Have you ever met a blacksmith? I know it sounds like something from the middle ages, however, there are many talented blacksmiths in our own era who create beautiful art and useful products. Today, I’d like to introduce you to an EcoEtsy member who is not only a talented artist but also a blacksmith. Annabel of TinKan Designs offers some very cool and unique items in her shop, which by the way is a 5 star customer rated shop as well. Annabel hails from Hereford, England and today she shares her background with us.
Can you share with us a little about your personal story?
I live with my partner Mark, our 3 dogs, cat, and 8 chickens, on his family farm, in rural Herefordshire, UK. His family run a business,letting out yurts and tipis in their wonderful wooded valley, for ‘glamping’ (posh camping!) holidays.
We try and grow as much of our own organic veg as possible, and I also work part time on a local organic fruit and veg farm.
I have a degree in Fine Art(Painting), and more recently a certificate in Blacksmithing and Metalwork
What is your craft? and products do you offer in your shop? What are your most popular products?
Metalworking is something I have only learnt in the past 6 years. (I am now 45!) But I have always made ‘things’, useful or otherwise, using various mediums – mostly recycled!
I am a self-taught jeweller, and my main product line in my Etsy shop is my ring-pull (or can tab) jewelry.
I also make accessories, and have recently started making wallets, using the rest of the used drinks can, and these are proving to be popular!
What were you doing before you started your Etsy shop?
I used to move around a lot, doing farm work, and following it seasonally around the country – things like apple picking, daffodil picking, tree planting…
I did (and still do) stalls and workshops at festivals, and fairs.
I attempted to run an actual shop once too, but that didn’t last long!
How did you get stated in your chosen craft and what do you enjoy most about it?
The blacksmithing and metalwork course got me interested in using metal, and I also did an evening class in jewellery making. Settling down enabled me to have a proper workshop, and internet access,
What I enjoy most, is experimenting with new ideas, using a recycled material in a way no-one has thought of before (they don’t always work, but hey,,)
Where do you get your inspiration for your products?
From the materials themselves. I collected hundreds of ring pulls before I knew what I was going to make with them. I think once you have a lot of one material it is easy to get inspired.
What makes Your Business Green?
I use recycled materials in my work, and also recycled packaging. I don’t use glue, or any nasty resins, or anything. I am a small sustainable business.
In one word, describe your creative process.
Re-invention (is that a word?!)
Where do you craft your products?
I have a small caravan on the farm that I use as my jewelry workshop. And I also rent an old barn, where I have a forge, make my larger welded metalwork, and store all my scrap!
(sorry no picture)
What advice do you have for Etsy shop owners who are interested in greening (making eco-friendly) their business?
I think being eco-friendly is a lifestyle thing. If you are concerned about the environment in every day life, this will naturally become part of your business too. Do what you can, but don’t beat yourself up over the things you can’t do.
Where else can we find you and Tinkan Designs?