Friday, March 25, 2011

Window shopping on Etsy

Since I've discovered how to curate a "treasury" on Etsy—that's their term for a mini online exhibition featuring 16 items from Etsy shops—I've found it to be an enjoyable way to browse the rather overwhelming assortment of handmade and vintage objects on offer at that online marketplace. A friend called it window shopping, and I thought that was a pretty good way to describe it.

Spider robot by Practical Creativity
I start with an idea or a theme and start searching the site using a few key words, selecting items that strike my fancy and that seem to complement each other in some way. Although I start with one theme, soon other commonalities emerge, such as a certain color palette, and by following that, my collection becomes further refined and hangs together rather nicely. I think I just like playing curator—how often do we untrained art admirers get to do that?

The first treasury I gathered was inspired by my desire to see if there were other artisans out there making oddball things from found objects as I like to do.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover a lot of really quirky junk art, so I further refined my search by limiting it to small things, and named that treasury Scrappy Miniatures.  That got a gratifying number of hits, and a friend even bought one of the items (Llama Boy), so I thought, "Hey, I helped somebody sell something, how cool is that?" Which naturally made me want to do more. But how do you follow an act like that? (The spider robot pictured above is one of the objects in the Scrappy Miniatures treasury. All but one of the images in this post are from the treasuries I've curated.)

Robot paper doll by KellyNewcomer
Well, it was February, and there were a lot of Valentine-themed treasuries that were all about romance and sexy this or that, which just makes me yawn. I think the way we celebrated the holiday as kids was more fun (which I wrote about in this blog post), so I put together a treasury of upbeat Valentine things, named Happy Valentine's Day with Love and Good Cheer.

My most popular treasury so far has been one about postal correspondence, in which I included some vintage items for the first time ("vintage" meaning not handmade, but purchased at an estate sale or something and then resold on Etsy). I'm disinclined to buy vintage stuff on Etsy because I'd rather score my own finds at estate sales and garage sales, but it's fun to look at what others have out there, and sometimes it gives me an idea of the value of those old hankies I thought I was splurging on when I spent a couple of dollars on them, and then found similar (or once, even, identical) ones for $7 or more plus shipping.

Tea Time assemblage by Lorelai Kay Designs
One treasury came about because I was doing "research," to help me better position something of my own. I had created a pattern for a small fabric bunny, and decided that I wanted to use it as a basis for making art dolls, because it's more unique and fun than just making bunnies, and I don't really want to be a one-woman factory trying to crank out stuff in quantity. To get an idea of what might be a realistic price range for comparable art dolls, I started searching for them on Etsy, and, wouldn't you know, got inspired to create a treasury of them. I'm disappointed this one hasn't had more hits, because I think art dolls are tremendous fun, even if most of them are quite expensive (but it doesn't cost anything to look!), so go have a look at Playing with Dolls, OK?

Pietra the un-Easter bunny by Arty Didact
Now, contrary to what I said above, here's a picture (at left) of one of my art doll bunnies, since I mentioned them anyway. (The cat just had to get in on it when I was photographing.)

I've just got two more treasuries to show you (you are clicking on all these, right?). One that is color-themed, but where I took my Etsy shop name, Arty Didact, to heart and offered a little etymology to go along with "In the Pink."  And the last one, which was inspired by our recent snowstorm, which I posited as the real reason for the expression "March madness."

So there's your little Window Shopping with Arty Didact for today, kids. I should explain: We used to have a local newspaper that was really just a shopper, and there was a regular column called Window Shopping with Wendy, and it was really just an advertising column—all the mentions were there because the stores paid to be mentioned. It was pretty darn cheesy, and maybe this is, too, but I have found it quite enjoyable to browse this online marketplace in this way, and I thought you just might, too. Cheers.

1 comment:

  1. I also recently discovered how to make a treasury! Can't wait until I can get around to making one. I love browsing Etsy, that is for sure. Just stumbled across your blog. You might enjoy mine, if you have time to check it out.


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