Featured Member: Picky

Picky and Elsjeboer

How did you get started in your chosen craft?

The egg of my creativity and resourcefulness for reconstructing clothing and creating items from found objects has been an intrinsic part of me as long as I can remember.  The children’s clothing aspect of this specifically came about with the birth of my son 10 years ago.

How do you make your craft or etsy store eco friendly?

I reuse as much as possible.  I comb through the doily racks and fabric tables at local thrift stores, and peruse the occasional yard sale for vintage scores to reconstruct.  Occasionally I purchase organic cotton also, when I want to create something from scratch.

Why did you join the EcoEtsy Team?

I thought it would be a good way for folks to find eco-friendly products, and to be part of a greater environmentally conscious movement.

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?

Often when something has been worn and loved, it develops a unique “personality” that characterizes it.  The clothing speaks to me.  In my minds eye I envision a new shape, clip and tuck, and add embellishments to make something useful or better fitting again. I guess you could call me “the textile whisperer.”

Which piece in your shop is your current favorite?

In my women’s shop, I like the star cape. It was a ridiculously shaped 80’s wide bat-winged sweater that had been accidentally shrunken in the wash to an impractical shape.  Now it has many uses, a shrug/cape, a skirt, a giant cowl… plus it is really warm, and playful.  I like to be playful.

In my kid’s shop, I like the tiered ruffle skirt because it makes good use of all those button up cotton men’s shirts, who’s collars and cuffs have been stained and worn.  I especially like the buttons.

What are you currently working on?

I just bought about a 100 hand-crocheted doilies from thrift stores and a yard sale, and I am reusing a bunch of canvas from an old camper awning plus a few worn out leather belts to make some endearing deconstructed handbags.  I am also making a few dresses out of pillowcases and vintage buttons for girls aged 4-6 .

What steps have you taken to lead a green life style?

This could be a very long list, but my current favorite green moves are giving away all my plastic food containers and switching to pyrex refrigerator dishes with lids, and some stainless steel containers that I got at our local baby store. This was inspired by the film “Addicted to Plastic”.   I have also currently refrained from eating any fish after watching a the very informative movie about over-fishing called “End of the Line“.

Is your art/craft your full time job? If not what do you do to pay the bills?

I earn about 1/4 of our income at my craft, another bit at selling veggies & plants, but I aspire to earn $3000/per month. That would make me very happy.

What do you do when you are not crafting?

I garden, practice classical guitar, and attend soccer games and skate competitions for my son, and occasionally canoe on one of the many beautiful lakes in our area.

What is the most eco-friendly purchase you have made?

I live on an old 73 acre farm with a cute, though slightly rustic, log cabin chicken coop.  This year for the first time, I bought 43 chicks which I am raising organically.  Well, actually, I only purchased 40, but they always send a couple extras, just in case, and good thing, because one has already gone to the great garden heaven in our back yard.  May she rest in peace.

With all the scraps from the garden, and local bugs we have up here in lower BC, including- yes- mosquitoes, I think we will have some tasty grade A local chicken.  Living sustainably off of my land and providing for our family as well as others in our area gives me a great sense of security.

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  1. I don’t know how or why I’m so delayed in reading this post – but I am absolutely enamored!!! I love both your children’s and adult items. I’ll be shopping soon!!!!

  2. What a great interview… I’m headed over to check out her blog & shop right now.

  3. Thanks ELK! Your blog photos are wonderful. Eye-catching! Love your Etsy shop!

  4. it is a gift to create wearable … useable clothing and accessories…with repurposed materials..so nice to learn more about your art!!

  5. Thank you Lynn. That bag looks like a life’s work! Wow, amazing! It is truly inspirational what people are doing with textiles in art these days. Sometimes it is a challenge to keep things “short” and affordable. I miss the bigger, more laborious projects I used to do more often.

  6. Elsje: Your work is truly inspirational. I am so impressed with your use of materials to come up with a totally new life…and it is done as Functional Art. The ruffled skirt is so cute, and the white bag in the top picture is so much fun. You might enjoy the Button Bag on my Flickr site that a dear friend made me.. I thought of it immediately when I saw your creations. http://www.Flickr.com/photos/Lynnaddison . It is so much fun to use.. and I know your clothes must be so much fun to wear. Good job!

  7. I am really looking forward to the market on Friday Morgen!!! It’s my fav!

  8. Such a pleasure to read your interview with Elly who is my friend and fellow marketeer. Elly is an incredibly talented designer who loves what she does and it shows. I have been a fan of her children’s clothing for years and even though I don’t have any little ones to clothe I love looking at all her wonderful creations.

  9. Thank you everyone! Love the feedback!

    I have decided to GIVEAWAY the STAR CAPE!

    Please visit my blog for details. One week to win!

  10. I have decided to GIVEAWAY the Star Cape!!

    Winner will be chosen using the random number generator at 9am Tuesday morning, June 8th. You may enter to win by posting a link with your favorite item from either of my shops to my blog at http://shovelsnowandsew.blogspot.com under comments.

    Here’s the blog entry link. GOOD LUCK!!!

    Thank you for the features Emily! You are the greatest, and so is this team!

  11. I loved to read about you and I truly love that ruffle skirt!