Fellow Artisan: Home Thrown Pottery by Esther Schletz

Esther will be at the Elora Handmade Market with home thrown pottery. Come check it out, along with food, live music, and 50+ other makers at the Wellington County Museum & Archives Barn on Sunday, October 23, 10am – 4pm.

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Home Thrown Pottery by Esther Schletz

Products: Pottery

Price Range: $2 – $200

How did this all begin:
I’ve always been artsy/crafty. Trying any creative thing that I could find. Almost 3 years ago my mother in law asked me what I would want for Christmas, and all I could think of was pottery lessons. So that’s what she got me. After the very first lesson I was completely hooked. A year after starting I joined the Guelph Potters Guild, and within a year and a half I had bought my own pottery wheel and 2 kilns and started to set up my own studio in the basement of my house. Now, if you’re trying to find me, that’s the first place to look

What were your goals when you started? Did they change?
I was just looking for that next great hobby that would keep me busy for a few months. I never anticipated it turning into something to share with people outside my family. Now I can’t imagine NOT doing pottery, and my long term goal is to make this my full time career.

What inspires new products?
I am still new enough at this that everything that I come across inspires new ideas. Studying forms in nature has given me some interesting ideas. I’ve recently started incorporating actual leaves, branches, stones, etc into some of my pieces (as texture). I also love looking at what other potters have done, on Pinterest and Instagram, and try to figure out how they got the shape or glaze combinations and then try it out for myself. But as I am still fairly inexperienced in this medium, I would say that the potter’s wheel and I are still learning to dance with each other. Some times the wheel decides what a lump of clay is going to turn into, and sometimes I wrestle it into submission and actually make exactly what I had intended to from the moment I wedged the clay.

What’s the most challenging part of your work?
There are numerous challenges when working with clay. The first is making sure that I wedge (knead) the clay properly so that there are no air pockets. Bubbles in the clay can tear your piece apart at the very moment that you think you are almost done. Another challenge is finding the right glaze combinations. Each glaze reacts differently to other glazes (or even to other clay bodies). Sometimes two glazes will react where they become extremely runny. This can cause the glaze to run onto the kiln shelf and, besides ruining a perfectly good piece of pottery, can also make extra work by needing to break the piece from the kiln shelf and then having to spend hours grinding the shelf to make it usable again. The last major challenge is dealing with the Kiln gods. Each item I make has to be fired twice ( about 18 hours is spent in the electric kiln). The first time is called Bisque firing. This is where you “cook” the clay so it becomes hard and has less of a chance of breaking. Clay has a lot of water in it. And even once it’s dried for a few weeks, and feels dry to the touch, there is still a high risk of things exploding in the kiln if you don’t time temperature increases properly. And on the second firing there is, as I previously mentioned, the chance of glazes melting to the shelves or even to other items next to them.

What do you do when you are not working on your business?
I am a mother of 3 wonderful children, (aged 14 to 22 years old), a loving wife, and as my “day job” I am an Administrative Office Assistant and a Supply Secretary with the school board in our area.

Find Esther’s work on Facebook and Instagram @estherschletz.


All images used with permission.

Fellow Artisan: Handmade by Kate

Kate Shaver will be at the Elora Handmade Market on October 23. Come check out her hoop art 10am – 4pm!

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Handmade by Kate

Products: Embroidered Hoop Art

Price Range: $20 – $80

How did this all begin?
It all started as something to do for fun. I thought I should get a hobby, so I picked a unique one at that. I never stitched a thing in my life before, so I thought it would be a different challenge! Finding all I needed to know on Pinterest helped!
Then, about 1-1/2 years into this hobby, it became what I am today: a ‘mini entrepreneur’ (as I see it!) creating custom hoop art for all sorts of folks; family, friends, strangers 🙂
I love it & hope I can continue doing it for years to come!

What inspires new products?
I’m always getting inspired by fellow embroideries, artists & creators. I try to always change up my designs so I never get to bored with the same old.. Most things that inspire are me are humorous, yet crude slogans! Things that seem relevant to my & other peoples lives & pretty flowers!

What makes your work unique?
Well I think “Hoop Art” is not your average craft, but I think it’s one of those things people just need to have for their homes and unique spaces.. And it has definitely come a long way since my grandma’s or great grandma’s stitched. But like I said I’m always changing up my designs, so that gives me artistic freedom to create & put forth my own inspired ideas and bring them to life. I also add a personal touch with a hand stamped marking on the back of each hoop 🙂

What’s the most challenging part of your work?
The most challenging thing I’d say would be trying to achieve more stitching techniques & going out of my comfort zone. I usually stick to the same colours and making everything symmetrical, but I’ve started to out grow those habits. Now that I’m becoming more & more comfortable with my skills I find it much easier to do so!

What’s the most fun part of your work?
I LOVE DOING HOOP ART. Even with being really busy (still just as a hobby, I do have a full time job!) creating and designing on my spare time, cramping my fingers, hot glueing my finger tips off, and of course pricking them with my needle, at the end of the day, I don’t see it as a chore or burden, I see it as a time to express my creative side! 🙂

Handmade by Kate can be on her website,  Facebook, and Instagram @handmadebykate_.


All photos used with permission.

Next month of shows

With the new move, I ended up backing out of several shows and a couple of applications, and I’m glad I did since I lost about 3 months of production time. However, this has left a little bit of leeway for a few new endeavours, including some very local ones!

Next week, my work will be a part of The Lodge on Amherst Island‘s All Island Art & Craft Show on Saturday, October 8, 2016 (Opening Reception 2pm-5pm. Sales Start at 2:30pm.)
Come enjoy some refreshments and see what your neighbours do when the drapes are drawn! Fine art in the show will remain hanging until November 8, 2016.

Also in October, I will be a part of the Elora Handmade Market on Sunday, October 23 from 10am-4pm, for which vendor fees will benefit the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington.

Elora Handmade Market 2016

It is located in the Heritage Barn at the Wellington Museum & Archives. I have family in Elora and Guelph and look forward to this little show (actually, not that little – more than 50 artisans!) in this gorgeous location (see below) immensely.


HandMade Market in Jordan, OntarioAfter that, I’ll be back in the Niagara region in Jordan, Ontario at the Honsberger Estate with over 90 artisans for my 3rd HandMade Market on November 4, 5, & 6. I do love this market for its lovely location, amazing fellow artisans, great food and drink. Also, seeing shoppers with a delicious glass of local wine in their hands as they shop handmade just seems so civilized.

Studio Georgeville,I will also have some of my work (a small selection of hats, sheepy dryer balls, catnip balls, and a variety of ornaments) in Studio Georgeville in Georgeville, Québec (southwest of Sherbrooke) as a part of their annual Christmas show, starting on November 19, 2016.

I have a couple more shows after that, including being a part of the Christmas Shopping on Amherst Island tour, but they will have to wait for another day when I have a few more details to share.

Happy new year!

Well… I’m down to my last custom order of the season, which isn’t due for a week or two, so things are calming down.  Determined to finish some custom dachshunds (that were ordered a while back, but not for Christmas) in 2014, I finished off these guys last night:

I have been thinking a lot about the past year of Lynn’s Lids, and how amazing it has been. Highlights include:

  • being a vendor for the first time in the Etsy Section at the Spring One of a Kind Show, Cabbagetown Art & Craft Sale, and the first Etsy: Made in Canada flagship sale
  • heading out of the GTA for the first time to Niagara for the Christmas HandMade Market
  • setting Etsy goals and surpassing them
  • managing my family (we homeschool our 2 boys), home, and business while my spouse was away for 4 weeks with a family emergency during November. I had to back out of 1 sale but we fared very well, with help from my friends and family! (If cancer taught me anything, it’s to ask for help when you need it.)
  • expanding my product line to include tea cosies, iPad sleeves, new orb ornaments and a TARDIS or two!
  • having my dryer balls in Style at Home!

In upcoming news, I have a needle felting class in St. Catharines, which should be fun! This came about from the Niagara HandMade Market, at which I worked away needle felting more ornaments (the family emergency meant I didn’t have as much stock as I needed). A woman and her friend and I got to talking about needle felting and so we planned to get 4-6 of her friends together and have a class in her dining room. The class is 2 hours and they will learn to make an owl, with techniques to make any number of 3-dimensional wool sculptures. The students receive a felting foam and 2 general purpose (38 gauge) needles and the wool to make their owl (see below).

If you are in the GTA and interested in hosting your own beginner’s needle felting class, leave a comment or contact me.

The Leslieville Flea

Also in upcoming news, I’ll be at the Leslieville Flea on Sunday, January 18 from 10am-4pm in the Fermenting Cellar in the historic distillery district. I hope to have every style of hat that I make with me, so if you’ve been thinking about getting yourself a nice warm hat, come down the the Leslieville Flea in 2 weeks! A new style that is really an old style that will be available is below – the rolled brim hat. You can thank my mother, who saw a photo of it and asked me why I don’t make it anymore… Who can say no to their mom?

One more thing in upcoming news: I am currently creating an e-commerce site! I get inquiries and emails from my current website, but I’m hoping to get something a little more professional up there that is easy to update (I currently update the site using TextMate and editing the HTML – yes, I was a geek before I was a mom and an artisan). So stay tuned for that… it’s coming very soon!

Regarding the aforementioned expansion of my product line, customised iPad sleeves were the name of the game this year:

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A custom iPad mini sleeve. Love this magenta!

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Finished custom iPad sleeve for the avid camper!

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Among the many things I learned this year is this: There are a million different sizes and shapes of tea pots out there. And it’s a good thing I love math, because it’s coming in handy now with the custom circumferences and heights, etc.

Anyway, off to bed now. May 2015 bring you good health, humour and happiness.

Three more shows & one more class for 2014!

Lynn's Lids will be at #localTOmrkt Dec 13 & 14

So you may have already read about Crafternoon Tea and the Artisan Social in Leslieville next weekend, but I am also in one more sale right downtown at the AdHoc #localTOmrkt pop-up down at Yonge just north of Dundas at 335 Yonge St. They’ve set up a big heated tent in a vacant lot and are hosting a rotating roster of vendors. The Toronto Etsy Street Team is hosting a table, so for the weekend of December 13 & 14, I will be sharing the T.E.S.T. table with the amazing Peggy Muddles and her biology based ceramic jewellery. (This will be dangerous for both of us, who share a mutual admiration of each other’s work.)

Useful links:

All of the Artisan Social profiles on the blog (there are 7!)

A sneak peek of the Artisans Social on Pinterest

All of the T.E.S.T. creators who will be at AdHoc on the various weekends

Also coming up on Tuesday, December 9 at 7pm-9pm, we’ve got another beginner’s needle felting class at The Purple Purl. Come join me and learn to make some ornaments by sculpting wool with a barbed needle! Quick to learn and oddly addictive… We’ll be making a reindeer ornament and more if we have time!


And if you want to keep up to date on what I’m making now, microblogging is where it’s at this deep into the season since it’s so quick, so check out my Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

Upcoming shows & new work

My sincere apologies to the people to whom I spoke at the October Leslieville Flea and assured I would be at the holiday market. Due to a family emergency I am not able to attend. I will be back in January, however, at the historic Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar.

In December, I have 2 back-to-back sales coming up in Leslieville. If you follow the blog then you know about the Artisan Social (check out some of the artisans) on Sunday, December 7 from 1pm-5pm behind the Ceili Cottage (through the red gate) at the Studios of the Gilchrist Canavan School of Irish Dance (1301 Queen St. E.).

Crafternoon Tea in Leslieville

Also, on Saturday, December 6 from 11am-4pm, I’ll be at the 8th annual Crafternoon Tea down the road a bit (947 Queen St. E.) at the Queen Street East Presbyterian Church (SE corner of Queen & Carlaw), benefitting Nellie’s Shelter and Straight to the Streets. This is my first time at Crafternoon Tea and I’m excited to be a part of a great community event!

Also in shows, last weekend I was down in Niagara at the Honsberger Estate at my first HandMade Market which was a thoroughly enjoyable 3 day event!

Right now I’m back to catching up on custom orders, of which there are a few, like this custom (a newly created design) newsboy cap for a bun-wearer in the Canadian Prairies (made to fit over her bun and her ears, with the visor to keep the snow off her face. I’m happy to say it arrived yesterday and she loves it!):

And these fun custom dryer balls which are a gift for a frog lover:

And some more of these adorable little dachshunds:

I also have one more needle felting class at The Purple Purl coming up in December for beginners (the advanced class was last night). While at the HandMade Market some ladies asked if I could teach down there. I am happy to come to you to teach a beginner class if you can rustle up 5 learners (in Toronto, 4 is fine). You will each go home with a finished needle felted ornament of some sort (depending on the time of year and what we collectively decide), along with a felting foam and a felting needle or two (38 gauge), and the skills to create more on your own. If you’re interested in this fun and quick to learn craft, comment or contact me via my website for more information or email me: lynnslids [at] gmail [dot] com.

Fellow Artisan: Mary Mondoux (Artisan Social)

New to the Artisan Social this year is photographer and greeting card artist Mary Mondoux. Come check out her work on December 7 from 1pm to 5pm through the red gate behind the Ceili Cottage!

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Mary Mondoux

I’ve been making photo greeting cards and photographic images on wooden blocks.

On my 8th birthday my parents gave me a Brownie camera. Thus began my love of photography. I surprised myself when I realized that I loved taking photographs that had an almost architectural feel. I just love to walk the streets snapping photos of streetscapes, graffiti and odd shapes.

I’ve been making greeting cards for friends and relatives for the past few years. Quite a number have requested sets of cards for their personal use.

Recently while in a local camera store I noticed that one of the options for printing photos was in a 4×4 format. I did a few as samples and thought they would look lovely on small wooden blocks. I purchased a few as trials and was pleased with the results. I have a new outlet now for my photos.

My mantra is -“Art is everywhere, you just need to stop and look”

I am setting up my own webpage, currently I have a page on facebook highlighting my photography and abstract paintings: Yes It’s Mary.

All images used with permission.