I don’t know what you talked about during Thanksgiving dinner. But once we had exhausted family news and neighborhood gossip, the conversation turned to Etsy. Yes, much to the chagrin and confusion of the fellas present, we discussed Etsy. More to the point: we discussed how to find decent stuff on Etsy.
Etsy has grown into the largest marketplace for crafty things. A behemoth, really. Not unlike Ebay or Mall of America in scope and variety. And since Etsy embraces thousands of vendors, literally, all describing their own creations, it can be extremely difficult to navigate. For example, yesterday, a search for “Christmas pug” unearthed 802 items. “Butterfly mobile” brought up 1,194 examples. And “photographs of Paris” discovered an overwhelming 3,933 options for sale.
|Happiness is Homemade by Alyssa Nassner|
But most of us involved in the Thanksgiving discussion trust blogs – blogs of friends, designers, reviewers, and even Etsy’s own blog – to sift through the huge selection and find what we actually want and like.
Papernstitch is a blog I trust.
Papernstitch is both an online exhibition space for artists and makers of handmade goods, many culled from the best of Etsy, and a blog about design and DIY craft. Founder Brittni Mehlhoff takes curating the site seriously. Exhibitions change at least monthly. Jeff, her partner in life and work, keeps the dual endeavors running smoothly, both technically and visually. Papernstitch regularly receives accolades from media, such as, Country Living, The Huffington Post and other well-known blogs like Apartment Therapy.
Papernstitch has featured my sister’s prints and photographs by Irene Suchocki. Plus it’s introduced me to the following artists:
Sally Harless;Stacie Bloomfield;
and Melissa Lund.
Sally Harless, also known as Sadly Harmless, is based in Bloomington, Indiana, and attends major craft fairs throughout the Midwest. On Papernstitch and Etsy, she offers prints of her original drawings and watercolors, plus these clever shadow boxes.
|Snow Drifter by Sally Harless|
|Sally Harless' A Crawling Garden|
|and In My Own Way|
|Gemma Giraffe by Stacie Bloomfield|
|Leo Lion, also by Stacie Bloomfield|
|and her Black Sheep pillow|
|Steiff Kitten by Lisa Zador|
|Salt and Pepper Still Life by Lisa Zador|
|and her Goose Gentleman|
There is no doubt that Etsy empowers crafters around the world and provides artists with a genuinely huge audience – much larger than any single gallery, craft show or wholesale market could supply. And despite its clunkiness, it broadens our “local” shopping experience by introducing us to new work and helping us connect to craftspeople we hope to support.
Alyssa Nassner is an illustrator who successfully uses Etsy as a storefront and marketing tool. Alyssa spends her regular workday in design and also freelances as Small Talk Studio. You may recognize her drawings from Real Simple and Gemma Correll’s blog: What I Wore Today.
Alyssa’s prints, often developed from these extra projects, exude a can-do attitude and pretty nostalgia.
|Fortune Favors the Brave by Alyssa Nassner|
|Let Yourself Be Free by Alyssa Nassner|
Even her Mushroom Identification Chart is bright and cheerful compared to the old-fashioned lithographs that inspired it.Etsy shines as the realm of women, especially young women, in tune to nature, fantasy, wit and the joy of crafting lovely, slightly ephemeral things. And fellas like Derek Sullivan are significantly outnumbered. Based in Seattle, Derek is another professional designer who utilizes Etsy as a creative outlet. I absolutely love his alphabet flashcard prints, which seem influenced by pulp fiction covers and product advertisements from the 40s and 50s.
|F is for Film Noir,|
|U is for Upside Down|
|and N is for Narwhal... all by Derek Sullivan|
|Taffy Six by Melissa Lund|
|Pins by Melissa Lund|
|Cupcake Love by Melissa Lund|
|Sally Harless' Sail Close to the Wind|
|Stacie Bloomfield's Confetti Cat|
|Lisa Zador's Steiff Bunny Sleeping|
|Alyssa Nassner's Be in Love|
|Derek Sullivan's Y is for Yeti|
|Melissa Lund's Berry Baskets|