Thursday, September 18, 2008

Winona Cookie Creations

Name: Ramona Szczerba
Shop Name: Winona Cookie Creations
Shop Link:
Location: San Diego, CA
Ships To: Anywhere

What inspires you? Honestly what inspires me most is people who like my art. Sometimes I feel like I'm giving form to what's in your heads, because I don't know where half of this stuff comes from! I create worlds I'd like to live in inhabited by people and creatures I'd like to meet. That said, I'm very inspired by other artists and I particularly appreciate the art nouveau genre, in general, and Alphonse Mucha in particular. I also am a huge fan of Ed Gorey, Maurice Sendak and many other illustrators. As far as my craft goes, I find great supplies inspiring. I have a studio crammed with fascinating little items that make realizing my pieces such a blast and help create really special results!

How long have you had your shop on Etsy? Since January 2008, so not even a year yet!

Is this a job for you or a hobby? It's both. I am a practicing psychologist, but I only see patients 3 days per week. I've been simultaneously doing design and illustration work for many years. I also design figurines for a large collectibles company, and do other commissioned art (such as portraiture) and commissioned illustration.

How did you get into your craft? I've always been an artist, but working in the steampunk genre with the collage work I am doing is very recent. I had been doing collage cards and other pieces for a while, but when I opened my Etsy shop, the steampunk pieces came out of nowhere and they have taken over my life a little bit! My other art genres can be seen on my website, or on Flickr:

Do you have any advice for fellow Etsy shop owners? I doubt my sales numbers are the envy of anyone, but I'll give it a shot... I believe we, as artists, dictate the value of our work - not many professions get to work that kind of magic, so I would say don't undervalue your talent and your time. Really think about whether you are capable/want to do volume business, or whether you want to sell fewer pieces (maybe less often) for higher prices. Selling on Etsy is a lot of work - just because someone will buy something from you for 10 bucks doesn't mean it's worth your time to sell it for that. Best piece of Etsy advice I've gotten? If you don't have an expensive item in your shop, you can't sell one.

What do you love about steampunk? What DON'T I love about steampunk! Like a lot of people, I feel like steampunk is a conglomeration of aesthetics and ideas that I have been drawn to my whole life, like everything I ever loved or thought was SO COOL ended up in one place, meaningfully integrated. It's complete fantasy embodied, operationalized and lived, and that's very magical. I love the sense of community as well, and who I find in it. I was at Comic Con this year in my getup and I could see other people, similarly attired, their eyes skimming along the crowd for the fellow top hats, goggles, waistcoats - and then they'd meet each others eyes, nod a greeting and grin. It was really neat.

What else to add? I have really appreciated the support and the camaraderie of the SteamTeam. I'm not a big joiner, I'm an introvert, but this is an amazingly warm, talented and FUNNY group and I am very proud to be a part of it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gabriella Lucretia

Shop Name: Gabriella Lucretia- The shop is named after my 12 year old daughter. Just so I don't slight the others, I have 2 other children Donovan and Brandon.
Shop Link:
Location: Beautiful San Clemente, California
Ships to: United States but I have shipped to Australia and Canada, so anywhere is negotiable

What Inspires you? First myself and then fashion. Most important to me is that I wouldn't make anything that I wouldn't wear myself. Second, is I love fashion. It gives you the ability to define yourself with your clothes, accessories, and style. You can be as individualistic or conforming as you want purely with what you wear. I love that. If we all walked around naked what a very boring world it would be.

How long have you had your shop on Etsy? Opened in April 2008 and my first sale was in May

Is this a job or a hobby? Lucky for me I have a graduate degree in a medical field that has served me well for many years. So this Etsy adventure, is just that, an adventure. But, I love every minute of it and know it will be a full time career for me someday.

How did you get into your craft? Well, many, many moons ago I was going to go to fashion design school in NYC but things like fear of leaving home, kids at a young age, etc., kind of derailed me, so I took another road. So I have always been creative and 'crafty' but only as a hobby. I have had many creative phases in my life. My most favorite phases has been sewing costumes, making leather purses, and currently re purposing vintage jewelry.

Do I have any advice for fellow shop owners?: It sounds so very cliche but sometimes that is the best advice. Make whatever you love to make! Then be positive and happy with it, be patient, and the buyers will find you. It's a big universe with lots of unique individuals, sometimes it just takes time to find you.

What do you love about steampunk? It's funny because steampunk found me. That's because, I like to take vintage pieces, mostly antique and Victorian brass and reinvent them with things you can wear with today's fashion which in a sense is the essence of steampunk.

Of course to purists, steampunk is more blending of the Victorian past and a technological future but that's a whole other blog.

I just love steampunk because it's about reinvention.

Anything else you would like to add?: The Etsy Steam Team is a great group of eclectic, very intelligent, supportive and talented artists. I don't think I could have opened my shop without the support of everyone in the group. Thanks everyone!!!! Donna (my real name)

Monday, September 1, 2008


Shop Name: GrenadineBijoux
Shop Link:
Location: For now, Kansas City, Mo.
Ships To: Anywhere the government will let me. I love the concept of One on One International trade. Damn the postal rates! Who ARE those people?

What inspires you?
That's a big list.
Clockworks and clock cases, antique clothing, the idea of time travel, astral travel, reincarnation,everlasting life of spirits, poets, circuses, the history of design, nature, Magick,deja vu, and the materials..all of my life I've gotten most of my ideas just from handling the materials I used. The associations that they have with the things listed above, usually surface then. I don't plan very much of my work. It just kind of births itself. Makes me sound like a bit of a Mothership, but mebbe I am.

I get a big buzz from looking at New Orleans' brick moss too for some reason. MIcrocosms? Living in New Orleans, (before Katrina shot me out of her cannon), impacted my work in a long lasting, introspective way. It was a constant source of inspiration to me. I was really in touch with who I am down there.

Plus a 2003 Polish Bros. Film> Northfork>the angels..their costumes woke me up to steampunk without being labeled as such. I had an epiphany of sorts when I saw them. I was choked for words when I saw gadgets and contraptions so holistically incorporated into them. "that's that THING!", I kept saying over and over.

The punk cirque buskars of New Orleans. They have a vision for costumery that is endlessly inspiring. They really put the notion of recycling via reUSE into action. If you're ever in the Bywater neighborhood, in the upper 9th ward, keep your eye on who rides by on bikes..they appear and disappear like faeries, but you'll see them.

Victorian stage magic. The theatrics of it..the gas lamps on stage, the tuxedo, the corseted assistant. I love it all. My father was Harry Blackstone Sr.'s apprentice,when he was young, so I grew up hearing Harry's stories about the old magicians from the Victorian era, retold at the dinner table.

How long have you had your shop on Etsy?
I have two Etsy shops that have only been open a few months. I opened first, then when it became apparent that my jewelry undertakings were overtaking my little found objects emporium, I opened GrenadineBijoux a few months afterwards. So, I'm still relatively new to Etsy.
I signed up as a buyer long before I began to think of it as a viable selling format.

I had been listing jewelry on ebay, and had developed a following before Katrina. I was slowly rebuilding that,post K., when I was encouraged by a friend and fellow Etsian, to sell on Etsy.
I'd become, like so many people, disenchanted with Ebay's fees and red tape, so, I moved, and started over again! It's such a user friendly format, I'm happy to be part of it.

Is this a job for you or a hobby?
I'm not fond of the word hobby, it sounds like you either, aren't serious about what you do, or that it's a little obsession you have. For me, jewelry assembly is another part of my full time art studio, Gypsy Tinker Arts, where I make paintings, box art, shrine art, murals, and jewelry. I've been running my studio full time without a devoted 8 hr. "day job" since 1994.

I wouldn't say that making jewelry is the primary focus of GTA, but it's becoming a bigger part of it. I still prefer one of a kind pieces that I can intuit the designs for, as I go along.
If the rent depended only upon the finding of discarded broken jewelry, and my manufacturing each piece on a deadline, I'm sure I'd have to do it differently, but since the rent depends upon my other love of painting, I'm still free to be more personally invested in each piece of jewelry.

How did you get into your craft?
My father, who was a stage magician his whole life, liked by sparkly things, (I think it goes with the territory), and he could draw like no one I've seen since. He invented his own tricks, and built all of his own equipment, so since he was an artist too, he always had a pair of needle nose pliers in his hand tinkering with chains and pendants, and a pencil because he was constantly sketching ideas with me. He even had a small jewelry shop for a little while. He taught me to draw perspective at age four. He was a multi-talented intriguing figure,and he passed away way too soon. I still have so many ideas I need to talk over with him. I have to give him credit where his credit is due. He was a driving force for me creatively. He died in 1993, and to this day I still unconsciously reach for the phone to call him with a question, or to tell him that a painting sold. Making the things we wanted was just a way of life for us, so I would have to say that I got into my craft pretty much without realizing it was happening. Born to it, whether I meant to be, or not, I guess you'd say.

Do you have any advice for fellow Etsy shop owners?
Be true to your own vision, because your following will develop over time. It's too tempting to jump on a popular trend, and hope it brings satisfaction and prosperity. Thing is, it just makes you into "another one" doing the same things other people are doing.
Make what YOU want to wear, or see on YOUR muse, or in YOUR living space.
Think about what YOU want to say. Ultimately, you have to live with your own voice, not someone else's, or you won't recognize yourself anymore.
Strive everyday to push your expectations of your craft one step higher than your last one. Even baby steps count. You'll be amazed by the positive way people will respond to your
loyalty to yourself, and to your individuality.

What do you love about Steampunk?
Everything. During the Industrial Revolution, big thinking was in vogue again. I think that's why designers of this era have embraced this genre like they have. Big thinking is in vogue again NOW too. The notion that we can look to an object like a tiny GEAR, and see SO many other things in it's symbolism is pretty magickal. (everybody say OM )

I also like the slightly anarchistic verve with which Steamers appreciate art, history, literature, music, and adventure. It's street theatre, and it's got costuming integrity. It's the marriage of form and function that was so hotly debated a century ago. I love attention to detail, and I love artists who raise the bar for each other. I've found all of that in this genre. When I see an artist who does good work, unique work, it makes me try harder to improve my craft. And it isn't just about jewelry! There are so many avenues it can take. It's mimicking a Victorian life that never existed except in the imaginations of brilliant people. It can go anywhere.

Anything else you would like to add?
An additional 12 hours to each day, a personal chef, an assistant who'll work for free, and a time machine you can hold in your hand. Somebody should contact Apple. That might be how we could get those 12 hours back. :) Oh, and I'd like to add the return of the nonstop direct flight by air travel. I hate connecting flights.
Oh! You mean to this article! No, not really. More is enough :)