April 2016 #TESTaroundtown

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Find our talented Toronto Etsy Street Team members selling their handmade and vintage wares in person when you shop locally at these April 2016 events in Toronto, Pickering, Mississauga, and Hamilton:

Event Date & time Location TEST Shop(s)
MAKE IT! Fair Sat. Apr. 9
11am-3pm
Bowmore P.S.
80 Bowmore Rd
Toronto, ON
Lynn's Lids
East End Expo Sun. Apr. 10
11am-4pm
Pickering Recreation Complex
1867 Valley Farm Rd
Pickering, ON
Namaste Freund
Green Living Show Apr. 15-17
Fri. 12pm–9pm
Sat. 10am-8pm
Sun. 10am-6pm
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
North Building
255 Front St. W
Toronto, ON
Rong Designs
The Mamas & the Papas Craft Show  Sat. Apr. 16
10am-4pm
First United Church
151 Lakeshore Rd. W
Mississauga, ON
Namaste Freund
Makeology Spring Craft FairSat. Apr. 16
11am-6pm
The Cotton Factory
270 Sherman Ave N
Hamilton, ON
Art That Moves
carolyndraws
Clayshapes
Erin McMom
jarred
Kiriki Press
Light & Paper
Pikelet Workshop
Sprouts Press Designs
Wayzgoose Book Arts Fair Sat. Apr. 30
9am-5pm
Grimsby Public Art Gallery
18 Carnegie Ln
Grimsby, ON
Sprouts Press Designs



Are you a T.E.S.T. member with a May 2016 event to add to our listings? Drop Lynn a line through her shop Lynn's Lids, with the Etsy Local event link to the event, along with your shop link. (No Etsy Local event for your show? Go ahead and create one with all of the details at www.etsy.com/ca/local/.)

T.E.S.T. Interview: NeverwaresOnEtsy

Thursday, March 24, 2016

We hope to introduce you to all the great Etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 92nd in our series and is with Never Poplar of NeverwaresOnEtsy.  

I think I’ll start off by asking who/what informs your aesthetic. Your website and work evoke a sort of William S Burroughs’ Naked Lunch met Terry Gilliam’s Brazil; a sort of future retro, if you will. Would you call yourself a Luddite?

I adore machinery, and taking things apart to see what makes them tick, literally. ;) I'm inspired primarily by the detail of craftsmanship I find inside. If you open up a pocket watch from the early 1900s you'll not only find a fantastic set of intricate movements, you'll also find elaborate engravings on most of the pieces. I like to find these pieces, make them into something wearable, and show off all the work that went into creating them. I am definitely not a Luddite. I adore technology and the chances for progression that it affords society.  

Tell us more about Neverwares. Where are you from and does this influence your work, how did you get started taking apart typewriters? ;)

I was born and raised here in Toronto, Canada. I don't think it really influences my work at all, except that maybe our disposable western society provided a lot of junk for me to experiment with. I got my start taking things apart when I was a young teen. I'd find old broken electronics out on the street and wanted to see what was inside. I then moved on to analogue machines such as typewriters and broken watches.  

You refer to yourself as a metalsmith. A majority of your work employs found objects; gears, type-keys, buttons, watch parts. How do you curate the items used in your work, where does the metalsmithing take place (do you make your own findings, settings? Do you hand form the rings used?) Tell us about your process.

My process begins with each new machine I acquire. I have a wide variety of sources including friends, antique stores, yard sales, ebay, etc. I'm always on the look out for broken bits to transform. The most joyful part of the entire journey for me from machine to finished jewelry pieces is the disassembly, the discovery. I adore opening things up and discovering the workmanship inside, whether it be the mechanisms in an old typewriter, or the intricate engraving inside a 1920s pocket watch, I see the beauty and potential in all of it.

Once I have all the pieces apart the clean-up begins. Depending on the state of the machine when I receive it this part of the process can be quite time consuming. I have become very proficient in the removing of rust and machine oil. Then comes the design portion, where I lay everything out on my work bench in front of me and move pieces around until I find a pleasing configuration. I find I use my metalsmithing skills throughout the entire process. I have hundreds of hand tools and know how to use them all. I adore cold connections and use rivets to join many things together. As well, I often saw out of metal the pieces I imagine in my mind.


Is Neverwares a full time gig for you, or do you also have a day job? If so, what do you do?

I am thrilled that Neverwares has become my full time job. I recently completed an entrepreneurial course here in Toronto and wrote my business plan. With that clarity in mind I am able to fill in the gaps between creativity and business acumen.
  
Where do you see Neverwares in the next 5 years, what's in store for your fans?

Design wise, in the next 5 years I see an expansion of my men's line Machine Age. My goal is to marry my goldsmithing skills with my love of old machinery to create timeless heirloom quality pieces. Neverwares' mission is to invoke a sense of nostalgia and to showcase the exceptional craftsmanship of vintage machinery by giving people a wearable piece of history. I intend to continue to fulfill that mission.

Check out more of Michelle's work in her NeverwaresOnEtsy Shop! 

THIS SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2016 You can find Neverwares at the Bazaar of the Bizarre
11am - 8pm
Pia Bouman School
 6 Noble street, Toronto

You can also keep up to date with her here: 
Website: neverwares
Facebook: neverwares
Instagram: @neverwares

Interviewed by Tosca of Nanopod, March 22, 2016 in Toronto.

Make Something - 10 Springy Easter DIY Projects


I think we're all a bit thrown by how early Easter is this year, including the planet. Brrrr. What a day!

Let's ignore old man winter outside and make like it's Spring inside. I've rounded up some of my favourite Easter DIY projects so we can all spend the long weekend making fabulous Easter goodies.

Maybe Spring will return when we emerge on the other side, covered in cotton balls and glitter!

Here we go...


Grab the DIY over here.

Grab the DIY over here.


Grab the DIY over here.



Grab the DIY over here.


Grab the DIY over here.


Grab the DIY over here.


Grab the DIY over here.


Grab the DIY over here.

Grab the DIY over here.

Grab the DIY over here.


And there you have it. Hope these projects help to brighten your days over the Easter break.
Hoppity hop to it and don't make yourself sick on all that lovely chocolate.


Happy Crafting!

Jen


Toronto Urban Collective's Spring Equinox Pop-Up Market Ticket Giveaway!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

 Toronto Urban Collective's Spring Equinox Pop-Up Market event is this Sunday at 99 Sudbury. They've created a promotion for the first 250 guests to use the promo code TEST online will have free entry into the event!




Here are the instructions to use the promocode:

1. Click here
(event ticketing website)

2. Select quantities

3. Press “Register”
4. Enter the coupon code: TEST

5. Press “Apply”

6. Press “Secure Checkout”

Vendor call: TorontoArtBlast

 
Hello Artists! 

My name is Carolyn Quan and I am an award-winning artist and Founder/Producer of the Toronto Art Blast. I am happy to announce that Toronto now has its first city-wide artist open studio and exhibition event and I invite all of you to register for the event and be a part of what will be an exciting and inspiring month of July for both artists and the art-loving and art-buying public. 

Final deadline for artist registration is April 1. 

It all begins at ArtScape Wychwood Barns on Saturday, July 9, 2016 at our festive Opening Celebration and Preview Exhibition and is followed by 3 inspiring weekends of artist open studios and exhibitions throughout East and West Toronto (including North Toronto), Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough

Artists do not need to have their own working art studio to participate. Alternative exhibition venues such as community centers, yoga and dance studios, garages, friend's houses, backyard patios, galleries, restaurants and more are all possibilities. Artists must secure their own show space. We also have rental spaces available for those of you who don't have suitable show space. 

Please visit our website for all of the details and to register. www.TorontoArtBlast.com 

Please join us on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TorontoArtBlast and Twitter (#torontoartblast, #TAB) - https://twitter.com/torontoartblast

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll be happy to help. 

We'd love to have you on board!

Creatively yours, Carolyn Quan
 
________________________

Carolyn Quan
Founder, Producer/Artist
TorontoArtBlast@gmail.com

Vendor call: ReBash

 
 
 


ReBash is Toronto's Raddest Wedding Market taking place one day only at 99 Sudbury in the Glass Factory and Lounge in Toronto on Sunday May 15, 2016 11am-5pm.
 
Our market features local vendors selling handmade, vintage or gently used wedding and party props and decor. The event will also feature a curated selection of photographers, sweets vendors and event designers and planners. 

For more information or to apply to the show visit:


 

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 23 Your Etsy Shop's New Look


 
Welcome back to our followers!
If you're new here, welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com
If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!
We have new sellers joining our Bootcamp all the time, so even though this is Class 23, you can join now or anytime! You can complete the classes at your own pace. Just click on our re-vamped NEWBIE BOOTCAMP tab above to get the lowdown on all the classes so far.

As we reach mid-March it's time for spring cleaning in your shop, but this year Etsy is re-doing the look of ever shop! If you visit your own shop you'll see a new header:


Feeling springlike? Check out EllenEveredDesign's floral thank you cards.
The Etsy makeover is a cleaner, more streamlined experience, which clearly has the ever-growing mobile app user population especially in mind. You have from now until April 5, 2016 to get your shop looking its best in this new format. Follow that "Edit new shop" link and you'll get a preview of the new look, as well as a chance to edit everything. Basically, it's your old shop, but all in one place, and with a very clean white look - there are no extraneous lines, boxes, or tinted areas. The structure is vertical and users need simply scroll down, rather than visit a series of pages. Everything is there, from top to bottom: your front page (now 3 listings wide rather than 4 and we'll get to changes in Shop Banners in a second);  3 most recent Reviews (now users can simply scroll down and can follow a link to see the complete list); 3 most recent Shop Updates (with a link to the complete set); your About Page, including 'Around the Web' section which contains your links to your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram and Shop Members;  Shop Local (upcoming local events); Shop Policies; and the option to add a FAQ and receipt info (required only for selling to EU nations). There's also an additional 5 new sections, so you can categorize your products in up to 15 categories. They've also introduced drag and drop rearranging of Shop Listings. Also, the back-end, what you see as a seller when you press the "Edit new shop" link mirrors the front-end as closely as possible. It's all arranged in the same vertical, scroll-down, all-in-one-place way. It's virtually WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get"). There's a preview button, but you can basically tell what your editing will do, as you edit.

Shop Banners

Indulge in Nuary Boutique's Doughnuts Are Good For Me soy candle
When you first click on "Edit new shop" you won't see your Shop Banner. But, never fear! Etsy is letting the sellers choose from 3 options. You can choose a small banner 760px by 100px, which will not appear on mobile applications at all. You can choose a cover photo a minimum of 1200px by 300px (but ideally 3360px by 840px) which will appear on any application. There is a built in crop-tool if your image is larger than that. Or, for a truly minimal look, you can have no banner at all. The idea there is if you have a minimal aesthetic, and want to focus all your branding efforts on your shop logo, and raise you featured listings even higher on the page.

The Seller Handbook adds that there is a cover photo tool on (Etsy's newly acquired service Canva) which allows you to make cover photos the exact right size and easily add text.

Check out our class 2. Branding & Shop Banners  and Etsy's The Ultimate Guide to Telling Your Etsy's Shop's Visual Story   for tips on how to make the right shop banner or cover photo for your shop.

Shop Icon

Make with BetterWithYarn's handspun yarn in joyous colours
The new look has an added emphasis on your Shop Icon.  This really is your logo and needs to represent your shop and look good at all scales. You can use the Sell on Etsy app to see what your shop will look like on mobile applications. Etsy points to the Canva Shop Icon tool if you are starting from scratch or want to redo your icon quickly and simply.

Featured Listings

In your new Etsy Shop, your four Featured Listings are really given a prominent placement, on any platform. If you aren't using this tool now, you really do need to do so in the future. This may be the only product a new potential customer sees unless you grab their attention! You can use the space to feature your best sellers and/or cycle through different seasonal items.

Social Media Links

These have been given a less prominent place. Rather than appearing right below your shop banner (for FB and Twitter at least), they are now only in 'Around the Web' in your About page section.

Updates

Have cuppa FirstEditionTeaCo Literary Tea!
As mentioned in our previous class, Shop Updates are a great tool for sharing your story and connecting with your buyers. Now, not only will your Updates appear in your fans feed on their homepage, but they also will have a prominent spot in your shop! If you use any sort of tablet or smartphone you can use the Sell on Etsy app to start making Shop Updates.

About Pages

We stressed the importance of this in class  5. About Pages! This is part of the basics of getting your shop up and running and now, in the all-on-one-page format, it's right there. So, take advantage of that visual real estate and be sure to connect to buyers and tell you and your shop's story in words, photos and video!

Shop Policies

Get spiffy with a PaisleyAndThePeacock skinny bow tie

With this format, Etsy has added boilerplate simplified Shop Policies prompts, to get sellers to keep it simple yet hit on the vitals. You can stick with your existing Shop Policies - but should check that you are not being redundant as everything is now on a single page. Now is a great time, if you want to stick with your Shop Policies, to have a look and make sure they are clear, succinct and up-to-date. If you are a brand-new seller or unsure about how to write Shop Policies, you can use Etsy's tools to customize your answer to their 5 prompts:

  • Add processing times and estimated shipping times.
  • Let shoppers know whether you accept returns and exchanges.
  • Tell shoppers how you’re using their info.
  • Answer frequently asked questions.
  • Add essential details for shoppers in the European Union.    
READ MORE HERE and HERE 

And note that Etsy is encouraging you to use their template:

As we announced in November 2015, customer experience is a factor we consider in search placement. When determining customer experience on Etsy, we look at positive reviews, completed About sections, and completed Shop Policies (FAQs and seller details are not factored into search ranking). Selecting these new Shop Policies are an easy way to give shoppers the information they’re looking for while slightly improving your placement in Search. To learn more about how search works on Etsy, check out this article.  
You can customize the template and always switch back to your original policies, which are saved by Etsy.


PrintMantis You Rock! card - well-earned for after shop spring cleaning!

So dive in and freshen up your shop this spring!


Note: We've updated our previous class 22. Automate it because as of March 23, 2016, IFTTT will no longer support Etsy as a channel. Luckily, we have good news! There's a workaround. You can use your shop's RSS feed to automatically update all your social media instead. Read all about it.

Vendor Call: Christie Pits Arts Crawl

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

CALL FOR VENDORS/ARTISTS;

Christie Pits Arts Crawl on Sunday May 29th 10-4p.m.

There is room for everyone...it's a big park. Just send me an email if you're interested.

Event:
Please share the event page on facebook: Christie Pits Arts Crawl and tell your friends.

Payment:
$25 goes to Friends of Christie Pits Park. email money transfers mongupta@hotmail.com Cheques payable to Friends of Christie Pits Park can be mailed to 68 London St. Toronto M6G 1N3

Please bring your own tent/shelter/table/chairs....it's a rain or shine event.

I love all the emails...however...I work full time and sometimes can't reply when I want to.

Thanks again,
Monica Gupta
Chair
Friends of Christie Pits Park

#WeBeTEST Instagram Challenge: feedback and thanks!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I think I can safely say that the #WeBeTEST Instagram challenge was a success.  We had nearly 100 participants and over 2000 posts, most of which I captured on a Pinterest board here (except a couple on the first day and no videos...) I was looking at it yesterday and was totally struck by all of the storytelling the TEST members did. (see below)



I'm seeing copycat challenges all over the place now, which I suppose is the best form of flattery, right?

In the words of some of our participants via their Instagram posts (not including all of the had fun, thanks, great getting to know TEST members comments):
  • I have to say that taking part in this Instagram challenge has been a huge leap for me and my little handmade business. I loved getting to know my fellow #torontoetsystreetteam peeps and look forward to meeting you at various shows around the city. - a2ddesigns
  • I’ve had so much fun on this challenge with my fellow Toronto Etsy Street Team members & learned about my fellow teammates, and also about myself and this little company I run. It’s inspired some new projects that are VERY exciting and I cannot wait to share them with all of you!! - sproutspress   
  • This was a fun challenge and I got to learn alot from other local Etsy sellers. - csfootprints
  • I agree with many of you who already mentioned how good it was to be part of this challenge and get familiar with other #torontoetsystreetteam members. It has been a great pleasure to meet you all! - snezana.kostimusha
  • We did it!! Like many of you this whole challenge was a bit of a leap for me, but like anytime I take a leap, there are untold benefits. So happy I did this and got to share it with a remarkable group of artists! - cheekymonkeybyl 
  • Though I feel like I'm kind of limping to the end of the #WeBeTEST challenge, I want to say #thankyou to my fellow #torontoetsystreetteam members. It's been great getting to 'know' you! And an extra special thank you to @lynnslids for organizing the challenge and for welcoming me to the team! 😊- iwantmomomama
  • Taking this #WeBeTest challenge was a leap for me too. It's been so great meeting other #torontoetsystreetteam members and feeling a huge sense #community from all of you. - jenallisonphoto
  • This was so great for me! This challenge was fun, inspiring and challenging πŸ˜‰ I was hesitant in the beginning, didn't feel comfortable with taking a selfie and overall putting myself out there. But it got me out of my shell, taught me how to better use social media and enjoy it, exposed me to the community and other local artists. Thank you! I am so happy I joined. - bubynoa 
  • ... when I first heard about this challenge I wasn't even going to participate in it because I didnt think I would be able to stick with it. I also didn't know the rest of the team that well and am a tad bit shy, so I was a little nervous..., taking that chance. I'm so glad I took that leap! Added so many members from such a talented and supportive team.  - audrey.enfysphotography
  • Everything I do is for my daughter including this business. I want her to see that I am conquering my fears on this journey. Thank you all for your support, especially #torontoetsystreetteam and @nathalieroze for the gentle push. :) I am so glad I did this challenge. - makysbows
  • The final day of this fabulous Instagram challenge! Thanks so much to the organizers! I feel more contact to other TEST members and to my jewellery making again! I look forward to participate in other future TEST activities! - oiseaudesigns
  • It was so great learning more about fellow Test artists/makers! ... this was a great idea and although I wasn't able to share everyday I had a lot of fun when I did! Good luck everyone, looking forward to seeing more of your wonderful creations in the future! - threeonthetreetop
  • I've truly enjoyed this challenge. I've been so inspired by all of you and your work! - andreateetoo
  • I've enjoyed seeing how the #torontoetsystreetteam took on this February challenge! Great to find more of you and see how everyone interpreted each prompt creatively. - the.minouette
  • Thank you for starting all this. It was a great idea and tons of fun both to participate and to meet other makers! - artthatmoves
  • Thanks to #lynnslids and#torontoetsystreetteam for this motivational challenge - lmung
  • Thanks ... for setting up such a wonderful month of activities to share our personal stories and craft...  - ngadinhart
  • I hope you guys had fun doing the challenge or reading the challenge. I hope to partake in more of them because it was great having such amazing prompts. It was also great to see a bunch of makers for the most part supporting each other... Just having that camaraderie and support in a city of artists and makers. It's pretty cool. - knittylittlesecret
  • Thanks for the photo challenge this month, it's nice to have a bit of a push to post something everyday, and it was fun to see everyone else's interpretations of the daily themes. - geekglass
  • It's been a blast! I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about me as I did about you. Thank you so much for following along on this challenge and beyond. Let's continue this creative journey together... there is so much more to discover. - thechemisttree
Plus some comments on our private member group:
  • Can I just say how much I'm LOVING all the ‪#‎WeBeTEST‬ posts on Instagram? ... it's really great to see all the talent in this group!
  • I love this challenge. I'm so into peeping into fellow testers craft spaces
  • This IS a great challenge and is definitely helping me get connected with other T.E.S.T. members - which is so valuable! My 2016 goal is to rehaul and revamp my Etsy shop and presence. So thank you for this kickstart!
  • Fun, interesting and good exercise for this social-media-neophyte!
  • It's been a great IG challenge for the team! Thanks for thinking of such an interactive challenge for Test members
  • I have always found it a struggle to be regular in my posting. It doesn't come easily. But, I've loved this challenge. Even when struggling to find something on the more challenging posts (for me) I was able to. Very empowering!! Gotta thank you Lynn, and everyone who is participating - was fun to do, and read!! I think I'm going to try and make up monthly post ideas going forward. Keep up the momentum.
  • Me too! don't want it to end, it actually helped by giving me a topic to post about.
A few of us TEST members did blog posts on the challenge, including Art That Moves, thunderpeep did one on the challenge in general, and one on the Feb 14 prompt, and I did a few, because I was so impressed with everyone!

Thank you!

Again, thank you to everyone who participated, including latecomers (yay!), whether you posted every day, sporadically, or only a few days... it has been fantastic, and I'm so glad you learned a lot, had fun, and challenged yourselves. You outdid yourselves, and I have thoroughly enjoyed your photos, stories and your feedback.  ~ Lynn

This amalgamated photo below doesn't show everyone, but the selfies posted on day 1 by about 5pm

T.E.S.T. Interview: Lovassion

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 91st in our series and is with Tingting of Lovassion


Let us know a little bit about yourself. What prompted you to start making jewellery, and eventually open up shop on Etsy?

I always wanted to create and build something of my own. I love inspiring others to go for their dreams and launched an inspirational blog to empower love and creativity. I stumbled across Pinterest one day and that's where I learned to create most of my jewelry :) I thought why can't I put my passion and love for jewelry together and share my gifts to the world and that's when I launched my Etsy shop Lovassion.  

Your "about" page says that your mission is to inspire people, but what inspires you? You, not as a jeweller, but as a person in your everyday life.

My mission in life is to be the light in people, to do what they love and live their life. All the dreamers, achievers, and brave-hearts in this world inspire me :) because if they can live their dream why can't you.  
Do you have a favourite piece that you enjoy crafting? If so, which is it?

I love crafting all my jewelry pieces, I can't think of one that is my favourite because each one of them is made from my heart and soul to share to the world.  

Describe your creative process for us, from the birth of an idea to the finishing touches. Is there are a part of the process that you love and/or hate the most?

I love being creative in making all my jewelry, usually I start with writing my poetry that just comes from my heart and then I brainstorm on paper what kind of elements will match the inspirational message I give :)  

Is Lovassion a full time gig for you, or do you also have a day job? If so, what do you do?

I'm currently in my last year of university, and also teach Zumba part-time. I'm in the process of making Lovassion a full time career for me. I love every second of it, and I'm always so happy when I can send my love and creativity all around the world. I'm really grateful for Etsy.  

What is next for Lovassion?

I am hoping to build Lovassion as a brand and a physical store in Paris. I have high hopes and dreams and I know hard work will always pay off :)

Check out more of Tingting's work in her Lovassion Etsy Shop! 

You can also keep up to date with her here:

Facebook:  Lovassion 
Blog: Empowerlove
Instagram: skydreamer1212
Pinterest:  Lovassion


Interviewed by Mel of KemeJewellery March 2, 2016 in Toronto.

T.E.S.T. Interview: KemeJewellery

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 90th in our series and is with Mel of KemeJewellery.  

What inspired you to make jewelry with nature?

I find that I'm inspired by a lot of different things, whether it's history, nature, tradition and lore, or combining masculine and feminine. With nature in particular, I always feel a little more at home when I'm in the wilderness. There is a sense of calm and peace that finds me, and I feel much more grounded and in tune with my emotions. The ability to find my centre when I'm in nature is really what inspired me to make nature inspired jewellery. 

On your about page, you mentioned you took the leap of faith and quit your day job to pursue doing what you love and want (I thought that was incredible!) How hard was it to make that decision, and believe you can do it?

It was something that I definitely wanted to do... I absolutely hated my day job. I don't know if I would have done it so soon if it wasn't for my partner's encouragement. Being so unhappy, he really pushed me into taking that leap and pursuing my passion. Although it's a slow build, I'm really happy that I am in the process of turning my passion into my career. I wouldn't want to look back when I'm older and think "what if?".  

Is handcrafting using Precious Metal Clay a difficult process? How hard was it to learn?

I don't find it to be an overly difficult process since I have always enjoyed sculpting and working with clay. This is also my passion, so I find it easier than many people who may try it out. That said, I am self taught, and I found that going at my own pace and not being too hard on myself was the best thing I could have possibly done.

Regardless, there are definitely challenges and difficulties when working with metal clay. Since I mix the clay myself from powder, getting the consistency right can be a bit difficult. If the consistency is off, your pieces are more likely to crack or fracture, and they may be brittle even after firing. If you get your consistency right, it can be really fun! Jewellery is often smaller than something you may sculpt with regular clay, so attention to detail and patience is key.

Getting to know your kiln is another big challenge. How your pieces fire are based on so many variables: temperature, humidity, altitude, how many pieces are being fired at once, the thickness of each piece, whether you're firing single or mixed metal pieces, the temperature gauge of your kiln and whether it runs hot or cold; the list goes on and on. Once you do test your kiln a few times, you'll get to know what works best for you. I can't tell you how many times it took me to figure out how my kiln works. I would follow firing instructions, and my pieces wouldn't sinter at all, or they would melt, depending on the metal I used. There was lots of trial and error, and I still sometimes get pieces that just didn't fire quite right. It's always a bit of a surprise, but I love it.  

What are your future goals for Keme Jewellery?

I'm trying to turn this business into a career. I've started this year with doing a few craft shows, and I'm really working on getting some more sales on Etsy by constantly tweaking SEO and seeing what works best. I think the next step would be to make some more pieces and take them to local shops in Toronto and see if they can be displayed there. Eventually, I would like to have my own studio where I would be able to teach metal clay classes.  

What is a typical day for you like, and Keme Jewellery?

 It really depends on the day. Some days, like today, I'm on Etsy and working on SEO, adding new listings, and posting things onto Instagram and Facebook... I should also give Pinterest a whirl. Other days it's really all about creating new goods, and my hands get dirty as I'm holding clay all day long. Then of course, there is sanding (pre and post firing), polishing, and buffing. Looking forward it will be market research and seeing what stores may be able to display some of my jewellery. I really enjoy metal clay because there are so many different stages of making the jewellery that it keeps me busy and I never get bored.

Check out the other items available from Mel in her KemeJewellry Etsy Shop! 

You can also find her here:
Facebook: KemeJewellery
Instagram: kemejewellery 
Pinterest: Will be up and running soon!

Interviewed by Tingting of Lovassion, March 2, 2016 in Toronto.

March 2016 #TESTaroundtown


Find our talented Toronto Etsy Street Team members selling their handmade and vintage wares in person when you shop locally at these March 2016 events:

Event Date & time Location TEST Shop(s)
Toronto ComiconMar. 18-20
Fri. 4pm–9pm
Sat. 10am–7pm
Sun. 10am–5pm
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
255 Front St. W.

Toronto, ON
CovenSK
Neverwares
Bellwoods Flea

Sat. Mar. 19
11am-6pm 
Dundas Video
831 Dundas St W
Toronto, ON
HeavenleeDays
Sudsatorium
Leslieville FleaSun. Mar. 20
10am-4pm
Fermenting Cellar
28 Distillery Lane
Toronto, ON
Ellen Evered Designs
JBplusDG
Lisa Young Design
Sudsatorium
One of a Kind Spring Show & Sale Mar. 23-27
Wed. 10am-9pm
Thu. 10am-11pm
Fri. 10am-9pm
Sat. 10am-9pm
Sun. 11am-6pm
Enercare Centre
100 Princes Blvd
Toronto, ON
Aren't You Fancy
carolyndraws
The Chemist Tree
Clayshapes
Cubit's
Pip Robins




Are you a T.E.S.T. member with an April 2016 event to add to our listings? Drop Lynn a line through her shop Lynn's Lids, with the Etsy Local event link to the event. (No Etsy Local event for your show? Go ahead and create one with all of the details at www.etsy.com/ca/local/.)



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