Thank you to all of you who read and commented on my first featured seller piece! I really enjoyed your feed back and knowing that I got to do my part to promote the etsy artist community 🙂 Today’s artist is the first friend I made on etsy. She’s been a great encouragement to me as I begin to figure out all the in’s and out’s of the on-line selling world and I’m honored to get to share a little about her and about her work with the rest of you! So without further adieu, meet Anne, of leathermadenice.
1. Tell us your story; what first got you started working with leather?
Sewing was my first passion. I loved to create. The more difficult fabric the better. Wives of my police partners would often commission me to create outfits for them from garments they had seen at functions. Because I loved to sew so much I never asked for money, my payment was seeing their faces when they received their garment.
When I resigned from the Force to be a stay-at-home mom, I would watch as my husband, John, worked on “Pancake” gun holsters for the guys at the station. His passion started as an interest in the craft and grew into a small business on the side. As his horizons grew, so did my interest. I watched attentively and learned his techniques. He is a perfectionist and detail always matters.
Finally, one day he asked me if I wanted to give it a try. Reluctantly, I gave it a shot. I stamped out my first belt and it was a blast!! The reward of seeing a piece of raw leather transform into a piece of art was enough to get me hooked. I became the best student. Each time he started a new project I sat and watched with enthusiasm. I felt like a first grader asking her teacher, “Why did you do that? What would happen if you don’t do that?” He was tireless in his efforts to enlighten me.
Last year John and I presented our products to our local farmers market in Cobourg, Ontario. We did very well I am pleased to announce. I was introduced to Etsy.com by a business owner in town. He advised that our goods would do well. Willing to try our chances I registered with them that very day and the rest is, as the song goes, “We’ve only just begun”!
2. Do you make any other crafts?
Coming from a generation when mother’s repaired, sewed, crotched, knitted and duct-taped everything – opps that’s me (just kidding) – I was inundated with crafts, and learned by default. My favorite skill prior to turning 40 years young was petite-point cross-stitch. I rug hooked, knitted Nordic sweaters, crocheted quilts and finally, we do wood work. As a matter of fact, no kidding people, I am a lifetime member of the “Handyman Club of America.” My husband and I – gosh, I feel like the queen with that phrase, have tried our hand at installing hardwood floors, wainscoting and drywalling to name a few, sorry I digress. Plain and simple there is nothing we won’t try. We love to experiment and try new things and why not, thoughts become things. I find inspiration in everything around me.
3. What’s your favorite thing about etsy.com?
As a layperson with computers I find Etsy.com to be extremely user friendly. My children often laugh at me because of my reluctance to push keys in fear of loosing information or crashing the computer. With Etsy.com and their easy to follow step-by-step instruction I am not afraid to experiment. Unlike the Internet, who’s chat rooms are somewhat questionable, I have found Etsy’s chat rooms to be both personable and informative. I love talking to true artisans and viewing their works. It makes my want to take my work to a new level. I haven’t, as of yet, explored the live workshop in the Virtual Labs or the tools available in Resources but I am looking forward to the experience. I did, I’m proud to say, made it into a Treasury for about 15 minutes one day. It was thrilling for the moment.
4. What are some of your favorite pieces you have up on etsy right now?
To choose some of my favourites pieces from our shop would be like choosing one child over the next. A rather difficult decision since each item we make carries a bit of John or I in it. But if I had to select, one of my choices would be the first handbag I listed on Etsy.com. The Latigo Leather Handbag was my first attempt in creating an item of this calibre. I am very pleased with it.
John and I have a running comment when we work. Often, from somewhere in the house, one of us will yell, “breathe”. We want our work to be so precise that we often hold our breathe in challenging areas. When this is hollered it releaves tension and brings a moment of levity to the situation. John’s crowning glory, he wouldn’t say because he is much too modest, is the Museum Quality Native Breastplate and Choker set. I recall the many hours he spent on this labour of love. I swear he must have been a native in a previous life he. He is quite passionate about his native works. Although it is not listed on Etsy.com presently, he is working on a full native headdress. Together we strive to find new and distinctive products to share with the Etsy community.
5. Where do you do your work?
I started a sewing business three years ago. My workspace consisted of a table in the corner of our basement. As business picked up and our services expanded to include leather work, so did my work space. Today we occupy the entire basement, which resembles a tannery and fabric store, and is creeping its way upstairs to the living room to where the lighting is better for cutting and stamping. We find that since we do most of our business at our local farmers market and on Etsy.com, there is no need to rent a store front. With the cost of leather and supplies increasing, working from our home helps keep the cost down for our customers. Having a store front would limit your work time and as we find it now, if either of us feels so inclined, we can work into the wee hours of the night with everything at hand.
We retired primarily from the Force to spend more time with our growing children since we missed out on so much in their early years. Working from home gives us the freedom to be with, and available to, our children. Because we feel so blessed that we can do this we became volunteer drivers for our local Children’s Aid Society. Our way of giving forward and a constant reminder for us to appreciate our own family.
6. Tell the readers one random, fun thing about yourself 🙂
I love to laugh! I love to make people laugh too, or at least get a good reaction out of them. Laughter is good for the soul.
My sense of humour has apparently rubbed off on my children. Today is the last day of school and my son, Chris, has decided he wants it to be memorable. Under his St. Mary’s uniform he has concocked a make-shift Superman outfit, in blue and red (including the famed “S”) Precisely in the middle of the hour he is going to stand up yell, “What?” remove a cell phone from his pocket and stated, “I’ll be right there!” He will remove his uniform and expose his Superman outfit to the class and run out. I am so very proud of my children (and husband) that they can dare to be different and laugh at themselves and life. With an attitude like that it can only get better. ^i^
And now, some of my favorite pieces from her shop!
One of these days, when I have extra money (hah! I’m a college student!), I want to buy one of these bracelets!
These are just plain cool 🙂
And these are just too cute for words!