Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GUEST BLOGGER: The Wonders of Encaustic Art by On a Whimsey

Encaustic art?

What is it?

The name encaustic derives from the Greek for” burnt in”.

It is claimed that the art of encaustic wax painting is at least over 2000 years old and that it was practiced by the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. Since it has lasted, in some cases, over 2000 years it is considered a very durable form of Art. Around the world there are ancient examples of portraits which have been painted on wood often depicting iconic images from the Church.

Examples of encaustic tomb portraits from Roman Egypt bear witness to the durability of the medium, which is thought to have been widely used in ancient times. Pliny describes the process in which hot liquid colors were applied to the wall by means of heated irons. It is believed that the waxes used to be heated in containers over a charcoal fire until molten and then applied to the wood with brushes or perhaps heated spatulas.

Nowadays, artists have the use of modern technology and thus are able to produce beautiful works of art with electric tools.

True encaustic painting is produced through a process in which the coloured wax is permanently ‘burned’ into an absorbent backing such as plaster, canvas or some woods. However, today, the technique of laying wax on a non absorbent support is generally regarded as encaustic art.

The amazing attribute of using the molten wax is that whenever the hot implement such as a hot iron touches it, the wax will melt and thus can be re-worked. So, you can alter the image until you are satisfied.

The waxes can be of many types. However, they are usually specially formulated to provide art quality colours in a safe non toxic form which is designed to be used when melted. This wax melts at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or just over 60 degrees Centigrade. The most popular for the beginner is wax made into manageable blocks or sticks. Otherwise, wax can be melted, different pigments added according to requirements, and so forth.

The main tool is the painting or encaustic iron. The base plate is used to smooth and texture the wax whilst the edge can be used to scrape or to slide through the medium. Again, the tip of the iron can be used to draw in details. Encaustic art painting card is specially impregnated and enables the wax to slide around the surface without allowing too much absorption. The card resists heat damage and is tough and flexible.

Other tools can include an encaustic art stylus, scribing tools, hot air guns. Whatever comes to hand, even tooth brushes, tissue, etc.

Other supports can be used creating different effects such as wood, fabric, plastic or metal.

It is an exciting medium which is not difficult master with limitless boundaries. Only the imagination can stop you!

So, having discovered this fascinating medium with which to work I then looked around and started to delve into the world of ACEOs or Art Cards, Editions and Originals. These started out at ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) similar to the ones collected by football fans, or the cards you used to find in cereal packets and cigarette cartons. ATCs were never allowed to be sold only traded one for another. That sounds great! So, how is an individual supposed to start? Well, here the bright idea of creating an ACEO came into being, which really was the same except this could now be bought and sold as well as traded; problem solved!

There is only ever one rule regarding ACEOs and that is that they must measure 3.5” x 2.5”. They can be created using any medium so what better than to start experimenting with encaustics? This meant that folk would be able to purchase original art at affordable prices, and not just encaustics!!

At first I worried about creating such small works of art but found after a while it was harder, for me, to work on larger supports! Now, I do both. However, I do love creating ACEOs and have been very fortunate in being able to sell quite a few too!!!

For further information on my encaustic art do go along to my blog where I show my other works of art:

To see my shop on Etsy, click the link:

IMAGES (from top): Tidal Movement, A Beleagured Raft at Sea, and View out of the Cave

Sunday, June 15, 2008


You will always find something unique and quirky in Amy Divebiss' Etsy shop. Her cheerful selection of accessories will always put a smile on your face because Always Amy is continually fresh and exciting. Put ice cream sundae earrings, a vinyl record bracelet, and an Alice Cooper notebook in one shop, and how could it not be a treasure chest of fun? This Salina, Kansas resident is certainly not afraid to live out loud - her style screams loud and clear from the mountaintops.

Amy may work in retail part-time, but she eats, sleeps, and breathes her successful Always Amy brand. Asked to describe herself, the saavy business woman admits she's "tenacious, stubborn, and determined." We could all take tips. Her sales record proves that these qualities are truly worth having.

When she's not steadily creating pieces to add to her shop, you can find Amy with her husband, playing with her animals, and keeping busy in her rooftop garden.

Read the interview below, to find out more about Amy D. and what new things she has in store:

In business, the 20 second pitch means everything. In 2 sentences or less, tell us what you sell in your Etsy shop and why it is unique.

I sell recycled memories. My jewelry embraces the nostalgia of the past, they are fond memories made tangible.

What are your favorite materials to use in your pieces?

Toys, buttons, miniatures – mainly plastic because you can get such a bright range of colors.

Which item from Always Amy is your most treasured piece? Why?

Right now I am really in love with making necklaces. Oddly, I hadn't really been inspired to create them much before this last month or so. So it's been this whole new fun thing for me & I am madly in love with the 'Cowfolk & Native American' series that I am making from vintage plastic figurines. But the boy rapid firing his gun, while his 10 gallon hat flies back, is my favorite of favorites (for now)!

We all pull from different things to inspire our art. What 3 things inspire your creativity the most?

1 - My desire to repurpose all the discarded little treasures. I love bringing things back to life

2 - COLOR COLOR COLOR. I love bright colors, and the different feelings that can be evoked by their combinations.

3 - My robot overlord. Not really, but I have always had a zany side – the childish joy of imagining hasn’t seemed to have left me yet. I am innately curious and gratefully have been able to channel that into my art.

What is your definition of success?

Albert Einstein said it well, “The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. . . . The ordinary objects of human endeavor -- property, outward success, luxury -- have always seemed to me contemptible.” My shop’s success is that it is enough. Enough to let me do this as a full time job, something beautiful that I enjoy. It allows me to do my little piece of helping the future by recycling and repurposing, and it makes other people happy (at least more so than if I was a telemarketer or bill collector or something else mundane).

Etsy selling is all about survival of the fittest. What has been your toughest challenge while running Always Amy?

I am very principled, perhaps to a fault. There are things that I have made and then discovered that someone else made them first and I won’t list them. I try very hard to ensure that everything I make is my own idea, my own creation. That is the hardest part, especially in a world where not everyone is so principled. There are people, not just on ETSY – but everywhere, who have no problem with stealing an idea and then recreating it and undercutting the price. I refuse to have a price war with my own product.

Share your most exciting experience while running Always Amy.

My first sale; I recently had my 3,000th item sold; and it is kind of silly, but a minor pop star bought a item from my shop and wore it to an event and a magazine shoot – so I can see it in the pictures.

What words of wisdom do you live by when selling on Etsy?

Be tenacious. Don’t compromise – ever. Dedication.

If you could open a brick and mortar shop anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

Whew. I had a brick and mortar shop before and it was not an ideal situation. But anywhere in the world… New York. Living where I do, New York seems like a mythical place. I have always wanted to go there, but money/family constraints have kept me where I am to this point. But New York is the dream.

If you could select only one celebrity to be photographed with one of your pieces, who would it be?

I would like to say that it doesn’t matter, that I am not into celebrities, but anyone famous wearing one of my pieces would thrill me. If Ani DiFranco bought something from my store – well – I might get a little spastic over it.

(Ani DiFranco; Mourning Blossom Stud Rose Post by Always Amy)

What new things should we look forward to in your shop?

Hopefully lots. I am in the midst of a self imposed purchasing ban for the summer. I have so much unused product cluttering my craft room(s) that I really need to focus on using it up before I get more, but there are ideas floating in my head for the distant and not too distant future of my store, including an entirely new store with a ‘darker’ or grittier theme (more art base than jewelry), but I don’t have any time tables. Just keep checking the store and I will do my absolute best to keep it interesting and updated with new things.

Visit Always Amy to see more great items.


Not a big fan of the rides, (thanks to the gift of motion sickness) however, a few years ago we went to the local carnival and I took some pictures of people on the rides. There was the ride that spins and presses everyone against the wall and then the bottom drops out. Well, the frame rate of the camera happened to match the rotation speed of the ride. When the pictures turned out you could see a few of the people in clear focus, while the ride and the lights were a moving blur. It was really neat.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bark, baby . . .

. . . and I'm not talking about a cute puppy. Check out what's new in Carnival's shop:

Peanut butter, peanuts, and dark chocolate meet up to please you in Carnival's Peanut Butter Flutter Chocolate Bark. But, just in case you like it white and extra crunchy, grab a bag of White Walnut Bark - a cheerful combo of delicious white chocolate, nutmeg, and large chunks of walnuts. Click here to visit Carnival's shop.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

SPECIAL FEATURE #3: The House of Mouse

The Queen of Mice. That's how I like to describe felt artist, Anna Greaves, the founder of The House of Mouse. Visit her shop crawling with adorable mice and you'll instantly be in awe.

If the thought of real mice scares you, there's no need to worry - Anna's mice are replicas of every day people, fictional characters, and pop icons you love. Meet the Beatles, Sherlock Holmes, or even happily wedded mice. But that's not all, she spends her days creating a variety of other cool characters at her location in Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Chewbaca and Princess Leia mice, included.

It's no surprise that The House of Mouse's creator performs improvised comedy quite often. She might make mice for a living, yet she hits the stage with a comedy group called "The Dog Ate My Scenework", in Amsterdam center on Friday nights. Think "Whose Line is it Anyway" - the hilarious unscripted show that featured Wayne Brady among other talents. It's a show I used to watch, religiously and therefore find it amazing that Anna's been at it for three years.

You'd think her schedule was booked between her time spent felting and making people laugh on stage. Oh no - there's much more she loves to do. About her extra activities, the artist says that she enjoys ". . . being able to get up on stage without having to learn lines first. It’s so much fun to make it up as I go along. I also enjoy sewing, knitting, baking, card making and any other creative things that take my fancy."

As you can see, it's no wonder that she describes herself as "quirky, creative, and loved." Yes, Anna - one look at your shop's 1,000+ hearts and it's pretty clear many people love your quirky, creative nature.

Read the interview below, to find out more about The Queen of Mice and what new things she has in store:

In business, the 20 second pitch means everything. In 2 sentences or less, tell us what you sell in your Etsy shop and why it is unique.

I create little felt mice that come in a large variety of styles and characters, all with their own little personalities; each individually handcrafted mouse is inspired by everything from occupations and culture to movies and fantasy. Handmade mice, little mice with big hearts.

What are your favorite materials to use in your pieces?
My mice are made with many different materials but I use more felt than anything else, I also use ribbon, beads and card. Some of my mice have accessories made from wire, polymer clay, wood, buttons and metal. I like being able to combine these materials in different ways to create new characters for my store.

Which item from The House of Mouse is your most treasured piece? Why?
Oh that’s a tricky question, that’s bit like asking someone which of their children is their favorite. I love them all! If I HAD to pick right now I would say it’s my Mother and Baby mice, mostly because that baby mouse is really pushing the limit of cuteness before it makes my head explode!

Mother Mouse and Baby Mouse by The House of Mouse

We all pull from different things to inspire our art. What 3 things inspire your creativity the most?

When I first started making them the inspiration came from my friends and family, as I was making each mouse as a Christmas present with a certain person in mind. After Christmas I was inundated with other suggestions from the people that received them!

I regularly think of other mice to make while doing my everyday things, I’ll be watching a movie and think “Oh, a Supermouse would be cool!” sometimes it is from finding an object and trying to see it from a mouse-size point of view. For example the Gladiator Mouse's shield is actually a particularly ugly earring I picked up at a car boot sale. Suffice it to say the ideas hit me all the time.

I also regularly get suggestions from people visiting my shop or MySpace page. And there is continued stream of suggestions from my friends. I have a little book I always carry with me to keep my ideas in.

What is your definition of success?
To me, success is having spent the day doing something creative, whether that creative thing in it’s self was perfect or even satisfactory does not matter. If I have made a creative step that day then I have had a successful day. I know that your question is asking about success as a business or success as an artist, or perhaps success as a human being . . . over a much longer period of time.

However I do not like to look at the top of a mountain and see how much further I have to go, setting myself difficult goals often results in my being scared by them and then unwilling to start. Now, I take a small step every day in the form of making something, I let The Universe choose the direction I will go in.

Etsy selling is all about survival of the fittest. What has been your toughest challenge while running The House of Mouse?
It is a little embarrassing to say this but I have not found Etsy particularly challenging so far.

Having done my research before I opened my shop – reading all the storque articles I could find on setting up my shop, and making sure I understood Etsy’s policies and rules - I have enjoyed myself a great deal so far. However I have only been selling for 3 months so perhaps I have not yet discovered the challenges you mention. I think perhaps that because my mice are very different from anything else sold on Etsy that I have an advantage over many other sellers.

I feel bad for the jewelry sellers in particular as they have so much competition on Etsy. The biggest challenge for me is to keep the time I spend of Etsy to a minimum, I am still a little addicted to chat, making treasuries and lurking in forums!

Share your most exciting experience while running The House of Mouse.
That’s a tough thing to do, narrowing it down to just one. My first exciting experience was my first sale, I think anyone who sells on Etsy would agree that the first sale is a big moment. A week later I had one order for 11 mice to the same person, that was amazing and I was thrilled someone liked my mice that much! But most recently, and perhaps most exciting of all was seeing one of my mice on Etsy’s Front Page.

What words of wisdom do you live by when selling on Etsy?
Strive to do better. One step at a time.

If you could open a brick and mortar shop anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
If I could I would buy back my Grandmother’s shop in a village called Mousehole in Cornwall on the south west coast of England .

My grandparents died when I was only 3 but I do have some memories of that shop. I think it would be wonderful to have The House of Mouse reside in the Mousehole shop where my grandmother made and sold her own little mice. She never had the chance to pass on to me the knowledge of how she created her mice, which were slightly different to mine.

I learned how to do it myself, but you could say that it is a family tradition. There would be a great feeling of completing the circle if I could return to that place and start a business there.

If you could select only one celebrity to be photographed with one of your pieces, who would it be?
Remy, from the Pixar movie Ratatouille.

(Remy; Photographer Mouse Female by House of Mouse)

What new things should we look forward to in your shop?
Oh, I have a list longer than both my arms of new characters for my shop! I plan on expanding my collection of mice inspired by famous faces, including Elvis mouse, Madonna Mouse and Marilyn Monroe Mouse. I am also working on a line of new Musician Mice and hope to have a whole orchestra full of them in a few months time. But I am sure that in time there will be new additions to every category of my shop. At some point in the future I would like to expand into making hedgehogs, owls and cats too.

Visit The House of Mouse to see more great items.


Yes, when I was very young I went to a fair with my parents. The only thingI can remember about it is the candyfloss! I have a sweet tooth . . . .________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eye Candy Fashion Feature #1

Fashion is equivalent to candy, in my book. Whether it's a fabulous handbag, a gorgeous shoe, an adorable blouse, or sexy knee-length skirt, I always get a heady rush whenever a sweet piece catches my eye.

If you're nodding your head because you can relate, you'll also agree that with all the great things to choose from, sometimes putting a look together for yourself can be a tad bit overwhelming .

You're a true-blue fashionista if you can pull an outfit together in your sleep. But, for those of you who can barely grasp the concept of what "a look" is, a helping of enlightenment is all you need.

I didn't have to go far to find stylish options to wade through. Etsy provided all of the cool things to choose from. It was quite tough selecting only 6 looks to help you add a hint of pizazz to your wardrobe.

I enjoyed discovering an abundance of handmade and vintage pieces. Call me your candy-making-virtual-stylist, if you will. My hope is that you love the eye-candy below, as much as I did serving it to you . . .

Weekend Cool: Pink Lovers Dream Tam (sold) Vintage Wooden Bangle Bracelet $7 Ocean Front Necklace $18 Daisy Tunic $85 70's Multi Color Marble Glasses (sold) Vintage 1970's LETISSE Softest Leather Clutch (sold)

Brunch in the City: Peach Purple Stripe Printed Tank $24.50 Silver Cats Eye Bracelet $19 Vintage Knit Red Pencil Skirt $14 Nightsky Earrings $28 Elegant Vintage Navy Clutch Purse $18

Comfortably Edgy: Smello Sweatshirt $45 Constellation Earrings $46 Ali Handbag $175 Stove Pipe Pants in Grey Denim $89 Custom Painted Sneaker $300 Organic Nesting Bracelet $30

Office to After-Work Chic: Retro Cropped Sleeves Jacket $52 Filigree Cup Ring $12 Sleek Leather Clutch $95 The Lucy Jumper $109 Purple Peep-Toe Shoes $15 Pair of No Slip Hair Clips $3.75

The Bright Side of Life: Beautiful Hand Painted Tan Dress $42 I Am Perky Ring $6 STRENGTH Five Stone Bangle Bracelet $66 Black Fish Leather Sandals $76 566 Oxidized Sterling Silver Wire Wrapped Hoop Earrings $65 Yellow Canvas Totebag w/Pink Camera Print $10

Jetsetting 101: Vintage Inspired Jeans Jacket $250 Sweet Horse Chestnut Droop Studs $170 Vintage Leather Oversized Convertible Clutch $32 Retro High Waisted Knit Pencil Skirt (sold) Golden Rock Crystal Ring $13 Vintage 80's Snakeskin Peep Toe Heels $42

TOP LEFT: Cropped Sequin Mod Top $45 Jet Cosmic Ring $18 Santoki Vintage

To visit Carnival, please click here.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Each time I do a special feature on my blog, I like to ask the artist: "We all pull from different things to inspire our art. What 3 things inspire your creativity the most?".

There's a reason why I ask. It's not because I feel like taking up space on the page. And not because I couldn't think of anything else to inquire. My purpose is simply this: I really want to know.

I want to know what motivates an individual to pick up a pen to draw a picture, a pair of pliers to mold an earring, a yard of fabric to stitch a wonderful creation. There has to be something that makes one's pulse race. That something has to be fuel to charge the creative mind.

For me, that something is fashion. I've been in love with it since I was a third-grader skipping around in a brown, plaid Catholic school uniform, with penny loafers to match.

I've come a very long way since then. Gone are the days of bland, mandatory clothing and here now is my penchant for skinny jeans and 3-inch heels. I work in New York City by day and the world of fashion is at my fingertips each time I step out of the subway station on 34th Street and 7th (better known as Fashion Ave.).

As soon as I emerge from underground, I encounter the mammoth that is Macy's Herald Square. If you've ever had the pleasure of visiting that popular flagship store, you'll no doubt remember its windows. If you haven't had the opportunity to visit, one of the most exciting things about Macy's on 34th (besides the gazillion celebrity appearances) is the fact that the windows change every two weeks (it seems). The store's visual team does an excellent job of creating eye-catching window displays that are guaranteed to pull you in.

The most recent window displays have turned out to be my latest source of inspiration. The beachy summer theme along with a few Spring windows have caused me to walk by in awe. The colors are BEAUTIFUL! They're bold, they're bright, they're everything I love for my candy to be.

I could easily use the basic dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate in Carnival's candy recipes, but after being saturated in the world of fashion for most of my life, I can't fathom not injecting color into my original candy creations. Fashion pushes me to the limit every time I pick up a pen and piece of paper to jot down combos that will come next. I pull from everything I've learned and reach back to all of my inspirations.

I've participated behind the scenes at Mercedes Benz Fashion week, sat in on the design process at major fashion companies, and come across some of the most fashionably (an unfashionably) colorful characters that are the everyday people of NYC. Can you blame me if I take it all in and dish it back out?

Macy's amazing team has charged me and given this candy-maker a desire to interpret these windows into new candies, cakes, and cookies for the Carnival shop. Take a look at the images I photographed below, see how these glimpses of inspiration have caused the gears to start turning in my head:

I recently added Choco-Chiptastic Citrus Mini Cakes and Sweet Spice Orange Cookies to my shop, but this window has me pondering an orange-chocolate type candy. Maybe something with a little white chocolate thrown in. An orange sherbert of some sort, maybe?

I'm going green . . . like green as in a new cupcake or candy bar or something else that's guaranteed to be pretty and delish. The brown in the bathing suits is a perfect touch too. I can't wait to play around and see what ideas develop.

That Coach bag looks like dulce de leche to me. And let me tell you, I LOVE to devour Haagen-Dazs' dulce de leche ice cream. Believe it. You can also believe that I'd wear everything in this window. Why not create goodies to match? I'm thinking more caramel in the shop. A caramel something with blueberries? Or maybe something else that will be a surprise . . .

Spring, glorious Spring! Pink, red, cream - looks a little like Valentine's Day to me, but I'll take it. I've added only two candies with the color red in the shop (the Triple Treasure Rhapsody Tubs and the Bombshell Bites). Red is my least favorite color, so I don't play around with it much. I have a feeling that will change very soon. Adding pink and cream may make me feel better.

A blue and orange color scheme always reminds me of the New York Knicks. Yet, I appreciate how much they complement each other. I'm not sure how I would translate this into a cookie or a cake, but something's cooking in my dome.

Here's orange again. Orange and brown make an exciting mix. All of my recipes are original so there won't be any Butterfingers in my shop. Instead, I'll add something peanut butter-flavored that I think will be absolutely perfect. I'm getting super-excited just thinking about it.

Brown and green again here, too. This window really did it for me, mainly because green and brown are two of my favorite colors to wear. I love a brown handbag and shoe, especially with hints of gold thrown in. Haven't thought much about gold candy, but something golden and sweet will certainly do.

It was so much fun filling you in on my newfound source of inspiration! I'm signing out now, but check back often for my future peeks into the things that inspire me. Until next time, I'll keep my eyes open for the next exciting wonder on the streets of NYC . . .

Orange Overdose & The Joy in Giving

Carnival Choco-Chiptastic Citrus Cakes & Sweet Spice Orange Cookies

Oranges. They're refreshing. They're sweet. They're one of my all-time favorite fruits.

Yeah, I love mangoes too, but since I'd already added the Mango Breezes Triple Stack Cookies to the shop, I decided to create a couple of orange-flavored treats for those of you who also love a little tang.

The Choco-Chiptastic Citrus Mini Cakes (Left) are 2 cakes packed to the brim with chocolate chips and orange flavor. If you're crazy about the orange, but would rather hold off on the sweet bits of chocolate, you can munch on Carnival's Sweet Spice Orange Cookies (Right). These moist and aromatic cookies are made with a blend of rind of oranges and sweet spice.

Enjoy either one with a cup up milk, tea, or rich hot chocolate. Or, if you really want to overdose on your orange fix, grab a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. Your mouth will thank you big time :)

Also . . .

I've now added gift-packaging to the shop. If you find joy in giving, you can joyfully opt to have the gift recipient of your choice receive any one of Carnival's mouthwatering treats in either a cake/cookies box or a candy box as seen below:

Carnival Candy Packaging

Carnival Candy Packaging

Carnival Cake/Cookies Packaging

Carnival Cake/Cookies Packaging

And you don't have to go far for a greeting card either. These babies are hand-stamped (by me) with special designs. Add your personalized message to one of Carnival's coordinating cards. I've added one card to the shop so far - 3 more are set to come very soon. Check them out:

Carnival Greeting Cards

Carnival Greeting Cards

To visit the Carnival's shop, please click here.


Is there anything Aya Rosen doesn't do? Ask and she'll tell you: she's a graphic designer by profession and a painter by definition. And then, just when you think those are a truckload of skills to last a lifetime, she reveals her web design, illustration, and crafting abilities too.

I say, more power to you, honey!

Aya's move from Tel Aviv, Israel to her current residence in Brooklyn, NY may have been a huge jump, but her space in this bustling borough looks to be a cozy choice as she creates the thoughtful and fun pieces that can be found in her Louche Lab shop. Take a peek at her site and you'll find foxes made out of sweaters, a pocket knife painted on leather, and even a woman baring her back on the front of a sketchbook.

Yep, Aya's creative. But that's only one of the words she uses to describe herself. There's emotional and changing, too. With that last self-description, one can definitely agree. She regularly enjoys motorcycle rides with her photographer/artist husband, Ned. And just to switch things up a bit, she recently joined her other half for a bike trip down the Appalachian Mountains for his 40th birthday.

Read this great interview with Louche Lab's talented founder. See where she's been, what's new, and the interesting changes to come:

In business, the 20 second pitch means everything. In 2 sentences or less, tell us what you sell in your Etsy shop and why it is unique.

The coolest thing about my Etsy store, is well . . . me. I'm an artist with a very different perspective of the world and a unique style. This comes out in everything that the store has, so that even though every day there are new products and items, the style is always personal, rough, and a little strange, like me.

What are your favorite materials to use in your pieces?
I love discovering new things to work with and I get bored doing the same thing over and over again. So, I keep finding and making up new things. The last discovery was leather. It's amazing - I always liked how leather looks, but actually working with it is new to me. It's very different than anything I've ever worked with before. Somewhere between clay and paper, but also like fabric. I can't wait to experiment more.

Which item from Louche Lab is your most treasured piece? Why?
That's a hard one. Over all, I don't really treasure the items in my store. I don't get attached to art so much at any rate. Most of my joy comes from the process of making it, not from owning it. And I love it when things sell in my store - it makes room in the studio for more things.

Saying that, I do have this one painting (below) that I made a while ago, and for some reason decided to list it even though I had no intention to give it away or sell it after I made it. I think I was trying to challenge myself with selling something that's really precious to me. So far, it did not sell (which is a bit of a relief). I would be sad to see it go.

Night Time - Original Painting by Louche Lab

We all pull from different things to inspire our art. What 3 things inspire your creativity the most?

More than inspiration, I'm just driven by a need to create and make stuff. My hands feels itchy if I don't draw or paint or make things for more then a day or two. I have a sketchbook in my bag and I basically draw every minute I'm not doing something else. Between courses in a restaurant, in concerts, even, once or twice, on the back of the motorcycle.

However, I do use a lot of reference in my art, and one of the major influences is Ned's photography. He's an amazing fine art and fashion photographer and the way he shoots makes me want to make art all the time. Also, I love botanical or zoological vintage prints and I have a few books of those that I use a lot for both inspiration and reference.

Another big source of inspiration is the internet - so many amazing artist and people to meet and interact and share my art with. I spend a lot of time on Flickr and on Etsy making friends and looking at art.

What is your definition of success?
Being free. Making or having enough money to not have to work a 9-5 job. That, I don't like. overcoming fears and having faith in oneself. Also, living a life in which you don't have to lie or hide things and being able to be the same person at any situation without apologizing for who you are. Is that to vague?! I guess I'm still trying to figure it out.

Etsy selling is all about survival of the fittest. What has been your toughest challenge while running Louche Lab?
The hardest thing for me is to keep at it even when nothing sells for a while. I just came back from a 2 weeks vacation to visit my family in Israel and ever since I got back the store hadn't really bounce back. It's really hard to keep making stuff and listing when no one buy my things. So I guess for me just keep doing it is the hardest part.

Share your most exciting experience while running Louche Lab.
There is so much! It's all exciting. Every time I make a sale I get all excited about it. I guess the most wonderful part was being picked for a video Storque article about our wedding. I love the way it came out. When we got married my family wasn't there - they live far away - and so, being able to share a movie with them about the preparation and the whole thing was the next best thing. Tara - who made the video - shot us 2 evenings for about 3 hours each, so I had no idea how the whole thing was going to come out, but when I saw the movie, it all made so much sense and was beautiful.You can see it here.

What words of wisdom do you live by when selling on Etsy?
Just that it's important to be original and make cool stuff, oh, and play nice with others

If you could open a brick and mortar shop anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
It would be right here in Williamsburg, I love this neighborhood, it's a really nice place to live and a lot of young people and artists live here (even though the rent's going crazy now). It feels like Brooklyn is the place to be right now, both with art and with craft. Plus, I like working close to home!

If you could select only one celebrity to be photographed with one of your pieces, who would it be?
I have no idea! I really don't get that much media exposure, so I'm not even sure who's a celebrity now. I love the author Chuck Palahniuk. Last year I went to a reading he did in a book store. He talked about how he loves to collect strange things that people send to him and sometimes he send them things back, just very random toys or papers or anything really, so I think it would be cool if he took pictures with one of my pieces before he sent it to someone.

(Chuck Palaniuk; Fly Away Business Card Case by Louche Lab)

What new things should we look forward to in your shop?

I'm actually really excited about that. At around Christmas, I illustrated a deck of tarot card, The full Tarot Deck is 78 cards - that's a lot of Illustrations. It's divided into the major arcana and 4 suites. At the end of December, I started selling the major archana which had 22 cards, and then, in February, I started working on the suites. I designed and illustrated the first one, which is "the cups". I'm now working on "The swords". I'm really happy to go on with this project and I know a lot of people are waiting for it. So, once I'm back from my big trip, I'm going to finish illustrating and start producing. In the meantime, the major archana and the cups can be found in my store.

Visit Louche Lab to see more great items. You can also visit



I'm actually not a big fan. I have a traumatic fair experience from when I was about 3 which involved, me on some scary ride trying to jump off a plane shaped pod thingy and crying like crazy. I do however, love Coney Island, last summer we rode there all the time, and it's one of the most wonderful places in New York and the world, I love the colors and crazy combination of old, new, beautiful and derelict. I'm SO glad it's staying open for at least another summer.


MOTHER'S DAY CONTEST: 1st Place Winning Entry by Johannah Brookwell

My mother had a strong faith in God. I imagine that was taught to her also as a child. And she passed that strong faith onto me - she taught me that God sees everything - He pays you back for every good deed you do 100 fold - maybe not right away, maybe not in the way you would like, but he will. He knows what He is doing, and He will never give you more than you can handle.

He will take you places you do not want to go, to teach you lessons you need to learn. And He will also handle those who seek to harm you. You do not need to concern yourself with these things. Do what's right, walk in the light - and God will take care of everything else.

Life brings all sorts of ups and downs - good things and bad. I know that "turning the other cheek" is not easy, but everytime I have done that in my life, I have been blessed. I have lived my life in such a way that there are no skeletons hiding in my closet - and when someone seeks to harm me by looking for them (this has happened) - they find nothing. Amazingly nothing. I do good deeds for others, without expecting anything in return, for they are not the ones whom I expect to receive my return from. My children have caused me to doubt a time or two, but always God has blessed the results when I leave it in His Hands. This mindset has allowed me to be free of fear and to live everyday to the fullest.

My mother is gone 17 years now, but there isn't a day that goes by that one of the things she has told me about God doesn't enter my mind. And one of the blessings is that my children also know these things and see that life reflected in mine. I am hopeful they too will "pass it on".

(Top Photo: Cross To Bear - Genuine Beach Stone Crucifix Necklace $45)

MOTHER'S DAY CONTEST: 1st Place Winning Entry by Virginia Tanner

My Mom taught me to be a survivor. Years ago I married a man I believed to be "the one". After two years of being brutally beaten he finally went the extra mile and almost killed me in front of my child. For months I cried and fell deeper and deeper into depression. I drank to kill the pain every day. I was not able to be there for my child or myself.

I will never forget my mother grabbing me by my shoulders and practically shaking me out of my skin. There I was 22 years old and crying to my Mommy. I told her I wanted to die and that my child didn't deserve me as a mother.

She wrapped her arms around me and I will never forget her words. She told me to stop crying and stand up. Confused I did as I was told. She grabbed my hand and told me about the moment she stopped crying over the past. She told me it is my choice to remain a victim. I was so hurt by that statement that I yelled at her. "How can you say that?" I screamed, "It isn't my fault what he did to me!"

Her next statement changed my life. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "You did not choose to be beaten, stabbed, or choked by that man, but right now you are choosing to remain his victim. Stand up and be a survivor. Don't let him own you this way. Take his power away."

Never have words struck me so hard. I have lived my life by those words every day since then.

I no longer allow anyone to walk over me. I have been hurt plenty since my ex, but no one has had enough power to break me as I was back then. I am there for my children always. Thanks to my Mom I am not a victim anymore, I'm a survivor.

(Top Photo: Siam Camo - Thai Stylee Skirt with Thai at Waist $125)