Great Etsy Artists


One of the things I like best about Etsy Team Game Day is that, not only do I get to feature the beautiful creations of one of my team members (the Crafting in Color team or the Queer Etsy Street Team), but I get to spend an hour or more  learning more about them, peeking into their shops and their blogs and their facebook pages, and sometimes, finding interesting surprises!

That’s the case with today’s featured shop, Galleria Di Giani, of my Queer Etsy Street Team.  John Tozzi, the multi-talented artist behind this shop, makes gorgeous jewelry mostly out of very cool, unique semiprecious gemstones.  If words like hematite, labradorite, kyanite, and kashgar garnet set your heart racing, then go immediately to his shop and bask in the natural stone beauty.

John creates jewelry that is versatile and classic—perfect for formal wear and jeans alike.  As he writes,

Whether you are wearing your little black dress, your power suit, a t-shirt and jeans, or a tailored blouse and skirt, each piece in my shop will go with many of them.

I particularly like his aromatherapy necklaces—sweet necklaces that feature a sterling silver perfume vial with a tiny wand inside.

John is an enthusiastic contributor to the Queer Etsy Street Team.   One of his greatest contributions was a recent blog post, “You Just Have To,” on the Team blog.    It’s a personal response to the recent rash of suicides among young gay men.  He writes,

I am a 45 year old gay man. For those of you not versed enough to do the math and understand, I came out at 22, in the mid 1980’s, when the world was first gripped by the AIDS scare. It was not an easy time to come out. Just hearing the word “gay” made people recoil, afraid they would catch something. It was not an easy time for me. But then again, my teens were no picnic either, for so many reasons.

I was bullied for being smart.
I was bullied for wearing glasses.
I was bullied for being fat.
I was bullied because I was not particularly good at most sports.
I was bullied because I hung out with girls at school most of the time.

He movingly describes the abuse and the rejections of the intervening decades.  But John survived, and he has a message to young gays:

Someday, the whole country will allow us to legally marry. It is coming. You just need to stay around to see it.

Someday soon, we will be able to openly serve in the military. You just need to stay around to see it.

And, most importantly, twenty years from now, it will be YOUR turn to pass on your survival stories to the next generation, so that they can know. You just need to stay around to do it.

You just need to stay around.

You just need to.

For a lot of us in the Queer Team, creating art and things of beauty  is about more than just skills, and more than just a business.  It’s about overcoming years of struggle, abuse, and marginalization.  About lives that “don’t make sense”, and insisting on creating beauty out of the chaos.  Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s not.  But it’s always there, in just about everything we make.

And, as it turns out, John has another side of his creativity–photography.  He runs another blog, “Shed Your Inhibitions,” which features his gorgeous erotic photography, combined with wonderful musings on the art and the business of photography.  He is a truly gifted photographer of the male figure.

I am inspired to read his take on creative inspiration, like these thoughts on the artistic potential of cemeteries:

I have done many photo shoots over the years in cemeteries….   Cemeteries are places with a truly powerful aura.  To me, cemeteries are full of life.  No, there is no pun intended in that.   The collected energy felt in a cemetery is an amazing thing.  To be able to combine the life and energy in a cemetery with the powerful nature of a nude human being in a public place can make for strong photos.

I love that he brings his unique aesthetic sense equally to the male body and the female wardrobe.   Everybody wins!

Thank you, John, for everything you share with the world.

Find John Tozzi’s work at these places:

On Etsy:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/GalleriaDiGiani

At his Shed Your Inhibitions Blog:  http://johntozziphotography.blogspot.com/

At his jewelry blog:   http://galleriadigiani.blogspot.com/

On facebook:  http://facebook.com/galleriadigiani

It’s Etsy Team Game Day again!   Today my Oregon Duckies don’t play ’til evening, and we’re going to have a crowd of people over to watch, so i’m typing to the sounds of Oklahoma State v. Kansas State.  I’ve missed the past two Saturdays of posting because I’ve basically been sick for a month.  This is NOT an auspicious start to the winter season, especially since my 9 year old’s been home from school sick for this entire past week.  Talk about a drain on a crafter’s creative energies….  It’s a miracle I’m still coherent.

Anyway, enough about that.  I’m fine now, and I’m excited to be back in the saddle again…  with a feature on my Crafting in Color Teammate Mouse Market—maker of miniature dollhouse food and jewelry!

Now, before I get started, a little background.  Those of you reading who know me, know that I have a secret passion for dollhouses.  In fact, my very first post on Facebook was to narrate the progress of a dollhouse I was building, allegedly for my daughter.

This dollhouse was a meaningful project.  Dollhouses and miniatures were loves that i had always shared with my EXTREMELY CRAFTY Mother, who I always describe as “the Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart.”

For years we talked about making one, but we never did, and soon I was grown and gone from the house and our chance was past.  At least, until I had my own daughter.  When Miyako turned one year old, my mother bought a really nice dollhouse kit for us to build together for her.  But, I lived in Oregon, my mother in Pittsburgh!  And I was a new assistant professor, scrambling to get tenure.  The dollhouse was not built, and not built, and soon 10 years had passed.

But when Miyako was 10, our family moved into a historic old Victorian in Illinois that we started renovating, and somehow the Grand Dame, as we called that lovely house, inspired me to get out the dollhouse kit, and build it.

My daughter greeted the project with total indifference.  She’d never once spent a minute willingly with a doll in her life.  She’s a paper and pen girl.  But I loved that dollhouse with a passion.

The kit was an old-school one, that included an enormous quantity of real wood detailing that all had to be hand-cut and sanded, and then sealed, and painted, and then finished.  It took about 2 weeks of Paper Demon-level obsessive work.  I sewed tiny curtains, of course.

Naturally, when finished, I became even more obsessed with finding tiny objects to fill it.  And this is where my true love of miniatures came out. Fortunately, we lived in the midwest at the time, and went to the farm estate auctions weekly.  What a grand source of lovely old pieces for a dollhouse!  Even a little family of cornhusk dolls to move in and tiny kittens as pets and squirrels for the rooftop!

However.  It was my son who came to love the dollhouse.  As quasi Deathstar for his Lego Storm Troopers….  Sigh….

Lego Clone Troopers take over the house and use the facilities

I decorated the dollhouse for Christmas, but soon the overall indifference of my children and the quizzical looks of my partner, as well as our upcoming move back to Oregon, put paid to my dollhouse obsession.  And I never got to indulge myself in what I REALLY wanted to buy, which was MINIATURE FOOD FOR MY DOLLHOUSE FAMILY.

And this, dear patient readers, is where Mouse Market comes in.  Mouse Market is an Etsy shop dedicated to handmade dollhouse miniatures and jewelry, all made from polymer clay.  Now, there are PLENTY of miniature polymer clay food makers out there…..  but trust me, none of them are in the ballpark of Mo Tipton of Mouse Market.

Mo Tipton, Creative Genius behind Mouse Market

Mo explains that she combines

my love of miniatures with my training as a pastry chef and a graphic designer to create detailed, realistic foods in 1/12 scale…

But, she’s too modest.   “Detailed,” and “realistic” doesn’t do her pieces justice.  Because they go beyond realism to encompass a whimsical wit and a sweet affection for food itself in all its homey glory.  In other words, it’s not just her technical skill in reproducing food in clay, but her sense of which foods to feature, and why.  Take her matzoh ball soup, for example. 

Or her breakfast in bed tray.

These are the foods of love and comfort, lovingly recreated to make a tiny home within a home.

I was taken with her sweet Halloween-themed items, like her skull cookies displayed on a plate of glitter.

But my greatest joy, prompting me to call my partner away from her beloved football to come to the computer, was her tiny package of fresh atlantic salmon.  We buy fresh salmon every week (to be fair–we don’t buy atlantic, only fresh pacific!), and any self-respecting dollhouse of mine will need to have this in its tiny refrigerator.

For those who are dollhouse-deprived, rest assured that Mo also makes the most delightful jewelry ever.  She’s currently featuring these Rainbow Layer Cake Earrings, which I want to point out, are just perfect for October, Gay Pride Month.

One of the things I love best about her work is that she gives it a backstory.  For example, she doesn’t just make Broccoli Earrings, but *Organic* Broccoli Earrings (in a *Spicy* Cheddar Sauce).

When my dollhouse comes out of the shipping cube, and gets set up in our new house,  just in time for Christmas, I am going to lay out a minituare Christmas dinner spread the highlight of which is going to be her STUFFED TURKEY WITH SQUASH RINGS, SWEET POTATOES WITH MARSHMALLOWS, and her CHRISTMAS COOKIE TRAY.

And my little cornhusk dolls from the prairie are going to be SO happy…

Find Mouse Market at these places:

On Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mousemarket

At her blog: http://themousemarket.com

On Twitter:  http://twitter.com/themousemarket

On Flckr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/themousemarket/

Faithful readers will have noticed the absence of my Saturday Etsy Team Game Day Edition.   The spirit was willing, but the flesh was in bed with a ferocious attack of stomach flu (or food poisoning…hard to say).  It came, consumed my Saturday, and was gone by Sunday morning.

I owe my Queer Etsy Street Team a feature!  But now it’s Monday, and the University of Oregon Ducks aren’t playing in the background, and I didn’t have a whole day to dwell on the fabulousness of my team-mates, and I just don’t feel like the Game Day Cheerleader that I like to spend my Saturdays being!

To tell the truth, I’m still not feeling so hot.  And, did I mention I’m at the laundromat?

So, let’s do this.  I’m going to share some of my most favorite items from a few of my fellow Queer Etsy Street Team Shops.  These are things I’ve been coveting for quite awhile now.  And now you can covet them too.  I’ll put the links to their shops in so you can click through freely and enjoy the bounty of queer creativity at your fingertips..so to speak.

And next Saturday, when all my parts are rejoined, I’ll get back on the Game Day Horse and take another, for-real ride over to Queer Etsyland.

Green Alien Bead, from the Fabulous Crowbirdie Beads

Your Must-Have Christmas Skull jewelry by the ever-eclectic BunnyKissd

Subtle woodworking style by Ramshackle Studios

Haunting brushed glass briolettes from Gilliauna

One-of-a-kind take on LGBT Pride jewelry, by Elles Beads

And last but not least…

A demented, homicidal bunny, courtesy of QueenofQueens

Stay tuned!

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy Street Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’ll be alternating teams:  last week it was Queer Etsy Street Team.  This week it’s Crafting in Color Team.  So suit up, Crafting in Color Team, and let’s go!

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There are different kinds of shops on Etsy.  There are those that are totally focused, have a single item or type of item, create that one thing perfectly, and sell it steadily.

And then there are shops that are a little crazier, that reveal the presence of a curious and restless creative spirit, someone who’s willing to experiment with new materials and different ideas.

You probably can guess that I am partial to the latter.  If you didn’t know that, you haven’t visited my PaperDemon Jewelry shop yet.

And that’s why I love Glamasaurus

This is a shop that I appreciate on a human as well as an artistic level.  The artist, Andreanna Kostantas, is an American expat living in Switzerland, and she’s clearly someone with a sense of humor.  From her motto– “so sweet it will give you cavities” –to her unpretentious list of preferred materials –“polymer clay, plastic, glue, pixie dust” — she’s a person who just doesn’t take herself and her art too seriously.  And on Etsy, which definitely has a  lot of the “artiste” attitude going on, that is refreshing indeed.

Whether it’s her Lego earrings, her polymer clay donut, cookie, and cupcake jewelry, or her mysterious and charming shrubbery, Andreanna  makes things that make you smile.

Surely you need a set of yarn shrubs that have been, in Andreanna’s words, “carefully shaped using my keen shrubber’s sense.”

And for those of you looking for Hello Kitty gauged studs, her shop is certainly the place to go.

I appreciate artists who are willing to be goofy and willing to admit mistakes.  I like seeing that she still listed the goofy Domokun Cupcake necklace above, even though she “iced it kind of lopsided” (so it’s on sale!).

And it goes without saying that I like her Japanese-inspired aesthetic!  As her shop description reads, “Kawaii Harajuku Sweets Deco Kitsch Jewelry Accessories”  From Domokun, to her Hello Kitty studs, to her recent “kamikaze guitar pick bracelet,”  she definitely has a thing for Japan.

And, I also appreciate artists who help other artists out.   Andreanna does major work on behalf of the Crafting in Color Team.  She’s one of the main CIC Team Leaders, and definitely keeps the trains running on time.

For someone as utterly disorganized and random as me, this kind of contribution is astounding.   How does she do it?  I don’t know.  But  I am so grateful.

Check out Glamasaurus over the web:

http://blog.glamasaurus.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mommysaurus
http://www.twitter.com/glamasaurus
http://www.myspace.com/glamasaurus
http://www.facebook.com/Glamasaurusshop

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy Street Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’ll be alternating teams: last week it was Crafting in Color. This weeks it’s  Queer Etsy Street Team.  So suit up, Queer Etsy Street Team, and let’s go!

Thomas Saylor, of ThomasSaylorDesigns, has been a friend as well as a teammate to Paper Demon Jewelry since I started my shop on Etsy this past June.  He sent me a kind welcome to the Queer Etsy Street Team, and was the first to suggest that I make a business Fan Page!  [*pause here to click and become a fan if you haven’t yet!*]  I’m forever grateful to him for that!

Thomas makes mouth-wateringly gorgeous  fabric creations—pillows, draperies, bedding, quilts, placemats, baby gifts, wedding accessories, kitchen and bath decor, and cell phone cozies, to name a few. 

What I love most about Thomas’ designs are his spectacular sense of color and pattern.  He’s very selective about the fabrics he uses!  To make the grade they have to be bold, modern, vibrant, and geometrically-inspired.

He has a terrific sense of the most current color combos, like the one above—grey and crimson.  Or the one below:  lime green and turquoise.    Come to think of it, he really ought to be a member of Crafting in Color Team too!

My personal favorite is this pillow cover in one of the hottest current color combinations:  grey and yellow.  I am crazy about grey and yellow, but kind of intimidated by it!  But Thomas does it absolutely beautifully, with his inimitable sense of style!


If I had a house that was stylish and hip instead of random and demoralizing, I would totally have these pillows on my hypothetical white Danish modern sofa.  As it is, this will be the go-to pillow cover for the next housewarming gift I buy for hip friends.

Or, one can skip the sofa entirely and just carry ThomasSaylor style along as a cel phone/ipod cozy!

And how about this:  never be without a cocktail napkin again with these ultra-clever wrap-around coasters!  Form and function in one fabulous item!

The perfect Christmas gift for the wine-lover in your life!

Thomas describes himself like this:

I am a student, a writer, a housewife, and a self-proclaimed crafter extraordinaire. In the past, I spent several years working in the banking industry before ultimately quitting my day job to pursue my dream of starting my own business at home. I’ve recently married my soul mate, Christopher, and we live in Richmond, Virginia with our impossibly annoying yet undeniably adorable “children”, RileyBoots, Salem and Louis. The anarchy in our apartment is matched only by pet fur.

And did I mention he’s as cute as a button?

Thomas is always out and about the internet supporting the Queer Etsy Street Team, promoting his splendid creations, and being his fabulous queer self.   Check out all of his fun sites:

on Etsy:  http://thomassaylordesigns.etsy.com

on his website:  http://thomassaylordesigns.com

on his business blog:  http://thomassaylordesigns.blogspot.com

and on his personal blog:  http://yourdailythomas.com

and on Facebook:  http://facebook.com/thomassaylordesigns

It’s Game Day!  Etsy Team Game Day, that is.  The day each week that I will devote to sharing the fabulous artists on my Etsy Teams:  Queer Etsy STreet Team and the Etsy Crafting in Color Team.

I love my teams.  They are unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic and generous and motivational.   I am so grateful for the different angles on creativity they’ve opened my eyes to, whether it’s a love of glorious, vibrant color, or a fierce and fabulous belief in expressing yourself no matter what.  They’ve inspired me, and they’ve made giant, impersonal Etsy feel a little bit more like home.

I’m going to alternate teams:  this weeks it’s Crafting in Color; next week it’s Queer Etsy Street Team.  So suit up, CIC team, and let’s go!

This past week I’ve had the chance to get to know Miranda Zelenka Isenberg, the creative powerhouse behind the hugely successful brand new Etsy shop, MandeeFranee.  Miranda invented the kind of product that Etsy sellers dream of…. a handmade item that PEOPLE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT!

This item is her LensPet.  The LensPets, soon to be trademarked, are totally cute animal scrunchies that go around your camera lens, and grab your subjects’ attention and, and with their sheer adorableness, make them look directly into the camera and smile!

Anyone who’s struggled to get a recalcitrant child to sit still for the camera knows how priceless this item is.  It obviously fills a niche that desperately needed filling! Almost all of MandeeFranee’s items are custom-made, and they’re so popular there’s a 6-8 week wait time for delivery!  But that’s not stopping her customers!   Her shop’s success has allowed Miranda, a single mom, to  stay home with her 3 growing boys.

MandeeFranee has seasonal LensPets, and mini LensPets for your little digital zoom cameras too!

Halloween Bat LensPet

Mini LensPet (any resemblance to Mr. Crabs completely coincidental)

Being a point and shoot user (and a passionate fan of Spongebob), I am inordinately fond of her Mini LensPet Mr. Crabs.

I don’t think I need to tell you what great stocking stuffers or office party gifts these would make!  But order soon if you want to get yours for Christmas!

MandeeFranee: Home of the LensPets:

Artist and Designer:  Miranda Zelenka Isenberg

Find her on Etsy at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mandeefranee

Find her on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/MandeeFranee-Designs/151819848179248?v=desc

And check out her cool, gorgeous blog at: http://mandeefranee.blogspot.com/