This week’s member spotlight is on Kate Joranson of Tree Line Studio. Kate’s shop just celebrated it’s one year anniversary with Etsy on December 2. Since, Tree Line Studio has grown its admirers and sales, turning this little shop into a 5 star rated shop. Let’s learn a more about Kate and Tree Line Studio.
Can you share with us a little about your personal story?
I go by Kate but my full name is Kathryn. My grandmother would want me to add that. I’ve taught art, worked in contemporary art museums, and now I’m a business reference librarian in addition to running my Etsy shop. I keep a blog where I explore being a parent, artist, librarian, translating daily life into images and essays that live side by side. My daughter is 2, and my husband is also an artist.
What is your craft? and products do you offer in your shop? What are your most popular products?
I make leg warmers, boot cuffs, scarves, and fingerless gloves from upcycled and Fair Trade materials. My upcycled cashmere and wool leg warmers for kids are very popular so far. I’m getting lots of requests for custom orders, and doing my best to keep up!
What were you doing before you started your Etsy shop?
I’ve always worked to find ways to maintain a studio practice alongside my wage-earning work. I have an MFA, and have shown my drawings and installations in galleries and museums. Just before I started Tree Line Studio, I started a blog, which has become an important project for me. I like connecting with people who stumble onto my blog. I imagine my visitors looking for a recipe, but then stumbling upon my photographs of a flour-covered kitchen table, alongside my short essay on messes, reality, and baking oatcakes with my toddler.
How did you get stated in your chosen craft and what do you enjoy most about it?
My mother taught me to knit and sew. I love that I will always have this connection to her. It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to make useful, beautiful things that become a part of peoples daily lives. It feels great when my customers get in touch to tell me how they are enjoying their Tree Line Studio garments.
Where do you get your inspiration for your products?
On the surface, it’s hard to deny my background interest in formal abstract painting. My studio life is always changing, and has entered a new phase since becoming a parent. My daughter and I make drawings, play in the dirt, and experiment with muffin recipes. My husband can usually be found improvising songs and games around the house. My daughter loves playing with the recycled sweater scraps, and weaving yarn between her toes. All of these sensory activities are part of my daily life, and inform my designs and methods of working.
What makes Your Business Green?
I use recycled knits to make my legwarmers, scarves, and gloves. Most of them are trimmed in recycled yarn. My business cards, tags, and packing materials are all recycled and/or reused. I love working with discarded and previously used knits, in part because I want to participate in eco-friendly business practices, but also because I really enjoy the transformation process. I am always fine tuning how I handle each kind of knit. I like to tend to each recycled sweater much like I tend my garden. I notice the textures, fibers, color, stretchiness, etc. as I coax it through the felting process. I want each of my customers to enjoy a beautiful garment that just so happens to be recycled.
In one word, describe your creative process.
Where do you craft your products?
I have a small studio in my home, where I do most of my sewing, bookkeeping, and quiet thinking. I crochet edging on leg warmers wherever and whenever I can. I bring my knitting, crocheting, and camera with me everywhere.
What advice do you have for Etsy shop owners who are interested in greening (making eco-friendly) their business?
Small, conscious steps. Consider where you source your materials. Are you purchasing them at big box stores? Can you purchase from a small business instead, or find a supplier in your area? Recycled materials work for some, but may not be a good fit for every handmade item. Still, it’s important to make conscious decisions. We need to remember that there are a lot of ways to operate eco-friendly businesses, and we all have room for improvement.
What is your biggest challenge running an eco-friendly business?
Storing my recycled materials. I do my best work in a clean, open workspace, but my studio quickly becomes over-run with scraps that I have to organize and save for later re-use.
Where else can we find you?