Kristina Laurendi Havens: My main source of inspiration is the human figure, whether I’m painting portraits or drawing from a live model, the figure is a never ending source of inspiration. I love to experiment with new techniques and combinations of materials.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Gemma Correll’s work. Gemma is a well-known freelance illustrator who also makes greetings cards, screenprinted tote bags and T shirts, pocket mirrors and art prints. Her Etsy shop is my go-to place for funny cards and gifts for my husband, who also loves Gemma’s work!
Gemma has been crafting her whole life, beginning with sewing, knitting and crochet, which she was taught by her grandmother. While at college, she started to make plush characters to accompany her illustration work, and she considers this to be her first ‘serious’ foray into crafting. At the same time, Gemma began to sell her plush characters and felt brooches at bi-monthly craft fairs, organised by Gemma and her friends.
When a friend told her about Etsy, which was not well-known in the UK at the time, Gemma decided to start selling online too. She’s since expanded her reach, selling in shops worldwide and online via her own fantastically illustrated website and Etsy shop, as well as the odd craft fair.
As well as selling handmade items, Gemma is a big fan of buying as many handmade products as possible and would much rather find something unique than buy items from large companies, as she feels there’s more of a personal touch. Unfortunately, Gemma has in the past had ideas stolen by large companies, which is a concern for many independent designer-makers and can put many people off sharing ideas with the wider handmade community.
“In five years’ time, I hope that I am still crafting for fun. As I spend more time working and outsourcing products, rather than making them myself – I simply do not have the time or the facilities to print 500 tote bags by hand, sadly – I hope that I can still enjoy making things just for myself. I hope that I’m still going to craft nights with my friends.”
Kiersten Essenpreis: I’m a freelance illustrator and gallery artist living/working in Brooklyn NY. I do work for various magazines, newspapers, and books as well as paintings for gallery shows around the world.
I decided to open my Etsy shop as an accessible alternative to the gallery scene.. a way to offer small, fun, and affordable pieces that anyone can own.
Upon one of my many trips to Craftland I discovered this cute as pie zippered pouch. I fell in love with the fun fabric (designed by the artist) and made a note to find out more about the artist and her work.
Allison Cole is an artist who lives and works in Providence. She is a graduate of our very own Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BFA in Printmaking. She is currently focusing on making work for gallery shows, her fun little Bang Bang You’re Thread shop and freelance illustration. Not too shabby!
After poking around her shop for a bit I realized that I own some buttons of Allison’s design. Well, not the bag of rocks collection but the veggie button set. I love that they are in sets of three and you can spread the love around on your coats, bags or hats. I think this jeweler needs to add these rock buttons to her collection.
Allison makes it easy for us to collect her work. Her designs litter so many functional items. I always keep a hefty stash of cards around so I have the perfect greeting on hand for any occasion. These are so cute and playful with great color combinations. The part of me that is dead set on learning french loves the Bonjour Elephant the best.
I know I compulsively collect blank books. You never know when you are going to need to sketch an idea or jot down a note. This is the perfect size to keep with you at all times. And I am smitten with the bright yellow frame and cute flowers the artist lovingly placed on the cover.
Soon enough this print will find a home on my walls. This print is just darling. It looks like a doodle, a thought from a lover, decorated with swirls and flowers. Playful and powerful, really a perfect piece for this married couple.
Matou en Peluche: I have been drawing and making things enthusiastically since before I can remember.My favourite thing is to spend the day drawing – preferably lovely looking girls – drinking cups of tea and listening to music. I think I am a closet hermit!
Over the years I’ve cartooned and illustrated for a number of Sydney magazines and newspapers and have had exhibitions of my drawings and paintings. I have even been known to do a bit of performance art.