1) I know that some may be surprised to read this, but silk ribbon embroidery and selling on Etsy is actually a second career for you. What was your inspiration, and how did you start off in the business of handmade? When I lived in Toronto I had a career in interior design, mostly commercial clients with office space.
My mother was the one that got me interested in silk ribbon embroidery in a serendipitous way. Back in the late 80’s she had requested that I find her a book on the subject. Since I was working in a creative field already, I wasn’t looking for or didn’t feel the need for any other outlet.
That all changed when I quit my job and we moved to the country. I found that the urge to design was still there and I always remembered how pretty the silk ribbon projects looked in my mother’s book. I read up on the subject and was fascinated with the way you could manipulate the ribbons and the range of colours available. I gave it a try and realized that I really enjoyed it.
I followed the usual route of making gifts for my Mum, relatives and friends. After a while I still wanted to make stuff but ran into the dilemma of what to do with what I made. Luckily I found Etsy and got up the nerve to start up my shop at the end of November in 2007.
2) Although I will admit that I love everything in your shop, my absolute favorite is your ruffled silk ring. So, what is your favorite item? Now that is a very difficult question to answer! Each and every new idea I create gets me excited and I can’t wait to see what sort of reaction it will get when I list it in my shop. I guess right now my ‘French knot’ pieces are my favourite, it’s fun putting together the colours and then seeing the finished product.
3) You have a wide variety of items in your shop yet they are all remarkably cohesive when taken all at once. Is this deliberate, or happenstance? Quite deliberate, I want all my items to be made in some way with silk and/or silk ribbon. I feel that a shop that has a cohesive look in terms of the type of medium used and a consistency in their style projects a better sense of an established design direction.
4) I find that many Canadian artisans tend to take their inspiration from our amazingly gorgeous natural surroundings. Is that true for you as well? It’s certainly true when it applies to my pieces that feature flowers and insects. I have large perennial gardens that attract butterflies and we also have a few ponds on our property so there are lots of dragonflies flitting about.
5) You are very active in curating treasuries and have produced some really lovely - and successful - results. Do you have any advice to other Etsians about reaching the front page? I have been on the FP 39 times since 2009, 14 of those were made by my teammates on the Curation Nation team that I joined in July of 2010. If you’re in a team that makes a lot of treasuries all the time your chances of getting on the FP increase dramatically, but as others have said time and again on Etsy your photos have to be top notch.
6) Do you have any new products in the works for the coming year? I’ve just ordered some fresh, new silk dupioni colours so I’ve got a few pillow designs in mind for those and I want to experiment with some other modern designs for my brooches and necklaces. Even though silk ribbon embroidery is a traditional needlecraft I want to show that it can be quite contemporary looking.