Friday, 29 May 2009

Blog Interview: Olive Art


Name:
Kristi Oliver "Olive"

Company:
Olive Art

Website:
Massachusetts

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
11 months

How did you get into crafting?
For as long as I can remember I have always loved to make things. I was always excited to learn a new technique or sew up something unique! I went through a phase of making friendship bracelets for everyone I knew, and I also went onto creating OOAK teddy bears and finally settled on art classes. I went on to get a BFA in Art Education and Painting, and an MFA in Art Education and Printmaking.

How did Etsy come into your life?
I am on the steering committee for a great program called Art All-State, http://www.worcesterart.org/Education/allstate.html and some of the artists we were interviewing to work with our students used Etsy to sell their work-- I was instantly hooked!

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
I was a buyer! I loved attending craft shows and art fairs, but never took the plunge to participate in fear of not having enough work to fill up the booth! With Etsy, you can sell a few items or a lot-- it was perfect to get me started.

Do you have a day job?
Yes! I teach high school art classes, mostly photography, AP Studio Art and Portfolio.

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
My shop is run by me, in all of my spare time :) I don't have any help, just a lot of great friends and family that are very supportive.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Make art as much as you can. Spend some time setting up your shop, and reading the Newbie Guide for Sellers- it really does help. Spread out your listings if possible, and list as often as you can.

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
Finding the time.

Do you show your work locally?
Yes, I have participated in Heirloom Artisan Expos http://www.heirloomartistanexpos.com

Famous last words?
Make it work.

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
I took a course at a local high school with some very talented teachers! Their enthusiasm for the entire process was infectious!

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
I have been crafting for as long as I can remember, but started bookmaking in 2002.

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I enjoy coptic stitching, but have begun exploring other exposed spine techniques. I also have been making books that have covers that fold over and fasten with sticks, so that has become my new favorite type of book to make.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
Curved Needle

Materials you use for your books?
I use Davey Acid-Free Binders Board, PVA, Drawing Paper, Waxed Linen Thread, and I try to make one of a kind paste papers to cover my books with whenever possible. I also love using maps and other recycled papers.

What inspires you?
Everything. I am always getting ideas as I go through the day.

Guilty pleasure?
Reality TV.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Journal Keeping: Inspiration, Hannah Hinchman

In last week's interview with yours truly, I mentioned that one of my inspirations and crafting heros was journal keeper Hannah Hinchman. I decided today that I should share some of her books so I can spread the goodness around.

I have two of her books, A Trail Through Leaves, The Journal as a Path to Place and also A Life in Hand, Creating the Illuminated Journal (out of print, but I found a used copy). These books are inspiring enough just for the pictures, but are also good reads for the journal keeping ideas.

While I don't think my skills come close to hers in her nature illustrations and gorgeous watercolors, I try not to let that stop me. I use a lot of the tips and ideas I've picked up from her books. Here are five of my faves:

1. Pay attention to your handwriting. While it's great to have fast writing in your regular handwriting, sometimes paying attention to your lettering can give your journals a slower and more concentrated pace. (Her hand lettering is truly gorgeous!)

2. Paint the skies, and how they change. Stay in one place and do quick little paintings of how the sky changes.

3. Make little maps of your own personal spaces, and your plans for them or how they change over time. Perfect if you have a garden journal.

4. "The Power of the Ordinary." By simply describing a seemingly ordinary event, you can give life to it in a new way. This is perfect to do in the winter to help a bad case of cabin fever.

5. "Start with a smell." What we see, or activities going on are often jumping off points for a journal entry, but how about starting with a smell. What do you smell, where is that smell originating from, what does that smell conjure for you?

I highly recommend picking up one of her books, or checking them out of your local library. They're stunning and as the weather gets warmer, it'll give you lots of ideas for getting outside and keeping a journal.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Blog Interview: Kristin Crane

Name:
Kristin Crane

Company/Etsy Site:
kristincrane.etsy.com

Website:
www.flickr.com/photos/kristincrane

Blog:
http://kristincrane.blogspot.com/

Location:
Providence, RI
The recently self-proclaimed “Creative Capital.”

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
My Etsy shop launched July 5, 2007.

How did you get into crafting?
I can’t even remember, I feel like I’ve always been crafting! I remember making all kinds of things when I was younger. Looking back though, I think I was always drawn toward fiber related crafts. I later went to college to be a textile designer. I guess I can trace it all back to my “Knit Magic” and Fisher Price loom.



How did Etsy come into your life?
A friend I worked with opened a shop when Etsy was very new and was always raving about it. (heatherjeany.etsy.com) From the moment I heard about it, I thought it was awesome and eventually started buying on Etsy. I figured I’d give selling a shot, basically because Etsy made it so easy.

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
Aside from just making stuff for myself, I didn’t have much involvement in the craft world. I remember thinking “I’m crafty, but not artsy.” I loved watching this Handmade Revolution start and I’m excited to have become a part of it.

Do you have a day job?
I have a day job working for a small graphic design studio.

Tell us about your shop: Does anyone help you?
I make mostly travel journals and have recently started making photo albums too. I do it all by myself in my small apartment in Providence. No one helps me beyond giving me lots of moral support, enthusiasm and keeping me well fed.

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
Make what you love; someone else out there will love it too! Take really good photographs, be as descriptive as possible and get involved with other local crafters. Plus, buy handmade. I’m a strong believer that if you want people to support what you’re making and doing, make it a habit of supporting other people trying to do the same thing.

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
Aside from periodically stabbing myself with a needle and trying not to bleed on the white paper I’m binding together, I’d say it’s finding the time to design new product. I find it more of a challenge to find the quiet time to devote to coming up with new products and working out new ideas then in actually binding.

Do you show your work locally?
I sell my books at Craftland in Providence every December. I’m hoping to get more involved this year in my local art scene and expanding where I sell my work.

Famous last words?
“Oh, I’ll never forget that.”
Yes you will! That’s why you need a journal!

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
I’m a bit of a bibliophile, so when I had a one-day bookmaking workshop back in college, I immediately took to it. I loved that it was also made of fiber, involved sewing and had a deep history; a lot of the same things I love about textiles. I didn’t do much bookbinding though for years afterward. Around 2005 I took a bookbinding class at RISD and have been doing it ever since.

How long have you been crafting? Bookmaking?
I’d say I’ve been pretty consistently making books since around early 2006. Once I opened my Etsy shop, it really picked up speed.


What is your favorite stitch/technique?
I do mostly Coptic journals. I love how flat they lie when open. I love any books with a gorgeous exposed spine.

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
It would be a toss up between a nice sharp exact-o blade and my curved needle.

Materials you use for your books?
I do mostly travel journals, so I use a lot of maps for my covers. I buy a lot of old atlases in used bookstores and sometimes go to my local map store if I have a custom order for a specific place. I get a lot of custom orders from people going some place who want a special journal just for that trip. I love thinking that even if I’m not going to South Africa, or New Zealand or Hawaii ¬– at least my journal gets to go.

What inspires you?
Traveling is one of the most inspiring things for me. I think it’s the feeling of everything around me being new and unfamiliar that lets my brain get out of its comfort zone. I also love books (big surprise, I know) and am constantly flipping through books when I need a spark. Also, my textile background gives me a special appreciation for repeating patterns, texture and structure. I can get inspired just walking through a store with gorgeous papers or yarns.

Who is your crafting hero?
I love the journals of Hannah Hinchman. They’re just unbelievably gorgeous. I think I’d give the hero label though to anyone out there who is making what they love and is able to make a happy life while doing it.

Guilty pleasure?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Man vs. Wild

Monday, 11 May 2009

Journal Keeping: Sometimes it's OK to share.

Last May I went to Montreal with 5 other close friends, and of course, brought a journal. I was the only one who brought one, but was excited to see that other people enjoyed writing in it too. I'm not always good at sharing, but in this case I was happy to.

On the final night, as we were all enjoying a final bottle of wine together (after a ridiculously delicious dinner here), we ended up passing the journal around the table, all answering the same question posed to us about the trip. Not only were the questions a great way to think back over the trip and try to capture a special detail, but now I enjoy reading back over my traveling companion's answers and seeing what had stood out for them.

The questions we answered:
What will I remember about Montreal?
If Montreal were a sound, what would be it?
If Montreal were a color?
You're leaving Montreal in 15 minutes, what would you rush to do again?

Some other great ones would be:
What flavor do you remember most?
What does this place smell like?
What is the pace?
What strikes you most about the people?
What did you see that you would never see at home?

It was fun (and not as dorky as I'm fearing it might sound) and would also be fun to do alone to prompt your memory and pull out some of those details.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Journal your Personal History

Soon after my mother and father married in 1945, they left for a tour of duty in England. My mother had a hard time adjusting to life overseas and missed her mother and brothers. The old manor house they rented was cold and drafty. She craved the sunshine and warmth of Alabama, where she had spent her entire life to this point. The rationing of sugar was a challenge for a mother of two little girls who wanted their bread pudding sweet! Two years there broadened her in ways that would never have been possible had she lived her whole life in the deep south, and she made many good friends with whom she stayed in touch her entire life.

Even though I was born over a decade after my parents returned to the US, I know all the England stories because my mother faithfully recorded her life in a series of many journals and letters spread over more than forty years. She passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2000, and we now cherish a drawer full of daily journals that chronicle important milestones, as well as the small comings and goings, of the precious but ordinary life of a woman that we love.


Will the next generation remember your stories? May is Personal History Month and the perfect time to start journaling your memories for those who come after. Here are some tips to get you started:
  • Write in the first person, but try not to use the word "I" in every sentence.
  • Record your early memories as you recall them. Don’t worry about getting every detail right.
  • While you definitely need to include the big events of your life, such as college graduation, marriage and the births of your children, be sure to include small personal stories and events that give flavor to your everyday life.
  • Include as many details of places you lived and people that were important to you as possible.
  • Let your readers hear your voice! Don't try to write like someone else.
  • Look at old photos and talk to siblings and long-time friends to jog your memory.

Personal memoirs are not only for the likes of Winston Churchill and Ulysses S. Grant. Make journaling your personal history a regular part of your life.

by Cindy Leaders, UsefulBooks

Monday, 4 May 2009

Filling all these blank books

I'm back to blogging after my week off. I had a great trip out west to Colorado and New Mexico, then came home and moved the next day. I've finally emptied enough boxes to justify doing things like blogging, not mention binding books.

Since the journal I brought with me is buried somewhere, I've decided to devote this week's posting to something I am trying to do more of these days and that's collage. On some trips in the past I've done little collages while traveling using ephemera I pick up along the way. The key tool needed is a glue stick, but also handy is a small pair of scissors. Sometimes I've used things like a brochure from an exhibit I've really liked, or just random things that feel like that particular place. (Sugar packets, stamps, used metrocards, even money.)

Whenever I see a book by Nick Bantock I wish I would collage more. (This is one of my faves.) Check him out for limitless inspiration. Have some great photos of collages you've done with ephemera you've gathered? I'd love to see, just share the link in the comments section.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

An Abecedarian of BEST members: J

Introducing the “J” group of BEST. This juxtapositional post will introduce the group of 7 juicy “J” shops for you to judge joyfully.

Janette of janettemaher restores and repairs antique books and creates new journals for writers. Her Birding Indigo Blue Nature Journal is just perfect for bird and nature lovers:



Ali of jellygnite enjoys collecting and salvaging abandoned, old materials and transforming them, giving them a new and different life. Take a jaunt to her shop and check out Gregor on this Sauve 70’s Mini Notebook:



Jennifer of jengs shop describes her shop as a small paper goods design studio based in New York with a focus on simple + fun creations. She has a constant need for a prettier notebook, but I don’t think you could find one prettier than this Green Washed Lilies blank notebook:



Jenny at jennysbooks has an interesting and informative page on her website describing her bookmaking process. This Blue on Blue Leaves coptic journal is a lovely example of her handprinted papers which she uses for her covers:



Julie of julieboyles has combined her painting and bookbinding skills in this Linen Fabric Journal with Handpainted Feature:



Yvonne of juniperjournals has lovely fabric covers for her journals. I love the mix of the silver stars with the Hawaiian print on this Hawaii Denim Fabric Stars Journal:



Jason of jwaggone has a series called E1 journals. The E stands for environment-easy, economical, using paper that is not only 100% recycled but also: processed chlorine free, "made carbon neutral", and both FSC and Green Seal Certified.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Blog Interview: Notubok

Name:
meredeth (or yatsu)

Company/Etsy Site:
notuboc
(pronounce NOGHT-uu-bahk)

Website:
www.notuboc.com

Blog:
also at www.notuboc.com
(on the left hand side of the page)

Location:
the land of feeding off of others. ... otherwise known as columbus ohio.

How long has your Etsy shop been open?
two... and half years... zomg really???

How did you get into crafting?
we've always been crafty at my house. my mother's a seamstress, my dad writes fiction and music, my sister is a jeweler, and my brother is a sketch artist. i've always been creative; when i was little, i cut off my hair to make texture for a picture i was drawing. because why bother with the yellow crayon when you have blonde hair ready made? (^_^)



How did Etsy come into your life?
my sister (yoboseiyo.etsy.com) actually recommended it to me. i have no earthly clue how she found it, but she was instant-addicted, as was i, not too long after.

What was your involvement in the crafting world before stumbling upon Etsy?
not that much. i made things for friends, but nothing on the Big Internet Community of Craftiness.

Do you have a day job?
sadly, yes. i take calls from doctor's offices and hospitals and patients and TPAs about whether your medical procedure is "medically necessary."

Tell us about your shop:
Does anyone help you? nope, it's just little ol' me here. i have yobo to bounce ideas off of, and my clone-- uh, i mean, my other sister (dana-chan, aged 13 going on 32) to help me out occasionally, but it's just me for the most part. i make the books, i ships `em, and i answers all the emails. (^_^)

What advice would you give to newbies on Etsy or in the crafting world?
STAY ORGANIZED! wow, i cannot emphasize this enough. i am really desperate to get myself organized, but every time i start, I look at all the work it would take just to set up, and i think, jeez why didn't i do this right from the beginning. spreadsheets, inventory lists, all that good gravy, get it from the start. you'll thank yourself later!

What's the most challenging part of your crafting?
well, in light of my last answer, i might say organization, but i think the two things i'm actually super bad at are a) consistent listing (super important if you want to stay noticed on the etsy site) and b) advertising. I actually do zero advertising of any kind. eventually, every conversation i have ends up being about books (coz i'm NERdy like that) but it's pretty much just word of mouth that keeps my shop going. i feel like i could be uber successful, if only i could get up off my butt and advertise for once in my life. (^^;)

Do you show your work locally?
i did in 2007, but frankly most of the shows around here are geared for a completely other demographic, so i haven't been back.

Famous last words?
i haven't got any... maybe i should make some up?

How did you get interested in bookmaking?
i'm a writer at heart, and i was buying so many of those blank books from the bookstore, that I just decided, what the heck am i doing? shouldn't i be making my own? well yes, yes i should have. so i did. (^_^)

How long have you been crafting?
Bookmaking? bookbinding only about four years, but crafting for much much longer. we'll pretty much try anything at my house. cross stitch, soldering, even building computers is not too daring for us. (^_^)

What is your favorite stitch/technique?
well i end up doing a lot of longstitch things, but i like making hardcover books. i like spines. (^_^)

What is the one tool or supply that you couldn't live without?
my bonefolder! seriously, i've had that thing for four or five years, and i loff it. it's actual bone, none of this plastic crap you whippersnappers have these days. (^^;) i also have one made from water buffalo horn.

Materials you use for your books?
paper. paper, paper and more paper. oh wait, also paper. (^_^) i use a lot of paper, for both the insides and the outsides of my books. occassionally, i'll bust out with some leather or some vinyl or something for my covers, but i find that paper works best. i think the people at my local scrapbooking store know me on sight now... (^^;)

What inspires you?
firstly, i'm fascinated by paper. also, with paper. i love the scratching sound pens make on it, i love how sturdy it is (even in its weakest forms), i love the way a blank page looks, actually i love the way a filled page looks, too... i really love everything about paper. this led naturally to a love of books. i love the way both functional AND artistic, i love the way the paper in new books is so crisp and clean, i love the way the paper in old books is all crinkly and fragile, what i do love is a well-constructed endpaper. if you think about it, the endpaper is the only thing holding that bookblock in on some of those books, and yet, the book only falls apart after SEVERE use. i mean, wow. that's some serious construction efficiency. i'd like books to be as common as ipods. i'd like people to think of them as a commodity, something to be used every day, something to be kept on you at all times, so that you can write down your good thoughts, your lists, your whatevers. books should be carried around right next to phones and mp3 players. they don't require charging, they're always accessible, and they don't require data backups. viva the analogue revolution!

Who is your crafting hero?
... i don't really have one.

Guilty pleasure?
... i don't really believe in "guilty" pleasures. I think as long as it's not destructive, any pleasure is just as valid as any other.