Saturday, June 20, 2009

Interview with M.I.C.E. member Natalie Zebula

Hi everyone, it has been a while since I posted an interview but we are back up and running with a great one from Natalie from zebuladesign. Natalie made this really easy for me by linking a lot of great images throughout her interview. I tried to pick some of my favorites to illustrate it. One thing I will say is make sure that you take a look through her past sales, there you will find some fantastic hidden items.

Introduce yourself, tell us where you're located and describe your work:
Hello! My name is Natalie Zebula, and I make purses, plus other crafts like cards, notebooks, and baby bibs made from tshirts. I use a lot of felt for embellishment, and I like sorting through vintage fabric at estate and garage sales, if I can find it.

Bee Purse

How did you get starting crafting?
I always had an interest in making things, whether that was drawing, painting, sculpture, or more traditional craft techniques like sewing. I learned most of my sewing skills taking a job at an alterations shop, where I also learned to do fittings. You can learn a lot on your own, too, just by practice. It took me a bit to work out the details on the Scrabble Purse - at first I was going to drill small holes in the tiles to sew them like buttons, but then thought it would be more fun if you could change them and make your own phrases.

Scrabble Purse

How did you find Etsy?
I was searching for crafts online, and I just happened upon Etsy some years ago. It was a lucky find!

What's your favorite part of being a Michigan Crafter?
Learning about other Michigan crafters, like Handmade Detroit! Oh, and living in a beautiful state! We are so lucky to have so many beautiful lakes surrounding us. I have always had a big interest in wildlife and fish, even the ugly ones. I recently made an Anglerfish Purse, which is a bit odd-looking, but I think is a bit cute, too.
Anglerfish Purse

What advice would you give to others who are interested in starting an Etsy shop?
Be consistent, which even I am not so good at! It is hard to balance making crafts with other jobs and life in general. But I think you will have the most success over time if you consistently list new items, maybe just one a week. I also think it is OK to experiment and just try new things, like setting up an Etsy shop, starting a blog, or participating in some craft fairs. Starting an Etsy shop is by far the easiest!
Embroidered Felt Purse

What are your plans for the future of your craft business?
I always hope to keep making things, but one of the benefits of being your own boss is that you can decide how much you have time for. If I'm not feeling terribly excited about craft-making, I'll just take a break until a more compelling design idea pops into my head, like making a purse with twigs!

What is you favorite inspirational place to visit in Michigan?
The Thumb! I love it up north, even in the wintertime.

Anything else you would like to share with MICE?
Sometimes, doing non-craft things can inspire you! I never thought I would like taking pictures as much as I do now, and I use Flickr a lot! It is a way to both share what you see, and also record where you've been. I also liked trying out Swap-bot; the Christmas ornament exchange was fun, and I recieved some interesting ornaments (a two-headed deer, a fuzzy kiwi, and tiny mittens) in return! Through Meetup, I saw some giant telescopes (and Saturn later that night!), and met up with a photography group that took a trip to the Detroit Zoo. So even if you are feeling a bit uninspired, it doesn't take much effort to find something interesting to do.

Love Bib

Thank you Natalie, it has been fun learning about you. You have some great advice about keeping ourselves inspired and productive, I must try to do that!

You can check in on Natalie at her Craft Shop | Flickr | Twitter | Facebook

Monday, June 1, 2009

MICE @ The Market This Sunday

Join us this weekend for MICE @ The Market!

When: Sunday, June 7, 11am - 4pm
Where: The open-air market outside of Kerrytown Shops, Ann Arbor
What: Local Etsy artisans will be selling their work, including artwork, handmade soap, jewelry and much more.

See you there!