Riverdale Art Walk

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TWO DAYS. 125+ EXHIBITING ARTISTS, including T.E.S.T's own Natalie from Fragmentalist and Nga from NgaDinhArt!


JUNE 1 & 2 • 2013 | 11am – 6pm


This is your opportunity to experience the work of a wide variety of established and emerging artists – all in one area, all exhibiting over two great days. It is a dynamic and fun event that gives thousands of visitors the opportunity to discover the “next great Canadian artist” or simply that one artist that connects with you.

125+ artists are exhibiting painting, photography, mixed media, printmaking, drawing and sculpture in Jimmie Simpson Park, located at Queen Street East and Booth Avenue. In addition, see work in galleries and shops along Queen Street East in Riverdale and Leslieville, including the Hangman Art Gallery at 756 Queen Street East.

Vendor Call: Art in the Park

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Bradford Arts Guild (BAG) is pleased to present its first annual MeadowFest at Scanlon Creek.   This beautiful conservation area offers vendors a natural environment filled with hiking trails, trees, a kids’ play area and lots of open spaces to enjoy. Welcoming and casual, families will enjoy spending a day at the park as they can bring a picnic, buy a lunch, hike, listen to music, experience a performance, watch an art demo or take part in many of the creative activities. Mostly, they will want to wander through the unique marketplace of  one-of-a-kind artists and artisans from all over Ontario.

For more information and pricing go here.

Springtime Marketplace

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The 4th Annual Toronto Etsy Street Team Springtime Marketplace is fast approaching! Join us on:
Date: June 1, 2013
Time: 11:00 am to 5:30 pm (followed by post-show cocktail party)
Where: 918 Bathurst Centre, in the heart of the Annex, on Bathurst north of Bloor
Admission: FREE

for our best show yet! Along with our handmade vendors, you can peruse great vintage finds, enjoy music from our live DJ, and take part in one of a series of FREE craft workshops. The Marketplace will be followed by a cocktail reception offering refreshments, a cash bar, a charity raffle, a special tea-infused cocktail workshop and a chance to mingle and chat with the members of TEST. The show features 40+ TEST makers and vintage sellers and includes; one of a kind jewelry, art, fashions (both new and vintage), toys, handmade body care items and baked goods. See the show website or Facebook Event Page for more details.

Spend a fun spring afternoon checking out these talented handmakers’ wares, support local artists in your community, enjoy the hunt for the perfect vintage item.

Don't forget to check out the lovely Springtime Marketplace Look Book!

T.E.S.T. Interview: Hellhound Fashion

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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 54th in our series with Luka of HellhoundFashion.

What is your most significant achievement (i.e., your proudest moment) with your creative business to date?

I'm still only starting to fully put myself into the business so I haven't seen much by way of results just yet. I think my biggest accomplishment is probably that I haven't given up yet. It's easy to get discouraged by a slow startup, which I've already experienced (this is my third attempt at my own business!), you've just gotta believe in yourself enough to keep going even - or especially - if you haven't made any money after a year. That and finally getting likes on Facebook from people I don't actually know!

Tell me your story about who you are and how it all started.

I'm a 20-something life-long art kid and animal lover. I started sewing when I was a kid, going through bags of hand-me-down clothing from my cousin and reworking them to fit my size and style. Hellhound Fashion started with me making geeky jewellery for myself that I couldn't find anywhere else, and a business plan I had to write in college. After years of my friends asking for me to make things for them and telling me I should sell elsewhere, I decided to open up my Etsy shop. I liked the name, tagline, and branding I'd developed for my marketing class assignment so much that I decided to use it as the basis for the shop.

Where and how did you learn your craft?

I first started sewing on my mother's machine some time in the '90s after a little instruction from her on how to use it. It was years before I realized bobbins could be wound on the machine and not just by hand! It wasn't until my last year of high school when I actually took my first sewing class, and after taking a couple years off after graduation, I went to college for a three-year Fashion Arts program.

The jewellery side of things was entirely self-taught starting with one boring rainy day in my first year of college. Lastly, my screen printing started in my high school art class. Admittedly, I did little to nothing to improve my printing skills until the last couple years. My general artsy skills can be attributed to genetics (my mother was a craft painter when I was a kid, and my dad is a very talented drawer even if he doesn't practice much anymore), and having an amazing art teach in high school.

Describe your creative process and inspiration(s).

My creative process is quite lengthy and a bit annoying at times. It used to be that I would just go straight to making something without any clear idea of how I was going to go about it. Just stitching things together and awkwardly fitting it to myself while wearing it. Since college, learning new techniques and why my old ones weren't necessarily good, that's all changed. Sometimes my ideas come from the fabrics I buy, sometimes the fabrics I buy are specific for my ideas. Either way, once I have a solid idea floating around in my head, I try sketching it out as best I can, but it never really translates the way I want it to. That's all different once the drafting starts!

With clothing, I sew up a quick muslin from my pattern blocks (think the plainest item of clothing ever), throw them on my mannequin, and start drawing on the lines of how I want the finished item to look. Once that's all said and done, I trace pattern pieces from there and begin sampling. Because you can't really tell how something will look until it's made from the final fabric, how the fabric hangs with the cut and if that armhole really sits where its supposed to or if it cuts into your armpit, the sampling can sometimes take days. Days of fussing over small details, screaming bloody murder at my sewing machine, realizing I have a better idea and having to start all over, until finally I end up with something I'm proud of. That's usually when I leave it be, grab a cup of tea and celebrate by being lazy for a full day before getting into the real constuction.

This translated into my other forms of art as well. Now, when I decide to do a new painting, I draw out the idea first. Then I work out the colouring and shading on paper with pencil crayons and ink before getting into the actual painting. It definitely helps to avoid being let down by your own mistakes if you work out your approach beforehand!

My inspiration comes from all over the place. The fabrics I buy, street and runway fashion, comic characters' costume design, the graffiti on the back streets of Queen West where all the best fabric shops are. Bright colours with dark contrasts, the right attitude, architecture and multicoloured hair. Inspiration can be found anywhere once you open yourself up to it!

Is this your full time job? What is life like outside of your creative world?

Hellhound Fashion has just recently become my full time job. That's not to say it's sustainable just yet, but I'm fortunate that our country believes enough in small business to help fund the beginning stages. I'm in development for all kinds of things that will hopefully see the light of day before this year ends. Outside of Hellhound, my life revolves around music. My house not only serves as HF HQ, but also as the jam space for many Toronto bands thanks to my very talented musician roommates. If I'm not buried in some sort of creative outlet (sewing, drawing, painting), or immersed in whatever music I might be listening to be it live or a recording, I'm probably spending time with my best friend in the world: my dog, Maila.

How do you envision you and your creative business growing in the near future?

Later in the year I plan on expanding into clothing. Using oversized t-shirts with licenced prints, my plan is to create edgy but feminine clothing for all us she-geeks out there who are tired of the same old boring t-shirt, but still want to show off our nerdy side. But it won't just be clothing, it will be purses as well! I have more ideas than I know what to do with, so my visions of the future are always changing, but I do know that I'd like to have a full (even if small) women's line by this time next year, and to expand on my mens accessories. Look for cufflinks around Christmas time!

Check out the other items available from Luka in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on her Tumblr, blog, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Interviewed by Rovena of HandmadesRovena in May 2013 in Toronto.

T.E.S.T Interview: Handmade in Toronto

Monday, May 13, 2013

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 53rd in our series with Kate of HandmadeInToronto.

Why did you decide to make jewelry?

I've always had a varied jewellery collection and can never walk past a jewellery shop or stall without looking. I took a beading course and found my creative side!

Do you have a favorite piece or technique?

Chainmaille designs are a definite favourite - they are challenging, elegant, time consuming and well worth the effort. So many different effects can be achieved by adding pearls, beads and pendants to chainmaille designs.

Is there a favorite piece among buyers?

My marquise earrings are very popular. The beads are so unusual, I think they catch the spirit of a warm evening in Venice. I make the ear wires by hammering the ends and filing them.

Is jewelry making more a hobby or a business?

I work full time as a realtor so making jewellery is part time; but it is a part time business. I love making jewellery and make things that I would buy / wear myself, however I do set targets for revenue, number of craft shows etc.

Do you have other hobbies?

I read LOTS!

Do you promote your shop to gain more visits and purchases?

To some degree - I have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and am on Pinterest. I offer loyalty coupons with a % off next purchase. When I have time, I like spending time in the forums.

What do you like more selling online or in person?

Both have their ups and downs - online is quick and efficient. In person can be rewarding as there is an opportunity to engage the customer and build more of a relationship. I'll take sales either way! I pride myself on providing excellent customer service and can achieve that via both methods.

Do you make custom orders?

Yes - I've had quite a few in my 18 months on Etsy.

Check out the other items available from Kate in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on Twitter and Facebook.

Interviewed by Annafay and Lionelle of TwoCatsBoutique in May 2013 in Toronto.

T.E.S.T. Interview: Two Cats Boutique

Sunday, May 12, 2013

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 52nd in our series with Annafay and Lionelle of TwoCatsBoutique.

How and when did you meet?

We are two mothers who love crafting. We are both recently moved to Canada but from different countries. We've met just last summer on internet and found many common interests. We both were dreaming about some place where we could share with the crowd the stuff we make. Later on we've decided to open a jewelry and accessories shop together on Etsy.

How did you come up with the name of your shop?

Annafay: A few years ago me and my friend decided to make a shop on Etsy with some sewing supplies. We both were homestaying busy moms, so it gave us the association for mom cats and kittens. From on to another it led us to this name - Two Cats Boutique.

After a while the shop was closed, I moved to Canada and met Lionelle. When we thought about opening shop on Etsy, it naturally came to me to stay with this name - same situation- homestaying mommies with kids. Lionelle liked the idea and we've kept this name for our rebranded shop.

Do you sell via other channels - craft shows, retail space?

Lionelle: I used to sell on craft shows in Ukraine, but since moved to Toronto I sell only on Etsy, but really want to go to craft shows some time soon.

You have a variety of techniques across your range - which is your favourite?

Lionelle: I really like wire wrap technique. Also enjoy using stamps on polymer clay and then adding some mica powder or inks on jewelry.

Annafay: Well, it depends on current mood each time I sit to work, no favourite technique for all times.

What do you do when you are not making jewellery and accessories?

Taking care of kids, exploring Canada.

Where would you like your business to be in 5 years' time?

We would like to create a place with creativity spirit all around, with workshops and other crafty events! So hopefully in 5 years we will have a studio in the city along with the online shop.

What does your Etsy life add to your life?

Etsy is not just a place to sell, it's a big community. When you need a creativity boost you just look around on different shops and see how many wonderful things people make.

Check out the other items available from Annafay and Lionelle in their Etsy shop! You can find more of their work on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Interviewed by Kate of HandmadeInToronto in May 2013 in Toronto.

T.E.S.T. Interview: Cubits

Thursday, May 2, 2013

As an etsy shop owner, have you ever wondered how others are so successful in selling online? As part of the T.E.S.T interviews, I recently interviewed Laura, from Cubits (http://www.etsy.com/shop/cubits) one of Canada's top 100 etsy shops in Canada, and a fellow Toronto Etsy Street Team member.

Can you tell me about Cubits?
Cubit’s sells ethical seeds for edible gardens. We grow much of our seed naturally in a few Toronto gardens as well as a farm in Prince Edward County. In addition to what we grow, we also carry some seed from Certified Organic farms so that we can offer larger selection of rare, heirloom and organic seed.

Where did the name "Cubits" come from?
I grew up in Toronto on Sparkhall Avenue. The street was named for Cubitt Sparkhall, a market farmer whose land spread from Broadview Avenue, covering the area where Withrow Park is. When we were trying to come up with a name for our new business we really wanted the idea of Toronto farms turning into urban gardens to be included and Cubit’s was perfect.

Other than selling on etsy, where else do you sell your products? We sell our seeds in some Toronto stores including Green Thumbs & Freedom Clothing Collective. We also do a variety of farmers markets and garden shows like Seedy Saturday.

Getting people to visit your shop can be a challenge. How do you promote (market) your shop? Marketing is our biggest focus after growing and packaging our seeds. We market through a variety of ways both offline and on. We have had great success with paid web advertising and bartering with bloggers for advertising. Thinking about who my customers are and what they are reading really helped us find our advertising niche. We no longer advertise on any gardening sites as they are already saturated with seed companies. We have had great results from How to sites like the Art of Doing Stuff, parenting sites like PhdInParenting and homesteading themed blogs like my bit of earth. We have also had great experiences collaborating with other etsy shops for example if you purchase seed starting trays from Peg & Awl Cubit’s seeds are included with your order. We frequently donate to community gardens and local schools. We have a great following on twitter, facebook, pinterest & instagram where we love talking seeds, gardening and local food. We have also fostered great relationships with Toronto food and gardening bloggers.

Since your shop opened in 2009, you been successful with over 7500 sales ... What has been the biggest part of your success?
We love talking seeds and helping families grow their own food. When you order from Cubit’s or even just ask a question you’re just talking to someone just like you. We don’t pretend to be experts; we honestly want you to have as much fun as we’re having.

Do you remember your first etsy sale? What was that like?
Ha! I had been selling online for a few months with little success and figured I’d try etsy as it was pretty low risk. I sat at a friend’s cottage and copied all our listings over one at a time with a very slow Internet connection. We had our first sale a few weeks later and then they just kept coming, slow and steady. Once most of our sales were coming from etsy I was able to change to focus of our site over to a blog. http://cubitsorganics.com

Product photography is important for selling online, do you any tips on product photography? Ryan and I met at OCAD and both have art degrees and experience in photography. If you shoot in daylight everything will be easier and look 10x better than if you force it. We shoot out on our deck, in front of a window, or even in the middle of an open field when we are at the farm. I pay attention to how the light is at certain points of day and avoid shooting at lunch. Having a variety of props close at hand really helps too. If what you’re doing isn’t working it’s nice to be able to switch things up really quickly, especially if you’re shooting while baby naps.

We both are new moms, has the addition of the little one had an impact on your etsy shop?
We started our business 4 years ago when I was pregnant with Rebecca, so the business has really grown along with our family. Robin was born 6 months ago and while it’s hard to balance the needs of two children and our business but we’re doing all right. We work late a night more than I would like and this year we have hired more help than we have had in the past. I wish we could commit to more in person sales but this is not the year for that. Babies are only babies for such a short amount of time and next year will be a little easier and the year after that will be a cakewalk.

What's your best selling product? Our most popular seeds are the Colourful Carrots. They’re really easy to grow, totally delicious, and gorgeous. https://www.etsy.com/listing/69270152/colourful-carrot-mix-organic-heirloom

Any other suggestions for someone just starting out?
The best things we have done have involved collaborating with others, asking for help when we need it, and finding a supportive community. Being self employed shouldn’t be lonely so if it is, reach out and try to connect with your customers, competitors, peers and things will be much more rewarding and sustainable.

Be sure to visit Cubits ETSY SHOP, follow her on TWITTER, like them on FACEBOOK and on PINTEREST.

Happy Selling.

Sassy Little Craft Show July 7th

 The partners in craft are putting on a Summer edition of the Sassy Little Craft show. We are here to offer you an afternoon of selling your handmade items, while enjoying some eats, drinks, and great company. We will have the fabulous front patio open for use and of course a great space to mingle with old and new friends. Here is the call for entries for the Hooray It's Summer!! edition of the
Sassy Little Craft Show:
 Date: Sunday July 7th 2013
 Place: The Central 603 Markham Street (Bloor & Bathurst, near Suspect Video)
 Time: 2pm-8pm
Cost: $40 per vendor.
Tables are provided. The tables are 2x2ft, standard bar sized tables, so displays need to be kept small. We suggest items under $50, which seems to be the best selling point.
 If you are interested in applying to the show, please send us an email, with a short description, web presence and 3 pics to thesassylittlecraftshow@gmail.com Deadline to apply is May 20. We will confirm participation by May 27.

Craft News: Mondo Bazaar

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The 2013 edition of Mondo Bazaar Spring will be held at the landmark Gladstone Hotel at 1214 Queen St. West.  Find us on the first floor of the hotel in the Ballroom.  Come for the shopping, stay for a visit, a drink or some lunch at the Gladstone Cafe

Saturday May 4, 2013  |  10am – 5pm
Gladstone Hotel – 1214 Queen St. West, Toronto
Free Admission & prize draws all day long!

Vendors include TEST's own 
Hexagon Inc, stitch and spoke, elle cools, heart's haven, sea flower studios and Zippan

Art & craft news: TIJF Enameling Exhibition

Fire and Fusion: a TIJF Enameling Exhibition starts today! Opening reception today (May 1st) from 12:30 to 2pm. Please come see the work of some of the best enamellists in Canada!

Rainbow Gallery, Toronto, ON. (416) 534-3913
Market Square
80 Front Street East, Toronto, ON

TEST's own Torched Studio - is represented as well as the work of 30 other enamellists from across Canada.

The show will be up until the end of May and is presented in conjunction with the TIJF and Meta-Mosaic: 2013 SNAG Conference

And yes, the gallery in inside the theatre - and no, you don't have to pay any admission :)

Fire and Fusion
Related Posts with Thumbnails