T.E.S.T. Interview: MunchiesandMusings

Saturday, December 17, 2016

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 107th in our series and is with Rebecca from MunchiesandMusings


What was your experience with Etsy so far?

Etsy has been great. The community is very supportive, and I've had the opportunity to see some of the events that the local teams organize. Etsy is such a great way to take action on an idea brewing in your mind without a lot of risk, which is important to someone like me who has no entrepreneurial background. The Etsy atmosphere gets me so inspired to help support other local crafters.

What was your inspiration in creating your products?
I created my himmelis during the time I planned my wedding earlier this year. I made a larger version of the 'octahedron' as part of our table numbers and fell in love with the many ways you can create himmeli shapes. I've always been drawn to geometric shapes and I found that this was just my calling. Since starting my Etsy shop and making basic shapes, I wanted to find a way to add my own personal touch to my himmelis. That’s when I started making letters and uncommon shapes (e.g., stars and cats). It’s fun challenging myself to create different shapes.  

Tell me more about functional qualities of your designs. How can customers use it at home?

Himmelis are décor pieces so they can be displayed anywhere whether they are hung, mounted on a wall, or displayed on a surface. I actually used the orb himmeli as a little pen holder at our wedding welcome table! Himmelis look great with airplants and greenery in them, but also something simple like candles is beautiful as well. They really modernize and add a nice touch to any space.  

What’s the creative process from the idea to the final product?

I usually try to imagine anything as a geometric shape – they’re all I see now, especially since I started making himmelis! Imagining is the easy part, it’s creating the shapes that’s most challenging for me. I’m not exactly a numbers person and I like to visualize everything first so I draw the shapes out. Measuring out the different lengths of tubes to create what I envision takes a bit of time as well as trial and error, but when everything works, it’s the best feeling.  

What is your goal for the next year as an Etsy seller?

As a person who loves multi-purpose products, I hope to somehow make himmelis more functional beyond wall or home décor. I also want to tap into different industries because himmelis look beautiful anywhere! In addition to growing my Etsy shop, I also want to create great relationships with my customers. Stay tuned for my shenanigans!

You can also find Rebecca at the following:
Interviewed by Tanya of AbstractFiguresShop December 8, 2016.

T.E.S.T. Interview: AbstractFiguresShop

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 108th in our series and is with Tanya of AbstractFiguresShop

When did you start painting and why did you choose to paint all of your work using watercolour rather than to other types of paints?

I have started drawing and painting since childhood and was taking art classes on and off. Four years ago I have finished a certificate program at George Brown colleague. While studying I have experimented with a lot of mediums and found that I am attracted to watercolours a lot- to its fluidity and transparent effects.  

What is your process from when you think of an idea to when you complete a painting?

Most of my paintings are custom couple and family portraits. I receive a photo reference or a description from my customers. They also choose dominant colors of the art work and we together finalize other details, like adding flowers, landmarks, special outfit, etc. In brief, I want to show love and joy in my paintings.  

Have you ever completed a painting for a customer that you loved so much you didn't want to mail it out?

I paint in series, for example: mom and babies, couples, women and flowers, etc. One or two paintings from series I leave for myself since it usually have an emotional meaning and reflects my story. Custom works usually capture a meaningful moment from my customer's life and I try to capture it as close as possible to the expectation of the person. For example , the last customer wanted to highlight the shoes of the couple and specific pattern on them. We worked together to make the painting look as best as it can be considering the wishes of the customer. I have incorporated the pattern on the background and made the shoes stand out with the contrasted background.  

What is your favourite part so far about having an Etsy shop?

In addition to the creating process, I love to communicate to my customers and make them happy by creating a unique painting that captures the happiest moment in their lives. Most of my customers purchase custom portraits as wedding, anniversary or birthday gifts.  

It's interesting that you don't paint faces on your subjects, was there a particular reason why?

My style is figurative abstraction which refers to painting the figure in non realistic way. I chose to show the resemblance by painting silhouette like figures and put a focus on a mood of the painting rather than facial features.  

I love that you'd rather focus on mood than facial features. How did you discover your style?

My style is a result of many years of drawing and painting. I always was attracted to abstract painting and classic figure painting, and practice sketching models on ongoing basis. My goal was to combine both and make it unique that it won't repeat anybody else.  

Tanya is offering 20% off towards the order of custom portrait till January 7, 2017. Coupon Code: winterholidays

Interviewed by Rebecca of MunchiesandMusings on December 8, 2016

T.E.S.T. Interview: 1000CrowsVintage

Monday, December 5, 2016

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 105th in our series and is with Yvette Bessels from 1000CrowsVintage.

How did you come up with the name of the store?

I already had a shop '1000crows' while I lived in the UK. I chose that name as I wanted something that was slightly odd yet memorable. I love ravens and crows (who doesn't?) but I didn't want to opt for anything too generic. 'A murder of crows' was therefore soon out of the running. The '1000' in front of the name makes it higher priority in alphanumerical order, depending on how you execute a search. When I moved to Canada, I discovered that the back end of the shop (my bank account) could not be moved over by Etsy so I was forced into opening a new shop (the alternative being paid in GBP to my UK account and having to deal with currency conversions every step of the way) - but that also made it possible to add the 'Vintage' to the name, clarifying what I actually do.

Why did you start collecting vintage things?

Oh well, there are a few reasons; The foremost being that some of these objects are amazingly beautiful, but not being made anymore. Either because the market is too small, or the craftsmanship has been lost. Second, some of the objects I find would have been quite expensive when new - I certainly would not have been able to afford them! I am a pennypincher at heart, and nothing makes me happier than feeling I got a good deal on an item. Lastly, it feels amazing to find an object a loving new home. If needed, I will slightly alter or repair an item to give it a present-day use or appeal. Can you imagine all the items being saved from landfill like this? There is actually not much that I personally collect. I have the odd weird or pretty object floating about the house until I grow tired of it and put it up for sale, and numerous photographic items which I actually use. I have moved house so many times it has become easy to let go!

What was you first item in a collection?

To be honest, I can't really remember. I used to trawl flea markets when I was a kid and many, many objects have passed my hands since then. I did have a large stash of stuffed animals back then - haha! For the present day - I would have to say my Microflex TLR (an English made Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) Camera). I had a job as a studio photographer a number of years ago and was getting obsessed with famous photographers of the 1920-1960s. I found more than a few of my favourite images were shot using a TLR camera, so I got myself one. Since then, I have upgraded to a Rolleiflex and an antique plate camera to shoot my images, but I still have the Microflex (which is presently up for sale). If you are curious, you can see my photography on www.yvettebessels.com
Where do you go to search for the vintage?

In the UK, I used to go to local (and less local) carboot sales. I was up at 5AM and in my car by 6AM every weekend, throughout the year. I also visited antique fairs and antique centers and local auction houses to find my items. Being fairly new to Canada, I'm still finding my way around. I mostly visit local thrift stores and garage sales, as well as the weekly antique market in town.

Why do you think vintage is interesting to people?

It gives people an opportunity to own an object that is (near) unique, for a much lower price than buying newly made items. If you wear vintage clothing, there is much less chance of someone rocking up in the same outfit. Many items were better made; furniture was built to last and people took pride in craftsmanship. And, it gives people a vast range of styles and colours to choose from. Instead of having to wait for trends to 'come back round' - why not just go for the original?

You can also find Yvette and 1000CrowsVintage at these links:
Website : www.1000crows.com
Twitter: @1000crows
Instagram: @1000crows
Pinterest: @1000crows

Interviewed by Darya from KvitkaWorld on Nov 18, 2016.

T.E.S.T. Interview: CheapThrillsCompany

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 104th in our series and is with Ky Teale of CheapThrillsCompany

How would you describe your Etsy store in five words? 

Kitschy, Quirky, Cute, Coney Island.

Where did your love for ghouls and “offbeat art” come from? 

I am a huge horror movie nerd. I try to keep everything as cute as possible in the shop, but you will definitely see the fan girl in me slipping in from time to time ;). I created my version of the Girl Gang movement with the Ghoul Gang Collection.

For those of us not in the know, what's the "girl gang movement"? Does it refer to a comic or anime?

It's an online movement of girls supporting other girls through, art, business, and lifestyle.

What is your favourite TV show?

I am more of a movie buff, but I am currently really enjoying Scream Queens :)

How do you decide what your next product will be?

I have a sketch book and draw from daily inspirations.

Have you always sketched – do you have formal art training?  Or, where did you your creative talents spring from?

No, I actually only picked up sketching in the last couple of years. My mother was an artist so growing up I actually shied away from the arts, and because of this I am not formerly trained. I began sculpting ten years ago and from there started sketching and painting. At the time it pulled me out of a massive depression and I have found art to be an amazing therapeutic tool since.

You have a wonderful variety of products in your shop. Are you inspired by seeing the format (embroidered labels, tote bags, etc) as a canvas for your ideas, or do you source them to match the original sketches? (Or perhaps it's a combo ;) 

Yes, my shop is definitely not shy of diversity as I do like to work with various mediums. I think it's a bit of a combo, however, I typically come up with the design first and then decide what medium might be best.

Do you have favourite programs for creating the graphics for your totes and patches? 

I use Photoshop and I do the bare minimum. My images are completely hand drawn and I vector them without changing the original.

If you were a monster, what kind would you be?

A zombie, I would ALWAYS be a zombie.

You can keep up to date with Ky and the CheapThrillsCompany here: 
Instagram: @CheapThrillsCo

Upcoming Shows 
-Nov 20th Gladstone Flea @ The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto
-Dec 3+4 Pink Market @ 519 Church St, Toronto
-Dec 17th Test Etsy Christmas Market @ 365 College St, Toronto
-Dec 18th Punk Rock Flea @ Club Absinthe, Hamilton

Interviewed by Ayisha Gariba of TheBaconBerryCardCo on Nov 18, 2016 in Toronto. 

T.E.S.T. Interview: KvitkaWorld

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 106th in our series and is with Darya Kucherenko of KvitkaWorld

How did you come up with your shop name?

While creating the shop name I wanted something that would reflect what I'm selling. As my background is Ukrainian and I live in Canada, I decided to unite somehow these countries in my shop name. "Kvitka" is flower in Ukrainian, this shows my Ukrainian part as well as describing that I'm using live plants in my work, and "World" shows my Canadian part and explains that my goal in to create a mini world. And KvitkaWorld means I'm doing miniature worlds using live plants, all of them have their stories.  

Talk me through making one of your miniature gardens - how and where do you start?

Every miniature garden starts with an idea, either I see some beautiful landscape I would like to replicate in a miniature version or a fictitious/imaginary garden. I love walking by houses and taking some ideas from the larger scale gardens. I decide on a plant combination (drought tolerant/or not) then think of the ideal arrangement of the plants, usually using a piece of paper and a pen. When decided, the magic begins -- all the plants are potted into the terrarium in the final arrangement, I add some decorations to give more life to this mini world.  

What does a regular weekday look like for you?

Every day starts with an idea of searching for a creative terrarium :) these are hard to find, and every time I visit any store I look at things as "would this fit and look good in a miniature garden?" While working I need to sit by myself near all the plants, usually I get help from my chihuahua who sits beside me and we start thinking together on the perfect arrangement. When not having orders I work much slower as I spend hours watching my new propagation babies growing.  

Do you have favourites in your plants? One in particular?

I never thought about which plant is my favourite. I love experimenting and having new plants for the florariums. Therefore I usually keep a wide variety of plants from drought-tolerant to higher maintenance plants.  

Your miniature decorations (benches, lanterns, etc) are super cute! Do you buy or make them?

The decorations in the florariums -- some are manufactured, some are hand made by other artists and some I make myself. I love making the decorations, but when I find something interesting I can't help purchasing, as every time I see a decoration piece I immediately have a florarium arrangement made in my head.  

What are your favourite stores to look for terrariums? Do you build them or ever considered building them yourself?

 I like glass florariums the most, there are several stores that offer such, but I currently have a person who supplies me with my favourite designs, which help reduce the cost for the florariums and saves me some time.

Where do you see yourself (and your shop) in five years' time?

In five years it's hard to predict what I will be doing, but I'm sure that my store will grow as my passion for plants will be always with me! :)

You can also keep up to date with Darya and KvitkaWorld here:
Instagram: @KvitkaWorld
Facebook: @KvitkaWorld

Interviewed by Yvette Bessels of 1000CrowsVintage on Nov 25, 2016. 

T.E.S.T. Interview: TheBaconBerryCardCo

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 103rd in our series and is with Ayisha Gariba of TheBaconBerryCardCo.

Why did you open up shop, and why the name?

I started The Bacon Berry because I’d already been making greeting cards for years, and they started getting really good so I thought - why not sell these? The Bacon Berry was a YouTube username that I came up with when I was younger, and when I was looking for a name for my business - I chose that one because I love bacon and berries.

What mediums do you enjoy to work with?

I love hand-drawing cards from time to time, but now I primarily work digitally. I use photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq.

Where do you see your Etsy shop in 5 years?

Hopefully with a larger following, more products and as a more important part of my day-to-day business operations.

What do you do outside of your shop?

I’m a university student in my first year at UofT hoping to either major in Anthropology or Women and Gender Studies. Other than that, I’m a filmmaker, graphic designer, and photographer (which all help me with my business, so I guess that’s kinda cheating). When I’m not working on the bacon berry you’ll most likely find me babysitting my nephew, cooking, or watching Netflix.

I don't think that's called cheating! What kind of films do you make photographs do you take? Is there a connection to the card making?

I am trying to break into documentary filmmaking at the moment. I've only made one short documentary and I'm currently working on finishing another one for January. I also just started adding "photographer" to the long list of titles that I mention when I introduce myself. Thankfully, all of my skills are able to help with my business, whenever I need a promo video or product photos, I'm able to do those myself which saves a lot of time and money.

What's your favorite way to eat bacon?

That’s a tough question but I’d have to say with pancakes, maple syrup and hot sauce. I’ve been told that sounds weird but I stand by it!

Besides her Etsy shop, you can also find TheBaconBerryCardCo here:
Website:  www.thebaconberrycards.com
Facebook: @thebaconberrycardco
InstaGram:  @thebaconberrycardco

Upcoming Shows
- Nov 20th Trinity Bellwoods Flea @ Studio Bar
- Dec 4 The Post Market @ The Great Hall
- Dec 10 Woke Tings Holiday Market @ Hashtag Gallery, 801 Dundas St West, 5-11pm
- Dec 18th Trinity Bellwoods Flea @ Studio Bar

Interviewed by Ky Teale of CheapThrillsCompany on November 16, 2016.

The 3rd Annual Toronto Etsy Street Team Christmas Marketplace - LOOK BOOK IS HERE!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Saturday December 17th, 11AM to 5PM come on down to St. Stephens in-the-field church and check out over 30 vendor and their awesome handmade and vintage wares! Take a selfie with Santa! Try not to anger Krampus! And have grab a tasty treat from Phancy Food Catering!

Our vendor list is now confirmed, check them out in our Vendor Lookbook below

We hope to see you there!
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