T.E.S.T. interview: foundlingsvintage

Thursday, March 25, 2010

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the eighth in our series, an interview with foundlingsvintage.

Why vintage? What would you say to someone who has never shopped vintage before?

I've always been a scrounger and lover of things of olde. There's something about the discarded that I find intriguing; the mystery, I suppose. I can't pass a junk shop without poking my head in and rifling through a few boxes. The hunt is as rewarding as the find! I'm a collector, but my obsessive neatness prevents me from hoarding! Etsy is the perfect place to share my treasures. To the new vintage shopper, I would say don't be afraid to mix decades. A true time traveler shouldn't be afraid to wear a wacky wardrobe or fill their home with a mish-mash of kitschy goodness!

When were you first introduced to vintage? What is it about vintage that you love? How do you qualify an item as vintage?

I come from a family of collectors. Growing up, my mom loved all things fifties, and my dad was a bibliophile and anthologist - a book collector and assembler of short story collections. The collector gene was passed down to me, I guess. I also have really great memories of rooting through the garbage as a kid! A discarded piece of furniture or clothing has a history. I've always loved imagining the story behind a particular vintage piece. I get the same feeling when I look at old photographs. It's not just a material object, it's a chunk of the past.

Technically speaking, the cutoff that marks the distinction between contemporary and vintage is twenty years. That would make anything dating back to 1990 vintage, and everything after that contemporary.

What is your criteria for choosing a piece? Are there particular things you look for? Where or when do you find your best pieces?

Aesthetically, I am more attracted to certain decades, particularly within the fashion realm. The seventies were pretty ugly - enormous lapels and brown polyester. Few can pull off this look without looking a little silly! The sixties, on the other hand, were fantastic! An eye-popping psychedelic print can be a real statement. An outfit should be a work of art! I look for pieces that are original and eye-catching, often the fabric is key here, though construction does come into play as well.

I saw in your etsy shop that you create your own original pieces using vintage materials and supplies. What is your creative process for repurposing materials

I source and up-cycle old old drapes, sheets, and tablecloths, transforming and giving them new life. Eco-friendly options are appealing to me, and I am attracted to vintage prints. Combining the old with the new is really what Foundlings is all about - whether it's a new take on an old look or simply re-introducing the old to contemporary life.

Can you tell me more about your designing background? How long have you been designing? Have you always been attracted to vintage styles? How important is recycling and sustainability to your designs?

I studied Creative Fashion Design and got my start ten years ago in the costume design world, as a sewer for "Mamma Mia". I discovered that ABBA was a vintage rock better left unturned! Eco-conscientious design is tremendously important to me. Repurposing is an excellent way to create something stylish and unique, while at the same time squeezing a few more years out of a scrap of fabric that would otherwise be discarded.

How do you strike a balance between designing vintage pieces and sourcing them? What brings you the most joy?

I enjoy both! It all depends on where my feet lead me on a particular day, and what treasures I stumble upon.

Can you share your top five tips for choosing vintage? What should I look for and how do I care for my vintage purchases?

1. Don't be afraid of a little dust.
2. Do mix and match decades.
3. Fill your home and wardrobe with prints and colours that make you smile.
4. Use your imagination.
5. Don't think about what Stacy and Clinton would say!

When it comes to fabric care, polyester is pretty much indestructible! Generally, I suggest hand-washing and laying garments flat to dry. Watch for sun-damage when re-purposing vintage curtains (I learned the hard way).

What's next for foundlingsvintage?

In addition to my Etsy site, Foundlings is also available at Fresh Collective in Toronto. Look for Foundlings at The Clothing Show Spring 2010 Show and Sale May 14-16.

Interviewed March, 2010 by Melanie Hillier

T.E.S.T. Interview: ezhilin

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the seventh in our series, an interview with ezhilin.

Tell us about yourself and your shop:

I am a Toronto-based, Russian-born graduate architect, artist and architectural illustrator. I have graduated in 1986 from State Academy Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Leningrad, Russia (now called St. Petersburg), and hold Master of Architecture and Art Degree. In 2003 I became a member of American Association of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI). I’m also member of the international Urban Sketchers web community.

I opened my shop last fall in order to showcase the fine art post cards, which I printed after my sketch book for Biennale Clermont-Ferrande Carnet de Voyages in France. Right now, my shop has artistic post cards, prints, graphic novels and some original art pieces. Watercolors mostly, that my wife and I have created during our travel on Middle East. There are also numbers of unique Niagara Falls views I have done upon my visits there in spring 2008.

My wife, a professional illustrator and designer (BFA, Parsons School of Design, New York and Paris) - also runs an Etsy shop “LiliesOValley” - Babywearing Clothing and Boho Baby Couture - hand made in Canada, by one mom for another. Together with my wife we have founded “Éditions Tchaï” and our small press books and postcards are sold at Toronto independent bookstores such as The Beguiling, Labyrinth and Pages.

What is your creative process? How do you decide what to draw and paint?

It’s natural. I paint, sketch and draw urban views all of my life. About 5 years ago I became very interested in 'Carnet de Voyage' or the Travel Sketches genre. The Art of Carnets de Voyage is a very unique art niche. I create my artwork in situ as well as in my artistic studio. The sketches are accompanied by written comments, which become a part of the art. Those written observations help me to share some interesting facts I have learned while painting and sketching. Eventually those sketches will be combined into the completed project that consist of drawings, watercolors, sketches and prints, as well as mixed media pieces such as collages with newspaper clips and tickets, all rearranged into an intrinsic structure of an artist's bookwork, like, for example, 'Toronto Graffiti' book which is on showcase at my Etsy shop. 'Toronto Graffiti' is also available in a French version. This book is a cross-art object, since it combines two genres in one – sketchbook and a comic book.

Many items in your Etsy store depict Toronto buildings and landmarks, what are some of your favorite spots in Toronto?

The 'Toronto Graffiti' book - an architectural-artistic study of the metropolis of Toronto - live sketches and studio artwork, was created during years 2006-2009. In 2008 my wife and I - became only North American artists invited to the Biennale Clermont-Ferrande Carnet de Voyages in the town of Clermont-Ferrand, France, as participants. Especially for the Biennale, we have created a French language version of the 'Toronto Graffiti'. My wife speaks French so she was involved in translating and editing. I also reproduced the best spreads of the 'Toronto Graffiti' as a series of art postcards.

While working on the 'Toronto Graffiti' project I have discovered a totally new Toronto, a Toronto one will not find in travel guidebooks. By sketching down my city of Toronto I wanted to share with my fellow Torontonians, and those unfamiliar with our city, the joy I have lived through during the process of creating this project. I also believe that urban life as seen by an urban sketch artist can be as exciting as an exotic voyage to a far-away places.

Tell us a bit about your graphic novels and how you develop your stories and drawings.

Many artists dreams of transferring their paintings into cinema – "moving pictures". If artist loves story telling, becoming a comic book author is a natural "next step". In November 2005 we have founded a small independent publishing house Éditions Tchaï. The name Éditions Tchaï used as our creative name if we participating in particular art events together or separately. Now in little less then 5 years of activity we published under that name near 14 titles in English, French and Russian. Those very small run editions include illustrated classic literature, quality independent graphic novels, artistic comic book and an anthology of memoirs. I think the "memoirs" will be the key word here because all of our stories are spun from the very matter of our lives. We are especially proud to mention that four recent titles of Éditions Tchaï were purchased by an acquisitions librarian of multicultural and multilingual publications at Library and Archives Canada. Those titles are: "Sketches of Time/Zarisovki Vremeni" - an anthology of memoirs, dedicated to the history of classic art education in Russia; a short graphic novel "Dollar" set up in Toronto with humor and some elements of sci-fi; "La Poule Mouilée/The Wishy Washy", "Ah, Gilgamesh" and "Hungry Heart".

The novel "Ah, Gilgamesh" written by my wife is available in my shop and Éditions Tchaï. Graphic novels "Dollar" and "La Poule Mouilée" - the chapters from our compilation volume "Memoz. Volume I" - are also available in my shop.

Do you have any favorite graphic novelists and comic book artists? Who are your influences?

It's Joann Sfar, Marjane Satrapi and Jacques Ferrandez. I like Sfar’s philosophical allegories; documentary life slices of Satrapi and Ferrandes’s reality of set design. He even travels to the places his stories sat up into and draws sketches there.

What are you working on right now and do you have any events or projects coming up?

Toronto Graffiti hard cover full edition in English. The new volume of memoirs – “New Oriental Tales” is on a way as well as our Cuban Carnets de Voyage. We also have a big fictional graphic novel project you may see at our web site.

Any advice for new sellers on Etsy?

Patience and vive la création!

Check out Eugene's etsy shop, wife's etsy shop, their web site and blog.

Interviewed by Geneviève Jodouin on March 20 - 23 , 2010.

T.E.S.T. interview: Melanie Hillier

Monday, March 22, 2010

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the sixth in our series, an interview with MelanieHiller.

Your photographs are travel shots from around the world, and I've noticed some similarities between the pictures despite their geographical differences. The bold colours that you capture, both natural and manmade, are just wonderful. Are you drawn to bright, bold hues? Are there certain palettes that you find more attractive, as a photographer?

It's funny, because when I first started taking photos on a regular basis, on my first trip to Australia, I remember thinking how lucky I was because Australia's landscapes are just so beautiful. The bold red of the Outback, the beautiful tropical blues of their almost unending coastline...all I had to do was press the shutter! It wasn't really a choice to choose those colours. They were everywhere I looked. I think as a photographer I am just trying to capture what I feel. If something makes me stop dead in my tracks, I capture it. It doesn't always turn into a great photo, but I like to lead by intuition. If anything, I am drawn to architectural shapes and forms more than particular colours.

Contrasts between nature and man-made structures are also evident in your work. In "Paris Pink", for example, Notre Dame Cathedral is viewed through the gorgeous pink branches of April blossoms. Do you often combine or contrast these elements?

I do like to see these elements together. I'm inspired by architecture, and can get carried away photographing the shapes and lines of the structures. I love how nature softens them, and how well man-made structures and nature work together. I believe there is an interesting effect that manmade structures have on people, and nature has that same awe inspiring quality.

I noticed, also, an absence of people, even in the busy cityscape "Tokyo Nights". The bustle of nighttime seems somehow peaceful. Can you comment on this absence?

It's funny that you mention this, because it is something I discovered after taking a closer look at my body of work. I am trying to allow the viewer to feel like an observer through the lens, and I do my best to sneak photos without people noticing. When someone looks directly into the camera and isn't the subject of the photo, it almost ruins the mystery. I suppose it's a bit of voyeurism. I want the viewer to feel like they were exactly where I was when I took the picture. To disappear into the background and just enjoy it.

Is there a geographical location that you would deem more photogenic than any other?

Ooh, this is a tough one. I am a traveller by nature and can usually find something I love about every place I visit. But most photogenic? I'd have to say Australia. Its cities are just as beautiful as its vast deserts and beautiful beaches. It my favourite place on earth!

When did you first take an interest in photography? Can you tell me a little about how you became a photographer? Are you inspired by the works of any particular photographers or artists?

I have loved art my whole life, and first took photography classes in high school where we learned dark room techniques and all. I enjoyed it, but always loved painting more. I really got into it when my mum bought me a digital camera to take with me on my year abroad in Australia. It was meant to be used to document my trip, but became so much more! As for inspiration, I would say I am more inspired by architecture, nature, fashion and graphic design than any particular artist, although artists of all kinds inspire me just by being honest about what they are doing and seeing.

You mention in your Etsy profile that you are not travelling at the moment. Do you have any future plans for travel and/or artistic works?

Once a traveller, always a traveller! I don't have any firm plans to travel at present, but I am taking advantage of staying in Toronto by capturing this city as if it were a foreign place. I have always loved Toronto and it lends itself beautifully to photography. I plan to include some of these local photos in my etsy shop, and also on my new blog.

Check out Melanie's work in her etsy shop, on her blog and follow her on twitter.

Interviewed March, 2010, by foundlingsvintage


Friday, March 19, 2010

The Spring Equinox falls on March 20th or 21st every year. Join the T.E.S.T. team in celebrating spring. Buy yourself a little treat like this Silver Lining Cloud Brooch by OchaMilk!

The leaves are starting to bud! Wear the Wandering Leaf by spontaneousreality

Put twigs (hand-beaded, of course) in your hair with Twig Hand Beaded Leaves and Branch Headpiece by quirkybeauty. It's on sale!

Soon the tulips will sprout. Be ready with Tulip - Fused Glass Wire Wrapped Pendant by UrbanFusions.

Soon the blossoms will be out. Put the
Blossoms linocut - limited edition by minouette
on your wall.

Wear blossoms in your hair with the Pure Hydi Headband by xoxocupcake

Or, wear this blossom-like necklace First Blush enamel pendant by TorchedStudio

Element4you has these Swarovski butterfly earrings

Looking for spring-like invites or announcements? Check out the Modern Floral SAVE THE DATE Digital Photo File (FLO2) by FostenDesigns

Start sporting
A Little Bit of Pink, one-of-a-kind necklace by hdunstan

Or, if you're feeling downright tropical, after the winter, try Tropical Necklace by JungleJewelry

Wear blossoms on your ears with Pink ume kanzashi earrings by magpiecanada

What's more beautiful than Paris in the spring? Paris Pink by Melanie Hillier

Wear the Mi amor - Vintage Long Romantic Cluster Necklace by SolBijou for the TorontoEtsyTeam shop

T.E.S.T. interview: genevievejodouin

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the fifth in our series, an interview with Geneviève Jodouin.

Tell us about your shop.

I started my etsy shop as a means to sell my smaller, more retail-based items on the internet. You'll find greeting cards, stationary, wooden screenprinted brooches, and screenprints among the things I sell in my shop. I'm a printmaker and have a website for my art but the cards and other items I make for fun didn't quite seem to fit in there. So etsy was the perfect solution.

How is your Etsy experience so far? What have you learned about yourself? How does your store fit into your life?

So far, my etsy experience has been positive. A lot of it has consisted of exploring the site and finding way too many other cute shops to even count. It's nice to see what other people are making and selling and that's definitely a source of inspiration.

In terms of sales it's been slow but I'm not too worried. I sell my cards and pins at various stores around the country including C1 Art space and Kid Icarus in Toronto and Victoire in Ottawa. It just made sense to open up an etsy store and try to sell my stuff here as well. I'm adding new items regularly and hope that people will see them and need to have them!

You have mentioned your favorite medium is a screen-printing. Tell us about your creative process?

I find it pretty easy to think up designs for cards or brooches. I just think of something cute and fun and I draw it up. I'm pretty obsessed with floral patterns and have quite a collection of wallpaper and textile pattern books from which I draw inspiration.

In the case of this card, I was inspired by the Aberfeldy song, Love is an Arrow (watch it here).

I'm much more systematic when it comes to my screenprints as you can see in this interview on the Toronto Craft Alert site.

How would you define your style?

I'd say my style is romantic, feminine and fun. I love floral patterns and anything vintage. I try to keep it simple and sweet.

Love your kissing sequential! How were they born?

Those 1" pins are the bi-product of an installation piece I made entitled If These Walls Could Talk which was first exhibited at The Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront in Toronto and then at LE in 2008.

What do you do as your "day job"?

I teach screen printing classes at Open Studio and C1 Art Space and I've done some freelance translation work lately. My schedule is pretty open which allows me to work on my art and other little craft projects.

How do you promote yourself?

I find that being active in the art community definitely acts as a promoting tool. The more shows I do, the more people will remember my name and my prints. I send out promotional emails whenever an event or show is coming up, I have a facebook page for my etsy store and I have my personal website as well.

What are your upcoming plans and goals?

This Saturday, March 20, 2010 I have a piece (called Together, 22"x30", 2009) in the Timeraiser Auction at the Fermenting Cellar in the distillery district. It’s a great event where art is auctioned off for volunteer hours, rather than money.

I’m also starting to plan for my next solo exhibition at LE which will be in October 2010, in conjunction with Printopolis which is the international print symposium presented by Open Studio.

My goals are to keep producing new card and brooch designs for my etsy shop and for the other retail stores that carry them. I just ordered more wooden shapes to make new brooches, including more birds so I'll be drawing up new colourful patterns for spring and summer. I'll also be spending lots of time in the studio before the fall, printing up a patterned storm!

Any advice for new sellers on Etsy?
Be patient. Sales will come but it might take a while before you start getting regular sales. Unless you've got lots of web presence already, it's hard for people to actually find your shop since etsy is so vast. So promote yourself as much as you can on blogs and other websites and that should help draw traffic to your etsy shop. Don't forget that good pictures make all the difference, so take the time to photograph your items well and that will definitely draw people in! Good luck!

Check out Geneviève's website and her etsy shop. Don't forget the 7th Toronto timeraiser event this Saturday if you're in Toronto - combine your community service and art hoarding tendancies in one evening!

Interviewed by ezhilin, the week of March 15, 2010.

Toronto Etsian Coffee Table Book Project

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Toronto etsy seller and T.E.S.T. member junglejewelry (maker of the Copper wrapped Rose Quartz pendant shown) writes that she is looking for other Etsians who are interested on collaborating on a coffee table book filled with one page profiles of approximately 100 etsy shops. If you are interested, Brittany can be contacted through her shop at junglejewelry.etsy.com or at brittanymcbride [!at] rogers.com

St. Patrick's Day

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On March 17th, the whole world becomes Irish for St. Patrick's day. Celebrate the wearing of the green with urbanfusions's Shamrock - Fused Glass Belt Buckle

Send happy greetings with a Happy St. Paddys Day card by bebbers

Even your knitting can be green thanks to Little Ladybugs Stitch Markers in Lime by bijouxdesignsforyou

Be emerald green down to your toes with FREE SHIPPING L'emeraude, embellished shoes by cocoboudoir

Emerald green earrings are part of a BOGO sale by Dalim

The quirky everyday tie - upcycled and reconstructed by ilovetweek is just the thing.

Want the luck of the Irish? Sport the
Lucky Horseshoe - knit purse by knitrovert
(Or if you're like me, and your dad is inordinately proud of his Irish heritage, perhaps you should get him a #1 Dad beer cozy).

Keep your dirty boy clean in style with the Dirty Boy Ceramic Soap Dish by lurearts

Everyday is a good day to buy art. The Irish are a major demographic group on Cape Breton which is a great excuse to treat yourself to Original Linocut Print - The Ridge Roof
by magprint

Dress your little one in Ponies Pinafore in 18-24 mnths by SaritaBaby

Wear Victoria's Emerald Silk Rose and Guinea Feathers Brooch Pin by ShopJoliette.
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