Last month I had the immense privileged of traveling to the North West Territories for a week to participate in an artist’s symposium. Aurora Arts Society graciously invited me to be a part of their week-long creative event known as Art’s Week. I instructed a simple workshop on altered books, gave a little artist’s talk about my practice and how to set up your own shop on Etsy, and was also part of a panel of talented artists and business people who spoke about marketing yourself and your work. Rubbing elbows with “my people” and spending a week fully immersed in creative activity was such a well needed burst of wind in my sails. Spending a lot of time with one of my dearest friends, Marcus, from my BFA days at ACAD, was the true highlight though. It was so wonderful to see his daily life first hand, meet the wonderful folks he calls friends, and see why the North has stolen his heart. Driving through the forests in Kyle’s Jeep, searching for roadkill to use in Marc’s practice, digging around for treasures at the dump, and watching the aurora dance in the night sky were some of the best parts of my adventure. I felt truly blessed to have seen the North amidst a change in season; the landscape was absolutely alive with color. I am incredibly grateful to have been presented with such an amazing artistic opportunity, not to mention the trip of a lifetime. Thank you so much to Aurora Arts Society, Marcus Jackson, and all of the Northerners who I had the absolute pleasure of meeting!
As I mentioned in my post last month, Etsy concocted the fabulous idea of a Canada-wide pop-up market featuring some of their many talented sellers. I was thrilled to see Kelowna on the list, as it is only a 4 hour drive from Castlegar! Although I adore small town life, one of the few things I miss about the big city is consistent opportunities to sell and market my work in person… so, naturally, I was thrilled to have a big name market being planned closer to home than larger centers like Vancouver or Calgary. Nature’s My Friend would be there! I recently did a big trip to the NWT (much more on that coming soon) and flew back into Kelowna with only a day to spare before the show. Knowing that I’d be coming back to a quick deadline, I actually got all of my little show ducks in a nice row over a week before the show date. For someone who loves to squeeze everything out of every minute, it can be hard to not get finicky over the details and get excessive with production down to the wire. I’ve learned that knowing the set-up of your table or booth is the most crucial step to have organized, because in order to do that, you automatically discover what product to bring and how much you will need of it. I also triple-check an essentials list that has everything from a cash box and inventory book all the way to seemingly silly yet super important things like lip-chap and band-aids. Having a friend go over it all with you can be helpful too (even if it’s just for moral support, thanks Crumb!) I am hopeful I can use this show as a precedent and in future, be this organized at all of my pop-up markets.Due to my (normally unheard of) planning, having the entire event set in a fantastic venue (that yes, was a winery, and yes, was selling wine by the glass), plus landing a gorgeous spot right near the entrance, all meant that the day went absolutely fabulously. I met some really great people, had a lot of nature lovers adopt some animals, and even had a few shoppers playing Santa early! Above is a shot of my booth. Sorry, no photos with me in it! I almost wish the event was two days; perhaps that’s something Etsy would consider? I would have loved to take more photos, have extra time to meet more lovely Kelownians, and to connect with some wonderful artists and crafters that are only one mountain range away. I miss my kind of people. Good thing Etsy’s doing this whole thing again next year; see you there with bells on!
Hard to believe that this week marks exactly one year since my shop was interviewed and featured by Etsy. Acknowledging that proud past event puts some much needed wind in my sails, and I am so excited for fall & winter, now that I have proper health and a positive mindset to create! Speaking of Etsy, you know that I am always thrilled to contribute or participate with this awesome company whenever possible (you may remember my fabulous trip to Toronto when Etsy first joined forces with One of a Kind). It’s always so much fun to meet other online sellers, the representatives of this wonderful company, and to also have the ability to share more about NMF with Etsy right behind me. I am stoked to announce a quickly approaching event that I can add to my Etsy roster: Etsy Made in Canada. In over 22 cities on September 27, Etsy will be celebrating the unique art and artists across Canada through this special pop-up event. I will be stationed in Kelowna, at the gorgeous Sandhill Winery downtown on 1125 Richter Street (pictured above) and will be setting up shop with over a dozen other Etsy sellers. The focus of this event is to connect buyers with local makers, to allow them alternatives to the big box stores and give them the opportunity to support genuine Canadian makers. Click the cute little promo video on this webpage to learn more or to see a list of the other cities participating in this awesome nation-wide event. If you are from the Okanagan area, I would absolutely love to meet you at this event, so mark your calendar!