It’s shocking to realize that I’ve never blogged about Etsy. If you know me, at all, then I have already hammered this word into your head. Etsy is a website that serves as a marketplace where people can buy and sell handmade or vintage goods. It’s like an eBay for hippies, I suppose.
The list goes on and on. Buying from Etsy seems strange at first, since every shop is a unique person and payment goes directly to them, not through the site. But PayPal is easy enough to manage for anyone slightly computer literate, and if you have trouble figuring out how to complete a transaction, the seller themselves can respond directly to your questions and the Etsy site itself has great user-friendly guides.
The originality of all the merchandise available on Etsy is the by-product of a personal atmosphere. Every seller I have ever contacted with a question or a request for custom work has responded with enthusiasm and expertise that you’d be hard pressed to find in any corporate retail environment. Sometimes the back and forth is downright familial, I can tell you the first name and some interesting factoids of almost everyone I have had transactions with. Once I was somewhat disappointed by a purchase, but the glitch was nothing major. When I posted my feedback with only a slight mention of my issue, the seller contacted me immediately and asked me if there was any way she could remedy the problem. I didn’t think there was, but after we discussed, she found a way to make the purchase what I wanted. Amazing!
Once I became a chronic Etsy addict, I would find myself deeper and deeper into endless maze of shops that exists. And I realized that one of the most amazing benefits of buying handmade is the potential for customized work. Again at the suggestion of my friend Abby (that woman is really amazing), I started a tradition of finding, commissioning and buying a customized piece of art for each of our anniversaries. On our first anniversary, LaMaga made us a lovely family portrait (shown below). For our second anniversary, I wanted to find something a little more abstract and a friend (you guessed it, ABBY!) pointed me to selflesh.
Selflesh is really a lovely artist named Shannon who lives in Maine. A self-described ‘interdisciplinary artist’, Shannon makes amazing pieces often using maps and thread and the motifs of anatomy or birds. It was the maps that drew me in, and the beautiful shapes of nature combined with the graceful lines of thread that stole my heart. As soon as I contacted her with some very vague ideas about an anniversary piece, she replied with amazing ideas and tons of smiley faces and a lot of flexibility. What we eventually came up with and what she made was this: