Monday, December 8, 2008

Martine Petra: Etsy Artist from Norway

Martine Petra is a young woman with whom I've had the privilege of communicating for the past two months or so. I "discovered" her in a chat room at Etsy, saw her in a couple of others, and finally decided her photography was too intriguing to ignore so I invited her to join Design Style Guide, one of the two Etsy teams to which I belong.

She was born in Norway, lives in Sweden, she's a dancer, and she's frequently the model for her own photographs.  And away we go...

1. What is your shop name and what do you sell? where I sell different kinds of prints of my photography, artwork services/I edit other peoples photographs, and to come is small stuff like magnets, cards etc featuring my photography as well. 

2. Where can you be found on the web?






Design Style Guide

3. You're a dancer as well as a photographer. How do these two things work together?

I started to photograph because I felt the need to document my life, and I kinda see photography as a different way of dancing. My photography has taken on a life of itself apart from my dancing, but they still belong together. It is great when I feel I'm stuck in a choreography to work with it in photographs and try to see it in a different light. 

They work very well together, and it's great when I need a rest from one of them to dive into the other before my well runs dry. That way I don't burn out.

•••••Be sure to check out Martine's dance video on YouTube.•••••

4. How does your environment affect your art?

Huge impact on my emotional self! My environment always inspires me to do or not to do certain things, but I feel my art is from a different place. It lays below the surface, and when I make it or bring it forward it is not motivated by economic situations, political issues, or the people/cases/places/news that we all get so bombarded with every day. My art is my inner world, and it has its own references and values when it comes to what beauty, strength and wisdom is. 

5. When did you start selling on Etsy?

In October 2008, but didn't really become active before November.

6. What is your favorite thing about Etsy?

It's art, and it reminds me of how important it is for us to continue to be stimulated creatively! There's a change going on in people. I remember visiting small independent stores with tons of charm and personality whilst growing up, a lot of those stores have had to bow down for bigger brands/malls and superstores, but Etsy kinda takes back those small special stores, and gives them a venue to connect and interact. And it really is a great way to make contact with people who are likeminded.

7. What is your favorite thing about what you sell?

The feedback of someone who really appreciates my work.

8. What is your favorite item in your own shop and why?

I am real keen on all metallic prints, they have a spark in them that I really enjoy studying!

9. I know that you are new to Design Style Guide and it's the only team you're on. What have you discovered about it that surprises or pleases you most?

That union and strength in numbers can land you in places you wouldn't necessarily have thought of yourself.

10. What is the most fun thing you do to promote your shop?

I actually find that appreciation pictures are fun to do, no strings attached, and no one's forcing it on you. To be able to show someone you appreciate their products is giving. It's not conventional promotion, but people see when you give back and I think that is worthy as promotion. 

11. What are some of your favorite finds by other sellers on Etsy?

There is so much great stuff out there that it's hard to single out a few, certain things catch my eye, and if I can't stop thinking about it, I buy it. But what really catches my eye are those who sell items and donate to charity/causes, and I think that is big.

12. What do you do in your spare time?

I realize more and more how important family and my family of friends are in my life, so I spend time with and enjoy those people that I find intriguing, exciting and interesting.

To work with dance/photography/music and art in general is spare time for me. Research and reading about history, people, animals and lifestories is something that captivates me as well.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sarah Smith: Etsy Artist from Missouri

Sarah is an 18-year-old redhead from Springfield, Missouri. I used to date a woman from Springfield but she's old enough to be Sarah's mom. Hmmm...

Anyway, she's a remarkably successful artist, especially considering her age. She took the time to answer a few questions so I figured I'd take the time to publish them.

1. What is your shop name and URL and what do you sell?

My shop name is SarahNwonderland and the URL is

I sell custom artwork, original artwork and paintings, plushes, earrings, clothing, graphic design, and all kinds of other odds and ends.

2. What long series of events led to you doing this?

I have been drawing and creating ever since I could pick up a crayon, it is my passion!

3. When did you start selling on Etsy?

I have been selling since March 19, 2008.

4. How does an 18-year-old girl from Missouri end up with 140 sales on Etsy?

Haha, I guess people just enjoy my work. I put a lot of effort and love into each piece. At first, I thought I wouldn't sell anything, but to have that many sales is awesome!

5. What is your favorite thing about Etsy?

I love meeting all kinds of friendly people on Etsy. Networking with other artists and to browse all of their shops is always fun.

6. What is your favorite thing about what you sell?

My favorite thing to sell would be custom orders. I love creating personal works of art for someone and to collaborate with them.

7. What is your favorite item in your own shop and why?

Hmm, tough question. I love all the things in my shop, but right now I would have to say the painting entitled “Noir”.

8. What is the coolest thing you do to promote your shop?

I do a lot of murals in the city I live in, I always leave brochures or cards at their businesses to locally promote. I have also been lucky, with blogs like this one, for people to like my work and be promoted on their blogs. I have gotten a lot of attention from that.

9. I think I remember you telling me Design Style Guide is the only team you belong to, is that right? And, if so, how long have you been a member and how are you liking it so far?

Yep, it is the only one. I have been a member less than a week and I love it! It looks like a great community and can't wait to see all that it has to offer!

10. What are some of your favorite finds by other sellers on Etsy?

I have so many favorites! I am a sucker for anything cute and Japanese, is such a cute store! I also love anything vintage, Victorian, anything simple and elegant. has some lovely items. Also, for custom clothing, has made some gorgeous custom clothing for me, love her! Those are just a few of my favorites, I could go on and on, haha.

11. What do you do in your spare time?

Besides art, I love photography, writing, horseback riding, taking care of my infinite amount of pets, spending time with family and friends, gaming, and random things in between :)

I love creative writing. I love to do short stories, sometimes my writing also influences my art. I am guilty of playing the occasional video game :)

12. Do you have anything else you would like to share?

I want to thank you for the interview! I am always glad to share my experiences with others about my art and store. Thanks so much!

You're welcome so much!

By the way, since these questions were asked Sarah has racked up another sale, bringing her total as of December 4, 2008, to 141 sales on Etsy.  Congratulations, Sarah!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fort Worth, ETC...

I belong to two different Etsy teams. One of them, Design Style Guide, is an interior design team. We each produce items which can be used to decorate a home or office. I make candle holders and bookends and wine rests, and they fit right into that idea.

The other team I belong to is, on the one hand, more generalized, in that it doesn't matter too much what your selling in your Etsy shop -- soap, cookies, Edwardian chairs, jewelry, note cards, clothing, pottery -- and on the other hand it is a lot more specific because everyone on the team either lives in Texas or is from Texas. This team is called Etsy Texas Crafters, or ETC for short, and I've actually been a member of it longer than I've been in DSG.

On December 2, 2008, there was a meeting of ETC members from the Fort Worth area. It was held in (drum roll, please...) Fort Worth. We met at La Madeleine way out on Camp Bowie.

In attendance were Samantha Leonard of Old But New (really cool jewelry), Robert Leonard III of Draknor Designs (web design and hosting), Angela Niles of Flutter Bugg Creations (handmade crafts and gifts), Lori Browning of The Paper Elephant (handmade cards and paper favors) and Snuggle Junkie (handmade baby blankets, rag quilts, fabric and supplies), Connie Owens of HossLass Art (functional cards and original art with a western flair), Rachel Bates of TileSmile (handmade ceramic tiles), Cari Shannon of GoodScents (soap and bath products) and, of course, me. I was promoting both my woodworking business and my new tie dye business (right now that's just t-shirts but it will expand).

We met each other, had a little small talk, I ate some onion soup, and then we got to the point, which was becoming active members of ETC. One thing we can do (obviously) is to continue having meetings such as this one. Once a month seems reasonable. Beyond that we simply went over the things that ETC already does every Monday on Etsy, including the 1st Monday sale every, ummm, first Monday of every month. 

The issue for me was that no one has a really clear idea how to promote ETC successfully or how ETC can promote out individual businesses successfully. I have found that communication within ETC is limited and unreliable. This is an easy fix. Getting people who have never had support from an organization to suddenly start seeking that support is a bigger issue, but it can be overcome as well, and these are all issues we'll be tackling in the near future, one suspects.

All-in-all I had a great time, met some cool people and, perhaps, found someone to produce a few pieces of jewelry I've been searching for and someone else to make some Halloween cards for next year. I think Lori -- who ran the meeting -- will have a full plate dealing with all the issues we have before us but I also think she's capable of handling it. And, with the help of the rest of us, and maybe some more Etsy people from the area, we should be able to make some progress in 2009.

Here's to a great new year for Etsy and for Etsy Texas Crafters!