Christina Romeo: I am a mixed media abstract expression artist working in multi-disciplinary media such as contemporary abstract paintings, textile work,modern ceramics as well as odd, irregular drawings and watercolor illustrations.
The upcycled purse above is from Sparky Jones
Sometimes I get my greatest inspiration from other bloggers. This week was no exception – when I visited Going Home to Roost to see what Bonnie is up to these days I came across a post she had written recently on shopping ethically. I know this isn’t always the most popular topic, even amongst those of us in the handmade community, and I’m sensitive to that. At the same time it seems to me that the blogosphere is a great place for us to write about these types of things, and to learn from each other and share our thoughts openly. I hope that these virtual discussions can enlighten, encourage and challenge us. From week to week Bonnie gives us a glimpse into her world and shows us the joy that can come from living more harmoniously with the environment and exploring our creative passions.
Bonnie’s post on shopping ethically included a great checklist – questions that she asks herself before making a purchase:
– do i really need this?
– will i be able to use this for long time, then recycle it?
– how far did this have to travel to reach me?
– who made it and how were they treated?
– is it labeled honestly or with clever marketing?
Key rack above is from Half Pint Salvage
The issues surrounding these questions are actually what led me to blog in the first place, so reading them in point form on Bonnie’s site was refreshing. As my friends and family know – I love design, in any form – from a candy bar wrapper, to fashion, home décor and everything in between. But at some point I realized that my love of design and “things” was contributing to systems that reward unethical treatment of workers in foreign countries and hurting the environment.
Napkin holders above are from A Remark You Made
I can’t say that I’d give myself an A+ now as a conscious consumer, but I know over the last couple of years I have managed to reduce my consumption and now buy more goods that are made in ethical conditions. My heroes are the individuals who have really taken it to the next level, and I hope that these are areas I’ll personally continue to improve in.
iPad case from Chicken Willow
Today, inspired by this post, I’m taking my hat off to a few Etsy artists who do a wonderful job of upcycling and recycling. I hope you enjoy what I’ve found and as always I’d love to hear your thoughts on these issues!
This week’s Shop Local post stops in Omaha, Nebraska. Below you’ll find my favorite picks from the Omaha craft scene. If you don’t find something that fits your fancy, check out the Omaha Craft Mafia website for more fabulous Omaha artisans. When you’re in town, you’ll want to visit the Hot Shops Art Center where you’ll find “over 80 studio artists, as well as four gallery spaces, in [the] building complex located in downtown Omaha.”
The crafter behind Stash comes to Omaha from Finland by way of Great Britain. She’s been sewing since she was tiny, making her own clothes in elementary school, as her mother was a textile designer. Now she makes chic bags out of vintage fabrics! The wristlet above is constructed from a chocolate & red vintage fabric, red canvas, and leatherette trim. Don’t you love the strong shape juxtaposed with the floral pattern & feminine pleats? Fabulous!
Continuing with the strong shapes, Bren Duvall, of BrenDesign, created these sterling silver “Building Earrings” in the image of a city skyline. She says has an “obsessive quest of building an eco-conscious small business from nothing more than a pile of recycled metal bits.”
Shifting gears a bit, when my baby girl gets a bit bigger, she must have one of these skirts! Many children’s boutiques do pillowcase dresses, cute hats, or leg warmers, but Bustle has crafted this flamenco skirt for your tiny dancer. Ellene Mcclay, the proprietress of Bustle, is inspired by vintage fabric and historical fashions. She also creates jewelry, accessories, and clothing for ladies of a more mature age at her other shop, Deciduous Soul.
Last but not least, this clever little idea caught my eye and couldn’t be passed by! September House creates embroidered flower pot wraps that are sure to add a nice touch to even the prettiest plant.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I make just about everything handmade. I have a knit & crochet shop where I sell handmade hats, cowl, scarves, handwarmers, etc. I have a jewelry shop as well that I am currently updating http://wildfeatherbeads.etsy.com and just recently opened a photography shop http://heatherfantello.etsy.com.
I love ETSY!
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I have always been an artist. When I was little, I wanted to be an author and a illustrator. Drawing and painting was my main talent. When I was 10 I dabbled in beadwork and various crafts.
In highschool I did a lot of pottery, drawing, painting, the school newspaper photographer, and performing arts.
It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I started crocheting and then knitting. Since then, I have been addicted. I can’t imagine not doing something with my hands. If you run into me, I will most likely have a skein of yarn in my purse. :)
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
My daughter’s name is Gracey “Crazy” Jane. My grandpa started calling her that when she was probably 4 months old. I made her a hat that said Crazy Jane on it and the rest is history…
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I work alone. I taught my sister to knit and my grandma to hand seam but I’m such a perfectionist that I just do everything myself.
My process starts out with an idea. I get inspiration from everything around me. I mess around perfecting a pattern, wait for a nice day to take pictures, edit, list, and watch to see if it sells.
My top seller (Olive and Taupe Woodland Handwarmers) is an inside joke with my boyfriend. He picked the colors. I didn’t want to make it but I did to make him happy. They are my top seller so everytime I sell a pair, he laughs at him. I scowl at him but on the inside I’m saying, “thank you Matt.”
I don’t really have much of a life haha. I work so hard on making my products that I do it everywhere. I take my yarn to family/friend get togethers, to work, and of course at home. I’m a bit of a homebody. When I’m not knitting, I make candy, can goods from my garden, blog, and spend time with my family.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I sell on ETSY.com and a couple shops in the Pacific Northwest, WA.
My stuff will be in a little shop in Greenwater, WA soon. It is a shop called Wapiti Woolies located by Crystal Mountain Resort that has been in business for 25 years. They are a family business that started out by making handmade hats.
I prefer online because the whole world can see my items where they are only seen by people who go to that store.
Do you have a favorite handmade shop or seller?
I have too many favorites! I find myself searching vintage, wood, and wedding. I love whites, golds, and wood tones. I like visiting somethingshidinghere.etsy.com because their color palette is so inviting.
What inspires and motivates you?
I love living the Pacific Northwest. I get inspired by farmlands, forest, oceans, rivers. I love the colors of moss and stones.
I love vintage everything and old traditions. I use vintage inspired styles for my jewelry and try to capture memories that will someday be vintage through my photography.
Coffee coffee coffee motivates me :)
What do you wish I had asked you?
Thanks Heather! And if you would like to be in this space next, just go to DIY Interview.
Blue Pumpkin Corsetry: I’ve been making corsets professionally for three years now. I was studying the construction techniques and pattern manufacture for two, previous to that.
I really do believe that a good quality corset is comfortable and wearable. I also believe that a corset can be made for any occasion, not just formal or bedroom occasions.
I have made corsets for clients all over the World and for all manner of reasons. From underwear, to office wear and day-to-night corsets.