T.E.S.T. interview: CandiWare

Friday, September 16, 2011

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 22nd in our series, an interview with CandiWareJewelry of Candiware.

First, tell us a little about you and your shop. What prompted you to open up an Etsy shop?

CandiWare is a one-stop shop for delicious miniature food jewelry that is scented! After making my own jewelry for years, I finally decided to open my own Etsy shop because whenever I went out wearing the jewelry I had made people would always ask me where I bought my fun jewelry. At that point, it was simply a matter of time before I wanted to share my work with the public and bring a sense of fun to their lives.

How did you become interested creating such uniquely crafted jewelry?

As a child, I always loved small toys such as Polly Pockets. In addition, I have always had a knack for crafts. When I began creating my miniature food pieces, it just perfectly fit my style! 

Other than your shop, do you have another occupation or a ‘day job’? If so, what is it? Do you have a background in jewelry design or business? 

Yes, I actually do have a day job, I work as a background painter for a Disney children’s show. I’m lucky because I thoroughly love both my work with Disney as well as my Etsy shop. In terms of my background, I have degree from the advanced animation program at Seneca College.

Through your shop, CandiWare, you offer not only jewelry pieces, but also items for both men & women as well as some seasonal pieces. Do you find that this makes your shop constantly grow & reach diverse markets?

Yes, I do think that having a variety of different items in your shop is a big plus. In terms of seasonal pieces, I find it is very helpful to keep your shop new and fresh! Seasonal items can also draw in buyers and hopefully, keep interested in returning to check out new items or find a new purchase.

I love the whimsical & fun aspect of your designs, why is this an important feature of your shop?

I really believe in what I’m selling! I have found that my pieces are able to provoke laughter and enjoyment from customers or even when I’m out wearing it or at craft shows. I also meet some individuals that think my jewelry is odd or “gaudy”! I actually had a women say that to me at a craft show! I just think people like that don’t know how to have fun!

You mention in your shop’s announcement that your food themed jewelry actually contains scent, which is almost too delicious to resist! Can you describe how you create your jewelry & how they become scented?

When I create my jewelry, I make my pieces called, little minis, out of fimo then I add the scented oils to the clay as it’s baking. Trust me when I say they really do smell good! : D

What is your biggest inspiration for your pieces?

My biggest inspiration for my pieces comes from cookbooks if you can believe it! I have a lot of recipe books that are all about tarts, cakes, cookies, and other sweets. For inspiration, I simply flip though the recipes and find a sweet treat that I would love to make in a miniature form.

Do you have a favourite piece or one you enjoy crafting? If so, which piece?

I do have a lot of favourites! Currently, I am really in love with my teapot necklace. 

In what ways do you, CandiWarejewelry, promote your business? Are they any current promotions on your Etsy shop, CandiWare? Other than your Etsy shop is there anywhere else where readers can find out more about Candychick?

I promote my business through various social networking sites which include Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler as well as my CandyWare Blog. For Etsy promotions, I currently have a big sale going on in my shop in order to make space for my new stock. To visit, go to the “Sale” section in my shop to see the special items on promotion.

To someone considering opening his or her own Etsy shop, do you have any advice for him or her?

My advice to new sellers is to make sure you read the Etsy Seller Handbook and go through all of the Etsy Online Labs too. They are incredibly helpful! My main goal with my shop is to always update whether it be through my blog, Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook. Just get yourself out there!

You can find more of CandiWareJewelry in her Etsy shop, the Candiware blog, the Candiware Tumblr, the CandiWare Facebook page or follow CandiWare on Twitter. She was interviewed by Meg of FrameBoutique in September, 2011.

Vendor Call: Sale of the Century

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Via the Toronto Craft Alert, a little Vendor Call:

Melissa, the organizer, for Sale of the Century, going down Tuesday September 20 from 7-10pm is hosting a night of shopping, drinking and eating at the west-end gem of a restaurant, Zocalo.

And she wonders if you would also like to offer your wares at this event.

She started out envisioning a vintage sale and it quickly turned into a night of old and new friends peddling our various wares for money, barter, hugs, promises, drinks, etc.

A few of the earliest confirmed participants include:

ADR will offer readings as a Tarot apprentice (for ten dollars per reading).

Janet MacPherson (finally back from her 3 year stint in Ohio) will sell her beautiful ceramics.

She will sell spoils from my vintage (and lightly used clothing) collection.

And it is likely that Barbara Lindenberg will show a dance.

Would you like to join us?

Sale of the Century will occur on Tuesday September 20 from 7-10.
It will cost $5 to secure a table.
She would love to see you all there with your cds, jewellery, health food, paintings, art and crafts, vintage clothing, macrame, baked goods or a song in your heart.

Please email her if you would like to take part (skysdale '@' gmail.com)
Feel free to pass this on to anyone you think might be interested in participating.

T.E.S.T. interview: FrameBoutique

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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 21th in our series, an interview with Meg of FrameBoutique.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself & your shop. What prompted you to open up an Etsy shop?

My name is Meg & I’m the exclusive designer & owner of FrameBoutique, which specializes in handmade, vintage-inspired jewelry. After simultaneously completing my master’s degree in English Literature & saying, “I do” to my partner of ten years, Sean, I began teaching at a private high school in Toronto. However, I felt a creative void in my routine so I catapulted headfirst into the burgeoning world of jewelry design. Etsy is a new medium with countless possibilities, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been” (George Eliot).

My infatuation for the written word did not end when I was handed my diploma, rather it infuses my Etsy shop. Whether it is through photographing my jewelry pieces on cherished novels or upcycling tattered books into decorative poms & one-of-a-kind brooches, my literary passion has not diminished. For the majority of my pieces, I use my wedding china with its softly detailed scroll design, which is also as a reminder of my husband’s unvarying support.

When I look through your collection of uniquely crafted jewelry, your work reminds me of 1950s fashion. To be honest, it makes me want to put on one of my 50s style dresses & add one of your Hollywood Regency or cocktail rings! I must ask, what inspires your designs?

Thank you! My inspiration stems from a variety of fashion trends. While I design new pieces or sketch them out, I usually watch classic films from the 30s, 40s & 50s. I love the simple design of women’s suits with bold accents in the 30s. I recently wrote a blog post on how Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday has influenced some of my more whimsical pieces such as my necktie or moustache necklaces. I love Rosalind Russell's wardrobe choices; she wears typically masculine clothes (suits, hats) & yet, reclaims them as feminine pieces.

Those closest to me know that my primary influence is Audrey Hepburn & her signature minimalist, silhouette style, which she always wore with bold earrings & accessories. In addition to these influences, my design is an eclectic mix of Boho Chic, Neo-Victorian, Parisian Chic, Old World & Shabby Chic styles.

What are the different textures that you love to mix the most? What ‘look’ are you going for with these pieces?

I love working with clean lines, crisp colours as well as soft shades such as blush, cream or beige. Also, floral pieces are central to most of my designs & often, I incorporate vintage items or create vintage-inspired jewelry. A lot of my designs play with the idea of contrast, usually between bold colours such as pairing vivid turquoise & bright red in an elegant pair of earrings. Lately, I’ve been using the soft texture of ribbon or lace trim as a contrast against the delicate metal work of filigree & the vintage-style of cabochon flowers, which has turned out better than I originally imagined. Now I just have to part with those pieces!

Most of my jewelry are statement pieces: รผber feminine, soft & minimalist. I abide by the ‘everything in moderation’ rule of thumb; with jewelry, you don’t want to over do it. Sometimes wearing one ‘statement’ piece can express more about your personality than a few colourful items. I also don’t wear or create jewelry according to the seasons - I think floral designs can add a touch of warmth in the fall & winter months. With jewelry, my philosophy is not to limit yourself to a season, but rather pick pieces that are timeless, bold.

Do you have any new & exciting designs that we can look forward to in the coming months?

By now, I think I have filled my design notebook to the brim with sketches of new designs! I would love to share a couple of my upcoming projects. One design that I’m quite excited about uses eco-friendly wooden bangles/bracelets. Essentially, I will be incorporating certain designs on paper as well as Japanese origami paper onto the wooden bangles – bright colours & chunky, oversized bangles.

Ideally, I want to create more upcycled, eco-friendly jewelry as it is such an admirable movement. I also have a new design for my upcycled necktie necklaces that reinvents them into a more feminine necklace rather than just a smaller necktie.

Do you have any tips for new Etsy sellers?

Yes! Use social networking sites to promote your brand such as blogs, Twitter or Facebook. This gives potential clients a chance to see beyond the final product & get a glimpse into your style, sense of humour, design process & draw attention to upcoming items. The most useful resource, the Etsy Seller Handbook will improve your Etsy business if you adopt the handbook’s advice. Also, frequently listing new items will increase the chance for buyers to discover your shop. The Shop Stats feature is another fundamental tool that can help you adjust your tags accordingly, which will increase your shop’s search relevancy. Lastly, photography is one of the most important areas to tackle. Browse some successful shops & you might notice a particular aesthetic – bright exposure, clean surfaces & uncluttered backgrounds. For more tips, visit Etsy’s Guide to Photography!

Other than your Etsy shop is there anywhere else where readers can find out more about FrameBoutique?

In addition to Etsy, I have a Facebook page, which has several of the same items as my Etsy shop, but also some different designs. On Facebook, I often post promotions, special sales & contests exclusive to Facebook fans (the last contest was a free pair of earrings from my shop!). I also have a Twitter account as well as a blog that focuses on new & upcoming designs, free DIY tutorials & products as well as Etsy promotions.

You can find more of Meg's designs in her Etsy shop FrameBoutique, her FrameBoutique Facebook page, her blog and you can follow FrameBoutique on twitter. She was interviewed by Candice of Candychick in September, 2011.

Friends of the Arts - Toronto Arts Funding Petition

Via the Toronto Craft Alert:

Please take 30 seconds to add your name to the Friends of the Arts petition!

Toronto City Council is planning to make deep cuts to the city budget, and this puts arts and cultural funding at serious risk. Cutting the arts could be an economic and social catastrophe for Toronto: not only does the city achieve a huge return on a relatively small investment, but our vibrant arts scene is also a big part of what makes Toronto a great place to live, work and visit.

Friends of the Arts* has launched an online petition to let City Councillors know that Torontonians value the arts

By signing the petition you will be sending a message to the Mayor and your local councillor telling them that arts funding should not be cut. Here are a few of the reasons why the arts might be important to you:

*Arts and culture are essential to Toronto’s economy, generating $9 billion every year.

*Arts and culture create jobs. 130,000 people work in the sector – and many more depend on related businesses, including those in hospitality and tourism.

*Torontonians care about the arts. In 2010, there were 20 million visits from every corner of Toronto to city-supported arts events.

*Every dollar Toronto invests in arts organizations attracts $17 more from private and public sources. Arts and culture funding has a great return on investment.

*Great art and artists take years to achieve commercial success; today’s funding enables tomorrow’s art.

*Artists flock to cities that support them – yet Toronto invests less in the arts than other major cities; City Council has been working to change that, and it must stay the course.

Toronto Councillors need to know that their voters value the arts. Please feel free to forward the petition on to your friends and family.

Made by Hand Show - still a few spots left

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We have a few vendor spaces left for the Made by Hand Show.  We are still accepting vendors in the following catagories:  
Candles, Baby/Toys, Wood, Ceremic/Glass, Paper Goods, Decorations/Christmas, Clothing, Art, Pottery and Stain Glass.   
Why exibit with us?  HUGE craft show, GREAT variety of vendors, MASSIVE advertising, EXCELLENT venue, TONS of parking, REASONABLE booth rates, LARGE booth areas.
10'x10' Booth is $160 plus HST.
I really hope you will join us for this fantastic showcase of all things handmade.

Email Us today for an application!

Call for submissions: Do Design

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Do West Do Design Event 2012

Thursday 26th January to Sunday 29th, January 2012
Reception: various venues from 3pm to 8pm Saturday 28th, January 2012
Do Design Guided Tour of Venues: Sunday 29th, January 2012

Via the TCA comes this call for Do Design, a four day design crawl now in its second year which features contemporary furniture, objects, architectural and graphic design on display in storefronts, cafes, walkups & windows from Dundas St West from Bathurst to Grace street. They are seeking submissions for design works. For more details as well as the application form, visit here

T.E.S.T. interview: theDADproject

Thursday, September 1, 2011

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 20th in our series, an interview with sisters Serena and Emily of theDADproject.

One of the great things about being part of an Etsy Street Team is meeting locals with something in common. Many (possibly most) of us on T.E.S.T. may have our own experiences with cancer in our own families, and would be happy to help raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society by doing something we love - namely making handmade things. This is what theDADproject is all about. You can follow the discussion thread about the D.A.D. project in our team forum and join other teammates in participating.

First, a little about you. I think you may be our only sister act on T.E.S.T. How did you both become illustrators? Were you competitive growing up, or is this something you enjoyed together?

As kids, we were both constantly drawing and finding ways to be creative but, surprisingly, were never competitive about it. These days, we continue to encourage each other in our separate artistic pursuits — we’ve both been lucky enough to include illustration in our careers. With The D.A.D. Project, we have found a collaborative and creative way for us to work together while dealing with the loss of our father.

You both have a sort of whimsical style, featuring animals, humour and kid-friendly illustration. Why do you think that is?

We both have pretty good senses of humour (or so we’d like to think!) and a love for animals and most things kid-related (maybe because we’re both still young-at-heart). We’re definitely glass-half-full types, and we both enjoy a good play on words.

What are your favorite media for creating?

Emily is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, and uses her Wacom Cintiq 21UX regularly, most often with Corel Painter. Her specialty when she studied Fine Art at university was printmaking, which she still revisits by silkscreening clothing for her other side business, m chen wears.

Serena does most of her D.A.D. drawings using a Wacom tablet and stylus with Adobe Illustrator; however, when she gets the chance, she still loves using traditional media such as pen and ink, watercolours and pencil crayons.

Do you do illustration full-time?

As a freelancer, about half of Emily’s projects are illustration-based. She’s currently on a break for maternity leave but hopes to get back to the grind by early 2012.

Serena does her illustration work part-time (including drawings for The D.A.D. Project), in the evenings and on weekends, when not at her full-time job.

Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Tell us about The D.A.D. Project and how you came to collaborate together and with other artists.

We lost our father last October after his year-and-a half battle with metastatic colon cancer. In June 2010, we launched The D.A.D. (Drawing A Day) Project — an ongoing, online, art-based fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). It’s our way to give back to an organization that was helpful to our father, as well as to others fighting cancer, and a way to do something proactive to deal with our feelings of helplessness.

Every weekday, we take turns doing a Drawing A Day (hence the project’s name), which we then put up for sale in our etsy shop. Ten dollars from every print sold of our drawings is donated to the CCS. In addition to this, we also do a weekly “Feature Friday” post on a different artist or craftsperson who has kindly donated an item of theirs to our cause; all proceeds from these sales are also donated to CCS.

How have you found the experience of using art to fight back against cancer? How have people responded?

The support and encouragement that we have received from the get-go (and that we continue to receive) has been overwhelming and incredibly rewarding. Our first orders came mainly from friends and family who wanted to support our venture. Word has spread about our project and orders now come from friends and strangers alike.

We’ve also been touched by the number of fellow artisans who have donated their work to support our cause.

What are your goals for The D.A.D. Project?

Originally, we told ourselves we would be happy if we could sell one print per week, which would have amounted to $500 in donations in our first year. As it turns out, we raised more than $4,000 through our sales in that first year, and we have also collected $1,200 in direct donations through our Canadian Cancer Society Team website page.

We are looking forward to continuing this tribute to our Dad as long as we can.

How can T.E.S.T. artists help?

We have been fortunate enough to have had a few fellow T.E.S.T. members already make donations of their wares to The D.A.D. Project (thank you for all those who have participated!), and there are a couple more in the works.

As part of being one of our “Feature Friday” participants, we list the donation in our etsy shop and include a write-up of the artist in a related blog post including photo(s) and links to their shop/sites. We also post the donation and links on our facebook page.

For anyone who is interested in making a creative donation, please let us know (through etsy or our blog) and we would be more than happy to coordinate with you.

You can find more of The D.A.D. project work and news on the D.A.D. project website, in theDADproject Etsy shop, theDADproject Facebook page, and you can follow theDADproject on twitter. You can follow their fundraising or donate directly at their Canadian Cancer Society Team page.

Serena's artwork website can be found here. Emily has her freelance art and illustration website and a second mchenwears website and Etsy shop for screenprinted teeshirts.

Interviewed by minouette in August, 2011.

Vender call: 2nd Annual Wandering Winter Craft Show

Only two dates/locations this year, but they are awesome locals!

Sat. Nov. 26 - The Church of the Holy Trinity (the Church beside the Eaton Centre)
Sat. Dec. 10 - The Gladstone Hotel Ballroom

For more information visit the ShopCats blog. For the application, go here. Hosted by T.E.S.T.'s own LandfillDesigns.
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