Hope everyone has had a great summer so far. After a short break we are back with another Friday Feature. This week we are featuring the Etsy Shop Adorn By Anita. Owner, Anita Bora makes jewelry and ceramics. She started crafting a couple of years ago and is extremely drawn towards the whole handmade journey. When friends started to ask for some of her work, it was really encouraging and that's how the passion grew. It gives her immense satisfaction to see something she has made being used or worn by someone. . She has a part-time job and persues this on the side.
SFEtsy: How did you learn your craft?
Anita: I chanced upon a jewelry store around 3 years ago when traveling in New Jersey and I found the whole process of putting beads and findings together really interesting. I didn't take any formal classes, but I started learning via videos on YouTube - there are so many wonderful people who share their ideas and techniques. I also learn a lot about polymer clay and began playing around with this medium too. Around the same time, I did a beginners ceramics class in India. When I moved to the US in 2015, I had some time on my hands and decided to renew ceramics journey and I was able to learn a lot more since I was able to focus on fine-tuning and practicing various skills and techniques. I also enjoy making ceramic jewelry - seeing clay transform into a piece of wearable art by shaping and glazing/painting it just fascinating and extremely fulfilling. I continue to learn everyday and right now I try and find as many opportunities to continue this journey!
SFEtsy: Tell us about your creative process, where do you begin and how does it evolve?:
Anita: I have various sources of inspiration. One is just things I see around me. For example, I was sitting at the airport and suddenly noticed a very interesting pattern. I sketched it. Or sometimes, I'll see something on the wall, art on the street etc. and I keep documenting them, taking pictures. I later try and see how I can incorporate them either into my jewelry or clay in terms of patterns, shapes and textures. Secondly, I also use ideas I see online as an inspiration, but then I try and put my own touch or twist to it. So, it's more of creative inspiration and evolution!
SFEtsy: What inspires your creations?:
Anita: Nature, people, places, things and just random thoughts and ideas I have - like images in my head in the night before I go to sleep!
SFEtsy: What's your work schedule / routine like?
Anita: During the week, I usually spend around 2 days at least working on various aspect of my creative process - whether it's actually making things, doing photography, updating Facebook and the Etsy page. I also work on weekends when I have special orders or a project I'm working on.
Tell us about your work space - where do you create?
I have a small working area at home and I try and manage in that space. So I work on my jewelry pieces there. With clay, it's more challenging so I go to a studio where I can practice anytime I want to. I do all my bisque, glazing and final firing there.
SFEtsy: What tools do you use that are absolutely essential and makes a huge difference in your day to day process?:
Anita: Every tool plays a part and there are so many that are invaluable. I think for jewelry, it's almost impossible to do anything without the pliers and in clay, it's the needle tool! But I think the greatest tool is one's hand!
SFEtsy: How did you get involved with Etsy?
Anita: Etsy has been a kind of aspirational marketplace for me and I always thought I should perfect my art before starting a store. But then I realized, that the craft journey itself is unending and a process of constant evolving and learning. One never really gets to a stage where they can say, "this is it, I don't have anything else to learn". So I just decided to jump in and kickstart the journey!
SFEtsy: What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
Anita: As a beginner, and a newly launched shop, the challenge is obviously to get people to visit the shop. And buy! It's like being a small fish in a very big ocean, trying to get noticed. It's a bit daunting and challenging and sometimes I wonder what I should do next, but I'm trying to read, learn and absorb as much as possible from other sellers via the groups and forums.
SFEtsy: What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
Anita: I did a whole series of mugs around dogs and cats, and I really enjoyed making them. They are all hand-painted and took me a lot of time, but creatively I really enjoyed the whole process. I sold quite a few of them offline, but I'm hoping it catches the interest of more animal lovers online.
SFEtsy: What are your favorite tools or apps that help you with your business?:
Anita: I've been trying to make sure I participate in the forums and groups. I've joined quite a few teams and I'm hoping that will help grow the business as I go along. I definitely would like to do a physical event with the SF Etsy team soon.
SFEtsy: Share with us one lesson you have learned as an online seller.
Anita: Be patient, learn, ask questions and don't give up hope!
SFEtsy: What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you? Or Why should people support small business and handmade?
Anita: I'm passionate about handmade because I feel that you're encouraging creativity, passion and talent. I had a conversation with a buyer recently, who asked why a mug was priced as it was. I explained the whole process to her - and how much a handmade artist makes and she immediately bought the mug! I read this sign (and I don't remember it verbatim) but it said how you buying handmade helps put food on an artist's table, support their kids and encourage an art form. Personally, I would rather buy one $40 mug from an artist and have the money go directly to him/her than four $10 mugs out of a machine made mold, with no character (and in which case I have no idea who my money's going to). I'm not proposing that we fill our homes with handmade (which is also not a bad option!), but I think that we can definitely do our bit by supporting handmade artists.
SFEtsy: What skill or craft would you also like to become more proficient at and why?
Anita: As makers we all suffer from creative blocks - what do you do to unblock to let your creativity flow?:
One thing I've learnt is to walk away from something and come back to it later, when you have a creative block. And most of the time, it works. Do something else, tackle a different project. You'll find the diversion helps!
SFEtsy: What are you working on right now? (optional):
Anita: I'm working on a new batch of ceramic jewelry in May/June and I have some fresh ideas for it. Hopefully, I should be able to get some of them online on the Etsy store.
SFEtsy: What does the future hold for your Etsy Shop and you personally as a maker or small business?:
Anita: I wish I was a star gazer or a fortune teller! I would have loved to know where this journey will lead. Right now, my aim is just to keep making work that will appeal to people. I want buyers to start recognizing and wanting to possess my creations. I know that this will take time, but that's a place I would love to be. Even if it takes a few years, I'll keep working towards that goal.
You can find out more about Adorn By Anita at :
Happy Black Friday Everyone !!! This week we are featuring Tina Fossella Pottery. Owner Tina Fossella is a a mindful psychotherapist by day and a joyful potter by night. She is participating in the Indie Holiday Emporium being held this weekend at Pier 35. You can find her at booth #850.
1. What is your Shop Name and URL ?
Tina Fossella Pottery
2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?
3. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?
I LOVE pottery and have been working on simple functional forms with the hope of bringing beauty and happiness into people's everyday lives. I am a member of our local community studio and so whenever I can I like to spend my time there. I am a very spiritual person and so everything that I make is informed by my quiet and contemplative way of life. I spend a lot of time near the ocean and so i feel that comes through as well.
4. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.
I work as a psychotherapist during the week and as a potter on the weekends. I love to help people and bring love and beauty into the world. I have been a long time meditator and I feel that pottery is my meditation in action - a place where my spirituality and creativity become one.
5. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
facebook: Tina Fossella Pottery
pinterest: Tina Fossella
6 .What inspires your creations?
Everything that I make comes from a quiet place within. I am a deeply contemplative person by nature. In the space of quiet something arises in my mind, a form or design, and then I try to figure out how to make it. Clay is a wonderful medium for bringing form into creation.
7. How did you get involved with Etsy?
My sister and I have a fantasy of retiring early and doing what we love full-time. We had a difficult childhood and so finding joy is very important and healing for us. She makes jewelry and has an etsy shop as well.
What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
My biggest challenge is that I can't keep up with all the social media and self-promoting that I feel I need to do. I am not one to spend time on my computer and it takes me forever just to sort out how things work. By the time I figure it out, everything changes all over again!
8.What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
I love the items I have carved or painted as they are more personal for me. I have a love for lotus flowers and snakes and so my new favorite design is the black sake bottle with the snake inside the lotus. I have a series of vases and bowls that just came out of the kiln this week. I will put them in the shop after I photograph them. I just love this design.
9. What has been your biggest success and/or proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
I participated in my first SF Etsy event a few months ago and it was so much fun. I just loved that all these creative people showed up in a parking lot and then after just a few moments suddenly there were all these booths with all this amazing work and tons of people buying it. I was out of control!
10. If you had to live out the rest of your life as a famous fictional character, who would you be and why?
I would be the wise old lady who lived in a tree and helped people who came to visit by teaching them how to make pots.
11. If your life was a book, what would be the title and how would your story end?
I have written a memoir as part one of a trilogy (but that's another story). Part 2 is in draft form "Healing the Mindful Way." Part 3 is unwritten "Waking up From the Dream." That is when I live 100% in the present moment and am free from the challenges of my past. This is what is so healing for me about pottery. My complete focus on my pots pulls my attention into right here and right now and that is where the bliss happens.
12. Tell us about your first sale ever?
My first sale was at our local pottery studio where we have a storefront. The customer wanted to meet the artist and so came into the studio to talk to me. I was so surprised and happy that he wanted my pot I didn't know what to say! I always feel so joyful when people buy my pots. It seems like people who love pottery are so kind. I love the way the pick up and feel the pieces and then hold them like they're taking home my little babies.
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