Fellow Artisan: Clayshapes (DEAF14 & OOAK)

Tonight’s featured artisan will be at the Danforth East Arts Fair with me, and she is also a fellow Etsy and One of a Kind Show seller:



Artisan Name: Leslie Fruman

Products: Ceramic plates, platters and bowls

Price Range: $15-$65

How did this all begin?
A few years ago I was taking a break from a very busy career as a television producer, and decided to take a pottery course at the Gardiner museum. I was instantly hooked. Within a couple of months I’d bought a used kiln on Craigslist and cleared part of my basement to use as a studio. I opened an Etsy shop about 6 months later, and now do a selection of craft shows in Toronto, throughout the year.

When I first started making pottery, I was very inspired by organic shapes – I made a lot of pinch pots, and applied decorative techniques to them – carving designs on the side – and using glaze to create interesting patterns. I realized quickly that applying decorative patterns to the surface of the clay was the direction I wanted to pursue. Inspired by nature, I started using real leaves and flowers, impressed into soft clay to create a decorated surface…and most recently, after a trip to India, I’ve started using woodblock textile stamps to create decorative “stories” on my plates and platters. I was very inspired by the vivid colours in India as well – and right now, many of pieces are filled with vibrant color! This will change soon, I’m sure. I usually spend several months exploring a technique, and then something new inspires me, and I move on. That’s why my tables at craft shows are often pretty eclectic. Bits and pieces from various experiments in my studio!

What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind (OOAK) Show vendor?
Two things: use your regular smaller shows to gauge what is popular. Just because you love something you make, doesn’t mean everyone will. I’ve learned a lot doing small shows. Especially this: you never really know when or if “your people” will show up. You need a lot of eyeballs on your wares to make a sale. Be patient, have realistic expectations, and enjoy the ride.

Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?
I did the first etsy section at the spring OOAK show in 2013. Loads of fun. I was making very cheerful flower motif pieces then- and during the long days, I started tracking the looks on peoples faces as the approached my booth. I was very happy to see their faces light up instantly into a smile when the saw my work! Of course, they didn’t necessarily buy anything- but at least I got them to smile and chat. I really enjoyed the interaction.

Most of my work is available in my Etsy shop, and in my OOAK online shop. Although I am creating pieces for both DEAF and the Xmas OOAK show that will be exclusive to those shows. I post works in progress and new listings to my Facebook page regularly, and I sometimes muse about pottery making on Tumblr blog. On Twitter: @clayshapes.

Fellow Artisan: Bijouxbead (Cabbagetown & DEAF14)

Today’s post features Etsy artisan Bijouxbead who will be joining me at the upcoming Danforth East Arts Fair as well as the Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale:

bijouxbead4 bijouxbead3 bijouxbead


Artisan Name:  Darlene Martin

Products: handcrafted artisan jewellery

Price Range: $25 – $750

How did this all begin? By happy accident! After 17 years as a figure skating coach and choreographer, I discovered that designing jewellery is a lot like choreographing a skating program; deciding on a theme, placing the highlights, weaving the supporting steps, and presenting the finished piece. It took less than a year to launch Bijouxbead and about 3 years to make it my full time career. Along with coaching, I also held a senior corporate sales position, which really helped me with the business side of making handcrafted jewellery from the very beginning. Bijouxbead is the perfect marriage of my artistic and business sides.

About: Bijouxbead jewellery focuses one of a kind and limited edition necklaces, bracelets and earrings, featuring handmade lampwork glass, sterling silver and high quality semi precious stones. Bijouxbead is sold at juried arts and crafts shows across the province and online at bijouxbead.com

Bijouxbead will be attending 20 juried arts and craft shows in 2014. For information regarding upcoming shows, visit bijouxbead.com and click on “upcoming markets” for comprehensive event listings.

You can visit Bijouxbead online at: bijouxbead.com, on Facebook and Twitter.


Fellow Artisan: Lisa Young Design (DEAF14 & EtsyMIC)

Fellow Etsy seller Lisa Young Design will be at the Danforth East Arts Fair with me in 4 weeks from tomorrow (September 13 & 14 10am-5pm at East Lynn Park) as well as at Etsy: Made in Canada at MaRS Discovery District on September 27.

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Artisan Name: Lisa Young

Products: a huge variety of one of a kind jewelry pieces, from earrings to necklaces made from materials like beads, glass, natural stones, silver, pearls; hand-crafted mosaic-style belt buckles made many small treasures like pins, charms, and beads; upcycled mitts, hats and scarves made from sweaters that have been rescued from thrift stores.

Price Range: $10 to $150

About: Throughout the course of my life I have always loved making things, and I have directed that love into many different mediums over the years. When my daughter was born 20 years ago I left work in the financial industry and was looking for a creative outlet to occupy me as a new stay-at-home mom. I starting painting as a outlet to express myself and I quickly found that I loved it.

When the gallery I used to show at closed, I slowly phased into other creative outlets and initially began making jewelry out of a variety of materials. I eventually moved into the medium of silver when I discovered Art Clay, which I am now certified to teach at a basic level. I love the “one of a kind” aspect of it, and have embraced the creativity of the medium in many different ways, even combining my older passion of painting by incorporating original miniature watercolour paintings to set in the silver frames I made.

My main focus through this last year has been making accessories out of upcycled clothes and materials found at thrift shops, and giving them new life in the form mitts, scarves and hats. I am always coming up with new ideas and channelling my passion into designing fresh accessories that are fun, unique and fashionable.

By reopening my Etsy shop I have been able to expand my network and meet so many amazing artisans and try out new and different shows. I was used to just doing a school fair here and a home party there, so this summer has been spent working on finding interesting shows to be a part of, and even learning the ins and outs of social media. I am so stoked to be a part of the first Etsy Made in Canada show, as well as my first two day show as a vendor at the upcoming Danforth East Arts Fair.

One of the best feelings in the world is the happy pride I feel when someone else wearing and loving one of my pieces. I love expressing myself through my work and being able to focus on my creative side has been one of the best things in my life.

You can find Lisa Young Design online at lisayoungdesign.com, Etsy, Twitter and on Facebook.



Pinterest board for Cabbagetown Art & Craft Sale

Just a quick note to say that:

a) the cats still love the bed.

b) I’ve made a Pinterest board for the artists with pinnable images (no flash, facebook or pin-blockers) for the Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale and it looks AMAZING. I am going to have to keep my shopping in check. Click on the image to view the whole board:


c) I’ve got some fellow artisan features coming up in the next week or two so stay tuned!

Happy cat!

Just a quick note to post some photos of the happy cat, Jammie Dodgers, when introduced to the new bed (which is pretty good camouflage, I must say). I love happy customers. And I’m so pleased that this was a successful first attempt.

Cat in the new custom Lynn's Lids cat bed
Jammie Dodgers checking out the new bed about 30 seconds after I tossed it on the floor…
Cat relaxing in the new custom Lynn's Lids cat bed
A few minutes later, Jammie Dodgers gets comfortable.

And the client seems pretty happy:

And because I love my client’s work, I managed to pick up a couple of things for myself, including a dragonfly necklace, much like these gorgeous buttons:

Dragonfly buttons by The Vexed Muddler on Etsy
Dragonfly buttons by The Vexed Muddler on Etsy

And a butterfly button (to be sewn to a hat – I’m just not sure if it will be my hat or one that is for sale), much like this lovely necklace (which, incidentally, is currently available on Etsy):

Butterfly necklace from The Vexed Muddler on Etsy
Butterfly necklace from The Vexed Muddler on Etsy

And a late addition to the blog post, the other cat (I didn’t meet the shy one) loves the bed, too!

The making of a cat bed

Recently a fellow Toronto Etsy Street Team artisan asked if I could make a cat bed for her two cats. New challenges keep things interesting, so I accepted.

Based on the diameter (15″) and height (4-6″) I was given  (great usage of 2πR from math of the old school days), I calculated the circumference and, based on my pattern for a basic toque, the number of stitches needed. Something totally new like this, and of this size, is always a bit of a crap shoot, however. 

Here’s a shot of the work in knitting progress:

Once I had finished knitting it, I felted it with some dryer balls (I often form dryer balls and get them set for felting and then wait until I have a hat or something else that needs felting as they help with the agitation). It took well over an hour in the machine (90 minutes, I think) to shrink down to a dense and thick fulled fabric. (Oh, and if you decide to follow the link above to wikipedia’s explanation of fulling, I use soap, not urine. Just in case you were wondering.)

After it was fulled (and yes, it’s about 15″ in diameter!), I rolled it in a towel to get the excess water out, and then it was time to block it. However, I don’t have a designated cat bed block, so I had to find something in my home upon which to block it. It needed to be round, and rather large. I ended up using a big plastic storage container with a thick towel wrapped around it. I’d rather use something that is firm all the way around, but sometimes you’ve got to use whatever is available on hand:

After setting it up on the block, it was time to leave it alone. I know I’ve said it before, but that’s the part I hate. It’s usually 48 hours minimum to dry anything on a block, depending on the season and humidity. Here it is, blocking, bottom up:

Lynn's Lids commissioned cat bed blocking


And today, finally, I pulled it off and had a look to make sure it would stand up and that it looks okay. It worked!

View this post on Instagram

It worked! Custom hand knit & felted cat bed!

A post shared by Lynn W (@lynnslids) on

So I sent the photos to the client, posted a custom listing on Etsy, and it’s to be delivered tomorrow. (That’s the only downside to something as big as a 15″ wide x 4″ high cat bed: shipping could be astronomical, especially in this country.)

There are a few things that I might do differently next time, but all in all I feel good about the finished product, and the client is happy. Now we just need to see if the cats like it, too. Here’s hoping!

Pinterest board for Danforth East Arts Fair

Just a quick note to point you to the newest pinterest board. I’ve got 3 September shows, but only one currently has the artisans listed. I hope to create one for the Cabbagetown Art and Crafts Sale.
Without further ado, here are some works of the artisans you’ll be seeing if you come down to East Lynn Park (Danforth Ave at East Lynn Ave) on September 13 or 14 (10am-5pm) to the Danforth East Arts Fair (click on the image to view full board):

#DEAF14 Pinterest Board by Lynn's Lids