Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spotlight on Cherry Lipped Roses


As a child, Kathryn Ottolini remembers the walks in the woods of the Great Smoky Mountains she took with her grandmother, who would point out to her each and every wildflower. The result of that early introduction is that today, Kathryn is a master watercolorist living near and painting the wild flora of those mountains. But painting is just one of her many interests…

By day, she is an ophthalmological technician.  In the morning, at night and on weekends she is “a huntress.”
If you visit her etsy shop, you will see that she is an avid collector of vintage and antique jewelry and other precious collectibles. Her obsession is not only with the items themselves, but with their history as well.

“If I can gain anything from research I am on it like a duck on a Junebug. I take history and use it as the drawstring around the piece, and often hold the piece in my hand and wonder what person it had been with, what facet of history was that individual living through when they first saw it.”

                                                     English embroidered leather card case

She explains that her mother, who grew up poor along the bottomlands of the Mississippi, developed an interest in antiques and over time acquired a keen knowledge of them, and Kathryn soaked it all up through osmosis.
When you peruse Kathryn’s shop, you’ll notice that she seems to have an affinity for certain items… “I found myself becoming increasingly attracted to opera glasses.”

                                                              flirty little opera glasses 

Now this is where she hops into her 6 speed VW GLI and does some time traveling… “Whose eyes watched the actors in the theater?...who else did they gaze on? Were there lusty flirtations that raced back and forth or was the smirking gleeful dowager behind them collecting all the dirt for the next day's tea?” She appreciates the fact that  “these pieces of history are beautiful and can still be used...if for nothing else than sitting on the mantle to be picked up on passing to watch birds...”

                                                            Taxco Mexican Silver

Kathryn’s idea of fun is sleuthing for and researching her precious finds. But she also manages to pack gardening, photography, writing, beading, reading, and of course, painting into her days. Oops, I almost forgot, she’s working on renovating a 100-year-old bungalow…
She has a son, who is one of the youngest jet engine repairmen in this country, a daughter, with her own etsy shop, and two grandsons. 

                                                 British engraved sterling cigarette case- 1926

Kathryn’s passion for antiques didn’t really become a business until, as she put it,  “I flicked the ‘ON’ button for the first time on a computer 4 years ago. Now THAT was an interesting moment. Then I stumbled across ETSY, called my daughter in North Carolina, and told her we were going to be business partners.”

                                                     vintage charm bracelet 1950's-70's

I asked her how she markets herself and she explained that she uses business cards. She wears a “magnificent Taxco silver clamper bracelet” daily, which elicits lots of comments. At that point a conversation usually develops and Katheryn has a new potential customer off to check out her site! She talks Etsy everywhere. She loves making treasuries, and has connected with many new friends there. She also uses Facebook, and her online selling has expanded to include a shop on She spends a lot of time on her business, and it’s easy to tell she loves it. Her motto: “hands to work, hearts to God. Just DO it”. That she does.

                                 (You can find out how she came up with her shop name here…)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

April 20, imteam challenge -
Beauty and Strength
13 wonderful submissions !

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the Real Studio Managers - 1. Charlie, Arabella and Wesley

This is part 1 of a series showing the REAL managers behind the artists of the In the Making team on etsy

First up is the Captain of IM team, Pey, from Folk Art Vision

with her smallest and most active Manager - Charlie!

Charlie was rescued by Pey, when living wild in the local zoo didn't have enough stimulus for him.

He quickly made himself at home and got used to those essential time consuming cuddles ..

and made regular inspections of Pey's studio

making sure everything was in it's place and spotless ...

and when Pey got a bit stiff and needed a break from her art then Charlie would create the perfect diversion

c'mon -just how long does it take to hoover a pot of soil up? and doesn't it feel good to stretch those unused muscles?

and after a hard day's managing Charlie would send Pey out to reward him with freshly picked dandelions!

Next up we have one of the leaders of IM team, Annette, from Dragon House of Yuen

with Wesley, who came to Annette from a rescue 300 miles away and who is very big on observing, er, managing her fabric department ...

making sure that Annette doesn't ruffle them up or fold them the wrong way or ...

mix the colours up or, who really cares ....... zzzzz

and we have Arabella, from a different rescue, who had had enough of a cramped cage and now prefers to take a more active roll than Wesley in the main studio ...

making sure that Annette is not stuck infront of the computer making endless treasuries when she could be helping with the studio interior decoration instead ...

and ensuring that the carrots are always FRESH, I repeat FRESH, barks Arabella

and that there is always a large choice of hay in the deli section thanks

and don't forget the kisses on the nose too, c'mon, it's been half an hour since the last one!

yeah! I want kisses too Pey! and I want to be in more paintings and I want ...

... gosh it's hard work being the manager of Folk Art Vision!

that's more like it, just a bit to the left, a bit more ... oooh, oooeeeuughhgh mmmm

hey! I need some shut eye! that was a hard day!

zzzz ... yeah fold th.... ye.... zzzzzz .... carrrots .. carr... zzzz

Same time next month - meet more of the REAL managers doing REAL work!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Hidden Gems

April 13, imteam challenge -
21 marvellous submissions !

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spotlight on Paula Art

                                                                                    puzzle assemblage

Having grown up in Illinois, Paula, of PaulaArt, spent most of her adult life in Arizona, where for 20 years she worked as a massage therapist. You could say that her creative journey began at age 42 when in 2003 she set off in search of a change. Traveling and camping along the way, “I had this intuitive feeling about 'being an artist' when I hit the road, and a year later I found myself in Vermont making art using found objects.” 

                                            some of her popular industrial vases  and blooms

She describes her path to becoming an artist as “the path of no return”. She continues,
“Sometimes you just can't keep doing the same thing, your body or mind will 'break' and you have no choice but to change.  Art has been an ever changing path as it seems to require constant change, constant growth.  I cannot stand doing the same thing for too long, I get bored, restless if you will so what I love about being an artist is the freedom and ability to constantly change and grow.”

Currently, at 49, Paula is living in Huntsville, Texas, wondering what her next move
should be. Having moved around every few years, she is now looking for “a more supportive art community” where she can root herself more permanently.

That place will ideally be large enough to house the tools of her trade along with the raw materials she collects. Currently, she works around her lack of workspace, “I guess having a small work/storage area keeps me from collecting too much stuff; it's frustrating to say the least.  I have adapted though as now I make smaller works and am more motivated to sell it so I'm not tripping over art in my loft!” 

                                                   one of Paula's lovely rustic candle holders

Her favorite tool is her Dremel, a handy and versatile piece of equipment. A bench grinder and metal cutting saws are also part of the collection. Wood cutting tools and various other hand tools complete the picture. “I barely have room for this stuff but when you need the job done you gotta have the right tools!” Spoken like a true craftsman!

                                                             redwood assembledges

When she lived in Vermont, Paula sold her work through galleries and retail shops. Since moving to Texas, she has focused on etsy as a means of selling, and appreciates the fact that she no longer has to drive hundreds of miles, lugging her stuff around from venue to venue. She adds that since etsy added the activity page,  “marketing feels even easier”.
Paula uses her blog and a facebook page, but lately has been directing most her activity towards etsy. That includes opening her second shop IndustrialBloom in January of this year.  

                                                             industrial blooms

Paula is dedicated to her life as an artist. To be able to continue with her art, she finds odd cleaning jobs that bring in extra money when her sales are down. “[I] never thought I'd be doing that at my age, it keeps me motivated to give this art life all I've got!!!”
So if any of you gentle readers know of a good living situation with plenty of workspace…

And what does Paula do when she has some free time? “Well, I used to love to hike but its flat here in Texas.  I actually live in a pretty boring area so when I'm not making art about all I have to do is read or walk/bike ride or watch netflix movies.  I'm looking forward to the day I live in a more interesting area.  No distractions here, but then again, since becoming an artist I keep it pretty simple”.  


You can visit both of Paula’s shops on etsy.                                    

visit her on facebook at;

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

what makes you tick

April 6, imteam challenge -
Inspiration, what inspires you?
23 Fascinating submissions !

Hidden Dimension

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spotlight on walrustusk


Jennifer du Laney’s path has taken her from Fairbanks, Alaska to her current home in Tuscan, Arizona. Born and raised in Alaska, she moved, while in middle school to the lower 48, then back to Alaska to attend college.  After graduation, she and her new husband found themselves in Arizona when his job was relocated. Living in the United States, you can’t get much more extreme then going from Alaska to Arizona, and as she states in her etsy profile, “The dry desert air creates such a different environment where you can't help but be inspired. I have been exposed to different colors and textures that I think are reflected in my pieces.”

                                                               a few of Jennifer's hair clip and brooch designs

She and her husband share their home with one dog, 2 cats, and 2 turtles, all but one of the turtles are rescue animals. Jennifer’s father is a retired physics professor, and her late mother was a book editor. Still in Alaska, her stepmother is a dog musher and she and Jennifer’s father have an even larger menagerie of animals!

                                                                bee pin and frog barrette 

Her foray into beadwork began in middle school when she had a job working for an arts and crafts studio. She was able to take classes there, and beadwork looked interesting. She chose well, and when her grandmother gave her an old box filled with seed beads from the 1920’s she was hooked.
“The colors and the textures and feel of the beads were like nothing I had seen before.”
                                                                     beaded barrette               sage pleione earring

I asked Jennifer to explain a bit about her technique:
“I work with leather as a background medium for the beads and I pull that through a plastic embroidery hoop. I then use crimping pliers to yank the leather taught (like a drum). I use “sharps” needles as they hold up going through the tough leather. I sometimes draw out a design either using pencil or a stiletto onto the leather itself. After I am done beading the design I will cut out the shape I desire. I then complete the finishing touches or adding a backing and putting a plastic support if needed then sew them all together. Then voila bead work.”
Her “voila” would be my struggle to keep from poking my fingers…

Jen's craft room

When not working her bead magic, Jennifer enjoys cooking, knitting wool socks (one can only assume that even in Arizona, it’s hard to take the Alaska out of an Alaskan!)  More knitting is also on her to do list along with many other crafts too numerous to list. Perhaps 48 hour days would help in this case…

                                                              block beaded barrette

And if she couldn’t be creating her beadwork what would she be doing instead?
“I would spiral into depression. After pulling myself out of a pit of self-pity I would like to find a career that would have me traveling the world. I would love to go to markets in other countries to find treasures.” I hope you’ll get to do all of that Jen, but be sure and take your beading tools and supplies with you on your adventure!

You can see more of Jennifer’s work in her etsy shop, 

or follow her on Twitter at: WalrusTusk 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Path to Enlightenment

March 29, imteam challenge -
Happy Birthday, Buddha.
16 inspiring entries !