Thursday, December 6, 2007

December's Featured Etsy Artist

As some of you may remember, I have decided to do a monthly feature on a fellow Etsian. This month I have picked Recycledideas. I met the owner of this lovely and interesting shop while in the Etsy forums. I loved her store so much I wanted to feature her and she kindly agreed.

Gorilla, in the photo to your right, is my favorite item among many in her store. She's a bona fide ape made from a new pair of white tube socks. Her nose, ears and the tips of her limbs are made from some scrap madras print fabric. She's stuffed with fiberfill fuzz. Such sweetness for an affordable price of $28.00.

1) What type of products do you offer?

I offer two broad type - handmade paper and primates. I make handmade paper out of junk mail, newspaper advertising inserts, and whatever else I have hanging around that might make an interesting texture. Lately I've been adding lavender. It makes the paper smell like it too; I get a lot of mileage out of that. Even though we humans are largely visual creatures, scent remains a vital sense.

2) You obviously have a great love for primates, when or how did your interest in primates start?

That is a great question that I am often asked, and depending on how revealing I'm feeling and who is asking, I give different answers. He he. To students and professional researchers I tell them about a great book I was given before I went to graduate school: Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language by Robin Dunbar. He's a psychologist and primatologist. The book inspired my dissertation research. But really, between you and me, it was this stuffed gorilla my husband-to-be had sitting on his shelf when we first met during college. The gorilla is still with us, and although he blogs, he prefers to remain unknown outside of his primate troop.

3) Your handmade paper products are wonderful what motivated you to start making them?

When I couldn't find a job after I graduated from college I spent time reading (about primates) and learning French so that I could study them one day in the wild in francophone Africa. While studying, I often kept the TV on for stimulation (I can't function if it's too quiet!) and saw a QVC advert for a paper making kit. I had no money, but the idea of making paper grabbed me, so with the help of my soon-to-be-husband I made my own kit. I still use it today.

4) How did you get started in this business and what brought you to Etsy?

My husband! He received a press release from the Etsy company where he works.

5) What inspires you?

I am continually inspired by other artists and scientists. Nothing I do was my original idea. Not even my "original" dissertation research was conceived in isolation. That's why I call myself Recycled Ideas. I get inspiration from others, incubate my ideas, and then hatch my own take on them.

6) What do you enjoy most about crafting?

I love that my small hands can create something beautiful and desirable out of what is essentially garbage. Even my new line of felt monkey ornaments (called OrnaMonkeys) were once plastic bottles.

7) Finally what advice do you have for someone just starting their own Etsy shop?

Be passionate about what you make. Strive for quality craftsmanship. Photograph your items to show them in the best way possible. Write informative product descriptions. Set a price that is fair for you and your customer. Don't list all of your items at once. Participate in the forums. Market outside of etsy. And, stay positive and professional.

Another one of my favorites offered by Recycledideas. This is the Fall Foliage Sampler (2 Hearts and more), Embossed Organic Leaf Cards (set of 4) for $8.00


Simply Wired said...

Great interview from a great seller! I love recycledideas' products. You've highlighted some wonderful stuff here!

thisisit said...

Yay for recycled ideas! What a great interview! I love her shop and the fact that she loves primates so much. :) Great job!