Jennifer Joy Creative: All my creations are inspired by nature and my little family. I love to work with natural fibers such as hemp, linen and cotton for my clothing and wool, alpaca, bamboo, tencel, and various others for my yarn.
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.”
eliza B green: I’m a green designer, working with eco fabrics and existing clothes, repurposing to create something new. All my items are original, one-of-a-kind or limited edition, built from scratch.
Did you hear the news? The unemployment rate is at an all-time high here in the U.S. and the outlook is pretty grim. But there is a silver lining to this story. According to some experts, there’s a big jump in small business start-ups. That means a lot of people are using their own creativity to make a living. In the spirit of this, I wanted to give some props to people in one of the hardest hit areas of the country–Southern California, where in some parts unemployment is as high as 30%. It’s reassuring to know that there are so many industrious people crafting, building, designing, and making their way through this challenging economy. As my Grandmother always said, they’re “Making lemonade out of lemons.”
White Serenade is a perfect example of making the best of things–she creates spectacular designs from discarded paper and metal. Who would have thought folded paper could be so beautiful? The paper wreaths are so elegant, you can hang them on your wall for the holidays–or all of the time!
Tango Cat Gems is another example of making something completely unexpected out of the simplest of things–jewelry wire. She sculpts these delicate designs using fineweaving techniques. Her work is a reflection of the quality and craftsmanship you can only get when something is made by hand.
The Radokri shop has lots of accessories for weddings, or just when you want to be especially sparkly. Natalija Krimerman opened her online store in 2009 with her husband, and they spend many weekends looking for supplies at estate sales and flea markets. This sweet little feather flower is a great reminder that making and selling your own unique creations is the perfect way to “bloom where you’re planted.”
See the artist’s hand in this piece and remember it was made just for you.
I meticulously create each piece by hand with quality materials, and no two are exactly alike. I love the entire process, but the thing I like the most is the ability to make other people happy.
My favorite experience was a customer who gave me cabochons her mother had made and wanted me to use them for making a pair of earrings that could be passed down the generations. I don’t know who was more thrilled – me or that family!
Not too long ago, I put the finishing touches on my new studio, which is in the 110-year-old fieldstone basement of my house. The highlight is a huge workbench that belonged to the original owner of the home. What’s really cool, is that among the other things that had been left behind was a toolbox with homemade punches in it! Was this person a metalsmith too?? I use these treasured tools to create some of the textures on my pieces.