Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interview with ThroughtheForest

Part of an ongoing interview series profiling EtsyVeg members.
Interview by Kylie of SilentLotus

Meet Michelle of Etsy's ThroughtheForest

Michelle's paintings are uniquely beautiful and inspiring. Her very ethereal and enchanting images linger within long after seeing them...

Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?

A. Simply create what you are moved and inspired to create. If it comes from your heart and has meaning to you it will be great!

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

A. I sell my original oil paintings, art prints, and other items based on my art, including cameo pendants and notecards.

Q. What are your creative inspirations?

A. My greatest inspirations are my faith as a Christian, animals, nature, and the work of other artists, especially the Pre-Raphaelite painters.

Q. How did you get started creating?

A. I started oil painting when I was 18, and it was so different from any other media I'd tried. I immediately knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?

A. I've dabbled in a lot of art forms over the years. My favorites are painting, drawing, jewelry making, pottery, photography and playing the piano. And I just recently taught myself to knit ,and I love it! It's so relaxing and enjoyable- I'm looking forward to learning more.

Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?

A. I would love to tackle a really large painting, something life-size!

Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?

A. Helping homeless animals has always been very important to me. I was always bringing home stray animals as a kid, and I still can't resist an animal in need. About a year ago I started a website devoted to helping homeless cats in my area.

Right now I am very excited about a recent painting titled "Midnight Guardian" (see below) that features a lovely forest maiden who is the guardian of nocturnal animals. The piece was inspired by my love and appreciation of animals and the importance of doing what we can to be caretakers of them.

Q. Is etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?

A. Etsy is a large part of my business, as I sell solely on Etsy right now. I just love everything about Etsy: the ease of listing, the visual appeal of the listings, and the sense of community you find there. I also market through my website and other online galleries.

Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?

A. My only plan right now is to focus on growing as an artist and on becoming more prolific with my paintings. Hopefully a growing business with follow.

Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?

A. I've been a vegetarian for about 5 years now. I try to make daily choices to contribute to a more cruelty-free lifestyle, such as drinking soymilk instead of cow's milk, buying cage-free eggs, and reading product labels to avoid animal-based products. Every little step makes a difference!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Big Vote: Promo Card Designs Unveiled

For all of those participating in the EtsyVeg Promo Project, most of the details have been decided and we are finally at the point of voting on a card design! :)

Two very creative team members, TokenEmotion and JaKRandomArt have generously donated their time and designs. Several designs will be chosen (top three). These can be totally different designs or simply one design with varying color schemes. It's all up to you to decide! Promo Project participants, please vote in the "comments" area below.

The designs unveiled (design/image only- correct details will be filled in later):

Voters: Don't forget (please) that you are choosing up to three designs! You can pick a combination of individual designs from both JaK and TokenEmotion. :) The top 2-3 will be used!

by JaKRandomArt

by TokenEmotion:

I'm sure it will be a fun vote!

The Big Art

Quote of the Week

"All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life." ~M.C. Richards~

Contributed by Gina of claynfiber.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Interview with SweetWolf

Part of an ongoing interview series profiling EtsyVeg members.
Interview by SilentLotus

Meet Cathie of Etsy's SweetWolf and UltraTrixie

The way Cathie tells it, she was pretty much born into craftiness. Her imaginative, funky, and intelligent creations are the perfect illustration of what nurtured talent and creativity can blossom into.

Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?

My philosophy is that everyone needs a creative outlet, and that everyone has an artist inside. I just think that some people repress the need to be creative. (We’ve all heard someone say, “I couldn’t do that!,” but we know they could if they really tried to!)

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Mostly bags and purses, but also other things I have sewn, and sometimes a bit of crochet. Also, ‘home décor’ items, like light switch plate covers, picture frames, or mirrors. I like the freedom of being able to sell anything I decide to make!

Q. What are your creative inspirations?

I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. Some of my best ideas come to me when I am waiting in line or otherwise ‘bored’ and I let my mind wander.

Q. How did you get started creating?

I have been ‘making stuff’ for as long as I can remember. My parents and Grandmas always encouraged us to be creative and never be ‘bored’ (boredom was not allowed at our house 'cause there *is* always something to do!).

My mom bought me my first sewing machine in second grade, and my first foray into business was not long after—making tooth pillows, which my parents took to work to sell. I stopped sewing in junior high (because it wasn’t ‘cool’) and then picked it up again in high school, and made my own clothes. I remember many, many hours of crafting as a kid, both at home and at my Grandma’s. I also inherited two big stashes of fabric and many unfinished projects from both grandmothers! (So fabric hording and not finishing projects run in the family, which makes me feel a bit better about my habits!)

Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?

Other artistic tendencies? Hm, I was in a band once upon a time. I got a D in a painting class in college (that teacher was something else, that’s a whole story in itself!) I dabble in all kinds of crafts, not so much ‘art’. I do decoupage/ collage, I bead and make jewelry. I crochet, I mosaic. I have made PMC jewelry with my friend’s kiln. I play with/ look at my supplies a lot. I collect ‘junk’ to make into other things.

I would love to learn how to make stained glass. And one of these days I’ll learn how to solder silver. (If I can weld, that’s gotta be easy!)

Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?

One day, I would love to build my own house. I love the idea of making a straw bale house or a house of glass bottles and concrete. (My dream house would probably resemble the Watts towers or something Gaudi made). Now, if I can just convince my hubby that he wants to live in a house like that… And some day I will talk him into letting me make our car into an art car!

Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?

Other hobbies (mostly done while crafting!): watching movies and TV shows on DVD, listening to books on tape. Reading. Playing with my pets and hanging out with my hubby. I love to go to live music shows or hang out and have a few drinks with my friends. I am addicted to thrift shopping and ‘treasure hunting’ at garage sales (and have been known to dumpster dive!)

Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)

Addict? Yes. I have been on Etsy since August of 2007. It would have been sooner if I had known how cool it was!

Q. Is Etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?

At this point, Etsy is the only place I really sell. I have been lazy about pursuing other venues or setting up my own website. I need to get on that! Occasionally I will set up at local weekend markets, but it’s so hot here!! I market through word of mouth, hang a few fliers here and there, tell my friends to tell their friends.

Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?

I have been a vegetarian since I was 8. I am the only one in my family who is veg, and for a long time my parents thought I was going through a ‘phase’. I have always been a picky eater, and they thought it wasn’t going to stick. But after I learned what hot dogs were made of and realized I was eating my pets (fish sticks + fish tank across from the dinner table), I decided I didn’t want to eat animals anymore.

Someday I may try to go vegan. I haven’t yet mostly because I LOVE cheese. All the other stuff I could do with out. Having been a vegetarian for so long, I don’t even really think about it anymore—it’s more of a big deal to other people than it is to me! I make it a point not to ‘preach’ to others about my beliefs, since I believe everyone is entitled to their own way of thinking. However, I was the influence that made 2 longtime friends go veg! I do use some animal products in my crafts (upcycled leather and wool), and I wear leather sometimes; but, I wouldn’t eat my shoes either!

Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?
Last thing I made was veggie enchiladas… yummy! Cravings? Cheese and chips and salsa. Thank the Gods for Tex-Mex, cause I couldn’t live with out it. I love fruit more than veggies (hubby says I should be a fruititarian).

Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?

Luckily for me, I live in a very vegetarian-friendly town. We have several Whole Foods and several great vegetarian/ vegan restaurants. I love Mr. Natural and Mother’s Café- both have all vegetarian food. Whole Foods is dangerously close to my house, and I spend too much money there. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at veg blogs or websites, but I probably ought to. I know I could stand to eat a better vegetarian diet than I currently do! Please let me know of some good veg blogs to read! (And I wish we had a Trader Joes here- I would love to check that store out.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fresh Veggies

Give a warm welcome to the most recent fabulous additions to our talented team!

Check out the fresh veggies:

afghanartistry- Crocheted afghans, ski caps, scarves, wraps

aguavino- photography, cards, magnets, switch plates

laurabucci- One-of-a-kind and one-of-a-few fabric bags

lovebugknits- Organic knit items

NaturallySpun- handspun yarn, crocheted& knitted items, ACEO's

StephHansonCreations- Canvas Wall Art

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creative Living

Quote of the Week

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce ~

Contributed by Gina of claynfiber.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wildlife and Trash- A Dangerous Combination

As if devastating environmental degradation and marring of the natural landscape isn’t enough damage caused by the vastly enormous number of tons of trash created every year (over 251 million in the U.S. alone), garbage poses a serious danger to wildlife. Along with contamination of soil, air, and water and destruction of land, everyday trash items can trap and wound wildlife, make them an easy target for predators, and prevent them from being able to eat, all of which may lead to suffering and/or death.

Reptiles, birds, and mammals, even pets, are endangered by careless littering and by typical waste from household and recreational activities- even recycled materials. Fishing line alone is responsible for 36 percent of wildlife injuries caused by garbage! Other sources of trash-related wildlife injuries include wounds from broken glass and fishing hooks; poisoning from lead, household chemicals, and harmful bacteria in discarded food; internal blockages from swallowing plastic wrap or bags; strangulation or amputation from string, wire, rubberbands, and six-pack rings; and the effects of entrapment in small containers (, foxwatchireland).

Animals such as lizards seeking warmth and small mammals or birds attracted by food remnants or odors can get their heads stuck in jars, cans, plastic bags, or empty yogurt cups, resulting in starvation, suffocation, or overheating ( Waterfowl and other birds may feed their babies plastic packing pellets. They can also get bound up in fishing line and netting, preventing them from flying, making them easy prey, and even causing limbs to be amputated. Fish and whales sometimes become ensnared in netting and loose fishing line. Broken glass and sharp metal can cut paws. These are just a few of the ways discarded waste from human activities can harm wildlife. *BUT... there are lots of simple things that can be done to prevent much of this from happening!*

Easy ways you can help protect animals and wild-proof your garbage:

  • Rinse, Recycle, and Reuse. Recycle glass, plastic, and aluminum containers. But whether you are recycling or putting these items in the trash, rinse them thoroughly or wash them to remove food remnants and odors that may lure wildlife to crawl inside seeking treats. If throwing away, also place lids back onto containers if possible. Rinse plastic wrap before throwing into trash. Reuse plastic storage bags or grocery bags.

  • Cut, Crush, and Tie. Fishing line, string, netting, rope, and rubber bands should be cut into 6-inch pieces before discarding in trash. Cut six-pack rings and similar items apart to prevent animals from getting trapped in them. Snip balloons into little pieces so that they aren't be mistaken for food. Tie plastic bags in a knot so that they can't blow away, lead to suffocation, or be mistaken for food. Remember to remove the lids from cans entirely if they are only partially attached. And cut in half or crush any open plastic containers or cans, making sure the opening is pinched shut so that small animals cannot crawl into or get their heads stuck inside.

  • Close and Cover. Make sure never to throw containers or plastic packaging into open trash cans. Better yet, ensure that all rinsed containers and plastic wrap are completely closed in garbage bags and placed inside trashcans with reliably secure lids (

Other things you can do:
  • Reduce the amount of trash you generate by recycling and by purchasing products with as little packaging as possible.
  • Volunteer with local community clean-up projects.
  • Pick up trash that may pose a danger to animals from the sidewalk or field you pass in your daily travels (use hand protection).
  • Spread the word to others about preventing trash-related wildlife injuries.
Just a few seconds or minutes can help prevent harm to the environment and it's creatures!

Skin Food- A Treasury that Does a Body Delicious

EtsyVeg members help us nurture and pamper our bodies naturally...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August's Monthly Challenge- Back to School is Cool!

You are cordially invited to play, get more involved with the team, get inspired, share your talent, and take advantage of some free promotion!

The EtsyVeg monthly challenge is meant to inspire, recognize, and promote team members and our shops; to spread the word about vegan/vegetarian lifestyles; and to raise awareness about the rights of animals to live free of exploitation.
Heather of aktie9 came up with August's challenge theme- "Back to School!" So get to creating your "back to school"-related pieces. Have them ready to turn in by the end of the month... and don't forget an apple for the teacher!

*Challenge Guidelines:*

~Participation is open to any EtsyVeg team member. Members of CrueltyFreeEtsy and VeganEtsy are also invited to join (spread the word).

~Entry involves simply posting applicable items in your shop with the tag "Back2school" (all one word, and without the quotations).

~Deadline for entry is August 31st.

~One entry per participant will be featured in the EtsyVeg blog at the beginning of August.

~Entrants will suggest possible themes for next month's challenge to be voted on early in September.

~All team members (not just participants) are invited throughout the month of August to initiate forum threads about the challenge, make treasuries by doing a tag search for Back2school (again, all one word) and putting only those items in the treasury, or to generate other types of promotion. (If you do any of these, please let everyone know so that we can all post or click to keep it going!)

Happy creating- gold stars on the foreheads of anyone who plays! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Be Kind To Animals

Quote of the Week

"Be kind to animals, don't eat them."

While on vacation I read this on my fridge each day. It was a magnet from the Vegetarian Resource Group. So simple, yet one of my favorite quotes.

Contributed by Gina of claynfiber.

Monday, August 4, 2008

July Challenge Entries: From Destash to Design

July's "Destash Challenge" involved using supplies on hand (destash) to design an inspired new piece or to complete an unfinished project. The following are the imaginative fabrications entered into the challenge by members of EtsyVeg, CrueltyFreeEtsy, and VeganEtsy:

Keep an eye out for information on August's challenge coming soon!