Greetings! I'm happy to announce that after a bit of a hiatus we will be doing our best to revitalize the SFEtsy team blog. First up for your consideration is a cross-post from the Friday Features at Mama's Magic Studio.
This week's featured Etsy artist is SFEtsy team member Eristotle - Intelligent Home Accessories. I love her whole shop, especially these charming little pincushions!
Isn't it adorable? And her description is almost as good: "Sweet cupcake pin cushion in heart-shaped silicone baking cup. Thrifted paisley print in greens, white, gold and pink stuffed with new poly fiber. White button "cherry" on top came from my great aunt's variety shop and has two tiny hearts on it as well. I think that's my favorite part. So cute, you almost want to eat it! Though you probably shouldn't, it wouldn't taste very good."
Her Tiny Pockets are wonderful, too. I especially like this turquoise one:
Enjoy the interview!
1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?
All items in my shop are handmade by me - mostly sewn - using vintage, upcycled, thrifted or eco-friendly materials whenever possible. When you look in my shop you might notice a mixture of things. I have been exploring different ways to express my creativity while also making sure to keep my wares enticing. Lately I've been making lots of fun and funky pillows using slightly unexpected materials. I love the juxtaposition of different fabrics together in one design, such as burlap combined with calico.
My newest pillows are made from vintage feed sack fabrics or thrifted fabrics, with a silhouette applique on the front. Silhouettes are hand-cut from felted wool sweaters found at thrift shops. The soft bird cut-outs are then machine appliqued for sturdiness.
I started sewing when I was pretty young, 6 or 7 maybe. My grandma taught me on her sewing machine, which is the one I now use in my own studio. I remember when I first learned, I couldn't sew round shapes. Straight lines only. My grandma tells me a story that I was making a monogrammed tea towel for my dad (whose name is Tim) for Father's Day, and apparently I told her, "Good thing his name isn't Jim!!"
My creative process is a pretty organic thing, I think. A lot of times, I'll be somewhere completely random and I see something I like. I usually sketch it out in my idea notebook, and then it morphs and changes a few times as its made. Meandering around on the internet ends up inspiring ideas as well. So far, I feel like I have WAY more ideas than time, so really the process of making the newest thing in my head is just a matter of thumbing through my idea book.
2. How did you get involved with Etsy?
A friend of mine told me about it a few years ago and the addiction has slowly grown from there. :) I lost my job as a CAD tech and Designer at an Interiors and Architectural firm in February, so after a few months of wondering where to go next, and looking for a new job unsuccessfully, I decided Etsy was my next big adventure.
3. What inspires your creations?
Nature, and my love of color and texture. These translate into a borderline addiction to fabrics and linens. Oh, I could play with fabric all day. I'm also inspired by old fashioned ways of doing things. The 50's 60's and 70's are really big right now, so looking at Vogue and midcentury furniture and collections books is great material for designs.
4. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
Time management. Hands down. And that is my biggest challenge in LIFE, so it stands to reason it would translate to my business. Its a learning process, and I just try to be forgiving with myself, and try again the next day.
5. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
I love the pair of Midnight Dreary Raven pillows. Mostly because I have a recent facination with ravens. I see crows all the time, but I was never sure of the difference between a raven and a crow. I could have looked it up, I suppose, but it was just a passing interest. Then, the other day, I was sitting in my kitchen, and I hear this funny clicking noise. I slowly peeked out the back sliding glass door, and there in the big pine tree in my backyard were these two HUGE Ravens, sitting in the tree, picking pine cones clean. They don't look like crows, they're bigger and kind of scruffier, with these huge gothic-looking beaks. They've just got this cool, stoic, intelligent presence that was so cool to get to witness.
6. What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
Its been interesting to go from just a buyer to being a seller. I've learned so much as a seller that has made me a better buyer. I've also become a much more *frequent* Etsy buyer - which is probably just a product of my being on the site so much.
1. Communication communication communication! I'd say 99.9% of all the sellers I've come across so far have been SO nice and so accomodating. They are the small guy, just trying to get their little piece to pay the bills, and really just want to know what you, their buyer, want, need or think.
2. Before you buy, read the seller's Shop Policies! Every shop's are a little different, and it makes the process go much smoother if you're on the same page as the seller.
3. Then after your purchase, if you enjoy your experience with the Buyer, when you are done, leave them feedback. As a seller, it's so nice to know your buyer thought you did a good job.
Seller: I'm not sure I can add much to this that hasn't already been said. Be as responsive to convos and communications as possible, send friendly notes to your fellow sellers whom you admire, and try to have fun out there!
7. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.
-My favorite type of ice cream varies with my mood; sometimes its rainbow sherbet, and sometimes I just need that uber chunky chocolate gooey yummy-ness of "Phish Phood."
-I've started playing disc golfing with my boyfriend. The way we play, its nothing like golf. It's more like a walking frisbee park toss, with beer.
- I LOVE embroidered antique linens, and love to shop for them, the more whimsical the better. I got to the Alameda Antique show and I'm like a kid in a candy store. So many boxes to rummage through, so little time!!
- I'm on the Handmade Ho-Down craft fair committee in coordination with my street team, SF Bay Area Etsy. We just recieved a grant from Etsy, so are officially being sponsored in part by them. It's going to be a 21+ event, held at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco, on December 3, 2009 from 6pm - 12am.
(Note from Jen: I'd really hoped to be a vendor with Mama's Magic Studio at this event, but I'd turn into more than just a pumpkin if I had to be out past midnight on a Thursday night only to get up at 6 am with the kids next day! For more info about this awesome event, check out their website:
8. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
You can find me on Twitter:
9. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your shop or your work?
My shop name is from the very first "handle" I had when people first started going on the internet, mainstream. This was when people still called it a "handle" because there were lots of people doing BBS. I had an AOL dial-up account, and I fancied myself a philosopher of sorts (mind you, I was like 17, ha.). While I have a great respect for Philosophy, it was never my major or anythiing of that nature. At the time, I mostly just liked his name and what it may have respresented. People were always trying to spell my name with an "A" - the boy way! So I'd have to say, "Erin with an E". So I came up with Eristotle, with an E. I'm still kind of proud of it to this day, so I thought a shop with the same name would be fun.