Monday, July 26, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Storyknit

I very happily received the newest issue of Interweave Knits on Thursday. In it, I came across a short article on Tom Hohmann, owner of Storyknit. I found his story very interesting and decided I would share it here. Because all of Tom's work is custom-made, I only have a couple photographs to show off some headbands that Tom has designed. However, anyone who wants to see more can check out page 14 of Interweave Knits. You will certainly not be disappointed!

What I find most interesting about Tom's work is that he truly tells a story with each piece he creates. He learned to crochet for a school project in the third grade and started knitting many years later at the age of 24. He found knitting kept him busy during long tours with his band. He says that he found music and knitting to go very well together and will carry themes across both art forms.

Tom then took a great leap from knitting to designing his own, very unique and complex, patterns. He sat down to design his first sweater with graph paper and colored pencils. He admits that while the sweater looked great from the outside, it left a little to be desired on the inside with numerous color changes!

What Tom creates is truly personalized to the customer. He is influenced by Native American art, culture, and history. However, Tom will design whatever the customer asks of him. He calls his clothing "wearable artwork." While I consider myself to be a knitter, Tom is truly an artist. He says it averages about 4 weeks to design sweaters for customers. He also creates headbands and hoods, which take a shorter amount of time to design and create.

Below is a photograph of the design process in action. I can assure you that none of my knitting patterns look this intricate!


I need to thank Audrey's Country Crafts, who organizes giveaways for other Etsy shop owners. I was planning to organize a giveaway this summer and was just starting to look through other giveaways to get all the details organized. Then I came across Audrey's post in the forums offering to do all of this for me! So, of course I said yes!

Starting today, you can enter for a chance to win one of my Angel Hair Zig-Zag Scarves. After purchasing several skeins of yarn, I spent the last week and half knitting 8 scarves to have ready. Be sure to visit Audrey's blog to read the full article.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - ZenzPhotography

I was browsing around Etsy earlier today while renewing some of my items and came across this great photograph of a dandelion. Of course, I had to check out the shop, ZenzPhotography, and was instantly impressed with the variety of fine art photography. Tine Eelman is the woman behind ZenzPhotography. She is a professional photographer but new to selling her work on Etsy. She opened her shop exactly one month ago today. Congrats! Tine does have a second shop, Dutch Craft Work, which has been open for over one year. In this spotlight, I focus on the photography shop.

Tine is a native of the Netherlands. In addition to being a photographer, she is also a visual artist and an independent filmmaker. I have to say that all sounds so much more interesting than social worker! What I find really interesting is that Tine worked as an assistant in an agricultural project in Guatemala. She went back to school to pursue this career path but ended up back in photography.

What I find most impressive is how Tine can take an ordinary object, such as a golf ball or the above mentioned dandelion, and turn it into a piece of art through her camera. Tine says that she is inspired by landscapes – not only their beauty but also their exploitation and degradation. Her photographs       “Watch Tower” and “Electricity” certainly depict these elements. She strives to make a documentary of life through her photography. Tine hopes that through this documentary, we, the viewers, are able to see how we stand in relation to the world.

Tine also talks about her interest in different cultures. This stands out in her photography. To capture the 34 photographs in her store, she has traveled to the Caribbean, Asia, Florida, Greece, Mexico, as well as in her native Netherlands.

Tine has participated in exhibitions worldwide. Additionally, her photographs have been used in magazines and books. To say she is accomplished at what she does appears to be an understatement!

Tine is a member of the Etsy Dutch Handmade, Photographers on Etsy, and the Europeanstreetteam on Etsy teams.

Be sure to visit her website for additional information!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Christmas in July sale!!

Instead of writing a spotlight this week, I've been busily preparing my stores for my Christmas in July sale! Enjoy free shipping on all items now through the end of the month. Here are how the shops are set up:

Etsy and Craft is Art: shipping costs will be refunded via paypal or contact me before making a purchase, and I will set up a custom order for you.

Artfire and Zibbet: shipping has been changed to reflect free shipping

Please don't ask me why it varies from shop to shop - each set up page is different, so it's a matter of how many steps it takes to make all the changes! (And how much time I have on August 1 to put my shipping charges back in place!)

Be sure to search "Christmas in July" at all these sights for some other great finds.

For another bit of self-promotion, here are some pictures of my newest scarves:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - My Little Chickadee Creations

In addition to knitting, I also hand stamp birthday and holiday cards. I consider this to be my first craft, as a friend introduced me to the world of stamping a few years before I started knitting. I've come to learn that I much prefer knitting since I have a start and an end to a pattern. Sitting on the floor with all my paper and stamps in front of me can be a little overwhelming! Once I have a design created, the rest of the process is much easier, but I feel I have to be much more creative when I'm stamping. However, I love hand-stamped cards and other goods. Indeed, my wedding invitations were stamped by LamaWorks. Today, I came across My Little Chickadee Creations on ArtFire and immediately fell in love with her stamped tiles.

Ellie, the woman behind My Little Chickadee Creations, started stamping over 10 years ago. Like me, she started first with cards. Unlike me, Ellie started experimenting with stamping on different surfaces. She came across Travertine tiles, and her product line was born! These tiles come in assorted sizes which she uses to make coasters, trivets, magnets, ornaments, worry stones, and more. Ellie offers a large selection of baby announcements and save the date magnets.

As I browsed through Ellie's shop, I found myself wondering just how exactly her creations come to be. Luckily for me, and all of you, Ellie answered that very question recently on her blog. I try to give a quick summary here, but be sure to stop by her blog for all the details.

Ellie uses travertine tiles because they are absorbent and therefore make great coasters. This type of tile holds up well in heat and humidity, so sweaty drinks do not get your table and counter tops wet. Ellie notes that ceramic tiles are sealed and will therefore not absorb moisture.

Since these tiles are so great at absorbing moisture, how is it that the ink/paint from the stamps doesn't come off? I know a little drop of water can ruin a card! The answer is quite simple. Ellie bakes her tiles after stamping and painting them. While I usually only use pictures of items for sale in the shops I feature, I really liked this picture from Ellie's blog of her tiles cooking in her toaster oven. All coasters, tiles, and trivets come with padded feet on the bottom to keep them from scratching surfaces.

Ellie has such a large variety of stamps and uses such great colors on all of her products! If I had come across her store when I was first planning my wedding, I would have had to seriously consider her save the date magnets! Be sure to also visit her Etsy shop and Facebook page.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Max at Play!

Kristen purchased her Cabled Catnip Mat for Max and Izzy! Max was quick to pounce right on in and start playing! Izzy wasn't quite in the mood, but she has checked it out a little bit. Kristen sent me some great pictures of Max at play. He is now modeling the mat in my store. Here are some pictures:

What a cutie!! He usually tears apart his catnip toys, and this one is holding up well to his claws!