Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feature - Illustrated ink

Name: Leila Hijazi
Shop Name: Illustrated Ink
Brief Product Description: Painted wood pieces, plaster sculptures, paper goods, and prints.

What is unique about your product? People seem to find my colorful combination of folk art and tattoo design unique.

How did you get started? I've always created art, but 3 years ago, I decided to dedicate myself to it full-time. With the development of more venues for artists to sell their creations on-line, I felt it was the right time to be true to myself and give my art a chance. I quit my day job and became completely focused on getting my business off the ground. I haven't looked back since!

Where do you get your inspiration?
My work is inspired by old school tattoo design, "Day of the Dead", Catholic icons, and folk art.

What excites you most about your work/shop? I love getting up in the morning, knowing my day will be filled with painting. I get very excited when I get a new idea for something I'd like to create, and I can't wait to list it in my Etsy shop.

Describe your workspace/workroom.
My studio walls are a deep red, and have shelves from the floor to the ceiling (my awesome boyfriend and his Dad built them for me). The shelves are filled with my found objects, vintage treasures, plaster pieces I've cast, supplies, and occasionally a napping cat. I also have a computer desk, printers, a table for shipping and supplies, and a large painting space. My favorite spot in my studio, is my "Catholic Corner", it's filled with Catholic statues and prints. Most of the pieces are vintage. I also have a rosary and prayer card collection. This area in my studio is always inspiring to me.

Which do you prefer: online sales/marketing or face-to-face sales/marketing? Why? I definitely prefer on-line sales. I'm not shy, until it comes to selling my art in person. People that visit my booth are always complimentary and kind. It definitely makes me feel great to see people enjoying my work, but It's been a struggle for me to be comfortable talking about myself and my art. I've met so many great people on-line and in person, and I love that part of the business.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? I'd like for Illustrated Ink to continue to grow, and to still be enjoying selling my work on Etsy and at select shows. Hopefully, having more time for myself that isn't so business consumed.

What do you feel is the most important skill you use in your business every day? Organization! You have got to juggle e-mails, keeping your on-line store updated, shipping, creating new pieces, preparing for shows, ordering supplies, and keeping track of your financial numbers. Meanwhile, you still have to fit in your life and time for those that are most important to you. You definitely need to be organized, or things will start slipping through the cracks.

What do you like about EtsyAustin? I love that EtsyAustin is local and involved in getting art out to the community! I love my city, and I am thrilled to be part of a homegrown team.

What do you think makes EtsyAustin Street Team unique? I think the regular meetings are unique and an important part of any team. I'm looking forward to meeting the other artists and getting to know them.

Describe something about yourself that may be a surprise to people on the team. Before I became a full-time artist, I was a personal trainer specializing in boxing. I still have a few clients that come to my house weekly and I train them in punching technique and on the heavy bag. It's a great workout and good stress relief! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seeking Volunteers!

Hey Everyone,

If you haven't heard about The Lone Star Ladies Present: Shop Austin, it's an annual Charity Arts & Crafts Show that features 40+ of Austin's finest artisans, a complimentary Beauty Lounge, and acts as a fundraiser for the Frontier Arts Scholarships.

We need volunteers to work 2.5 or 3 hours shifts on Saturday, April 17th. The details of the assignments will be worked out over email, so please email me directly at info [at] thelonestarladies.com.

Volunteers will receive a complimentary event t-shirt and entry to the event, which has a $10.00 entry fee. Hope to see you there!

The Lone Star Ladies Present: Shop Austin
Frontier Scholarship

xo, Anne Marie Beard

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

53rd Zilker Garden Festival

I am so excited about this weekend! It's the 53rd Zilker Garden Festival and the weather forecast is beautiful. It should be 80 on Saturday and 72 on Sunday. You cannot ask for better weather for hanging out at an art and garden show.

This event is unique in that it is in the Zilker Botanical Gardens at 2220 Barton Springs Road. You get to stroll through an amazing array of plants and flowers, which in itself is a great way to spend the day, but on March 27th and 28th you also get to buy plants and visit with artists. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, costs $5 for adults and $3 for children, and will feature live music, kids crafts, and many other special finds.

We have three EtsyAustin Team members who will be presenting their wares at Zilker Botanical Garden this weekend. The team is filled with such amazing artists and crafts people, and it is a real honor to be able to present with some of them this weekend.

Brandy of Pigsey Art makes the greatest journals out of rebound, recycled books. It is so fun to watch people find a book that they loved as a kid or one that their grandmother used to read to them. You can see that happy memory wash over their face. Brandy spends hours at bookstores looking for titles that may have been thumbed through too often for people to want to read them, and gives them a new life with a new author.

Amy of Craft Chi works in lots of different mediums that all stem from her great ability to draw. She screen prints house wares, accessories, paper, and t-shirts. She can even create a screen with your own design that you can use at home. Amy also makes rubber stamps. The organic cloth she uses for her tea towels and pillows make you want to touch them. Her crisp graphics still have a soft flow to them that feel light and bold all at the same time.

This weekend, you can also see me, Megan of demiduval, for all of your functional metalworking needs. There will be plenty of new plants you will not be able to leave without, so you’ll definitely need a stainless steel flower pot to put them in. Please look for me at booth 700.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 19, 2010

EtsyAustin @ 78704 for SXSW - Meet Your Crafters!

Please allow me to introduce Stacey Samuels of vintagerehab.etsy.com. She has been making great old finds even better for 3 years. She told me “My fascination with vintage jewelry and love of design inspired me to create new family heirlooms out of vintage treasures. I hunt for the most beautiful antique lockets, pins, tie clips, beads, chains, clasps and other vintage finds. Then, I transform them from someone else's castoffs into your very own fortunate find.“ Seeing something great in what others think is a lost cause is where she excels.

Lori Hooks of adornmodern.etsy.com has been making jewelry for over 10 years, but metalsmithing for 2 and a half years, which is a medium near and dear to my heart. Lori told me that she began by making jewelry for friends and family for birthdays, weddings, and other occasions. I had to know how she came to metal work and she said “I had wanted to try my hand at metalsmithing for years. When I finally took a class, I couldn't believe I waited so long. Most of my current designs are in sterling and copper, but I am trying to incorporate more stones and beads again.” I can attest that once you pick up a hammer it is hard to put down.

Tina Lewis of tinalewis.etsy.com is a favorite of my sister—she is a sucker for anything having to do with pottery. Luckily, Tina’s work is impeccable. She has been working with pottery since she was a teenager, but has had her own home studio for about 3 years. Tina told me “My sister and I learned pottery in high school from a local potter in our neighborhood. She was a great teacher and went way beyond the ceramics offered at our local public school. I am inspired by all the wonderful potters and ceramic artists in Austin, Texas and the World.”

Ebits eco-friendly jewelry is one of our great duos. Will and Elizabeth O'Connor of ebitsjewelry.com have been making jewelry for 12 years. Elizabeth told me that out of a tragedy came a new way to connect with the world. “I was injured in a car accident last summer, and was unable to work. So, I started spending more time making jewelry to keep from getting cabin fever, and I started selling it online and at shows.

Pauline Jacobson of coralreefdreams.etsy.com has been making jewelry for 3 years, but has been in the art world for much longer. “I have been an artist/crafter since childhood. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art, and in 2001, after a 30-year career in graphic design, technical illustration, and cartography, I began a new career as an artist, mostly doing watercolor painting and photography. I began designing and making artisan jewelry about 3 years ago, and became hooked, so now that's what I do full time. I feel like I have found my calling at last!"

You never know where you will find you next great inspiration as AJ Kosarek of AJthePurple.etsy.com found. She has been knitting for over a year, and drawing forever, and told me that her handmade creatures were inspired by another crafter. “I came across some knit creatures and decided I needed to learn how to make them. Luckily a friend and my mother-in-law were both willing knitting teachers.”

And finally there is me, Megan Russell. My shop name is demiduval.etsy.com where I sell my metal work. I have been creating functional items out of steel for 9 years, but I came to the craft by accident. I answered an add in the paper to be an artist’s assistant thinking I would answer phones and fetch dry cleaning. When I arrived at my interview I was asked to work with large machines and hammers. It all worked out well. As it turns out I like to hit stuff.

There are many more crafters who will be out tomorrow, so stop by and check everyone out. We hope to see you this weekend. Have a great time at SXSW!

EtsyAustin @ 78704 for SXSW - Meet Your Crafters!

This Saturday March 20th EtsyAustin will be out at the 1600 block of South Congress. For those of you who are not familiar with that area, look for the air stream trailer with the giant cupcake on top and the little village of white tents. If you have not checked out Hey Cupcake! it is worth the line you will have to stand in. For those of you not familiar with the EtsyAustin team, I will introduce you to a few of them now.

I will start with Kelly Owens Pratlett of GemJunkie.etsy.com. She has the coolest and most reasonably priced earrings in town. She has been making jewelry for 6 years and she has it down pat. When I asked how it all started for her she said, “My sister saw a necklace in a catalog that she really wanted but couldn't afford. So, she did some research online, ordered all the supplies, and we taught ourselves how to make jewelry. We've both progressed since then, but that's literally how the magic happened!" I love that wanting to make her sister happy turned into a business.

If you are a bath nut, Samantha Hlavaty is someone you need to get to know. At her store NepenthesBathtime.etsy.com you will find great soaps for everyone you know. My favorite is the glow in the dark bubble bath, which I am not to visit my nieces without. She has been honing her craft for 6 years now, and although creating soap and bath products began as a hobby and a way to diffuse after a stressful day of work, that hobby has morphed into a full time business. Samantha told me that “As a child, I loved to raid my mom's gardens and make little concoctions using the flowers and herbs... really I have loved bath products, aromatherapy and botanicals for as long as I can remember. This love met with my background in Art, 3D Animation, and Design to create the Nepenthe's Bathtime line.”

Now we move on to Jasmine Turner who has been making jewelry for 5 years. You can find all of her fantastic work at thejasminegallery.etsy.com. She told me “I began making jewelry because I wanted to make unique pieces for me to wear, and I also thought it might be a good creative outlet. I grew up in a crafty family doing stained glass, pottery, sewing and many other art forms, and I knew that I wanted to continue learning new skills. I initially invested a lot of money into my set-up over a few years, buying ropes of pearls and every gemstone I could find, but at the time I had a very busy job as a project coordinator for a natural gas company in north Texas. I quit that position at the beginning of 2009 to travel internationally, and came to Austin at the end of last year to focus on my creative side. It's been one of the best decisions I ever made! I have really grown as a jewelry designer, have a great set of calluses, and have finally begun to see some monetary profit as well!” Be sure to drop by this Saturday to check on this traveler's take on jewelry.

And now an introduction to Carol Bradley of CarolBradley.etsy.com. She has been creating jewelry for over 10 years, and she told me that it all started when “I bought a necklace at an antique show and wanted it to be a little shorter. I went to a bead store for help on my lunch hour and ended up taking an extra hour. I went back to work with a shorter necklace and the first pair of earrings I made.

More soon...

-Megan Russell of DemiDuval.etsy.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

EtsyAustin & Standard Recording Co. Day Party @ SXSW

Spend the day with EtsyAustin at the Dirty Dog Bar, 505 East 6th Street, listening to live music at a bar and making rockin' crafts. The EtsyAustin team will be there to help you make a mask or a mini scrapbook to remember your time at SXSW 2010. This event is hosted by Standard Recording Company, so visit their site and learn more about all these artists and their upcoming show dates. You will also have a chance to check out the newest products from Provo Craft, plus so much more! Please come out to support local art and local business.

Live Music Schedule
12:00 Bald Eagle Refugees
12:45 Amo Joy
1:30 Elsinore
2:15 Thunderhawk
3:00 Harley Poe
3:45 Dr. Manhattan
4:30 Dead Beats
5:20 Jookabox

This event is free and open to all, but be sure to RSVP to get on the list!

EtsyAustin @ 78704 for SXSW

78704 Artisan Market
Saturday, March 20th
11am to 6pm
1600 block of South Congress
(behind Hey Cupcake! and across the street from Hill Country Weavers)

Over 20 EtsyAustin crafters will be there!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Feature - Diamonds and Guns by Action Jackson

Name: Camille Jackson
Shop Name: Diamonds and Guns by Action Jackson
Brief Product Description: I make brightly colored Swarovski crystal jewelry that incorporates vintage findings, laser cut acrylics, and a few kitschy/kawaii pieces.

What is unique about your product? Overall, the way I combine elements. As far as I know, I'm the only jewelry creator in Austin who works extensively with Swarovski crystal flatbacks. On a bigger scale, I use a broader range of pieces (i.e. in what I have seen, most stick with only using vintage finds or only using laser cut acrylics or only using newly made bright kawaii pieces).

How did you get started? Like most other crafters/designers/artists out there, I started by making jewelry for myself and my friends!

Where do you get your inspiration? Fashion, music, art, niche aesthetics. I think it's dangerous and inhibiting for creators to limit what they derive inspiration from. I'm inspired by beautiful designs I come across in magazines, punk rock and goth music and style, 1920s-1950s fashion, old Hollywood, 20th century art, the list goes on. Colors in general are inspiring to me as well, which is part of the reason I love working with crystals—the array of colors available is more extensive than you'd think.

What excites you most about your work/shop? Finding new pieces to use is always exciting. I also love shopping, so when I order supplies, I get my kicks two-for-one style. Meeting new artists and shop owners in Austin has been a real trip, too. It's truly amazing and awe inspiring to see so many people creating so many different works in just one city.

Describe your workspace/workroom. I fantasize constantly about having a workroom devoted to making jewelry and neatly storing supplies. On Apartment Therapy, I've seen innovative ideas about using cut-out spaces as work rooms, and they're completely practical for small apartments. As is though, I currently have a rolling storage case and a dining room table that work well enough… and an understanding roommate who doesn't complain when I leave a mess on the table.

Which do you prefer: online sales/marketing or face-to-face sales/marketing? Why? Both and neither. In the 21st century, online marketing is a great way to show what you create to the world even when you're starting out. I've actually sold a few pieces to some girls in London (which is one of my favorite cities in terms of music and fashion, though I've never been), and I love that I've been able to do so with a small business. On the other hand, I love Austin, and the people who live here are wonderful. When you sell in person, people can convey their appreciation for your work, and that's one of the best intrinsic motivators to continue creating jewelry for me.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Embarking on leaving my mark in the world. Whether it's through this or music or law/government, I can't say.

What do you feel is the most important skill you use in your business every day?
Being able to ask for help and advice from the fellow artists and crafters I know in Austin (most through EtsyAustin actually). On my own, I don't feel that I possess that much knowledge about being business savvy or creating jewelry, but I feel that the members of EA, Babes in Biz, and various other artists I've worked with at shows collectively have a wealth of knowledge that they are more than willing to share.

What do you like about EtsyAustin? The diversity of the work people create is quite remarkable. I don't know that I could dream up most of what our members make.

What do you think makes EtsyAustin Street Team unique? The collective talent and knowledge that the team possesses. We are, after all, over 100 members strong and it shows in what we've been able to do as a group in a little over a year and a half (that's how long the group has existed). The community feel that the group provides is reflective of that of the city of Austin, and it continually reminds me why I love being a part of the group and the city itself.

Describe something about yourself that may be a surprise to people on the team.
By day, I'm your typical admin secretary, but by night, I'm a jewelry creator… and a musician. I've had a musical instrument in my hands since I was ten and am grateful that I still play. Over the years, I've learned piano, flute, piccolo, bass, and now guitar. I love being able to create and play music and hope to eventually play and share that with everyone who will listen... ya know, besides my neighbors.

Friday, March 5, 2010

78704 Artisan Market - March 6th

The EtsyAustin Team has designated the 3rd Saturday of every month to participate en masse at the 78704 Artisan Market on South Congress. Many teammates have been testing this spot out for a couple of weeks, including this coming Saturday, and we're really excited to have a regular group event to show off our artists and crafters. The first big showing of 20+ artists will be March 20th, so check back for posts about it!

It's called the 78704 Artisan Market and it happens every Saturday from 11am to 6pm on the west side of South Congress at Gibson. It is outdoors in the LAZ Parking Lot next to the always awesome Hotel San José and in the heart of what's happening. It's free to attend, and while parking can be tricky, it will totally be worth it.

EtsyAustin Team members who are vending this Saturday, March 6th, are...

Pauline with Coral Reef Dreams

Jasmine with The Jasmine Gallery

Kelly with GemJunkie

Merritt with Merritt Gade Fine Handmades

Megan with DemiDuval won't be vending, but she will be there taking photos for the blog.