near one anymore.. We had to move to get me out of the store!

submitted by Barbara, of moonbindery

Friday, 25 July 2008

What would *I* do with a journal?

If I had a penny for every time I've heard this, when the topic of journaling comes up, I'd be a millionaire. I'm sure of it.

Does it take an inflated ego and a lot of spare time to journal? In my humble opinion, NAY! One can take great joy in writing about the "everyday"…little things that can make life special. In only a few minutes a day you can record day to day events, what you ate for lunch, what movie you saw, what book you're reading – looking back on it can be a very enjoyable experience!

I'm particularly referring to tangible journals, bound books that you record your thoughts and life events in. So do you have a blank book lying around? Don't know what to do with it? Well here are some ideas!

daily diary – Chronicle daily thoughts and events; they're such fun to look back on. Things may seem boring and uninteresting now, but it's neat to look back on what you've written in a few years time to see how much has changed (and how much as stayed the same). Keep it in your purse or bookbag to jot down things as the inspiration moves you.

photo journal – Paste in photos that inspire you and/or are important to you, and write about them.

book log – Write about the books you're reading; discuss plot lines, characters. Praise the good reads and have fun throwing figurative tomatoes at the literary catastrophes!

recipe book – A place to keep treasured foodie goodness, for generations to come

friend journal – Have a far away sweetheart, friend or loved one? Why not add your notes to each other to a journal instead of on a piece of paper, and send it to your friend…have them fill out their pages, and send it back…and do so continuously until the book is completed. By the time you're finished, you have a lovely bound collection of your correspondence with each other. (I wish I would have thought of this when hubby and I were dating, long distance!)

guestbook – A book where friends/family write their name along with some fun notes about their time visiting with you; or of course a wedding guestbook too!

sketchbook – Self explanatory, I should think. :) A lot of folks are into the "sketch a day" routine; a journal is a great place for that!

travel journal – Whether it be a short jaunt, day trip, or world excursion, write about it and include photos, ticket stubs, maps, etc….you'll cherish the memories and experience for years to come!

wine journal – What vintage? Was it a good year? Red, white, rose? Desert wine? What was it best paired with? Write it all down in your wine journal!

bird watcher journal – What sort of bird was that?

poetry book – A place to collect poems you enjoy, or write your own.

fitness journal – Whether your training for the next marathon, charting weight loss and exercise, or keeping a food log, this is a great way to keep on track and chart your progress!

taking notes – Meetings, conventions, or kept in your case/purse to jot down just about anything

dream diary – To be kept on your nightstand as a place to track your 'interesting' dreams!

other ideas – film/movie log, pregnancy journal, small scrapbook, calligraphy book, ship's log

---submitted by Beverly Wong-Kleinjan (lapaperie.etsy.com)

Monday, 21 July 2008

Blog Interview: MyHandboundBooks

Name: Rhonda Miller

Company/Etsy Site: MyHandboundBooks.Etsy.com

Website: MyHandboundbooks.com

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
March 2007

How did you get into crafting?
When I was very young, pre-school age, my favorite activities were cutting and gluing and using lots of Scotch tape! Later as a teenager I tried various crafts, drawing and painting, needle crafts, and jewlery making. All very fun, but I really discovered my passion when I started bookbinding a few years ago. I was attending library school and there were introductory bookbinding classes offered so I registered for one, then two, then three, then just any other related course that I could find.

How did Etsy come into your life?
A friend told me about it. Then another friend mentioned it. And eventually I agreed to try it out.

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
I had been making and selling books for a while before Etsy - selling online as well as a few local market-type-events.

Do you have a day job?
Yep, Mommy.

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
My shop is just me; it is a one-woman operation most of the time. I have a three-year-old son who would like to help with packing boxes but he tends to get stuck to the packing tape. Although hubby has done some packing and shipping for me at times which is really helpful.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
For newbies on Etsy, make sure you have great photos. That seems to be the key to getting noticed there. As a crafter... just enjoy what you do and if it starts to become a chore, then try new things and expiriment so that it remains as fun as it should be.


What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
There is never enough time! I have so many potential projects that I want to do and I can't keep up with my ideas.

Do you show your work locally?
I have done a few local craft markets but I focus primarily on online exposure.

Famous last words?
I heart books.

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
I've been crafting since...forever. I started making books for about 6 years. And I want to continue making books forever. I am primarily interested in expanding my bookbinding knowledge and learning as much as possible about bookbinding, its history, and its art. That is my focus and the business of selling is secondary; however, I love knowing that my books are being used by writers all over the world and so I also want that to continue.

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I don't have a favorite. I adore them all.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
A good supply of knife blades.

Materials you use for your books?
I like to expiriment with materials and have tried a lot of different things like plastics and rubber and ceramics; but, most of the books I make use some combination of leather, paper, and fabric.

What inspires you?
History. I spend a lot of time doing research and reading about the old styles of binding and I try to replicate them as much as possible, just with some modernization to make them practical and durable as everyday journals.

Guilty pleasure?
Sofa loafing while eating gummy worms with my kid.

submitted by Barbara, of moonbindery

Monday, 14 July 2008

Paper Shopping: From Chicago to Des Moines

Photo by Tim KiserAfter you've visited the bookbinding hot spots in Chicago, hop on Interstate 80 West and head on over to Iowa!

Of course there's the stop at the Center for the Book at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. They offer many workshops and sell book kits, manuals, books about bookbinding, handmade papers, and works of students and staff.

Also near Iowa City (in Coralville) is Iowa Book Works, which is comprised of two bookbinders that create book kits. They sell their kits online and through the Center of the Book at the University of Iowa. To see their kits visit iowabookworks.bookways.com.

Once you hop back on I-80, you'll see an exit for Pella. Now Pella doesn't have a bookbinding/paper supply store that I'm aware of, but for those of you interested in letterpress, perhaps in conjunction with your bookbinding, would be interested to know that Pella Engraving makes many varieties of printing plates and have great turn around time.

Once you pull into Des Moines, make your first stop Pure Paper in the East Village. They have a great store and support the book arts throughout Iowa. They carry many types of paper, envelopes, and quite a variety of bookbinding supplies. Often they have local bookbinders' work for sale in the store as well. Soon they will be offering online shopping through their website.

Also in the East Village, there is East Village Books. Not really too much into making books, but a nice little bookstore none the less.

A local bookbinder also sells supplies through her website. Peggy Johnston of Waveland Studio sells papers and supplies at www.wavelandstudio.com.

For other supplies, there is The Art Store in West Des Moines. They offer a variety of art supplies and offer many items for bookbinding from the Lineco line. We also have the typical arts and crafts chain stores, Hobby Lobby and Michaels in town.
Come on over to Iowa!

submitted by Danielle, of Dameling

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Paper Shopping in Chicago

Open up almost any bookbinding book and flip back to the suggested suppliers page, and you're sure to find Chicago's Aiko's Art Materials. Specializing in hard-to-find Japanese papers and art supplies, Aiko's was a treasure trove for any artist. For years I lived with this jewel of a store just up the road from my apartment, and years later still I relished trips back to the city to visit it again. Vacationing in Chicago this past month I was sad to find we’ve all lost this amazing resource, Aiko's Art Materials closed its doors in April after more than 50 years in business. So without Aiko's, I wondered, where can you go in Chicago to get your paper fix? The good news is that there’s lots of spots, all easy to reach from the el train.

Just down the street from Aikos' former site, east on Belmont near the Clark and Belmont el stop you'll find J. Toguri Mercantile. While it does have a small selection Japanese papers the real reason to hit J. Toguri is for the Japanese art supplies, books and home décor. After a visit if you’re still in a Japanese frame of mind, head a block west on Belmont to Ragstock (upstairs from Hollywood Mirror) and check out their huge (and inexpensive) collection of kimonos.

Closer to downtown you have two Paper Source stores to choose from, each one just a block off the el (one at Armitage and one at Chicago). Paper Source is a chain with a strong presence on the web, but a visit to the store is worth it for the helpful staff and a look at a few non-web offerings (I found some great hemp thread for binding). They also have the largest selection of papers I found in Chicago, including some lovely washi and very reasonably priced book-cloth. It's well worth a visit.

One last stop, make sure to visit Columbia College's Center for Book Arts (again an easy walk from the el). The second floor space houses classrooms, galleries and the "Un" Store, a window case of goodies that can be purchased from the front office. Goods on offer include papers, papermaking fibers, and even bookbinding t-shirts. Go Chicago!

submitted by Sara, of Re:Paper

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Blog Interview: Scodioli

Name: Jodi Scodioli

Company/Etsy Site: scodioli.etsy.com

Website: None, but you can view my past work on Flickr, (look for the "Little Projects" set of photos).

Location: Kansas

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
Since October 07

How did you get into crafting?
I've always been a crafter. I have to distract myself with projects at all times! I can't just "do nothing".

How did Etsy come into your life?
A friend told me about it, and I've been hopelessly devoted, as a seller and a buyer, ever since!

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
I've been making books since college, the only difference is that now I can sell them rather than unloading them on my friends at Christmas
time.

Do you have a day job?
I'm a graphic designer for an in-house design firm.

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
I constantly brainstorm with my boyfriend/roommate about potential books and other projects. He's a huge help. And my five-year-old is very supportive.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Take beautiful, detailed photos of your work! Not only does it help sell the piece, you'll eventually have a great portfolio of work to show off.


What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
I wish I could devote more time to etsy. With the day job, the boyfriend, the kid, two dogs and four hermit crabs, I'm running ragged!

Do you show your work locally?
Maybe I should start! I could try to sell them at a little coffee shop or something.

Famous last words?
HONEY!!! WHERE THE HELL IS MY BONE FOLDER????

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
A bookbinding course was actually required for my degree in graphics. Lucky me!!!

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
I've been crafting forever, making books for about five years.

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I like to do a long stitch with chain link at the head and tail. That's my favorite to sew.
I also love Japanese stab binding too but I tend to break a lot of needles.
And I'm just starting to do the coptic stitch again - seems to be very popular right now.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
Paper!!!! Paper paper paper oh how I love it!

Materials you use for your books?
Various ephemera, and any pretty patterned paper that catches my eye. I like to use Mr. French for the meat of my books.

What inspires you?
A visit to the flea market or antique store.

Who is your crafting hero?
Anyone who can successfully support themselves with their etsy shop!

Guilty pleasure?
70's soul music. And chain-smoking in the garage.

submitted by Barbara, of moonbindery

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Blog Interview: LaPaperie

Name: La Paperie & Cozy owned/operated by Beverly Wong-Kleinjan (aka "bookyeti")

Company/Etsy Site: lapaperie.etsy.com

Website: www3.ns.sympatico.ca/lapaperie

Blog: lapaperie.wordpress.com

Location: beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada

How long has your Etsy shop been open? since Nov. 4, 2007

How did you get into crafting? As a child I was always the 'strong silent type' preferring to be alone in my room, and always preoccupied with making things on my own - usually little books with drawings/paintings, and story boards. So this love of creativity has always been with me, and I've nurtured and embellished it over the years. I try to do something creative every day, even if it's only for a few minutes – whether it's working on a book, writing, photography, singing, or painting/drawing. It's what keeps me sane, I think. :)

How did Etsy come into your life? I was doing a search for handmade goods on the net, and voila! I pretty much just stumbled upon it. I'm SO glad I did!

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy? I've done little in the 'crafting world'...I've kept to myself for the most part. I was never involved with any crafting groups/organizations, etc.

Do you have a day job? Yes, I'm a part-time English teacher, a freelance writer, volunteer, and I also write commissioned book reviews for various large publishing companies. I also make handmade soap, but do not sell that online (only locally). Add to that website & graphic/logo design, being a housewife, and singing harmony/backup for a recording studio, and you've got it just about right!

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you? La Paperie & Cozy's presence on Etsy is mainly a one-woman show, with a focus on quality handbound leather journals, sketchbooks and albums. I also offer prints of my original drawings and paintings, and am also thinking about branching out into photography as well. (My three cats would definitely like to 'say' they help me out with the shop, but more often than not, they cause a plethora of distractions!)

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world? If you are looking to start selling your craft as a source of income, it's very important to do your homework. Research everything! And most definitely calculate the cost before starting. A hobby is one thing, but if you are counting on it as a source of income it's important to get all your ducks in a row before starting. It's hard work but can also be very rewarding. Start off small. Test the waters. Don't forget to spread the word – word of mouth is one of the best and cheapest (it's free!) advertisements. Tell others about what you do, because enthusiasm for your product really goes a long way and is contagious. Most importantly: DO WHAT YOU LOVE! And have fun with it!

What's the most challenging part of your crafting? Finding the time (and energy) to squeeze it in, with life and health problems!

Do you show your work locally? Only once, at a small craft show...but I'm hoping to do more as time permits.

Famous last words? Mine? I'm scared to say, that they may actually be my last!

How did you get interested in bookmaking? My love of books started at an early age. After reading The Diary Ann Frank at the age of 10, I started keeping journals, which I've done every year of my life since. I've always believed that "journal writing is a voyage to the interior." I remember collecting and obsessing over journals. And guess what? I still do! In my quest for the 'perfect' journal over the years, I decided to create my own, and share my love of the blank-book with others. That was a little over a year ago. Leather journals have always been my diary of choice, and so I engaged in a self-study of non-adhesive bindings with limp leather covers. I spent about 2 months with my nose between the pages before I mustered up the courage to even try making something. As nervous as I was at the prospect of failure, I knew it was something that I would definitely love to do. Et voila! As soon as I had begun, I was hooked! After a few custom orders from family and friends, and at the suggestion of many, I decided to give my handbound books a wider wing-span, and offer them on my Etsy shop. It has also been a pleasure incorporating my love of books into the mix, offering journals with quotes from various literary greats such as Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Hugo, Poe, Hemingway, etc. Of course, no journal is worth more than the words they store.

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking? Crafting - out of the womb. ;-) Bookbinding - about a year now. I've also sold some artwork over the years.

What is your favorite stitch/technique? a modified longstitch (series of x's on the spine) combined with linkstitch

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without? my bonefolder --- la la love it!

Materials you use for your books? various kinds of leather and papers (recycled when possible), linen thread, bookboard, PVA, linen, buttons, ribbon, leather cord, chiyogami paper (end papers), and of course ink from my printer to print quotes on the intro pages of my journals

What inspires you? Many many things! With my journals I'd have to say it's my favourite classic authors and my great ardor for books in general. I can almost imagine literary greats of centuries past writing in handmade journals like these... Jane Austen writing notes as she walks in the pretty wilderness behind her house, annotating her next great work, Pride & Prejudice. Or a young Charles Dickens reminds himself in his journal to incorporate the comic villainy of Mr. Jingle in his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. Inspired by these literary masterminds, my journals' first pages pay homage to these outstanding writers and some of their best quotes! When it comes to my art, I'm inspired by the simplistic beauty that is in everyday objects and situations.

Who is your crafting hero? My Dad. He can make just about anything out of whatever he has on hand. (We call him the Chinese MacGyver!) He's can also paint like nobody's bid'ness. His Chinese landscapes and scenes are breathtaking.

Guilty pleasure? Kitty talk. Taking time off of work to...bind books. ;) Keeping some of my handmade soaps for myself. Also, hoarding books (a lot of them).

submitted by Barbara, of moonbindery

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Book Swap #3 - Lady Artisan

LadyArtisan, also known as Eva, submitted this Summer Sparkle journal for our book swap. Just a tiny bit difficult to photograph the shiny fabrics on the cover! Eva says this is one of the first cloth-covered, cased-in books that she has done. It has green lamé on the covers and a satiny royal blue fabric with gold medallions along the spine. The look and feel of these fabrics is not fully eveident in these photographs, it is really a glitzy shimmery book.


Visit LadyArtisan.Etsy.com to see more of Eva's work.


See all the books from Book Swap #3.