Favourite Websites · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Striped Pebble

striped pebble lino print cowslip

This week’s interview is with a UK-based printmaker called Jane, from Striped Pebble, who produces beautiful linocut prints. I just love the natural feel of the prints, the presentation of the products, and the texture of the papers that have been used.

Now I will hand over to Jane….

How did you get started in your handmade business?

My next door neighbour gave me some offcuts when she had a lino floor fitted in her kitchen, and I was off! The lino tools came out of a dusty box having not been used since art college and I discovered a new passion.

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

Even at age eleven I made and sold soft toys to friends at school, I made a little catalogue with design options! It was something in me that was always there.

Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family and a gorgeous hairy dog called Marvin, who, between them, take up all my spare time.

striped pebble lino print goldfinch

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I have now been creating linocut designs and selling online for about six years.

How many different places do you sell from

I sell from three shops in the South West as well as my own website, my Etsy shop and my Folksy shop.

If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?

It would be Snow Cake, a film with Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver. Everyone should see it, brilliantly acted, about loneliness, grief and autism, it is warm, funny and enlightening.

What’s your biggest non craft-related ambition?

One day I will finish writing a book and get it published, there, I’ve said it, now it has to be done!

striped pebble lino print chamomile

How did you come up with your shop name?

My sister Vicky came up with the business name, and I accidentally stole it. We started selling together, and when she moved on, I carried on using it. She was living in North Devon at the time, by a beach that is full of striped pebbles.

What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here?

I have recently been joined in my studio, aka the kitchen, by my good friend Becky, who has given up her job to help me grow my business, so my hope this year, is to increase the income to provide us both with an income.

striped pebble lino print shells

If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?

I would love to learn carpentry, to be able to craft something useful and beautiful out of wood.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I would like to be able to control time, slow it down when I need to get twice as much done as I’m able, and speed it up when I can’t wait to go on holiday.

Favourite Websites · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Pods & Plunder

pods-plunder-3

This week’s interview is with a UK-based jewellery maker called Caroline, from Pods & Plunder, who produces gorgeous jewellery from copper and silver. I particularly  like that the pieces are mainly inspired by natural plants and other objects, and my favourites are the fern frond earrings (pictured above).

Now I will hand over to Caroline…..

pods-plunder-2

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I have always been interested in the Arts and have always been making things . I did a degree in Fine Art and went on to teach Art and Design. Looking at beautiful paintings, sculpture and ceramics, or being involved in any making process – for practical or decorative purposes – simply makes me happy…… mostly (when it’s going right!)

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

  Attracted to silver jewellery and constantly admiring and buying bits and pieces, I decided to learn to make something myself. I began building up books, tools and skills about 10 years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed the learning process and the world of silversmithing.

Whilst I was practising my joining and sawing skills, I used copper to experiment with and discovered I really  liked the combination of copper and silver, so I have  continued to use it with all of its colour surprises.

pods-plunder-1

How did you get started in your handmade business?

After selling some of my jewellery at work and at a couple of craft fairs, I investigated interest in local crafts shops and was pleasantly surprised with positive feedback. I continue to have my work in a shop in Cardigan.

  I decided to look at online selling too. I wasn’t at all sure, but I’ve had such good reactions from people.

I set up my Folksy shop in December 2016. It’s called Pods&Plunder because I seemed to be deriving a lot of inspiration from seed pods, and I was also incorporating bits of ‘plunder’ from the nearby beaches in West Wales; which is bits of worn sea glass.

In ten years, where would you like to be?

In ten years I would like to still be alive and have a dedicated workshop in the garden, which is warm, dry, has space for all my stuff and wall space to put up all my inspiration. At the moment I am still on the end of the kitchen table, which is ok, but isn’t that practical…although it is handy for taking a second to peel the spuds/check the oven/stir a pan; when jewellery making is higher on the agenda than dinner.

pods-plunder-4

Have any pets?

We have two lovely dogs; an old black Lab called Meg and recently we gained a smaller dog, a cross Lurcher/Bedlington terrier, called Moss. We are lucky enough to live near the Preseli mountains and have a hill behind our house called the Frenni. We walk the dogs up there just about every day or we go to the coast; with loads of gorgeous spots to choose from. This allows me space in the day to collect thoughts (or bits off the beach) and be inspired, which is essential, as I also go to work in a College of Further Education for 4 days a week.

What is your favourite part of your handmade business?

The favourite part of making my jewellery is the bit where I have had an idea, have done a scribble and have a few free hours ahead of me to see how it’s going to work in practical terms. I love the creative process with all of its difficulties, surprises and joy; and when I am pleased with something, it is even more joyous when someone else likes it.

Favourite Websites · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Bluebell Woodturning

current-banner-without-text

The Handmade Seller Interviews are back, yay!

And to start us off, we have an interview with a UK-based woodturner called Mel, from Bluebell Woodturning, who produces beautiful products including live edge bowls, fruit ornaments, bottle stoppers and necklaces.

Now I will hand over to Mel…..

505a

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m Mel, I’m married and I work from my home-based workshop in Dudley, West  Midlands, England, creating  turned items on my lathes… and when I’m not doing that I like to play Crown Green Bowls all summer long, go for walks and grow my own vegetables.

How did you get started in your handmade business?

Woodturning has been my hobby since 2003, and, having been asked at craft events if I had a shop, I opened up on Folksy in October 2014 and – to my surprise – sold three fruits and a bowl only hours later.  I was hooked – and humbled that complete strangers wanted to buy my stuff!

What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

 I’ve always liked to work with wood and, having joined a local club (Black Country Wood Turners) in 2003, the joy of revealing what is under the bark has never left me.

 Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I do all my own DIY except electrics, and I enjoy reading crime novels and quizzing as part of a local pub team.

584a

How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

I’ve always made things, right from a model cooker when my two daughters were young to now producing turned items and display stands for craft fair days. I’ve been on Folksy since October 2014 and opened an Etsy shop on 21st February 2017.

How many different places do you sell from?

 I sell on Folksy and Etsy, as well as at Bernies Café’ (4 Main St, Ingleton, Carnforth LA6 3EB) which sells great food and has been stocking my work since June 2016. This is working out really well, since he gets a lot of tourists being in the Yorkshire Dales.

What’s your biggest non craft-related ambition?

I would like to win a Bowls singles competition with my family watching, including our grandson Lewis who I hope will take up bowls in four or five years time – he’s only 18 months old now.

e51a

How did you come up with your shop name?

I love Bluebells and it seems to evoke a sense of wellbeing for people and is easily remembered.

What is your favourite part of your handmade business?

Wrapping up orders – I get a real buzz sending things out, receiving feedback, and the walk to the Post Office gives me some exercise.

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?

 My lathes, turning chisels and Dust Bee Gone mask because fine dust particles can give you nasal cancer.

bluebell-woodturned-fruit

Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?

Yes, Dew Drop Crafts on Folksy – Julie is a lovely girl who gave me great support when I started.

More Tea, Vicar? on Folksy – Natalie makes lovely knit wear

JAustenJewelleryDesign on Folksy – Jacqueline makes beautiful one-off pieces.

Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Geschmeide Unter Teck

The wonderful Etsy shop in the spotlight today is Geschmeide Unter Teck; a Germany-based shop that sells awesome themed resin rings and earrings. I particularly love the knitting themed one!
I hope you enjoy the interview:)
How did you get started in your handmade business?
I love unusual rings and I wanted to make a resin ring for myself as a summer project. I read all about the craft process, and then made my first experiments with resin. A friend gave me the idea to start selling my jewelry to others.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I’ve always liked to draw, and at college I took art as a main subject. Now my full-time job is communication designer. This is all going in the same artistic direction.
Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Handicraft or making jewelry is my pastime. But I also love dancing and skiing.
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I founded my jewelry company in late 2010. In 2011 I opened my shop at DaWanda and 2013 at Etsy.
How did you come up with your shop name?
I named my design firm “Design unter Teck” (“Design below Teck”), because I live in Kirchheim unter Teck. Teck is a lovely castle at the edge of the “Swabian Alb”, which I see in front of my window. “Geschmeide unter Teck” (“Jewels below Teck”) was a logical continuation for me. Also my group of friends call themselves “Friends below Teck” 🙂
Do you have another job? What is it?
My day job is graphic design.
What is your favourite part of your handmade business?
I like to design new jewelry. I’m constantly thinking about new ideas.
What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
My breathing mask, my drill and my hands.
What would your dream job be?
I already have my dream job(s).
I hope you are enjoying this interview series, and please keep an eye out for more coming soon!
Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Joël Penkman

Since I very much enjoy reading interviews with artists and craftspeople, I’ve decided that after a 4 year hiatus (where did that time go??), I’m going to start posting some Q & As with Etsy sellers again. If you’d like to see the previous interviews on this blog, please click here.
First up is Joël Penkman; a talented painter of a wide range of objects, but mainly food and nostalgic confectionery.
(I had to put her Blackpool rock painting at the top of the post since I live in the home of this famous sweet …and well-known tooth breaker!)
I hope you enjoy the interview.


How did you get started in your handmade business?
I kind of stumbled into it; it was always something I wanted to do but didn’t think was possible. I was working as a freelance designer and I painted a little in my spare time. It began when I entered one of my paintings into a local art competition. It was well received and from there a local gallery owner asked me if I’d like to have an exhibition in her gallery. I spent a few months off freelancing to get some paintings together.
Afterwards, I put the paintings online and sent them to the Design*Sponge blog. Thanks to the internet, people from all over the world could see my work and I began to get a lot of enquiries for giclee prints of the paintings. From there things have slowly built up. Now I no longer do any freelance design work; instead, I paint and sell originals, prints and take on a number of commercial commissions. I feel very, very lucky to be able to do this.


What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?

I’ve always been happiest when I was making something. I studied graphic design at the School of Fine Arts in Christchurch, New Zealand, because I enjoyed it and I thought I could make a living this way. In reality it wasn’t always as rewarding as I’d hoped it would be, so I tried to find another way to use the skills I had.


Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love baking, gardening, collecting and cooking hedgerow food, renovating old furniture, and hanging out with my best buddy (and husband) James.


How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?

Since 2011, I began selling online in July that year.


How many different places do you sell from?

I like to deal with customers directly when I sell original paintings as they are a big investment for them. People can get in touch with me directly from my website joelpenkman.com

I sell giclée prints and small originals on Etsy.

There are also a few galleries in the UK that sell prints and occasionally originals.


In ten years, where would you like to be?

Probably doing what I’m doing now but much better. I’d like to be happy! I don’t have a big plan as I think it’s better to make the most of what life offers you. But a larger house would be good as my work is slowly taking over every room.

Do you have any pets?

A little tabby called Molly whom I love so much! She really only loves my husband James, but I keep trying.


What is your favourite part of your handmade business?

Not having to get up and travel to work each day and being my own boss. I love it so much.


If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?

I would learn to make ceramics / pottery.


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
Tricky. Maybe to not need sleep so I could have an extra 8 hours every day to do things.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Joel Penkman for answering my questions.

Stay tuned for more interviews soon 🙂
Etsy · Handmade Seller Interviews

Handmade Seller Interview: Pillow Pallooza

The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of Pillow Pallooza on Etsy, a seller of fun and colourful handmade pillows.
How did you get started in your handmade business ?
I’ve always enjoyed decorating and making things for my home and I find that making pillows is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to transform and update almost any room in the house. When I was first introduced to Eco felt, which is an environmentally friendly felt made of, if you can believe it….. fibers made from recycled plastic bottles ! I was immediately inspired by this humble fabric but I knew the possibilities where endless and I loved how soft it felt.
The first pillow I made using Eco felt fabric was for my boys bedrooms. It was an appliqued pillow based on a vintage poster of an actual police practice target: (www.etsy.com/listing/35964302/target-practice-20-x-20-inch-pillow-in) I wanted to experiment further and design fun and unique pillows. Ultimately this inspired and led me to open my online pillow shop on Etsy.
What first made you want to become an artist/crafts person ?
I never had a choice, it was in me right from the beginning. My father (who sadly passed away) was a very talented self taught artist who had a significant influence on me and in many occasions we used to draw and paint together but we were also each others worst critiques. Even before I began to offer my craft for sale I had been producing arts and craft for myself and my family. I find inspiration from within and the art just naturally makes it’s way out.
Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Having three teenage boys, (20, 18, and 16) at home keeps me quite busy. I like a clean environment and it’s how I stay focused, so keeping my home in tip top shape is quite time consuming. I also love to cook and bake so I spend a lot of time preparing healthy home made meals. I especially love to cook eastern mediterranean foods, it’s what i grew up with and I do it best to the beat of very loud Israeli, armenian or greek music!
How many different places do you sell from?
Etsy is the only place I sell from, at least for the time being . I have 2 other shops on etsy: thequeenofquitealot.etsy.com and bohemianwhimsey.etsy.com
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Well, this doesn’t qualify as “handmade” but rather “footmade”. I cherish my kids first shoes! They are tiny and simply adorable and when you look closely you can see their little foot marks printed inside….. now that is priceless !!!
In ten years, where would you like to be?
First, I plan on being in a drier, warmer climate than here in Oregon. Southern California would be just fine. I also expect my children to be settled around me in close proximity.
If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?
I have so many favorites its hard for me to pick just one. I love to watch foreign movies and especially old movies from the 30’s and early 40’s. There is one particular movie that I’ve watched maybe a dozen times called Johnny Stecchino, directed and played by Italian actor Roberto Benigni. Now if you like watching Woody Allen movies then you’re going to like Benigni’s movies.
What is your favorite part of your handmade business?
Honestly, I love every part of it but my absolute favorite would be the finishing touches and when I finally insert the pillow form and it takes shape.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
That’s easy but I would want to have 2 super powers. The ability to speak any language at any given time and to time travel so I can travel back to when my kids where babies and I can kiss them a million gazzilion times with no resistance on their part.
What is your earliest memory of creating something you were proud of?
When I was in 6th grade I carved out a tea set out of plain class room chalk. It was the cutest thing but unfortunately my art teacher thought so too and she kept it.
Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?