September 28, 2007

Portland Made - April Alden of Rosewebs

April Alden

Last Wednesday night I attended a workshop about how to promote your shop, it was put on by Ryan of Littleput Books who has sold over 3,000 items in a single year on Etsy. The event was sponsored and hosted by Trillium Artisans an awesome group committed to upcycling and helping to support other green spirits here in Portland. It was an eclectic mix of fellow Etsians and Trilliumites and I felt completely welcomed. Among the crowd of talented artists was April Alden of Rosewebs. Her shop had been picked randomly out of a hat for a Littleput critique and we all ooh’d and auh’d as bright and lively items popped up on the screen one by one and no wonder! We were all completely surrounded in lawn chair goodness!! From bags, to wallets to coin purses oh my!! I was in complete awe and had to know more.

What a great way to recycle!! How did you come to think of making accessories out of lawn chair webbing?

Thanks! It was a fluke, I kept finding the material and buying it not knowing exactly what would eventually come of it. I was inspired by a blog someone wrote about repairing their lawn chairs with material that was not this webbing, and figured I could cross over as well.

Did living in such a green community have anything to do with the direction you have taken with your art and your business?

Absolutely! I was scooped up by Trillium Artisans group one of the fist times that I vended on Alberta street. They have been a huge help and great source of inspiration and support. People in general in our community have been supportive, we have such a great group of crafty folks around here to keep craft fairs and the whole movement going.

Is it easy to come across webbing in such a variety of colors and patterns?

I find it locally whenever possible, but I do have to hunt. I have been collecting it for years, you know how it is when you start to collect something, the collection starts to grow on it's own! But seriously I am always on the lookout.

Where can local Oregonians find you or your work? How about people living outside of Oregon?

In Portland: Trillium Artisans group store, Redux and Foundation Garment all have my wallets and pouches. Outside of Oregon: Regifts in Minneapolis, LaBussola in Reno, and a larger selection is available at Wild Blue in Tulsa Oklahoma. I will be a vendor at this years Bazaar Bizarre in San Francisco December 15th! Naturally my website has my bags and accessories. I do have a very large selection of color options not listed on my site, so if anyone is interested in a custom bag in a specific color get in touch, you could get your very own jewel!

Find out more about Rosewebs by visiting these great links!!

DIY Alert 2007

Portland Picks 2007

Indie Public

April will also be published in two different books come spring of 2008 so keep an eye out!

Daisy Finds - 09.28.07

September 27, 2007

September 26, 2007

September 25, 2007

September 21, 2007

Portland Made - Jessie DeWall of Heating and Cooling

Jessie DeWall

Heating and Cooling

I've been secretly coveting Heating and Cooling's caps for quite a while now but it is time to spill! I'm not exactly a "hat" girl but with Jessie's sophisticated unisex vintage style I don't see how I could go wrong! The rich fibers and unique styles selected and then hand crafted stand out to me and scream, "Wear me!" Though these hats are far from loud or obnoxious they are completely refined and classy. Each of Heating and Cooling's wool, cotton, or rayon caps are lined and all seams are brilliantly hidden. Every cap features a narrow flexible brim with an elastic rim so that it will fit like a nice cozy comfy hug. Caps are even durable enough to be washed in cold water, and then line dried. You can find more of Jessie's designs online by visiting Etsy , Orange Button or by sending her an email at Jessie also makes fantastic upcycled journals and mens cycling caps, check it out. Hope you enjoy this weeks Portland Made artist.

1. How long have you been designing hats, was it something that came to you naturally or did it take a bit of work?

I have been designing hats since the fall of 2004. I didn't know it then, but it was the beginning of what will someday be my career. It came very easily to me. It was an idea inspired by necessity. I could envision this hat, but could find it nowhere. With no prior knowledge of patternmaking or hat making, I went with my instincts and created a successful pattern on my first try. It is still the pattern I use today, although my patternmaking standards have far surpassed it. I ran into a few small issues in finding a proper material for stiffening the brim, but other than that found myself in business. I have sold hundreds of them through word of mouth, and right when I think it's over, another surge comes my way.

2. When you're choosing your fabric do you go in to the store with something in mind or does the fabric just call out to you?

I do get a lot of inspiration from fabric I run across. I find myself wondering around fabric stores for hours on end to ensure that I'm not overlooking some amazingly rare, strange fabric. I am obsessed also with supplies: sewing, office, and anything handy really. I am inspired by all of these things. All of my men's hats have a small piece of reflective ribbon on the back, something I began collecting long before I even knew what I would do with it. I just thought it was really special and it can be hard to find in the kind of stores I have access to. Although I inevitably fall in love with fabrics that I have no need for, they are often the starting point for garments or accessories I am very inspired to make. When I'm running short on time or money though, I can at least limit myself to a certain weight or color of fabric, that helps narrow it down and keep me focused.

3. I see you're also into upcycling and have some fabulous hardbound journals in your Etsy shop. Do you have future plans to expand your shop, and what form do you ultimately see your shop taking?

I have a hard time warming up to things that are shiny and new, so I find myself searching for those perfectly dulled items that are just waiting to be reinvented. That is a general rule for all things that I make. I also see the value in recycling for the sake of preservation, and do so whenever possible. I love the idea of sustainable fabrics as well, but find them inaccessible at the moment. I look forward to having access to these materials at a more affordable cost so that they are in turn accessible to you. Although I take full advantage of these resources when I can, it is not a rule that I adhere completely to, just yet. As for my Etsy shop, I always intend to have more for sale than I actually have time to make. I have piles of amazing fabrics just waiting to be made into hats. Unfortunately, I am busy sewing for fun, school, and work. As a result of my ideas outgrowing my knowledge, I am learning apparel design at the Art Institute. After two years, I am now fully capable to designing clothing, and hope to one day sell on Etsy and in the more distant future, in a shop of my own. The journals also began out of necessity. I again found myself struggling to find a journal of my liking, so I created it. The satisfaction of customizing something into such a tidy polished little package, is undeniable to me. It is, however, more a labor of love than anything else.

4. How can local Portlander’s get their hands on your work outside of Etsy?

As much as I would love to be, I am not currently selling my hats in stores, but am glad to do custom orders when contacted. I can be emailed at I also plan to attend various craft shows over the holidays, including Crafty Wonderland.

Daisy Finds - 09.21.07

September 19, 2007

Indie Ever After - Andrea(Dré) of WillowcatStudio

Andrea(Dré) of WillowcatStudio

I tend to frequent Etsy, an online market place where I get lost for hours ooohing and auhing over hundreds of artist’s creations and when my heart begs for more insight on what it is exactly that drives these wonderfully creative and talented people I hit up the forums to find out more. On such an occasion I found WillowcatStudio and even back then she struck me as quite witty, quirky and kind which is happily what I’d imagined. That same week she had found my shop and bought a pair of hairpins, it was an awesome coincidence.
So months later through yet another strange string of happenstance we bumped into each other once more. I had featured an item from her shop in Daisy Finds only to find out that same week through a convo (Etsy's catchy slang for email) that she’d blogged about the exact pair of hairpins she bought back in April for her daughter’s hair. So when I was fretting about who to feature first for Indie Ever After it all just made sense, duh…..WillowcatStudio!!

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I hate questions like this. I am a 32 year old (mom, wife, friend, daughter, artist, crafter*) woman. My husband and I live in a small southern Manitoba town with our amazing children and 4 pets. I have become accustomed to doing several things on the go and it is not unheard of to watch me paint, cook and play simultaneously.*not in that order, varies daily

2. How did you know you wanted to be an artist/crafter?

I was almost 5 and attending kindergarten. My teacher, Lise, organized the best project for us. We took wax crayon shavings and arranged them in a design or image, when we were done she pressed it with a hot iron and all the colors melted together. I think at that moment I wanted to become an artist. My mom kept a school days book for me, in grade 2 and onwards the artist box in the 'what do you want to be?’ Section, was always checked.

3. When did you come to create WillowcatStudio?

In 2000 while we lived in Wyoming. Prior to that, I had played with other names but willowcat won out in the end. Willow is the cat that my husband and I got when we had first moved out together, 15 years ago! She is still an awesome cat and it's such a fabulous story.

4. What do you find to be your favorite medium?

If I had to choose one it would be chalk pastels. I adore how the colors blend together or stand on their own. Chalk pastels force me to slow right down and focus on the task and be aware of where my hands and fingers are. We don't spend much time together right now but one day we will.

5. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My base inspirations come from my crafty aunt who taught me to knit and cook, and my mom who taught me to do things with style and flair, and I do, with my own brand of each. Now I am inspired by the things I see, touch, or daydream. My true inspiration is my husband, who always pushes me to try something a little bit different, who helps me draw outside the lines and discover a little more about me and my work.

6. Where can others find your creations in and outside of Canada?

I am currently in 2 brick and mortar stores Sew Dandee at 105 Osborne st in Winnipeg as well as The Pembina Hills Arts Council at 352 Stephen St in Morden Manitoba. If you don't live there you can find me online at Etsy, and I am building a cafe press store too, as willowcatstudio of course.

7. Why Etsy?

I liked the community and the forums, people are really welcoming and eager to help and encourage you. It felt more like a neighborhood and everyone waved and smiled to each other, that's why!

Find out more about WillowcatStudio by visiting Dre's blog at or find her on MySpace at