T.E.S.T. Interview: 9ineto9ine

Friday, May 29, 2015

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 81st in our series and is with Ay GG of 9ineto9ine

Tell us a bit about yourself and where do you get your inspiration from?

Hi team! My name is Ay and I was born and raised in Toronto. I have always loved creating and crafting; from drawing to sewing. I am inspired by people -- the many differences and similarities between us all.  

What are your favourite materials to works with? And how long does is usually take to create a piece?

 My favourite materials to work with are actually found objects and paper -- I am somewhat of a stationary hoarder. On any given day, I have 3-4 pieces in process; some I know exactly which direction I want to take, others I leave around my workspace to contemplate. So some pieces I can complete in 24 hours with mad fervor, others can take weeks.

Did you receive any professional or educational art training? How does that influence you work?

I have no educational background in art. I have always created out of catharsis -- the need to purge emotions through art. During a recent battle with depression, I rediscovered how throwing myself into creating helps me generate positive feelings and I wanted to give more focus to that aspect of my life.

Do you have a day job?

I currently work in Finance for a non-profit organization, but more recently I have been thinking about teaching yoga full-time.  

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

In the very near future, I plan to offer more personal pieces (as I slowly emerge from my own insecurities) as well as more fun items like t-shirts and stickers for the everyday art collector.  

"Helen III" (2014)
What piece are you most proud of, and what piece gave you the most grief? And why?

I am most proud of this piece I created in 2014 for my first art show, "Helen III". I love this piece because the confidence I felt in creating it was unparalleled at the time -- I think I drew and painted the image within 2 days. My sister is now it's proud owner, so I am fortunate enough to visit it often.  

And just for fun, tell us one interesting, funny or unique fact about yourself?

I wear at least one article of green clothing EVERY DAY.

Check out the other items available from Ay GG in her 9ineto9ine Etsy Shop!

You can also find her at:
Instagram: @deadtherest
Twitter: @dead_the_rest

Interviewed by Victoria of WildOakStudio, May 28, 2015 in Toronto.

T.E.S.T. Interview: Wild Oak Studio

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 80th in our series and is with Victoria of WildOakStudio  

Tell me a little about yourself...plus one interesting fact. 

From a young age, creativity has always been a significant part of my life. I have an educational background in horticulture and floral design. However, I grew up with strong influences from my father who was a carpenter; and my grandmother who loved gardening, and truly appreciated all of Mother Nature's creations. I'd like to think that Wild Oak Studio is a collaboration of these influences. Another important aspect of my life, would be my dog Khloe. I adopted a husky mix from a local shelter two years ago- I may be biased, but she is beyond perfect. When I'm not working away on Wild Oak, or playing with fresh blooms, I am usually found at one of the many dog parks within Toronto. Rain or shine, we're two girls who just love being outdoors. From time to time, Khloe makes an appearance on my Instagram page.

Do you have a separate day job? How do you balance the two? 

By day, I work as a senior floral designer and event coordinator at a trendy floral shop in downtown Toronto. Since I am so passionate, hard working and goal driven, it's not a tough balance. When you love what you do, it never feels like work.

How did you begin working in wood? What is the appeal for you? 

As a florist and creative person, my mind always brewing my next project or creation. I adore flowers, however they are perishable. So I was inspired to create more lasting artwork. I have a keen eye for detail and interior design. My style is fairly rustic. So it just felt natural to begin working with wood. With each piece I create, I utilize my educational background and elements of design.

What led you to open the shop? 

I have a dream to open my own floral boutique, and craft shop. I opened my Etsy shop as a way to promote my business, and bring in extra income to bring me closer to achieving my goal.

Do you make any other crafts/items? 

Sure do! I create botanical wreaths, plant wall mounts, preserved floral arrangements, pressed flower designs, along with a wide variety of home decor items. As well, I do local garden and plant installments within our city.

What has been the biggest challenge as an Etsy Seller?

As a fairly new Etsy seller, I’d say the biggest challenge would be standing out in the crowd. Etsy is very populated with talented crafters; however, I am proud to say I am finding success. I promote myself on social media and create quality products. As a rule of thumb, I think "is this item something I would purchase?" If you would be willing to purchase it, there's a good chance there is a lot of other who would as well.

Check out the other items available from Victoria in her Etsy Shop! You can find more of her work on:
Twitter: @WildOakStudio
Instagram: @WildOakStudio
and at WildOakStudio.com

Interviewed by Ay GG of 9ineto9ine, May 13, 2015, in Toronto. 

Etsy Craft Party

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Since 2010, every year there's an Etsy Craft Party, a global celebration of meeting and making. This year’s Craft Party is happening on June 6 in homes and event spaces all around the world. You can find the DIY instructions for this year's craft (Kaleidoscope: Paper Taking Shape) here. This year, T.E.S.T.'s own Michelle Maynard from SimonesRoseBoutique is teaming up with Sew Be It Studio who is sponsoring the space, to host their Etsy Craft Party! Sign up to join the party at the

Sew Be It - ETSY Kaleidoscope Craft Party page

Here's a link to the Etsy craft party page as well if you want to find a party that is in your area - or if you want to host one!



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's official. We're now over one thousand members strong. We think that's a milestone worth celebrating. Congratulations Toronto Etsy Street Team! Woohoo!

Etsy 30 Day Challenge

Monday, May 18, 2015

Etsy Canada is offering a new online program on called Etsy: 30 Day Challenge - the goal is to help those new to the platform open a quality Etsy shop in 30 days - just in time to apply to sell at Etsy: Made in Canada.

It's FREE and easy to sign up! 

1. Open a draft shop to start the Challenge - Use Promo code 'EtsyChallenge' at etsy.com/promotions and get your first 20 listings free (Listings are normally 20 cents). If you already have an Etsy shop but are looking to improve or grow your online business, you are still welcome to join the program.

2. Join the facebook group between May 19 and June 15 to receive daily inspiration and tips from successful Etsy sellers and stay on track with the 4-week lesson plan. You can post questions here too, and get them answered directly by mentors.

3. Tell your community that you're taking the #EtsyChallenge and inspire others to join! @EtsyCA 
And remember,  TEST ♥ Newbies... so you can also sign up for our TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp and check out all our classes, listed on the sidebar.

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 22 Automate it

Friday, May 15, 2015

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com.  

If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!

We have new sellers joining our Bootcamp all the time, so even though this is Class 22, you can join now or anytime! You can complete the classes at your own pace. The first 8 classes will take you through opening your shop to shipping your sold items:
Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4, Class 5, Class 6, Class 7, Class 8.  

Check out the subsequent classes at your own pace to upgrade your shop when you find the time: Class 9, Class 10, Class 11, Class 12, Class 13, Class 14Class 15, Class 16, Class 17, Class 18, Class 19, Class 20 and Class 21.   The trick is to continually improve and you'll find your business can grow, become more efficient and professional as it evolves. 

We haven't had a newbie bootcamp in a little while, and as always, Etsy keeps changing and evolving. Since our last class was posted, Etsy has gone public, the Seller Handbook has a brand new look, and the Listing Manager has been completely updated. Today, I want to talk to you about the tools which help automate the regular tasks you need to perform to run a successful Etsy business and how automating task (both with the Listing Manager and other tools) can help make life easier. 

The New Listing Manager Nuts and Bolts


You got this. Stay calm and wear an Afrodelik Buddha Head tee.

Now when you navigate to the Listing Manager you'll see somthing like the screen above. You can opt to view your listings as a grid or a list using the two icons next to 'View:' at the top. You'll also find a link to stats, quick edits and adding a new listing right there. On the left sidebar you can filter the complete list of all listings you've ever made, including those that have sold, expired, or are inactive or in draft mode. You can choose to only look at, or manage your featured listings. You can choose to look at any one of your own categories, your own shipping profiles or your own tags. 

These new means of filtering and sorting, along with new bulk editing tools makes it very easy to update your Etsy shop. You can renew (or deactivate or delete) all selected listings at once, by ticking the tick boxes and pressing the button (see red arrows above). You can make bulk edits to Shipping Profiles, Listing Variations, and Sections, and Categories; simply tick the tick box next to each pertinent listing and then press 'More Actions' at the top of the screen. You can edit the amount of stock or the price in-line; hover over quantity or price and a pencil icon will appear. You can click this, edit the field and press enter to save. 'Quick Edit' (at the top) will also let you edit stock, price, titles, section and shipping profiles. As soon as you click it, each of these fields are editable. If you want to to the same thing to many different listings, filter your listings to those of interest, then press 'Quick Edit'. If you’re editing the same attribute, such as stock, on multiple listings you can continuously hit Enter to move down the page.

Sing it now: fine silver custom audio pendant from DesignByBullsEye
Most of the other features of the Listing Manager should be familiar. Check out our Class 4 on how to make listings tempting, to learn what should go into each lisitng. You can read more in Introducing New Listing Management Tools for Your Shop.

Using the New Listing Manager to automate tasks and make life easier

Etsy's blog post on 5 Ways to Save Time With Etsy's New Listings Manager lays out some of the great ways you can take advantage of these tools to streamline your workflow... and trust me, once you get to have dozens of listings, you'll want to streamline as much as possible! Here are their time saving tips and more:

  • Finding and reusing your own content. Since you can search through all your listings, by key words (or sections, shipping profiles, or whatever makes the most sense to you), including those that have sold, are still in draft or are inactive, you should never need to recreate the same things. You can relist, copy or copy and edit previous listings, to create a new custom order, or simply rapidly list something similar to an existing or previous product.
  • Use Quick Edit to update a common property on many listings at once. As mentioned above, in Quick Edit mode you can change the quantity, price, titles, tags, shipping profiles and sections of several itemsin bulk!
  • See Stats at a glance and make informed decisions rapidly. Every listing now shows not just quantity, but how many times it has been listing and how much revenue you've made from selling a given product. You can tell which listings are really performing and choose to relist accordingly! You can also click on the Stats button at the top of the page to see the up-to-date in-line stats for all your listings without leaving the main Listings Manager.
  • Skip steps. You can now edit Sections and Listings from a single page. You can also spot check and filter by 'No section' to see if you've forgotten to add an item to a section. You you opt out of previewing a listing, which can save time if you relist often. Likewise, you can now adjust each item's thumbnail image without going through the preview step. Now you can adjust your thumbnails from the listing images section of the listing process form. The new photo cropping tool allows you to crop right in the listings process without having to delete, edit and re-upload.
  • Automatically relist. Those of us who have been selling on Etsy for a long time have seen the hows and whys or relisting evolve. One of the things I've heard from Newbies is that they list an item, it expires without selling and then they feel rejected and give up. This is nonsense. Do not fool yourself into feeling bad or limiting your own chances to sell your things. There is no rule which says that any given product must sell within x amount of time... and giving your products an arbitrary limit, based on when listings expire is just that: arbitrary. Your 20 cents is renting you online space in your shop for 4 months. Now, new listings will relist by default and you can opt out any time. So in a year, you can spend a whole 60 cents to keep something in your shop. Evey time you go to relist your items you can make the choice to automatically renew, or not. Since you can now see your stats at a glance, if you have something which keeps relisting without garnering revenue you'll know. So automatic relisting is a great time saver. You don't have to keep checking what has expired, what's available and what's not. You can keep all available items available for sale and increase your chances of a sale. If you're worried about the relisting fees, you should probably check out Class 10: The Dark Art of Pricing. And remember, you can opt out anytime.

Relax, and enjoy a lovely pillow cover from AvantgardeStudio
So, prior to these changes, my daily maintenance of my shop consisted of checking my expired listings, relisting and then using social media to promote my newly relisted items. If I had a new product, I would list and promote it. Then I would do any other updating, like choosing more seasonal featured listings, or making whatever tweaks to titles, tags, and text which could improve search engine optimization or any necessary changes in pricing. All of these tasks are made easier with the new Listings Manager. But here's how automation has really streamlined my workflow.

First, my listings now automatically relist: no more manually checking and relisting.

Make child's play of your blogging and social media jobs &
get your favorite wee one this graphic camera blogger
onesie from eleandela
Next, I use some 3rd party tool to simplify and automate promotion and social media tasks.

Updated March 15, 2016
If This Then That  is a free service which connects your various channels. (For a primer on using social media with your shop see Class 9 Social Media). For instance, you sign up, activate your various accounts (such as and including Facebook or Facebook fanpage, Twitter, Instagram and more) and then set recipes in action with the format "if this" [trigger] "then" [do] "that". So, as soon as I post or (automatically) relist a listing, I've set up this tool to post an image and title of the listing on my Facebook fanpage and my twitter stream.  So, without lifting a finger, on any given day, I can have renewed listing and have shared them to multiple social media channels! I've also set up recipes to save me time and effort my sharing content across multiple channels at once; for instance, if I post to Instagram, I can automatically re-post to a photo and text to Twitter (and, it will display properly as a photo, not merely as a link to Instagram). If I make a blog post, I can automatically post an image and title to Twitter or Facebook. There are many, many options and combinations and ways you can use this versitile tool.

Sadly, on March 23, 2016, IFTTT will cease to support Etsy as a channel. That means that you have to be a wee bit more clever to get automatic updates of new or renewed Etsy listings on your social media. Rather than simply triggering recipes on Etsy, you have to use your Etsy shop's RSS feed. You can copy any of these recipes and simply change the URL from:
to your own. That is, replace "gatheringcharms" with your own shop name. Thanks to Etsy user Gathering Charms for the tip!

Scheduling posts in advance can allow you further automation. Most blogging services will allow you to write a blog post and then schedule when it will be post. (We, for instance, use Blogger and can schedule posts tied to specific events, like sales, shows or holidays). There are a number of services which allow you to schedule social media posts. These services have a free version and pro version; a fair amount can be done without investing in the pro version. For instance, I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets and facebook posts for both my shop and the Toronto Etsy Street Team. It even allows me to simultaneously schedule the posting of the same information across more than one channel. I can then use IFTTT to trigger other re-posting to other channels. Buffer can be used to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and can be intergrated with IFTTT. I use Latergram to schedule Instagram posts. You see how this snowballs? Setting aside a small amount of time to plan future posts and mean a lot of promotion for a little work.

All of this automation can free up time for making (or curating) more things for your shop, and for life in general!

Like having your own footmen to work for you... The Footmen by ThreeOnTheTreetop

p.s. you can find other nifty tools on 300 Awesome Free Things for Entrepreneurs. (Thanks for the tip CampTech!)

Vendor call: Pink Market, LGBTQ-oriented craft, fashion, art & literature fair during Pride

Thursday, May 14, 2015

PINK MARKET is a craft, fashion, art & literature fair. Bringing a handmade touch and DIY ethos to Pride Toronto 2015, the first-ever Pink Market will showcase the work of 25 creators during the massively popular festival's closing weekend.

JUNE 27 + 28
180 Shaw St.

Vendors will be announced in May!
APPLY: http://www.pinkmarketto.com/

Vendor call: Toronto Urban Collective pop-up market on July 19th at 99 Sudbury.

Toronto Urban Collective: A summer pop-up market, July 19th at 99 Sudbury.

"Support Local. Shop. Discover.

Toronto Urban Collective is a collection of the city's finest independent artists, craft-makers, musicians, photographers, designers, and gourmet food makers. Featuring unique artisans from all over the city, Toronto Urban Collective is the place for discovery.

Each of our events is carefully curated to ensure the best mix of independent vendors paired with fine gourmet food and music brought to you by Toronto-bred dj's who foster good vibes."
All applications must be received by June 10th, 2015. Selected vendors will be contacted shortly after with further details.

Please note - All vendors are required to pay a non-refundable fee of $140 to secure a table.

Find the application here and the event page here.

Made in Canada Craft Night

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Here at TEST, we have a fantastic group of makers who love to get involved and help out with various team functions. Lately we noticed that we were being approached by members who wanted to help out with the upcoming Made in Canada show, and since we will never say no to an extra pair of hands, we decided to bring them all together for a little info session, or what we prefer to refer to as a Craft Party! Because you can't have so many creatives in one room without some sort of activity to keep their hands busy.

Etsy, along with our Made in Canada sponsors Airbnb came on board to help out and hooked us up with a space for the evening. The West End loft was the perfect spot to entertain our handful of volunteers, it even came with a not-quite-so life sized Godzilla sculpture and the most entertaining ginger kitty named Thor. We were able to share some of the exciting info about the show with our group, before the application launched {which you can read all about here}, while getting down with some crafty-time! We love that they were willing to take time out of their busy schedules to help out with the show, but we also love that we were able to bring together local makers to network and learn from each other.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for this years Made in Canada show, or any of our other events shoot us an email. We love extra pairs of hands!

TEST Interview: FairbrotherCo

Monday, May 11, 2015

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 79th in our series and is with Courtney Fairbrother-Davies of Fairbrother & Co.  

As a child did you play/work with fabrics and textiles? Is this where your passion started?

Growing up, my mother was always sewing something. She sewed many of our clothes, dolls, toys - well, everything! She is very skilled and there is nothing in the sewing/crafting/knitting world that she isn't an expert at. So, as a child, I was always surrounded by fabrics and yarn and every supply you could imagine. She sent me to formal sewing lessons at the age of 8, where I learned to sew and absolutely loved it. I remember sewing from my first "real" Butterick pattern at age 10 when I made a pretty complex outfit for my new baby sister. I think it even had a zipper. So, I guess you could say this is where my passion started, yes!  

Have you always been drawn to Japanese aesthetics and Swedish design - how did this combination come about?

I have always been drawn to simple, clean lines, and a "less is more" aesthetic. I have always loved the simplicity and the delicate nature of Japanese design, whether it's found in fabric or patterns. When sewing for my own children, I also began incorporating the bright, sharp, simple and geometric aesthetic of Swedish design. I love the way colours and patterns are used together and find it particularly appealing for children.  

What is your creative process? How do you finalize a design or colour combination? 

I start with functionality. Whenever I use a product for my own children, I'm constantly thinking about how it can be improved. It's surprisingly difficult to find a baby blanket that is the right weight, feel, and size, and yet is also beautiful. And of course, the quality and appeal of the fabric is equally important. I find it so important to use fabrics from natural fibres, and it has to be soft and feel wonderful next to my babies' skin. The fun part is choosing the gorgeous designs to make up into blankets, and coordinating the thread for the bound edge.  

Are you currently working on any new designs or other products?

I'm always thinking about new designs, and working on new products. I have some lightweight blankets that are ready to add to the shop in time for summer, as well as a crib quilt and baby bath towel. My biggest project of the moment is thinking through fabric design to eventually have my own fabric printed and designed to use for the blankets.  

Do you have any upcoming shows or events this year?

I haven't committed to any shows for this year. I'm thinking about it for the future, though. My Etsy shop is still pretty new, so I would like to focus on it for a little longer before I get ready for a show. I do love the Etsy sections at the Toronto One of a Kind Shows and think it would be a fantastic place to start.

Check out the other items available from Courtney in her FairbrotherCo Etsy Shop!  You can also find her at:
Twitter : @FairbrotherCo
Facebook : fairbrotherandCo
Instagram.com : fairbrotherandco

Interviewed by Jen of JenAllisonPhoto, May 6, 2015 in Toronto.


Etsy: Made in Canada Toronto 2015 Applications Are Now Open!

It's what you've been waiting for! 

Follow THIS LINK to apply to Etsy: Made in Canada, Toronto

Read about our inaugural Etsy: Made in Canada here. This year our show will be bigger and better! More space, more vendors, more exciting workshops! Be part of this amazing day of pan-Canadian pop-up markets, from coast to coast to coast.


The fee is only $100 for a 6' x 2.5' table and one chair, or opt to bring your own clothing rack of the same size.* Succesful first round applicants will be informed by JULY 12. Any available (unpaid or declined) spaces will be offered to our waiting list beginning in August.

Any Canadian Etsy shop owner, selling handmade or vintage items may apply to the shop. If you live outside Toronto and want to find a show closer to home, check out the Etsy: Made in Canada landing page. If you are a vintage or handmade seller and have yet to open your Etsy shop, just follow this link - you can open a shop with 20 free listings and then sign up for the TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp to get your shop in tip top shape!  

Look for the #EtsyMadeInCanada hashtag for the national event and #EtsyMICToronto for our pop-up at MaRS!

*Handmade or vintage clothing vendors who opt to use a clothing rack rather than a table must confirm with organizers

Etsy: Made in Canada 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

We're so excited to share our plans for the sophomore year of Canadian pop-up markets from coast to coast to coast! Etsy: Made in Canada is back on September 26, 2015! Find all the pop-ups and answers to your questionson the Etsy: Made in Canada Page. You can also read more about teams, the Canadian Etsy community and those involved in #EtsyMadeInCanada, including peak inside TEST's own captain Ele Willoughby of minouette's studio!
Ele (aka minouette) and TEST leader Candice Ware of
CandiWareJewelry talk about their Made in Canada plans

The Toronto Etsy Street Team is once again teaming up with 416Hustler to host our own mega-pop-up market #EtsyMICToronto at the MaRS Discovery District building, 101 College St at University Avenue. Last year's show hosted 120 vendors and attracted more than 8000 shoppers. People were lined up in hopes of getting a swag bag a full three hours prior to opening. This year's show will be even bigger! More vendors, more workshops, more space. We were so pleased to hear from many vendors that Made in Canada was their most successful day of selling that year - or ever! Nothing makes us happier. We expect this year's show to be even better. 

All handmade or vintage Etsy shop owners are welcome to apply to this juried show. Artists, artisans, craftspeople, vintage sellers who have yet to open an Etsy shop should do so right now... because as of MONDAY, MAY 11 our application will be open! The final deadline for applications is JUNE 21, 2015. A link to our online application form will be posted RIGHT HERE. Check in Monday, and apply to our show!

Are you set for Mother's Day?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

You can still find wonderful local gifts and the perfect card if you act quick!


Or check out our TEST Gifts for Her page!

TEST Interview: RowanStudios

Monday, May 4, 2015

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 78th in our series and is with Karoliina of RowanStudios.

I am curious about what got you started, both in pursuing your craft and in setting up a shop on etsy. Can you tell me a little about how you define yourself as a craftsmen and about your history of learning and practicing your craft?

I've always wanted to work for myself, open up a little shop, be my own boss. I've just always made things with my hands, every time I see something I think about where it came from and how it was made. Over the years I've learned how to make and do all kinds of things, but never focused on one thing. Opening this shop is one way to allow myself to do that.

I was born in Finland, and I remember the log house we had, my dad built with family and friends, it was an amazing thing to see; a house just sprung up. They built it with their bare hands. I was young and it made me believe that anything I wanted I could just make. I don't know how to build a log house though, yet, haha! I'll stick to my Scandinavian style home decor and accessories, for now.  

What made you decide to set up a shop on etsy.com? 

I chose Etsy partly because I can't afford to rent a physical space. Also, Etsy just gave me everything I needed. I get to stay home a lot of the time, and work on my things. I find it much nicer to be able to just go for a walk or meet a friend if I need to get out of the house, instead of working out of the house and not being able to go home when you feel you need a break. I guess I'm more of an introvert, so it's perfect for me.

 I love hearing your story Karolina! It really adds a personal element to your work that makes it all the more wonderful. You have a very distinct style in your crafts. Simple, but with distinct personality that makes your work stand out. How would you define your own style? What would you say has influenced your style over the years?

Thank you, simplicity with a distinct style are words that just feel good to me, stylistically it's a compliment. Key phrases that have definitely inspired my work and life in general, in one way or another, are things like "less is more", and "simplicity is key", and "don't fix it if it's not broken". Maybe the airy, clean and precise look of my work is a Scandinavian thing, but it's definitely a result of deciding to make what I couldn't always find in stores and just for the love of creating.  

How do you start planning a new creation? What sort of things inspire you (or have inspired you in the past?

I can be inspired by anything, often it's a pattern, or colour, or even a song. I usually draw sketches of what I'm seeing in my head, to plan it out, and see how the mechanics of an idea would work, if applicable. Coffee and silence always makes me want to work, and I get that fairly often, which is really pretty lucky.

Check out the other items available from Karoliina in her RowanStudios Etsy Shop!

You can also find her:
Instagram : @rowanstudioshop
Twitter : @rowanstudios

Interviewed by Nicole of NRulffPhotography, April 30, 2015 in Toronto.

TEST Interview: N Rulff Photography

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 77th in our series and is with Nicole Rulff from NRulffPhotography.

What made you get into photography, and if applicable, what did you do before photography; what made you want to leave it behind?

Photography is one of my many passions and hobbies, but it is the one pursuit that I have been dedicated to in study and practice consistently for the past 15 years. It was through my father that I first entered into the world of photography. He taught me all about shutter speed, aperture, light metres etc., and gave me access to his library of photography and art books. It was here that I was introduced to the work of photographer and writer Freeman Patterson, who became the next big influence in my photography.  Officially (through education and employment), I am a mathematician, a teacher, and a park naturalist, but, like most people, these definitions fall short, and so I just like to think of myself as a lifelong learner. 

I really like how I see a lot of play with soft billowing tones of colours and textures in your photography, a lot of the time it's nature related, is there a story behind the organic look of your work?

"Soft" and "billowing" are apt descriptions for my photography :: ) ! I found that, even early on in my photography, I was not drawn to take pictures of any "thing" in particular, but rather, of those combinations of light that create a feeling of comfort in me. I am not sure how to explain this, even to myself. I think part of what draws me to a particular picture is a desire to simplify and rationalize the chaotic world around me. To create reason and beauty in places that would seek to overwhelm. In this way is photography something of an escape for me. When I shoot, I think only of the moment, of what I see, feel, hear, and smell.  I also am an introvert, and am easily overwhelmed by being around people for too long. Being by myself (especially in nature), brings me a peace that I find easy to lose in the day-to-day stresses of life.

Check out the other items available from Nicole in her NRulffPhotography Etsy Shop!  You can also find her at:

Interviewed by Karoliina of RowanStudios, April 30, 2015, in Toronto.

T.E.S.T. Interview: JenAllisonPhoto

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 76th in our series with Jen Allison of JenAllisonPhoto.  

What is your creative background? When did you start working with photography and how did you learn this technique?

As a child I always had my camera with me and took excess rolls of films wherever I went. Photography has always been a part of my life; playing with grama’s camera as a kid, being the yearbook photographer in high school, exploring film cameras during university and returning back to college for my Photography training. I’ve had a photography business since 2010. With my exposure to graphic design and uncovering many other artists’ style of work, I found I wanted to find a way to make my photographs different, bright and bold. The ‘technique’ evolved through my exploration of colour applied to my photographs and my desire to print my artwork on acrylic.  

What is your day job when you are not busy creating beautiful art? How do you balance the two?

My day job is as a Design Project Manager. I find that because I work in a creative field, I can balance my day job and my photography. However, I always wish I had more time to take photographs!

Have you presented or sold your work in other venues outside Etsy? Do you have plans to?

I have had my work in restaurants, small Toronto galleries, a co-op art shop in Kingston and various outdoor art shows. I’ll be at Handmade Harvest May 30 and 31, 2015 and Beaches Arts and Craft Show June 13-14 and hopefully some more shows.  

Do you have other creative products in the works?

I have some new products I’m hoping to test out this year at upcoming shows.  

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I find inspiration in photography and design magazines and websites. As well as going to local craft/art shows and art galleries.

Check out the other items available from Jen in her JenAllisonPhoto Etsy Shop!

You can find more of her work:
Facebook: jenallisonphoto
Twitter:  @jallisonphoto
Instagram: @jenallison

Interviewed by Courtney of FairBrother&Co, March 27, 2015, in Toronto.


One week till Mother's Day

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Only one week till Mother's Day, but TEST has you covered with the perfect thing for Mom, right here in Toronto!


Celebrate Mom

Check out our pages, including TEST's Mother's Day page for more fabulous gift ideas!

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