Fellow Artisan: carolyndraws (EtsyMIC)

Carolyn Verkuyl will be at Etsy: Made in Canada in booth #102 at the MaRS Atrium in 9 days!

Products: Letterpress stationery, handmade Super Magnets, calendars, art prints and other fun paper goods featuring my illustrations and quirky life observations

Price Range: $5 – $40

How did this all begin?
I am trained as an art director (advertising) and for years used my illustrations to create engaging campaigns for a variety of clients. But I always drew in my spare time too. Making for friends turned into a full time job when I got an antique letterpress and began using my illustrations to brighten cards and other paper goods.

I am a hockey mom, a realist and an illustrator. Put those three together and I find I have all the inspiration I need in the every day. I love coming up with new ideas for cards and magnets and putting marker to paper. Those scribbles in turn become paintings, illustrations and plates for my press. I find there’s no shortage of people out there who love a uniquely Canadian and caffeine-deprived point of view on this life and I enjoy making them smile (and meeting the like-minded online and in person at shows). When I’m not hurdling piles of laundry or hockey equipment, I draw. And draw. I test my ideas on family and friends and the “not bad” ones join the fray in a booth or online soon enough. I print all of my stationery myself, one colour at a time, on my antique letterpress using my own fonts and illustrations and my magnets are all made by hand in Toronto Canada.

www.carolyndraws.comInstagram & Twitter * etsy.com/shop/carolyndraws

What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind Show vendor?
My best advice would be to pack as much enthusiasm as you do product. Go in organized and prepared to learn a lot about your customers, your product and other Makers. Take notes on everything. Also, you cannot have enough lighting or snacks. And comfortable shoes.

I did this blog post about my first time at the OOAK.

Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?
I love the moments just before the Show opens every morning, when the floor is quiet, my booth is set up, my tea is hot and the promise of the day ahead is great. It’s my favourite time. But so is the end of the night, when I can finally get off my feet, tell my husband about all of the people I met and get ready to do it all again the next day 🙂

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: Avantgarde Studio (EtsyMIC)

Elena will be at the Etsy: Made in Canada flagship pop-up market at the MaRS Atrium. It’s going to be a good one, folks. Get yourselves downtown (College & University) on Saturday, September 27 for over 100 Etsy vendors and get your holiday shopping done early, or just treat yourself to something nice, handmade here in Toronto.

Avantgarde Studio

Products: Children’s clothing

Price Range: 

How did this all begin?
It came as a surprise to myself! I had an idea for a little project for my baby girl’s room. It was to make a storage bench with a colorful cushion on top. My husband was to put together the bench and I was looking for a tailor to do the cushion for me. The local tailor told me to buy all the materials and they’ll do it for $100. I thought I’d rather try it by myself. The online tutorials helped a lot and I loved the finished cushion bench. Then I did a dress.

My little Emma inspires me to create the dresses for little girls. Every time I go shopping for her I am overwhelmed with all the pink clothes. Too much princess looking dresses. Too much hello kitty prints. I’m looking for something different, something with a clean look.

Sewing up these little outfits is fun and I can’t wait to see how they fit. There’s one part of the process that I really hate – turning garments inside out through a 1 inch hole!

Find Avantgarde Studio on EtsyFacebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: Tanya Harrison Photography (EtsyMIC)

Tonight’s fellow artisan Tanya will be with over 100 Etsy vendors at the flagship Etsy: Made in Canada pop-up market at the MaRS Discovery District.

(Click on images to go to Etsy listing and view larger image)


Tanya Harrison Photography

Products: Fine art prints and home decor items featuring my film and digital landscape photography

Price Range: $15–400

How did this all begin?
I’ve been interested in photography since I was a child, and became very active with it in my teenage years. Once I started sharing my work online on websites like Flickr, I started getting requests to purchase prints of my photographs, and in 2010 I finally decided to try my hand at the photography business for real. I now sell prints and home decor items online, at art/craft shows, and in a few brick and mortar shops.

In my day job, I am a geologist (technically a planetary scientist—I study the geology of Mars), which gives me the opportunity to travel to beautiful landscapes and bring my camera(s) along with me. It definitely opens doors to places that would be difficult for me to travel to on my own. However, I suffer from a degenerative disease that affects my ability to walk, so I am trying to explore and photograph as many beautiful vistas as I can while I am still physically able to do so.

Check out Tanya’s beautiful photographs on Etsy, her website, Facebook and Instagram

Fellow Artisan: The Vexed Muddler (EtsyMIC)

Peggy and I met through Etsy and Twitter and the Toronto Etsy Street Team long before we met in person. She is the wonderful creative talent behind the custom butterfly necklace I got for my mom in my dad’s memory. It is a cherished gift. She is also the maker of the beautiful buttons that adorn several of my hats. The Vexed Muddler will be selling her awesome work at the upcoming Etsy: Made in Canada market at the MaRS Discovery District on Saturday, September 27 from 10am-4pm.

(Click to view Etsy listings and larger images)


The Vexed Muddler

Artisan Name: I go by Peggy Muddles, but like all superheroes, I also have a secret identity as a semi-mad scientist.

Products: I make ceramic jewellery and buttons with biological themes, all crafted using my own hand-carved stamps.

Price Range: Individual pieces range from $20 to $40 for jewellery. My buttons are typically between $2.50 and $9.00 each.

How did this all begin?
I had been exploring biological themes in functional ceramic pieces for a few years when my mom, a professional quilter, asked me to craft some buttons for a project she was working on. In the process, I made a few necklaces for myself and some friends. Once a few friends and coworkers found out what I was doing, things sort of snowballed 🙂

Two of my great loves are biology and working with my hands. I’m enthralled by the natural world, by evolution, and the many remarkable forms life takes. By day I study the microscopic worlds around and within us, and my art helps me to communicate the joy and wonder of that realm. I also love talking to people about science, and have discovered that in wearing and selling my science-inspired pieces, I have so many excellent opportunities to talk people’s ears off about biology!

Find me on Twitter @tehpet, Tumblr, and of course Etsy. I also have a website which may someday become a blog again at giroofasaurus-vexed.com.

(All images used with permission.)

Fellow Artisan: thunderpeep designs (DEAF, EtsyMIC & OOAK)

Michelle and I met online via Etsy and the Toronto Etsy Street Team, and we met in person last September at the Danforth East Arts Fair, where she was my neighbour. Her cards and stationary are full of fun. Check out thunderpeep designs at the upcoming Danforth East Arts Fair on September 13 & 14 at East Lynn Park, and at the end of the month at the flagship Etsy: Made in Canada (a nation-wide collection of pop-up markets) sale at the MaRS Atrium on September 27 from 10am – 4pm.


thunderpeep designs

Products: I design quirky paper goodies. Everything from greeting cards to notepads to giclée prints.

Price Range: $4.00 up to $45

How did this all begin? 
I’m a Graphic Designer by profession and working on my own pieces was always a way of keeping my sanity. From there it’s the same story you hear so many times, people loved what I made for them and wanted to buy some to give to their friends and then I discovered the amazing world of Etsy and online selling and it opened up so many possibilities.

There are 2 things I truly love in this world (well ok, maybe more than 2 but for the sake of this interview and in regards to my business I’ll stick to these 2) Strange folk tales from far off lands and really dumb jokes. They’re both kind of like magical escapes. I think we could all use a little bit of extra giggles in our lives, so I try to add a bit of that magic into all my pieces. Some just make you laugh, some might make you believe. Usually a new design will spark from either a story I’ve read, about some unusual tradition based on an old folk tale (or it gets added to my overflowing idea book!) or from a silly saying I’ve heard or said – I seriously think in terms of greeting cards these days. It’s not uncommon for me to have a notebook with me anytime I’m with friends so I can jot down all these words and then when I have some quiet time in my nook I’ll play around with the words and add in some designs until it comes to life.
When I’m thinking of new products to add to my line I try to think of things that people need. A lot of my work has a very Nordic/Scandinavian style to it and one of the key components in their design esthetic is functionality. I’ve recently started to add in invitations to my product line, there’s a definite lack of seriously fun invitation sets out there and not everyone can afford pretty custom invites. I wanted people to have something really cool to send out to their friends and family so I’ve been adding blank invites for kids and adults birthdays, summer dinner parties, Thanksgiving and New Years parties (but custom designs are still available of course!)
thunderpeep has evolved recently into more of a surface design company, as I expand beyond just stationery. I’ve always had a love of patterns, from nature to architecture to fashion – I have kind of always seen life in patterns. As i sit down to work on new designs I’m starting to think more and more about where it can be applied.

What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind Show vendor?
I have 3 pieces of advice for OOAK first timers:

Enjoy the process: From the application to the booth setup to the long days. You learn so much about yourself and your business during these times. So many people get overwhelmed and forget to take it all in. It’s such a fun time even in the midst of all the stress leading up to it. Even the application for the show, it’s makes you take a look at your business from the outside in. And take loads of notes during the show. You learn a lot about your customer base and not to mention, how to run a successful creative business from the other vendors who’ve been doing the show for a few years.

Marketing: SO important. Before, during and after. Make sure you have clear and catchy branding (it’s worth the investment) Every single person who steps into your space is a potential customer. Probably not that day, but maybe the next. Or maybe a month down the road. Have a great handout (either business card or postcard with a great photo of your product or catchy graphic) that makes it easy for them to remember you and be able to find you when they are ready to purchase.

Comfy shoes, healthy snacks and helpers: Seems kind of obvious but you’d be surprised how long a 12 hour day truly is when your on your feet most of the time. A couple pairs of comfy insoles inside your shoes does wonders for your feet, back and mental health. Healthy snacks and a place to hide them might seem obvious too, but you don’t always have a lot of time to get out of your booth for a proper meal (unless you have really awesome helpers) and no one wants to shop in your booth if you’ve got a mouth full of food. THat’s just gross. Something easy and tidy to eat. Helpers!!!! You get helper badges. Use them! Even if you can’t afford hired help, take advantage of all your friends coming by to say Hi. Take 10 minutes to run to the bathroom, or just get outside. You may think you can do the whole show yourself, you can’t. You will go kookoo.

Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?
I don’t have just one favourite moment, each one has had it’s moments. Meeting people have bought things from you online, someone saying they got one of my cards from a friend or stories from people who have bought and given. Seeing my customers come back every show to say Hi and see what’s new. ALL the amazing booth buddies I’ve had and become friends with (and their siblings!). Being able to share my experiences with new vendors. These are all great things that I will cherish but really, my favourite moment so far was getting interviewed on Breakfast TV (way too early in the morning) and meeting Frank (I totally have a crush on that guy!) Right out of my comfort zone but I never would have had that experience without OOAK.

You can find thunderpeep designs on blogspot, Etsy, Society6Spoonflower, Facebook, and Instagram.

(All photos used with permission.)

Artisan: Lynn’s Lids

I keep doing fellow artisan features, but I just realized that I haven’t actually done one of these posts for myself. So, just in time for my 3 big September sales (Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale, Danforth East Arts Fair and Etsy Made in Canada at MaRS), here goes:

Lynn's Lids felted wool dryer balls Lynn's Lids felted wool Toronto iPad sleeve Lynn's Lids needle felted wool Santa ornaments

Artisan Name: Lynn Wyminga

Products:  hand knit, waterproof & windproof felted wool hats, tea cosies, iPad sleeves, sheepy wool dryer balls, natural wool catnip balls, Christmas tree toppers and ornaments, either hand knit then felted wool yarn, wet felted wool roving, or needle felted wool roving.

Price Range: $10-100

How did this all begin? 
A few years ago, I picked up knitting again for the first time in 20 years. I made scarves for my kids’ stuffed animals, then scarves for my kids, husband and brother-in-law, but I didn’t need a scarf (my brother had knit me one!) so I browsed through the patterns at my local yarn shop and came across a pattern for a felted wool hat. I am a hat lover, so I figured if I could keep myself in hats (instead of buying them), I’d be set! So I made a bowler and during the felting process, I was kinda hooked. That transformation is a bit thrilling every time it happens. Anyway, I wore the hat out (and promptly made myself another) and friends kept asking me to make them one, and eventually Lynn’s Lids was born. (I had to take nearly 2 years off for treatment of 2 cancers, but when I was strong again in the fall of 2012 I started in earnest.)

I am inspired by many things, but nature is a big one (take the sheep on the dryer balls!) and necessity is another. The dryer balls idea came from the David Suzuki Foundation newsletter since I needed a smaller ticket item to sell at markets. They are a great gift since they are environmentally friendly (reducing dryer time) but even if the recipient isn’t interested in that aspect, they are just so darn cute (I had a non-English speaker order them on Etsy and they didn’t know they were for the dryer until they received them with my note – they had just bought them as fibre art!). I have made a lot of them, and as of yet I haven’t tired of it. I’m making the right product, I guess.

Other new items come from client requests (tea cosy, cat bed, computer sleeve, various hats), my own needs (iPad sleeve, camera cosy), and sometimes just whimsy (catnip balls, ornaments, Frankenstein hat, cyclops hat, devil hat, dragon hat).

The hats are definitely my favourite. I enjoy making every single one, from the knitting, the thrill of felting, and the blocking. (But not the waiting. Never the waiting.) I especially enjoy creating new designs and patterns, as that keeps things fresh and exciting. Not everything works, but mostly they do (a good example is the baker boy cap, below – which I made up a few years ago but took 3 tries to perfect). It feels great when someone tries one of my lids on and it suits them perfectly. I’ve been wearing my second hat (a bucket hat turned out to be the favourite for me and I gave that first bowler to my mom after a couple of years of wear) for 6 years so I know that they don’t really wear out. Because they are felted to a thick dense fabric, they are very durable, keeping out the wind and rain and I know the wearer will be warm and dry for years.

Needle felting is so much fun that I want everyone to give it a go, so I teach it on a regular basis at my local yarn shop.

What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind Show vendor?
Start creating stock early, bring a big bottle for water (it’s dry in there), pack your own food (junk food takes its toll and they are long days!) and ask a friend to come and give you an hour’s break in the middle of each day, if possible (if you can’t afford to hire a booth sitter). Smile and enjoy it. It’s a great time.

Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?
On day 3 (of 5) a woman I recognized from earlier in the show came up to my table (in the Etsy section) and headed straight for the basket of catnip balls, exclaiming to her friend, “I bought one of these on Wednesday and my cats just love it!” and bought 6 more right there!

You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, www.lynnslids.com, Pinterest, my Etsy shop, and here, on the blog. To find me in person, check out my upcoming markets (via Etsy) or my where page.

Lynn's Lids baker boy cap with flower

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.

lyd4 lyd2 lyd1

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.