Meet Rachel, proprietor of Cornflower Blue Studio and crocheter extraordinaire! I first fell in love with her coral/barnacle/fungus/seed pod organic soft shape sculptures, which she calls an obsession. A lady after my own heart, she crochets, knits and embroiders her own patterns, some of which she’ll share with you! Enjoy what she has to say about her etsy experience!
Tell us about your work—why do you create what you do?
I consider myself to be an artist and a crafter. I love using craft techniques traditionally associated with women and am a bit obsessed with women of the colonial and pioneer eras. Practicing needlework and crochet techniques is my way of honoring their achievements, sacrifices, and contributions to history. The twist is that I use these techniques in a way that is modern and not always function-based. I make soft sculptures, decorative embroideries, hand embroidered notes, and I design patterns, too.
How did you learn your craft?
My mom showed me how to sew and make a lot of things when I was a child. She was always sewing and doing cross stitch, so I learned to love handmade things from her. I taught myself to knit from a kid’s how-to book and took off from there. After that, anything with yarn just made sense to me! The crochet and pattern designing evolved from there.
How has your work evolved?
When I started out on Etsy I was selling hand knit winter accessories, then I added a few artistic embroidery pieces just for fun. All the embroidered pieces sold and that really gave me the confidence to make and design more original art. I started drawing more and finding new techniques. Now I have my own unique style and enjoy filling my shop with colorful pieces!
What is your greatest challenge?
Fitting everything I want to do into the time I have each day! My shop is my full time job, but managing my little family (a husband and three cats) is also my other full time job! I pride myself on being a super efficient household manager, so I’m balancing wanting perfection in my home and in my shop. Sometimes the dishes go unwashed!
What inspires you?
I love the color palette and general vibe of all Wes Anderson movies, especially “The Life Aquatic.” And “The Royal Tenenbaums.” I love them both so much! I play albums by The Decemberists, Joanna Newsom, and Sufjan Stevens because they are full of imagery and have amazing lyrics. The song “Colleen” by Joanna Newsome is one my all time favorites. I browse the nature section of the library quite a bit and read a lot of Emily Dickinson poems. I cannot overstate how much I love Emily Dickinson!
How did you discover etsy.com?
I found Etsy through various craft blogs I was reading and signed up in 2008, although I didn’t really start my business until the fall of 2010. Now it’s my full time job and I’m focusing on growing my little business. As a new Etsian I had a lot to learn about writing product descriptions and using the tags effectively. Lesson learned!
Where can readers find your work?
My work can be seen on my blog and on my Flickr stream. It can be browsed and purchased through my Etsy shop, and my knitting patterns are also available through Ravelry.
What advice do you have for new etsians?
My advice for new Etsians is to read the Seller Handbook. Find all the articles about tagging, photography, marketing, and writing product descriptions. This is stuff that is important for your shop’s success! You won’t be perfect, especially at first, but stick with it and make adjustments as you go. If you have questions or feel lost, find a team to join! There are Etsy teams just for new sellers where you can find support and advice.