Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Feature -- Nadene

This week's featured Etsian is Nadene *little dreams becoming string* a long time SF Etsy member who is also known as Even Howard. The exquisite delicacy of her work takes my breath away. My favorite item in her shop is this lovely Tide Pool Bracelet.

Handy with a crochet hook? You can try your hand at making one yourself, with a DIY bracelet kit! Even says, "This kit contains the materials, tools, and full color instructions you will need to create your own version of my signature design, the tide pool crochet bracelet. The only thing you'll need is a pair of scissors."

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?
I'm inspired by daydreams and experience. My aim is translating the natural world into a microcosm of colors and patterns that become a reminder of present moment awareness and appreciation. The things we choose to wear and surround ourselves with can become an expression of identity, including connection with local landscape and personal values. I like to reference history, as crochet is bound to do, but bring it into comfortable modern accessories that are easy to wear and enjoy.

I learned to crochet first from my mother, but I was very challenged by watching her quick movements and have learned most of my advanced techniques from library books. When I was 11, two books I had checked out were chewed by my dog so my family had to purchase them. This was a hardship at the time, but I decided to appreciate them for the gift they were! These became the staples of my crochet library and the fodder for many future ideas. They were from the '70s so I also spent a lot of time observing which ideas were timeless and only needed a color update and which ideas were truly trendy. With the effort involved in handwork as well as a mind towards 'slow living' I strive to create those timeless treasures with only a wink towards the fashion of the moment.

I currently sell bracelets and necklaces as well as a few housewares. I have been a published designer of crochet patterns in the past and I'm now celebrating the joy of the finished product as it travels on to its new owner. It's more immediate gratification and I love knowing my designs are out there being gifted and worn.
2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?
sf etsy, cccoe, and etsy old timers

3. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

Hmmm. I lived in Japan for two years, and because I was in a rural area I was offered the chance to learn many of the traditional crafts. I've always been a 'renaissance woman' and so I jumped to learn to sew and wear kimono, write calligraphy, and learn macrobiotic cooking. My national shuji (calligraphy, also called shodo) school gave me a license to teach in my last few months in Japan, I became the first foreigner to gain this level.

My beautiful and patient kimono sewing teacher took me on without knowing a thing about me and I not knowing any Japanese. But as soon as she saw me sew we had a common language and the rest came over two years of spending afternoons in her sewing space. I learned a lot of small town gossip and traditional protocol from the lovely ladies of the sewing group. I was by far the youngest and it was truly an amazing experience to learn from women who had been in Osaka during world war two and had not interacted with any Americans since. I'll never forget when I had learned enough Japanese I could understand my teachers' story. I listened quietly as she told me of her childhood, the bombs falling, her family life, and how they made-do. On that day, I had asked her if she knew how to make the traditional straw sandals and, at nearly 70, she said I was the first person who had ever asked her. Her own children and grandchildren had no interest. As she showed me how, the memories came out. That group gave so much to me, but I also appreciated being able to give them the gift of taking on their stories and history. I can see their smiles and shining hearts in my mind and it gives me much hope.

Even Howard in Kyoto in kimono she made.
4. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I was an original member of and heard about Etsy through them. I joined right away, now I'm the 'oldest' etsy member other than the CEO. I was living in Japan at the time with no camera so it took me a while to actually open a shop, but I've been following and participating in the community since the 'beginning'.

5. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

I like to be an involved partner in every venture in my life. I care about the future of the Etsy community and probably spend more time than I should evaluating changes, trends, and the direction of Etsy as a whole. On the plus side, I love to help new sellers get set up and make beautiful shops that highlight their creativity. On the minus side, I spend a lot of time in the forums discussing the finer details of the Etsy model and its paths to success.

6. What is your favorite item in your shop? Why is it your favorite?

The handsome tear necklace.

My favorite because it embodies the ideas I'm obsessed with~easy to wear but unique and with a reference to the past. Add in some custom colors depending on the mood and place and that's pretty much my ideal design aesthetic.

7. What crafting skill(s) do you wish you had or hope to learn someday?

I'd love to work in wood. I have a new line in progress right now using gorgeous wood faceted briolettes that I had made by another Etsy seller. I wish I could do this kind of small work, but really I would be so happy to make some awesome furniture.

8. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
I try to keep a good presence going and love it when my customers keep in touch!
fan page:
other etsy shop (patterns):

Note from Jen: I'm delighted to share that Even is offering a special coupon code for readers of the SF Etsy team blog! The code is sfetsyjan7 and is for 15% off any items in shop. Good through next Friday, January 14th.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Even said...

Friday features are one of my favorite parts of this blog--it's always fun to see the story behind the art. thank you for sharing a bit of mine!

nerd JERK said...

Even, your story is breath-taking! I feel like I know you even better than before -- I actually leaned in towards my computer screen when you started talking about the Japanese womens' stories. Simple amazing! Thank you SO much for sharing so much of yourself with us! Can't wait to share this link!

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