Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I have had the opportunity to get to know a fabulous artisan, Pilgrimage, on Etsy. Her collection of work, and the new items she creates, never ceases to amaze me. I find myself looking through her shop, almost daily. 

I finally decided that I had to share her and her work with you, and she granted me an interview. As a sneak peek, take a look at a sample of her work:

Show her some love, and I hope that you find this lady as amazing as I do!

Describe yourself.
Well, I am a singer, a musician, an actress, an artist, a graphic designer, a costumer, and a mask maker. Something of a Renaissance woman, in fact.

What do you create, and possibly a few words to describe your art? 
I use leather to make amazing and beautiful things you can wear on your face and body. Mostly on Etsy, I sell venetian, fantasy, scifi, animal and other shapes of leather masks.

What inspires you, or turns on that creative light inside of you? 
I am fascinated by history, music, and the interaction of different art forms.

Tell us about your style? 
Well my style is somewhat flowing and feminine. Even my kind of dark designs end up being really beautiful. I love shimmering metallic paints and I use them a lot. I love ornamentation, and I do some of the most be-feathered and flourished masks on Etsy. Mostly what stands out about my style is that everything is a unified whole in terms of the design and the color choices.

How did you get started? Is everyone in your family artistic? 

My father was the artist in our family. I grew up with his pottery and paintings for presents for my birthday and Christmas. I have been an artist almost since day one, although making leather masks is a fairly new thing for me. I started making and selling the leather masks last September as a way to support my Shakespearean theater group and they were so popular that I turned it into a business.

What is unique about your products?
Err... They are cool? Each one is different? I have no idea? None of the other leather masks makers out there makes anything that looks like mine, so they must be unique, right?

How did you come up with your shop name? 
My shop name is Pilgrimage and it is symbolic of the journey that I am currently on in my life. I used to work at a computer game company as an artist in a very high paid and high stress job. I made a decision to leave that life about 5 years ago and learn how to really live my life, and explore other avenues of art and performance. Since then it has been a truly amazing trip.

What is your educational background, as it relates to your work? 
I studied art in high school, and graphic design in college at the University of Texas at Austin.

What is your real world job? 
This is it! making leather masks and music is my real world life now.

What are a few of your favorite pieces?

Yikes, it is hard to pick out favorites. I actually really love the Rose Marquise mask that I just made as a custom order.  It is just so over the top girly that it appeals to the pretty princess in my soul.

I also love some of the carved leather masks that I am starting to do, like the steampunk half mask in my shop currently.

What has been your biggest challenge in developing your business? 
Mostly just learning the techniques of how to work with leather. I kind of got into this by accident from the artist standpoint, and I have been learning how to work with leather by complete trial and error. I went through a couple of terrible weeks where I kept getting bad leather and my masks became shrinky dinks.

Where do you see your work going in the next year? 
I just want to make as many different ideas as possible.

What is your one tip for being successful at your work? 
Keep working every day. The second tip is clean your studio (especially if you have a artist block.)

What is your one marketing tip for Etsy? 
List new things every day, and find wonderful people like the Sneak team who love your art and will help promote you as an artist.

What are some other sites to find out more about you and your art?
I have a really nice blog at, though I don't update it all the time. It's very much about my art and cool things I learn in my life. I put a lot of recipes, and household tips, in progress art, and things about green living up on it. I also have a FaceBook page at where I put up pictures of what I am working on almost every day. I also spend a lot of time on Deviant Art nowadays at

What was you worst crafting disaster? 
The incredible shrinking masks mentioned earlier.

What “super” power would you like to have and why? 
To stop time, totally. I always want more time. That, or to clone myself.

Where would you go if you had a time machine and why? 
Elizabethan England, because I'm totally obsessed with Shakespeare and that period of history.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Quit my fantastic job and go to music school to be an independent musician and artist. Also the best thing I ever did.

What makes you laugh? 
"BlackAdder the Second", "Whose Line is it Anyway", and my husband.

Choose a movie to sum up your life’s story. 
Shakespeare in Love. "I wanted to be an actor..." singer, dancer, artist, lover... Or in the words of the Public TV commercial "be more..."

I have to say that Jen's work is getting better and better by the day. I am certainly a fan, and hope that you become one too!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Some of My Personal Etsy Shop Favorites - Artists and Items!

I decided that I would list a few of my favorite Etsy items and a few of my favorite Etsy sellers. Since there is so much talent on Etsy, it would be impossible to try to list every thing. However, I can begin to make a dent in it!

First off, I will start by showing you an item that knitters and crocheters alike will love!  CarolBroadleyPottery just listed this Purple Rain Yarn Bowl. Carol makes fantastic pottery items, and has even added bathroom sinks to her shop!

Secondly, Engelfelt is a paradise of custom created yarn goodies.  This is her Cowl Valentine Berry Smoothie--Chunky Handspun Merino with Rose Wool Brooch.  How pretty is that? Linda also makes the best felted soaps. Yes, I did say felted soaps. Who knew?

Next, GoodGosh is a very unique and quirky shop. To say that Peggy's greeting cards are not 'ordinary' greeting cards, would be an understatement! Her Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree card is a great example of her work. Where she comes up with her ideas, and the props to use in her work, amazes all that know her!

Last, but certainly not least, is Haut Totes. If you are looking for a bag that you might find at Wal-Mart of in the mall, this shop is NOT for you. However, if you are looking for pinup girls, skulls, geisha girls, tattooed ladies, and just about anything else out of the ordinary, this is the shop to look in. The Purple Dragonflies, Asian Mum, Peonies and Stripes, Large Tote Bag is one of my faves, however, I would have a hard time picking just one.

Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that I am, well... eccentric. That being said, it is not always a bad thing. I just tend to deviate from the norm. To me, normal is boring.

You will love my next featured artist. Her shop is fantastic, and definitely 'out of the norm!' Check back, as you will love her interview, and her products are amazing!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The etsy S.N.E.A.K. team is in the Handmade Olympics! Come vote or us!  We are in event 5!This is the event that we are in.

Poll: :: event 5: fave nicey/nicies forwarding kindness thru handmaking!

What a great idea! This is a poll to check out! A bunch of worth while causes to check out! And don't forget, there are some SNEAKY people in it too.


what our judge had to say about the nominations: "Here is my shortlist for the Handmade Olympics 2010. What a joy it was to find out more about all the nominations. I tried to get a diversity of nominees together. It̢۪s a gathering of people who do things just because, who share their live and love for handmade through their blog, who are an inspiration to others, who volunteer to make this world a better place through their craft, who raise money for people and creatures in need, who are caring & sharing,... There are so many people out there who forward kindness of all sorts. I'm happy to present the following ten people/organisations (in random order) ."

Poll: :: event 5: fave nicey/nicies forwarding kindness thru handmaking!