Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Call for Artists!

Our friends at Mini Marzipan Productions are gearing up for some great shows. Be a part of the fun, all the details below!

*Now Taking Applications For Taste for Artisans - Handmade Ho Down Village!!*

From a few of the makers of Handmade Ho Down we introduce Mini Marzipan Productions, an exclusive craft show planning company. We have teamed up with East Bay Express to bring you a whole bale of BIG events already in the works for 2010, and we are now taking applications for the first one of the year!

East Bay Express and Mini Marzipan Presents
Taste for Artisans
April 3, 2010
5pm - 11pm
Jack London Square
98 Broadway Avenue, Oakland.
(Previously Barnes & Noble Books)

30,000 square feet of awesomeness!
Anticipated Attendees: 3-4k
Vendor Application Deadline: Friday, March 12th
Vendor Fee: $150.00

Please go to: to apply now!


Taste for Artisans pays tribute to Americana but with a modern, urban twist.

We celebrate local craftsmanship with over 100 of the Bay Area's best artisans selling their handmade wares in the Handmade Ho Down Village, local farmers filling our plates, local breweries filling our glasses, live local bands/djs, and educational activities from the De Young Museum.

East Bay Express and Mini Marzipan have a reputation for throwing amazing parties, and
this will be no exception. Our idea of urban Americana includes cream corn
wrestling, mechanical bull riding, hay bales and picnic tables, pie eating
contests, square dancing competitions, live craft making, old school games,
and more!

Meet local artisans, musicians, and farmers while at the same time
supporting Drawbridge, a bay area local organization bringing art awareness
to children in need.
Come be a part of the Handmade Ho Down Village and get down at the Ho Down!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spotlight on Queer Team member BUNNYKISSD

BunnyKissd interviewed by fauxsure

What sorts of things do you offer in your shop?
Mostly polymer clay pins & pendants, although I have started to move into offering more painted objects, and things I've drawn.

How did you first start selling on etsy? How long have you been selling? Do you sell anywhere else?

I started selling in June 2008 and I haven't tried anywhere else. I was introduced earlier in the year by a friend, and thought it would be a great way to make some money to support my family through the summer. (I'm a substitute teacher, and don't work summers.)

Tell us a little about your typical creative process and how you go about making your work. What kinds of steps do you usually go through?

I usually get an idea, then try and create it! LOL!

What are your favorite materials to work with?

Acrylic paint, pencil & paper, polymer clay, watercolors...

Are there other creative projects you are involved in outside of your work in your etsy shop?

Oh yes. Like I mentioned I am working on adding drawings and painted objects to my shop. I also like to make computer graphics and take photographs. I would like to learn how to make more detailed realistic looking sculptures from poly clay, and I am contemplating getting into the resin pendants, etc...

Besides art/ crafty stuff, what else do you like doing in your free time?

Road trips! Nature hikes, swimming, reading...

Does your queer identity come into play in your work?

Not really, but I have made a few Gay Pride items and plan on making more!

What are your hopes for the Queer Etsy Street Team? What brought you to join?

I am hoping to meet people more like myself, with similar ideas and thoughts, who can help me figure out how to sell more that hopefully I can help in return!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spotlight on Queer Team member RANDEEANNE

Craftee Randee interviewed by fauxsure

What sorts of things do you offer in your shop?

I am currently selling (in various colors and styles) Knit Scarves, Knit Hats, Knit Grocery Bag Holders, and soon to be listing a Knit Shawl. Along with my hand-made knit items, I am selling original Beaded Hemp Necklaces and Beaded Hemp Braceletts. Coming soon to my shop: Four styles of my Original Photography (digital prints, film prints, color, black and white).

How did you first start selling on etsy? How long have you been selling? Do you sell anywhere else?

I began knitting a few years ago. During the winter 2008/2009, I started seriously getting into knitting and wanted to learn new patterns and techniques. I offered my friends/family/and coworkers free hat and scarf sets with colors and styles of their choice. Only cost to them was the material cost. This allowed me to improve my skills and help with gift giving for the Christmas season. I uploaded photos of all my custom made sets to the Queer Etsy Street Team facebook fan page.

During this time, my best friend/co-worker/fellow crafter referred me to I set up my account a year ago next month. Since the weather was getting warmer, I put away my knitting needles. When December (2009) rolled back around, I got into again. I started with yarns I bought last year and created some pretty new pieces. Only thing left to do was purchase the internet for my home, start listing the items I had made, and start knitting more. That was two weeks ago. I am constantly thinking of new ways to promote, price, describe, and photograph my work. It is a challenge to balance my full time job, my etsy shop, other hobbies (which I can not give up), and find time to sleep. Somehow I manage, and I am as happy camper.

The short answer to how I started selling: I like to knit. My friend likes to knit. She found and recommended that I make a shop, since everyone loved my gifts. Since I love to create in general, my shop has and is continuing to expand to other forms (jewelry and photography). I have had my items listed for two weeks, no sales yet. I do not sell anywhere else, but I am open to/considering joining local craft shows or art fairs.

Tell us a little about your typical creative process and how you go about making your work. What kinds of steps do you usually go through?

My knitting process is pretty simple. I love Hobby Lobby. If I have a custom order request, I shop with an general idea of what yarn type and color. Sometime I shop with no ideas and let’s the moment embrace me. I like trying new yarns and techniques. Once I have the yarn, I find a pattern or stitch that compliments the yarn, and go from there. I inherited quite a few sizes of needles and supplies from my grandma p (who initially taught me how to knit) and my great grandma d, who was also a crafter. Crafting runs with the women in the family on both sides.

My jewelry process is close to the same. I pick the color hemp and beads, then create away. During the 4th of July weekend I made a handful or colorful hemp anklets for my mom’s brothers and sisters, and their kids. It all depends what comes first (the chicken or the egg… haha. I mean the beads or the hemp) if it is for fun, or a special request from someone I know.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

Knitting: anything soft fuzzy and thick. I love bright colors too! Yarn Bee and Homespun are my favorite brands.

Hemp: I like Aztec looking beads or all sizes and shapes. I also like colorful round beads. I prefer the smaller natural hemp, but I have worked with colored hemp, and thicker hemps.

Photography: I love my Rebel T2 camera (borrowing from my mother) with black and white film. I also upgraded my digital camera as well and I am learning how to use all the new settings. If a dark room is considered “materials,” that’s also my favorite. Since I don’t have one available to me at the moment, I like to use local photography shops to do my printing. Think Global, Shop Local!

Are there other creative projects you are involved in outside of your work in your etsy shop?

Last year I was part of a knitting/crocheting group. We would meet on Sundays at someone’s house, have a couple martinis, and watch a romantic comedy. It was just three girls from work, and me, but it was enough for a good time.

Besides art/ crafty stuff, what else do you like doing in your free time?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE to read. My blog ( is the place where I keep track of all my readings and recommendations (among other topics). I tend to find a new author and read a lot (if not all) of their work. I love the local library. I ‘rent’ seasons of past television shows. I started with The L Word (which was the second time watching all six seasons… I love it that much), then moved to Six Feet Under, True Blood (where are my vamp lovers?!), and most recently LOST! Since I graduated college and moved out on my own to a new city, I have a lot of free time.

It may sound weird but I really enjoy cleaning and re-organizing my apartment. It’s easier than moving all the time, even though I DO move a lot. I just like a change of scenery every now and again. I super clean probably every other weekend.

I like to play with my cats and meet new cats. I am your typical cat lady… just 50 years early. I am pro-animal rights/veg*nism. I no longer label myself as a veg*n because I don’t like to represent a community if I can’t do it fully and to the best of my ability.

On the occasion that I am feeling social, I tend to venture to our local gay bar with my good friend here in Lansing. Two dance floors, no cover, and drink specials. I love it. It has its good mix of cuties to dance with too J

How did you get into crafting?

My father's mother used to make really cute boxes and american girl doll clothes. I grew up around craft fairs and home made gifts. My Fathers grandmother was a knitter but I didn't know this until she passed away. I inherited a lot of her knitting supplies and sewing stuff too. My mother's mom also crochets and is a quilter. She makes these cute towels for us with a knit top so you can put in on the fridge door or cupboard hardware. Very practical. My mom and I used to do crafts all the time when I was younger too. We would make scrunchies and head bands and paint ceramic knickknacks for christmas. I grew up in a family full of crafters and I just fell into it. Now its my favorite hobby. I took two years of sewing in high school, and I am a self taught knitter (and soon to learn crocheting).

Is there anything you would like to learn to do?

I would like to learn new photography tricks, and i would love to learn how to make soup and candles. I would like to make my own beads, any maybe how to make professional dresses. I want to make movies too. and cute children's books.

Does your queer identity come into play in your work?

My love for all things LGBT is part of who I am and always have been. Since it’s a part of me, and a part of me is in my work, this identity is thus in my work. A month ago I made myself a rainbow chocker made from embroidery thread. I am able to make other jewelry and such with all the pretty colors of the rainbow. I haven’t really made anything specifically (for sale) to show this identity, but I am always open to new ideas and requests.

What are your hopes for the Queer Etsy Street Team? What brought you to join?

I want to help bring people to the team, fan page, and blog. I like to promote acceptance. That’s what brought me to join. I hope that my shop (and blog) brings new people to our team’s shop (and everyone personal shops for some great cross promotion!). It’s a simple way to be a part of the larger movement to promote general acceptance and equal rights.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spotlight on Queer Team member CROWBIRDIEBEADS

CrowBirdieBeads interviewed by fauxsure

What sorts of things do you offer in your shop?

Well, right now I mainly sell my handmade lampwork glass beads, although I'm planning on making some of the beads into jewelry for folks who just want to be able to wear one right away. Occasionally I have some of my vintage bead collection up for sale too, or a bit of destash to make room for the ongoing bead hoarding. I've been collecting beads since I was old enough play with them without trying to eat them.

What got you interested in glass beadmaking?

I mentioned that I have a bead collection. It's a great way to have a huge collection in a teeny storage space so I highly recommend it to everyone. I started collecting beads when I was little and my Grandmom would take me to flea markets with her. I was the cute little kid who would help her get a better price, and then I'd help her sort out the beads when we got home. I could do that for hours! I didn't get to keep them though because she used them to make crafts for bazaars for charity and I was getting serious bead envy. Soon as I could I started buying vintage and antique glass beads at markets, auctions, wherever I could find them, because at the time glass beads weren't really at the stores anywhere. The more I learned about them the more I was amazed at what little bits of history and art they really were. And how complex they could be!

I started selling vintage beads on EBay so that I could buy other beads, and it turned out to be very self-sustaining. I got involved with a great community of bead folks through a discussion group called "Beads, Beads and More Beads" and they encouraged me to try lampworking myself. I'd always sculpted in polymer clay so I fell in love with it after getting a basic setup and making these um, really ugly beads at first. It takes a lot of practice to make a good, solid bead! There's something amazing about juggling molten lava on the end of a metal stick in a flame and coming out with a piece of wearable art.

How did you first start selling on etsy? How long have you been selling? Do you sell anywhere else?

I was selling antique and vintage beads on EBay for years, and then started selling my lampwork beads, and more than one friend told me to check out this site that was all about the handmade movement and buying direct from the artist. I took a look at it and to be honest I was pretty intimidated. I didn't actually try it out until a fellow lampwork artist "strongly suggested" it as a better outlet for my work while we were doing a local show together. I've been really happy with it, especially with the community on here. I still sell on EBay because I like the auction format and my "regulars" who support me on there (reminds me of the neighborhood auction when I was a kid) but I love having a real storefront and the support of Etsy to go with it. It's the perfect segue way at local bead shows too, when someone is looking at my work in person and I can say "Hey - have you ever checked out Etsy? I have a shop there!" and I can hand them my card. It's even better when they respond with "Really? I’m on there all the time!"

Tell us a little about your typical creative process and how you go about making your work. What kinds of steps do you usually go through?

I have a full-time job that is fairly intense because I am the main computer and software support for an accounting firm with about 50 employees. The glass is a way to reconnect with the creative spirit and to take what amounts to a meditative break from things. Normally I'll either torch on the weekend or get up early before leaving for work so that I get about an hour at the torch. I might only get one or two beads out of a morning torch session but it makes a huge difference for me spiritually.

I try to have a plan, get the glass rods out beforehand and warm them up on the kiln a bit, try to have a picture in my head of what bird or fish or animal I want to make. Usually the fact that I'm so easily distracted means that I sit down, get the flame set up just so, go to pick up the planned color, and see this other color on the way that's perfect for something completely unrelated, then go off on a tangent and forget what I sat down to make! It's a lot of fun but makes custom work take longer ;)

As far as the actual lampworking process, I start with colored glass rods called "soft" glass or soda lime glass that have a lower melting point than borosilicate. I have a steel mandrel (think, um, like a bicycle spoke) that's dipped in bead release to keep the glass from sticking to it. I get the mandrel hot and the glass rod end hot in the flame, and then start to wind the glass around the rod. This forms the basic bead. After that I sculpt the bead using simple tools like tweezers, other glass rods, pliers with flattened ends, dental picks - whatever works to get the shape that I want. I add other colors of glass, like a white dot and a black dot to make eyes. Once the bead is finished I put it into a preheated kiln for the annealing process. This strengthens the glass so that it's less likely to break over time.
Later on, much later, maybe the next day if I was torching at night, I'll open the kiln and it's like Christmas! Hopefully the good Christmas where you got what you wanted, or you got a great surprise. Not the one where you find out Aunt Martha gave you socks again. I take the bead off the mandrel and clean out the release, and it's ready to go.

Besides art/ crafty stuff, what else do you like doing in your free time?

My Partner MJ and I recently moved into this great sturdy little fixer-upper with about an acre of land in a rural area in Maryland. Our plan is to get the gardens and house turned into a small homestead, with plenty of berry bushes, a veggie garden, a butterfly & bird garden, and tons of sunflowers! And chickens - can't wait to get a small flock of laying hens again because chickens are the best. Talk about personality! They keep your sense of humor intact. I love watching the wild birds at the birdfeeders and you can see how they inspire a lot of my work. I read a lot, my Partner and I hang out with friends and go on daytrips to Gettysburg, museums in Baltimore and DC, and generally stay pretty busy.

Does your queer identity come into play in your work?

Yes, I'd have to say it does. Of course the obvious times would be when I make rainbow beads or put rainbows into the animals somewhere. But I'm out in my shop profile, in my life, at work, online - everywhere. It's just part of who I am, and my Partner is a big part of Crowbirdie Beads. She is my inspiration, the one who throws out these interesting challenges when I'm stuck (make a flamingo! Make a zombie bead!), and she's also the shipping department and co-photographer! I hope to do more queer activism through my art as well, either through supporting other diverse artists or directly, through charitable sales or through our Etsy Queer Team shop.

What are your hopes for the Queer Etsy Street Team? What brought you to join?

I had been searching the Teams regularly trying to find a Queer Team, a group of people with similar life experiences. I started looking about a week after I joined Etsy! It has grown so much to include some amazing artists. I have hopes that we can become a force for promoting diversity and getting the word out that we are good people as well as being creative and artsy. I like belonging to a community of exceptionally interesting folks who can brighten my day. I'm proud to be a part of it. I am hoping also that our Team Shop can help generate some much-needed funds for charity, as the shop gets more established. It's great to be a part of a community, and even better to know that you're a part of something trying to do GOOD for other people.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spotlight on Queer Team member The ENLIGHTENED ARTISAN

EnlightenedArtisan interviewed by fauxsure

What sorts of things do you offer in your shop?

Since I am a new seller, I only have a few items at present -- painted stones and origami boxes. I plan to broaden my offerings over the coming weeks and months to include altered art, a wider array of painted stones, maybe some origami box sets (marketed for storage of jewelry, keepsakes, etc), decoupaged origami boxes, and cigar box art and accessories.

How did you first start selling on etsy? How long have you been selling? Do you sell anywhere else?

This is my third week as an Etsy seller. I've known about the site for a few years, but had not really given much thought to selling until the past two months or so. I generally do projects as I feel like it, just for fun or to give them away, but I thought it would be fun to get involved in a selling community. In the past I have done small craft fairs from time to time, but nothing big.

Tell us a little about your typical creative process and how you go about making your work. What kinds of steps do you usually go through?

I've always loved to make stuff. With the exception of the Saturday morning "art lessons" (basically just seven-year-old me messing around painting flowers with oils) in the nutmeg-infused basement of a funky-cool artist lady, I don't think I've ever taken a class. It's not that I'm opposed to them, but rather that I've always been one to kind of just figure stuff out. I see something I want to do, so I go buy a couple of books (or in today's Jetsonian age, hop on the Internet), deconstruct it and try to figure out how it's done, or just get a general idea and wing it. It is for this reason, I'm proud to say, that I never produce a "perfect" product. If I wanted something perfect, I'd commission Martha Stewart...I prefer personality!

When I paint stones, I work in one of two ways. Sometimes when I go collecting, certain stones will catch my eye and I'll see something in them, like a strawberry or a turtle. Other ones I will pick up because they have a certain texture, shape or size, but I'm not sure what will work on them yet. I just think they're cool. I'm always coming up with new designs to paint, so I have a good selection to choose from to find something to fit each stone.

I get ideas all the time, and often in odd places. For this reason, I always carry my blue graph-paper notebook with me. There's also a legal pad and pencil in the bathroom...there seems to be something about a nice hot shower that gets ideas flowing. I have a lot of drive time to work and back every day, which counts as primo idea time for me.

I paint at the kitchen table, but prefer to do a lot of my other work, believe it or not, sitting in bed. This allows me to be next to my beloved while I'm working. We make a great team that way...separate but together as I make stuff and she writes. In the interest of trying to keep the floor on my side of the bed somewhat in line, I have a little system of rolling scrapbooking crate, Christmas gift bags, and various totes in which I shuttle my materials and in-progress works back and forth between the closet, the bed and the living room.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

I like to work with natural stones. I've always had a love affair with rocks, stones and such, and am fascinated by the endless shapes, sizes and colors there are. Collecting and painting them gives me a sense of being closer to nature in a sense. I generally paint with acrylics, and use water-based varnish on most of my pieces. I also love paper...the older the better! I'm learning to decoupage with old papers -- sheet music, magazines, postcards, photos -- and find that there are endless uses for it all. I also love to try new things, so any material is a potential new favorite for me.

Are there other creative projects you are involved in outside of your work in your etsy shop?

I crochet in the winter; it's too hot around South Texas in the summer to be working with yarn! Otherwise, I kind of just pick up projects as I come across them.

Besides art/ crafty stuff, what else do you like doing in your free time?

I am working on the genealogy of my dad's side of my family. His father came from Greece through Ellis Island at the turn of the twentieth century, and I love digging through looking for family goodies. I also collect antique scrapbooks and Rushton dolls. I'm working in spurts on research for a collector's guide to Rushton dolls, because one doesn't exist, and I know if it would be helpful to me, it would surely benefit other collectors as well.

Does your queer identity come into play in your work?

Being gay is a part of who I am, so I think it does come out in my art just as any other part of me does.

What are your hopes for the Queer Etsy Street Team? What brought you to join?

I would love to become an active and involved member of the Queer Etsy Street Team. I actually came across the team via a post in one of the Etsy forums, and as soon as I clicked on the team profile, knew I wanted to join. And I made a great decision! Never have I felt so at home so quickly in this type of arena. Everyone welcomed me with open arms immediately and without reservation, and I love the openness and family-like atmosphere.