Friday, 6 February 2009

Blog Interview: The Guilded Quill

Ammie Hague (known to some faeries as Apple Leigh)

Company/Etsy Site:
The Gilded Quill /


Apple, on

Shoreline, WA

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
April 6, 2008

How did you get into crafting?
It has been an evolution of skills throughout my life but I prefer being able to see the fruits of my labor as opposed to shuffling virtual paper.

How did Etsy come into your life?
Deadlocks for my hair, of course! I was vending at Faerieworlds, searching for some fairy hair to complete my costume and found the etsy seller cleowolfus, poked my nose around etsy a bit and voila!

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
I've had my business for a few years now and just added etsy this last year. My main audience until etsy was the convention and faire circuit as well as my own website.

Do you have a day job?
I did have a day job working at WaMu. With the JPMorgan Chase buyout, I've been either a victim or a fortunate to be laid off, depending on perspective. Strangely, this is the second time it has happened to me under almost exactly the same circumstances (just two different companies), so I am choosing to take the cosmic clue-by-four!

Tell us about your shop:
Does anyone help you? I have one partner who does the actual wood turning for the magic wands (who shall remain un-named by request) and another named Kat Hardy who is the sculptor for the fantasy wands in several of my Spellbook sets.
We often discuss ideas, themes and designs, etc. but outside of the wand shop, everything else about my shop is put together by myself. I do all of the customer interface, graphic design, bookbinding, quill making, etc.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
This could be an expansive list so I'll try to keep it short.
1) Get a Banner. Shops look bare and half-hearted without it.
2) Be Verbose and Tidy. Customers like to learn about what they're buying, describe! Also, don't forget to do so using proper grammar and spelling, it is so unprofessional to use 'text-write'. As the saying goes: "If you say "plz" because it's shorter than "please", I'll say "no" because it's shorter than "yes".
3) Sign your emails and messages! There is nothing so frustrating as trying to speak to a vendor via email and not knowing who to address.
4) Strike a Pose and Vogue! Pictures are very important since your customers cannot touch the product, try to use as many of the slots as possible, rotate your product around for them

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
I once read a quote: "We don't pay artists for their craft, we pay them for their ideas."
Indeed, ideas are the most difficult aspect of crafting for me – I could have all the knowledge and talent in the world but if I cannot imagine what to do with it, I'm dead in the water.

Do you show your work locally?
I travel and vend at conventions and faires such as Norwescon, Radcon, Orycon, Faerieworlds, Spring Fairy Festival, etc. I also have some of my work in various shops.

Famous last words?
“Impossible is nothing."

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
One night, while my roommate was cooking toxic materials in the oven in order to create a statue of Cthulhu, I was bored and wanted to make something also. So I found the only book in my collection that I could bear to destroy (it was on the Clinton Administration and I wasn't even sure that it was originally mine!), and set about tearing it apart, studying the binding, and then trying to recreate it by making a book. It snowballed from there.

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
I have been making books since I was a very little girl, though at the time I couldn't have ever predicted it would become this! It all started with the Fattie Books, which were little stories that I drew and wrote on notebook paper, then glued and stapled together. I had a whole series. Then in 7th grade, I made a ribbon bound book on the daily life of the Aztecs for a report project…I guess I just never quite got over it!

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
My personal preference is a fully enclosed spine with a codex binding.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
"A" is for Ammie who can't live without an Awl.

Materials you use for your books?
Since I do not make books in a cookie-cutter technique or fashion, the materials I have been known from books is extensive. Some of the more interesting ingredients have been: animal skulls, spring water from the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu, antique broaches, photo of Esmerelda's room at Notre Dame , hourglass, teabags, wire screen, medical scissors.

What inspires you?
I love knowledge and word-smithing. The prospect of creating the tomes which will transform ephemeral thought into tangible ideas on a page is fantastic!

Who is your crafting hero?
I would do an injustice to everyone else who ever inspired me, taught me or otherwise supported and assisted me if I named only one person.

Guilty pleasure?
I think of it as "Sunday" (even if it isn't), most would call it whiling away the time of day. There's nothing I love more than spending a whole lovely day, daydreaming, reading, drinking a tasty beverage, and following my whims!

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