Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Artist Maja illustrates "cultivate"

Illustration Friday is the online art forum by Penelope Dullaghan and Brianna Privett that celebrates the artist in all of us.  Each week there is a theme to illustrate, whether you’re a professional artist or just like the feel of pastels in your hand.  Last week’s topic was “toy”; you can submit a topic idea of your own.  What will people dream up?

Participating involves posting your illustration on a blog or website and uploading a linked thumbnail of the piece onto Illustration Friday.  Viewers can browse the submissions by medium or by style.  There is also a message board for discussion and for reaching out to your fellow artists.  This site is a fun way to challenge yourself creatively, weekly.



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Oh my goodness.  Have you seen these?  Luna & Curious sells these wonderfully intricate false eyelashes, apparently inspired by Chinese paper cutting.  I rather fancy the peacock set.


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portrait by bruce weber

Last month, I went to the Peabody Essex Museum on a terribly dreary day.   The perfect day to see the exhibit Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel, which explodes with color and flair.

The show exhibited 80 outfits of Apfel, a fashionista of a different feather.   Different rooms grouped the outfits in terms of style: a room for the glamorous clothing, a room for the ethnic garb, the winter clothing, the circus clothing.  In addition to the outfits, which all appropriately sat on identical mannequins with her enormous glasses, were cases and cases of jewelry.  I adored the ethnic jewelry, dripping with silver or fit with huge hunks of amber.

Who is Apfel? Why does she have money to buy the turquoise jewelry I want?  Iris Apfel and her husband began a business in textiles- specializing in replicating antique fabrics, a specialization that took them all over the world and even gave them several jobs at the White House. 

While she cannot sew or create, and certainly wouldn’t have an Etsy shop, Apfel would immediately be a hit as a Storque (Etsy blog) writer.  Her style is fun and bold because she didn’t and doesn’t follow trends.  And she believes it’s not about what you spend, but about what you’re buying.  Pieces from the collection came from designers and they also came from the bottom of a bin in a flea market.  Says Apfel:

I’m not too fond of real jewelry. I know it’s very beautiful and very valuable but I never had a yen for it. (What a lucky man my husband is!) My stuff is much more dramatic and much more fun.

My mum was fascinated with this breastplate and even more so when we realized it was a recent addition to her wardrobe (Apfel is 88 years old).  We both loved the metal dog shaped purse.  One of my favorite pieces is utterly make-able: the googly eyed bracelet.

Iris on shopping:

I’m a hopeless romantic. I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it’s valuable. My husband used to say I look at a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story. It sings me a song. I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre – a bolt of lightning. It’s fun to get knocked out that way!

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There is no better place to explore a theme than on Etsy.  Valentine’s Day and love are themes that Etsy sellers do right.  What a better way to express my love for Etsy than to display the love on Etsy?

I begin with a poem by the Persian poet Hafez of Shiraz, and then give you my Valentine’s Day favorites:

Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights up the Whole Sky.


Romance Blouse by CowgirlHeaven

I think the back is a place of often overlooked beauty.  This blouse does such an elegant job of displaying it.

I have a Pink heart- Double Brooch by krize

Gotta go with the cute.  This guy would jazz up any Valentine’s Day cardigan.

Love Card by Wheeler Studio

Love is girls and boys and boys and girls and girls.

Haute Couture Valentines Day Dress by Nostalgia

The fabric is covered in little tiny hearts!  It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day date dress.

Interlocking Garnet ring by onegarnetgirl

This double ring blows my socks off.

Dancing Bears- Waltz Print by amberalexander

Absolutely nothing says true love like this watercolor print of waltzing bears.  I love the sincerity in the bear’s face.

❤   ❤   ❤

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Success on Etsy. It’s seemingly everywhere!  Yet there are thousands of sellers who never make a sale.  The Storque, the Etsy blog, has many articles with tips on improving one’s store. Here is a helpful article for new sellers:

Success for Beginning Etsy Sellers

I’d like to take a look at three successful shops.  What do they have in common?  What seems to be their key to success?  As a buyer, what attracts me to these shops?  I’m looking at:

ImYourPresent BoyGirlParty WhichGoose

SHOP APPEARANCE- First Impressions

When I browse through a shop, I look for a creative banner (nothing stock), and then I immediately want to look at what is being sold.  If I don’t see something I that catches my eye, within about twenty seconds, I bounce.  How do these sellers draw people in?

WhichGoose– Her banner is clean, balanced and clear- an image of her product, and the name.  Below, she succinctly describes her product and in the shop announcement, lists her blog, twitter, video links, etc.

ImYourPresent– Her banner reflects the colors and style of her product.  Like WhichGoose, below the banner is a basic description of her product.  ImYourPresent is hooked up on Facebook, MySpace, and has a mailing list.  In her shop announcement, she also mentions shops of her friends and assistants.

BoyGirlParty– Like the other two, this shop’s banner is reflective of her color palate and style, and there is a short description of what she sells: “quirky + useful     art + gifts”.  Her popular owl drawing balances the banner by sitting in the middle of the banner.


What do these photographs have in common?  They’re not cropped too close, or shot too far away.  They are full of light, and shot at interesting angles.  There aren’t any distracting backgrounds or backdrops.



BoyGirl Party


People are inclined to buy from you again if you treat them right the first time.  So prompt shipping and a willingness to communicate is a must.  That’s what I look for in a seller.

As for product:  Even if you have beautiful photographs and an attractive shop, the product is what matters!  I would never sell what I wouldn’t buy myself.  Quality and attention to detail is essential.

WhichGoose– Her crowns and combs are all beautiful, delicate pieces.  Everyone who leaves feedback agrees with this and adds that the packaging was both protective and elegant.  It is encouraging to read, as a buyer, that all the other buyers are absolutely thrilled with their purchases.

ImYourPresent– Feedback for her items was a constant “sooo pretty!”  and “well made”.  One customer loved her earrings so much that she wants to marry them.  ImYourPresent sends little extra surprises with her orders!

BoyGirlParty– This seller is constantly complimented on her fast shipping.  I love that I can browse for a favorite drawing among jewelry, paper goods and clothing.   BoyGirlParty also has a fully functioning website, where you can find bio info, her blog, and where her items can also be purchased.


The style of the artists is apparent in each piece: consistency in work creates a cohesiveness in the presentation of the shop.  Amazing work, ladies!!

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This is a project that I’ve been following since it started- a friend told me about it.

The project aims to demonstrate sustainability through creativity.  To do this, Sheena Matheiken decided to wear the same dress for an entire year.  Her friend Eliza Starbuck made the seven identical dresses.  According to their website,

Sheena’s challenge is to reinvent the uniform dress everyday by way of
accessorizing with sustainable goods – vintage, handmade or recycled items. While a playful exercise in sustainable fashion, the serious leg of the project aims to raise funds for educating underprivileged children in India. The donations from this project will go to the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit educational mission that is revolutionizing the Indian education system, beginning with the children living in the slums.

Sheena also invites the public to donate accesories to the cause- if she incorporates your donation into her outfit, she makes sure to give you a little shout out in the description.  Also, Sheena and Eliza invite you to collaborate on an outfit, if you have a concept in mind.

This project is exciting for simple reasons- it’s on a large scale, and it helps others.  I believe in the Handmade life and pledge not just for anti-consumerism and anti-commercialism, but also because Handmade goods spread love, and have the possibility of positively effecting community.  The Uniform Project is attracting attention because it is astonishing to Americans that a person can wear the same dress daily.  Of course, there are so many people in the world who can count on their hands how many articles of clothing they own.  Reusing clothing is possible, and it can also be fashionable!

And, finally, some exciting news:

The Project plans to further boost the fundraising efforts by making the
dress available for sale and by holding online accessory auctions. Furthermore, there are already a few publishers interested in turning the project into a collectible design book.
By the end on the year, the U.P Foundation hopes to raise a substantial fund for Akanksha’s mission.  There are 7.5 million children in India today that do not get to attend school. The Uniform Project encourages all of their supporters to make a donation via their website, http://www.theuniformproject.com

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