Friday, March 28, 2014

Meet Featured Artists Jeanie Roberts-Wyatt and Kim Ivey-Bourne of Jade Rabbit Apothecary!

What is your business’ name? Jade Rabbit Apothecary and we are Jeanie Roberts-Wyatt and Kim Ivey-Bourne!

What sort of items do you make? We are a small local herbal business operating in Greensboro, North Carolina. We offer therapeutic skin care products, teas and other herbal products with consulting services. We maintain an inventory of Western herbs available for purchase and are available to teach classes in soap and salve making as well as other topics.

When and how did you learn your craft? A combination of formal and informal training as well as many years of self-study and practice – there is not a “standard” approach to the practice of herbalism in the U.S. Herbalism is an ongoing “practice” of participating in a wide variety of activities and forums that allow practitioners to teach and be taught and to be exposed to both formal and informal types of information about plants and their applications in health and diet. There is a tremendous need for all of us to reduce our exposure both internally and externally to chemicals and pharmaceuticals and herbal plant use offers easy, safe and approachable alternatives – this drove our early interest in herbals. Our mid-Atlantic region in the eastern U.S. has a rich and diverse amount of some of the world’s most powerful plants.

Where do you get your inspiration from? From the plants themselves! Even the most cursory journey into medicinal plants and the global history of herbalism will excite and educate readers. Plants were our first food and medicine and continue those primary roles today. Basic knowledge of herbs and their uses can greatly and safely enhance our personal and family health and nutrition. There has been tremendous interest in alternative medical approaches as more knowledge and research becomes available and consumers become more educated in health choices. It’s a very exciting time to see Eastern and Western medical communities move closer together in a more holistic approach to medicine and health.  It’s hard not to be inspired!

How did you get started doing this as a business? After spending many years working in a variety of settings with people, animals and herbs we decided to formalize this by establishing the business.  We wanted to professionalize the practice as we have established customers and growing interest in the community.  As we continue to grow our skills, products, and practice, we have found this creates more opportunities to share our passion for these magic plants that are all around us.

Do you have any advice for other crafters/artisans just starting out? Start with the plants themselves. Learn about just a few native botanicals and what their uses are and then have fun! Pick an area of interest and concentrate your efforts and study in that area.  Always remain governed by your passion and integrity to represent these wonderful allies well, find wonderful teachers and create opportunities to use herbals in all areas of your own life. From every day health support for yourself and your family to a rigorous clinical practice, there is a place for every role in the practice and use of herbals. All of us from the most novice to the most experienced practitioner need to teach, share and communicate our knowledge and learning in our respective communities. Know your limits and never stop learning about the magic that is all around our feet in our gardens – the weeds!

Jade Rabbit Apothecary will be a featured artist at the First Friday Indie Market on April 4, 2014.  The market is located on the corner of MKL and Elm St in Downtown Greensboro, NC and is open from 4-9pm. 

Want to see more of Jade Rabbit Apothecary?  Check out Jeanie and Kim's Facebook page at

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meet Featured Artists Tanya Dickens and Sibyl Davis of Savor the Moment!

What is your business’ name?  Savor the Moment and  we are Tanya Dickens and Sibyl Davis 

What sort of items do you make? We make homemade baked goods, specializing in southern comfort foods and decorative petite treats. We can cater a dessert bar/table to coordinate any color or event theme. 

When and how did you learn your craft? Baking and catering is pretty much a family tradition. We come from a family of foodies, both men and women. Our older family members were very instrumental in shaping our southern culinary skills.  However, we developed our decorating skills through classes, sharing creative ideas and a lot of experimenting over the years.

Where do you get your inspiration from? We draw our design inspiration from various artistic sources; decorating classes, Pintrest, cooking/decorating shows, etc. We also love to experiment and create delicious works of edible art. However, our primary focuses is on taste and quality.   

How did you get started doing this as a business?  When my mom lived in FL, she always sold her baked goods at events, to friends, co-workers, local churches and businesses. When she would visit me during holidays, she had actually developed a seasonal clientele for her baked goods.  By the time she retired and relocated here, I had become a full time homeschool mom.  Baking has always been a shared passion of ours and with the flexibility of both our schedules, starting a licensed home-based bakery was a natural transition.    

Do you have any advice for other crafters/artisans just starting out?   My advice to any crafters/artisans out there would be to choose something you're both skilled and passionate about and turn it into a business. A mentor once told me, “Your business or career should be something you enjoy so much you're willing to do it for free, but you do it so well people are willing to pay you.” 

Savor the Moment  will be a featured artist at the First Friday Indie Market on April 4, 2014.  The market is located on the corner of MKL and Elm St in Downtown Greensboro, NC and is open from 4-9pm. 

Want to see more of Savor the Moment?  Check out Tanya's Facebook page at

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Meet Feature Artist Rachel Bachman of Candle-loupe!

What is your business name?  Candle-loupe and I am Rachel Bachman!

What sort of items do you make? I make all natural, soy wax candles.  I use fragrances oil infused with essential oils, 100% cotton wicks and purchase my supplies from North Carolina companies. I like to choose fragrances that are unusual and still amazing. 

When and how did you learn your craft? I learned how to makes candles a little under three years ago.  I started by experimenting with fragrance and color combinations, and got a good base line of fragrances.  I still love experimenting with new fragrances to have some variety.

Where do you get your inspiration from? I get my inspiration from the seasons.  I like to introduce new fragrances each season and see the reactions from my customers.  I also love to create custom candles based on what ideas my customers have.

How did you get started doing this as a business? I started making candles for presents for Christmas three years ago, and with the support and input from my friends and family I have evolved into this business.

Do you have any advice for other crafters/artisans just starting out?   My advice to any crafters/artisans out there would be to follow your dreams.  Dont be scared to try something new; and share your craft with your friends and family, they are the biggest blessing in starting your own business.

Candle-loupe will be a featured artist at the First Friday Indie Market on April 4, 2014.  The market is located on the corner of MKL and Elm St in Downtown Greensboro, NC and is open from 4-9pm.

Want to see more of Candle-loupe?  Check out Rachel's website:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Meet Featured Artist Chad Perry of Creative Perspective Studios!

What is your business name?  Creative Perspective Studios and I am Chad Perry!

What sort of items do you make? I consider myself a surreal and abstract fine art photographer that also does portraits and weddings. All of the pieces you see in my booth are based on a photograph (or photographs) Ive taken.  Some of these photographs are places Ive gone and some are scenes Ive setup on my kitchen table.  I use random items from thrift stores, water, corn syrup, food coloring, spray paint, melted crayons, fire and anything else necessary to get the right look for the photograph.  I have a huge catalog of photographs to pull from.  My inspiration leads me to the catalog.  My pieces are created from one or more (sometimes 20 or more) photographs from my catalog.  Sometimes, I blend photos.  Sometimes, I just alter them.  I break all the rules in the digital realm. I use Photoshop much like a carpenter uses a hammer, as an important tool that can do many things.  

In general, I do not discuss the exact contents of the original photographs I use for my pieces because that disturbs what people can see in my work.  I say "let it be in your mind and that's what it is."  If you come to my booth and talk to me, youre likely to hear me say this at least once.

When and how did you learn your craft? Originally, I considered myself a musician, the type that gravitated towards more progressive and experimental music. I always had a love for the abstract and different. I began playing guitar when I was 15. My interest in photography began in my early 20s. I was in an experimental music band called SnagLoopDog.  From 1999-2002, we wrote and recorded 10 albums.  Much of the artwork for the album covers and inserts was based on my photography at the time.

Over the years, the creative outlet that was music became photography.  The vision and love for the abstract remained the same. That same vision became the artwork that you see in my booth.

The learning and growing never stops-Ive a huge and wonderful network of people that both inspire and encourage me. Its an amazing journey.

Where do you get your inspiration from? My inspiration comes from various places. I take quite a few pictures. Sometimes, inspiration hits as Im browsing through my catalog of photos. Many times, the photos that I combine to create my pieces were taken in vastly different places at different times.  The end product often takes on the feel of those individual photos. Many of my customers feel this too.

One of my biggest sources of inspiration recently was watching the Brooke Shaden:Fine Art Portraits 3 day workshop. Even if youre not a photographer, Brooke teaches inspiration exercises that are incredible.  I recommend that workshop to anyone seeking inspiration.

How did you get started doing this as a business? I decided to start selling my creations when I realized that I had 15-20 images that were really unique and told interesting stories. I wanted to share them. Tate Street Festival 2012 was my first event. All day long, I talked to people that saw even more amazing stories in my work than even I had imagined.  I was fueled and knew I was on the right track. I love what I do!!!

Do you have any advice for other crafters/artisans just starting out?   My advice to any crafters/artisans out there would be to get out there and go for it.  Youre going to make mistakes but people are going to help you.  Youre going to learn and people are going to help you with that, too.  Get out there and make those mistakes, learn and make those great friends. All successful vendors had to have their first event at some point and its almost certain that the first one (or even the first few) didnt go perfect. Before every finish line, theres a starting point. If you love what you do, people will see that, your passion will be seen and felt and the ball will be rolling before you know it. Youll be surprised at how many vendors are out there that are ready to help. 

Creative Perspective Studios will be a featured artist at the First Friday Indie Market on April 4, 2014.  The market is located on the corner of MKL and Elm St in Downtown Greensboro, NC and is open from 4-9pm. 

Want to see more of Creative Perspective Studios?  Check out Chad's website:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Photography Tips and Tricks

By Elizabeth of EBL Designs

First, I would like to state that I am not a professional photographer or claim any expertise in the field.  Everything that I am sharing here is what I have learned so far as I stumble through getting the best photos as I could for my online listings, social media and show packets.  I hope you can find a few tips to try!

First, lets think about your own online shopping experience.  When looking at all those little thumbnails of items, what entices you the most to click on it to find out more? The image of course! Its a very well-known fact that the images you use when selling your products are usually the first thing a potential buyer looks at when deciding to click on your item.  It doesnt matter if you have the latest and greatest item known to man if the photo isnt attractive enough for the buyers interest.

One of the hardest things I find about my business is to photograph my finish products.  I have no problems making new jewelry and other creative items, but I always have a hard time trying to find the best way to photograph them.  Here are a few tips and tricks that I have found along the way that I hope can help you!

1.   Hiring a Photographer: One of the first things I tried outside of my own skill set was to trade, barter or pay a photographer.  I know a few student photographers through my day job and quite a few professional photographers.  This is a great idea if you have items that you can recreate more than once.  It really wasn’t ideal for me since about 80% of my jewelry is one of kind pieces that I cannot reproduce.  I found that it was quite expensive, even with trade and a discounted price.  Many of the pieces would sell quite fast and I would have a need for more items to photograph.  The bonus to this:  I have many high quality photographs of items that I use for juried shows and social media as examples of my work. 

Please note, if you are going this route, make sure you give your photographer a credit line each time you use their work.  Click here to see how I credit my outside photographer, Kate Hill Wilson of Thill Designs in my listing on Etsy.

2.   Natural Light May be the Best:  One of the first concepts of photographing my jewelry I tried was to photograph it in natural light.  Natural light usually will give you the closest to real life color than using artificial light.  When shooting in natural light, it’s best to find a sunny spot inside where the light is defused through white curtain or sheers.  Also try shooting around the same time of day when working with natural light.

I found that it can be really hard photographing items in natural light.  First of all, you have to coordinate the timing, the set up and the weather.  I hated that I was ready to photograph, but it would be too sunny or too dark.  For me, this also means photographing on the weekend because I work my full time job during the week.  But in the right settings at the right time, using natural light can really make your items pop in the image.

The above photo show these olive green chalcedony earrings on stone photographed in natural light.  Image courtesy of Stephanie of Grace and Elegance.

3. Using a Lightbox: A light box can help you take photos inside with utilizing the most of your light sources.  You use it by placing your product inside the lightbox and then setting your lights on the outside of the lightbox so the light is diffused to reduce the glare on your products.  Using a tripod, your camera is placed facing into the center of the lightbox on the side that is open. 

Why can a lightbox be an important tool to use when photographing your items? Because it gives you the flexibility and creativity to shoot products at any time of the day no matter your location or lighting conditions.  Not a fan of the white background?  No problem, just switch out the white poster board for color of your choosing.  You can even use different fabrics if you like to add variety.

I made my own light box under $20 by using just a cardboard box, poster board, white tissue paper, two lamps using daylight light bulbs.  Look at the list of additional resources below to find links on how to build your own light box.

Heres a great example of a lightbox by Anna from The House of Mouse that is found in the article: How-To Make and Use a Light Box to Improve Your Product Photography.

3.   Using FotoFuze (and other photo correcting software): Ok, don’t judge me, but I use FotoFuze to help correct my photos.  This product helps make my white backgrounds really white and sharpen my photos.  According to Timothy Adams of Handmadeology, “FotoFuze is a product photography enhancement engine…to help your photos stand out from the crowd, putting a professional polish on your photos with just a click. “  FotoFuze is a free product (with upgrades that are available) that can integrate with your Etsy shop.

I’ve been using this product for a couple of years now and overall enjoy the end results.  It’s quick and relatively painless to use, but I have found some downsides to using the product.  First of all, the end product is only going to be as good as what you put into it.  Blurry, unfocused photos are still going to come out blurry and unfocused.  I would just recommend playing around with it and see how you like it.

Here’s a before and after photo:

       Before using FotoFuze    

After using FotoFuze

Another popular photo corection software is PhotoShop.  For more information on how to use PhotoShop, read How-To Make and Use a Light Box to Improve Your Product Photography.

Want to read more about photographing for beginners?  Check out these articles.
            Etsy Success Photography

This article was orginally posted here.