The title of this post should be community building – part deux. My shop is part of a network of craft sellers who maintain their unique storefronts on www.etsy.com. If you’ve never heard of etsy, think of ebay without the auctions, made just for artists of every persuasion. Etsy provides the backdoor code for our shops for a small fee, and we provide the goods. You can search for a particular store if you want to find something created specifically by a particular artist, or you can search across the entire site for ‘red scarves’, which would bring you paintings of red scarves; felt, knit and crochet scarves; a skeleton scarf; handpainted silk scarves; red feather boas; and a batik sash.
Shortly after I created my shop and started posting items, it occurred to me that the world thrives on connections, particularly this type of world. What better way to build community online, than to support people making their living the same way I do. Your local yarn store is a great place to buy lots of roving, particularly if you are just starting and want to see how different fibers work. However, if you want something unique, or if you want your purchase to go straight into the pocket of a live person, start with etsy.
The roving I used for this windowpane scarf is from Copperpot. The rovings are created from custom blends of hand dyed merino. She also sells lots of wool/tencel blends and tussah silk, perfect for spinners working on laceweight and sock yarns.
When I booked my first felting workshop, I wanted to have lots of color choices to offer my students, so once again, I looked on etsy for a vendor who could provide several pounds of merino in various colors. Handsandnotions filled my custom order quickly with beautiful, soft roving. The blue ball in the center of the basket created the background for the Seattle City Cohousing banner at the bottom of my last post on community. As it turns out, the box arrived after my workshop, so now I get to use it all by myself. Gee shucks. My students used the just-fine-but-nothing-special New Zealand roving-by-the-ounce from Weaving Works, and I get the custom dyed batch.
The next time you have to buy a birthday gift for Aunt Flo, a farewell gift to your niece on her way to college, a shower gift, or a birthday present for your boss, look no farther than etsy. Why spend your money at a big box store when you can pick something up made locally by hand, especially if you can pick it up with your hand, as in handed to you by the artist.
Most large cities have organized groups of etsy sellers called ‘street teams’ who band together to collaborate on shows, pool collective resources, and market their wares. You can look for your local street team on the Team Etsy site. Seattle’s etsy street team is ‘EtsyRain‘. You can search the tag field on Etsy to find a local artist, or you can come to the Fall Thing Craft Fair at the Phinney Center this Saturday. Meet the artist, shake their hand, learn about their technique and take your purchase home without paying for shipping or excess packaging.