Meet the Makers

Meet the Makers

Meet the Makers || Studio by the Forest

One of the goals of our blog is to take you behind the scenes, to let you meet the talented people behind the shops on Etsy. Along with our Studio Tours, we also have our Meet the Makers series. Here we ask artists about how they got their start and how they ended up opening an online shop.  We hope you enjoy!

The Maker: Anna Duhame

The Shop: Studio by the Forest

Location: Ocala, Florida

Get in touch: Facebook 

 works in progress from the studio

works in progress from the studio

When and why did you open an online shop on Etsy?

I opened a shop in 2006 originally to sell jewelry and my lampworked glass beads. I was a stay at home Mom who wanted a way to earn a little of my own money and to help pay for supplies and equipment.
 

 peace ceramic wall decor

peace ceramic wall decor

What got you started in your craft?


I've loved sculpting animals since I was a young child but I didn't get really serious about ceramic art until I realized I couldn't safely make lampworked beads anymore. I've got fibromyalgia and I would have issues with my hands that would make them go numb and I would drop hot molten glass beads into my lap while I was working on them. So I decided to seriously pursue another medium. I started out with a tiny hobby sized kiln and 50 lbs of clay and learned about ceramics through books and the internet.

 little golden mushrooms

little golden mushrooms

 resurrection ferns on oak tree

resurrection ferns on oak tree

 a squirrel climbing on Anna

a squirrel climbing on Anna

Who or what influences your style the most?

I guess you could say nature is the strongest influence in my artwork. I love animals of course, but I also really feel attracted to natural elements such as botanicals and stone. I love the rustic, especially when combined with a modern element.
 

studiobytheforest.etsyfavorites.jpg

Name at least 5 of your favorite etsy shops.

This is really hard because I think I could very easily name about 500 shops. These are some favorites that I just love to browse through....

1. Golly Bard

2. Arrok

3. Lupen Grainne 

4. Shop Gatski 

5. Rough Fusion

6. Railis 

7. larimeloom

 Jellybean and Anna

Jellybean and Anna

 April a white tailed deer

April a white tailed deer

 Anna holding an osprey

Anna holding an osprey

 April again

April again

I like to have a lot of hands-on inspiration to get me really motivated to create. I have a few things that I do that really help to get the creative juices flowing. One thing I love, is to go hiking. I'm lucky because I live right near a National Forest so it's easy to find someplace to go. When I'm on these hikes I like to take photos of trees, bark, mushrooms, and lichen for inspirational reference. 

I also volunteer 3 days a week at an animal sanctuary called Animis Foundation. (www.facebook.com/AnimisFoundation)
I love the people and the animals that I've met since I started here. They ALL inspire me tremendously. It gives me a very unique opportunity to really study and learn the personalities of all kinds of fascinating animals such as deer, opossums, squirrels, and foxes.

A big thanks to Anna for sharing her story and we'll have another exciting shop to share with you next month.


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Meet the Makers

Keys to Success with Miss Farfalla

The Shop:  Miss Farfalla

The Owner:  Chris

The Goods:  vintage fashion and accessories

 The three faces of Miss Farfalla. "At heart, I am a comedian".

The three faces of Miss Farfalla. "At heart, I am a comedian".

When and why did you choose to open and online shop on Etsy? 

I opened my shop in 2009. It was just after the 2008 crash and I needed an income stream to replace lost income from my artwork. I'm also a sculptor and had just completed a large exhibition where there were no sales due to the economy. So I thought... "Chris, back to the drawing board!" I decided to return to selling vintage until things improved. I liked the look of Etsy, the artistic inventive imaginative vibe of the place and felt it was a good fit for my quirky sense of style.

 

 "The Pile"... recently acquired vintage that's being sorted for cleaning, repair, proper storage and when ready... photography.

"The Pile"... recently acquired vintage that's being sorted for cleaning, repair, proper storage and when ready... photography.

What got you started in your craft? 

I've been involved with vintage since I can remember. I come from a long line of pack rats and was wearing vintage clothing when I was a kid. I went to a farm school in Vermont and used to work the fields in late Victorian dresses hiked up over my long johns. Grew an entire crop of pumpkins one year in Victorian Mourning! When I was first in NYC I sold vintage at the Soho Flea and also did restoration for top vintage sellers like Victoria Falls. I modeled vintage for Gene London where I got to wear dresses formerly worn by Garbo. He had an extraordinary collection of Hollywood garments and a stable of girls each chosen to wear a different star's wardrobe for customers to chose. Interesting job. But the most helpful was working with restorationists from the Met costume collection. I really learned from those ladies. 

 

 vintage 1950's striped shirt dress

vintage 1950's striped shirt dress

Who or what influences your style the most? 

The guy who delivers the mail and brings the bills.

 Here's Michael in the studio. We use a professional strobe system and shoot directly into a computer.

Here's Michael in the studio. We use a professional strobe system and shoot directly into a computer.

How do you stay focused and movtivated? 

The guy who delivers the mail and brings the bills.

 Every package is shipped looking like a birthday present!

Every package is shipped looking like a birthday present!

What would be your insight on "Keys to Success on Etsy"? 

Keep a sense of humor. Seriously. Running your own shop is such a crazy process of constant reinvention, shape-shifting and flexibility that if I was too set in my ways I would have never lasted. I keep very high standards of customer service... this business is all about response to customers, not just sales. And besides that, I try to have a good time with it all. I love sending long letters to customers with the history of a garment, care instructions, links to info they might find interesting about what they just purchased. Vintage is always a history lesson. It's not just a dress. I sometimes say things like... "You must think of this dress as a very elegant old lady! Do you expect to look this good at 75? So take good care of her." And customers love it! What we sell here at Etsy is personal... it has meaning for us otherwise we'd all do something more practical, like work on Wall Street. To me... I'm still in the Pumpkin Patch... and each garment I sell is unique and a bit of a surprising delight. It's a harvest of treasure from history that I'm passing along. It's fun.

 

 a sampling of vintage items from Miss Farfalla

a sampling of vintage items from Miss Farfalla

A big thanks to Chris for sharing her Etsy story with us! 

For more Miss Farfalla information: 

Twitter

Tumblr

Her other Etsy Shop 

 

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Meet the Makers

Keys to Success with Sea & Asters

 air plant containers

air plant containers

The Shop:  Sea & Asters

The Owners:  Monica and James

The Goods:  terrariums, air plants, plant pods

When and why did you choose to open an online shop on Etsy?

Several years ago, I made a few terrariums as Christmas gifts for my friends and family.  My two sisters came to me afterwards and said “You have to set up a shop and sell these!” I was quite hesitant at first but then I thought why not give it a try? I was a huge fan of Etsy and the idea of buying directly from the artists and makers. James and I opened our Etsy shop soon thereafter.  I am still in awe with the response that we have received.

 an assortment of air plants on display at their studio

an assortment of air plants on display at their studio

What got you started in your craft?

We’re huge fans of gardening and all things botanical, so much so that I decided to pursue a degree in Environmental Horticulture.  I discovered tillandsias while studying and became completely enamored with the plant genus. The tillandsia forms look like art on their own, so we decided to create planters and terrariums that will only enhance and focus on the natural sculptures.

 Monica with a plant pod + tillandsia

Monica with a plant pod + tillandsia

Who or what influences your style the most?

We are highly influenced by botany, simplicity, and the combination of vintage + modern. We make items that we would personally like to have in our home.

  

 a variety of tillandsias

a variety of tillandsias

How do you stay focused and motivated?

Of course we love what we do so it’s easy to fall into the go-go-go mentality. I’ve actually discovered recently, especially after our little one arrived (yay!), that we must take some time off.  It’s so important to have balance in your work and life. Taking time allows me to re-focus and re-inspire so we can stay motivated for the remainder of the year.

 James and Monica

James and Monica

What would be your insight on "Keys to Success on Etsy"?

High quality images and descriptions are super important. Your customers cannot see the product in person so you have to have great photos and descriptions to showcase your product.  

Etsy is a wonderful marketplace but it is also a vast marketplace. Networking with other Esty sellers and joining teams has helped us tremendously. Not only are you learning from other sellers, you are also helping promote shops that you love!

Always seek ways to improve and enhance our shopper’s experience. 

 a collection of shells

a collection of shells

A big thanks to Monica and James sharing their Etsy story with us! 

For more Sea & Asters information: 

Featured Seller interview on Etsy

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