Aunty K's Crocheted Guyz
Recently I was shopping for a children's gift and found it hard not to be overwhelmed by the vast number of branded toys reaching out to grab my attention. I am not a Barney fan and frankly, I've never seen Dora the Explorer. I understand the attachment children feel towards their favorite characters, I'm still fond of My Little Pony and Rainbow Brite, but there is a nice calm that exudes from toys that are just that, toys. No marketing scheme, just pure fun.
Aunty K's Crocheted Guyz is an Etsy shop filled with adorable handmade dolls with no other agenda than to be cute playthings for kids aged 3 and up. Each doll is unique, unlike anything you'll find at a big box toy store.
Shop owner Kathleen Ward brings cheer and amusement to her creations with bright and lively colors. Each character has a story, akin to the Cabbage Patch Kids of my own youth. This particular guyz, for instance, is a young thing ready for a night on the town. But don't take my word for it, many more stories and personalities abound at Aunty K's for you to peruse on your own.
Ward answered a few questions over email about her work and art.
How do you motivate your creativity? (e.g. do you listen to music while you create and if so what?)
I generally find that the weather, my mood, and chores or tasks that have to be accomplished that day, greatly affect the outcome, or colors, I use in any particular doll. Whatever is happening in the background, be it music, silence, or the TV has no direct bearing on the outcome of any project. I tend to tune it out, as I get more involved in the designing of and implementation of the stitching progress.
Describe your workspace. Are you at the kitchen table or in a dedicated work area?
HA! One of the most satisfying aspects of creating needle works, be it embroidery, knitting or crocheting, is its portability. My "studio" currently is at a modular desk, set-up with a computer, TV, Bose machine, etc. But the creation goes on as a passenger in the car, waiting in doctors' offices, or anywhere that my hands can be kept busy.
What is your favorite piece and why?
I know it is cliché, but truly, my favorite piece is the one I am currently working on. Of course in retrospect I can always choose a least favorite in my body of "work," but my favorite is always in progress.
What advice do you have for people interested in starting an online store? How do you make the separation between your store and your day job/personal life?
Being a member of Etsy for only five months myself, I have a couple of things I would strongly suggest. Network, like crazy!! Take advantage of all the input you can get from the entire etsy community, including chats rooms, newsletters and blogs. Also, take full advantage of the six images per item you are allowed, and make sure your tags are appropriate.
What is your favorite local shop in Madison? I'm ashamed to admit that I don't get into Madison as often as I'd like, only three or four times a year. I am about 30 miles south of Madison in Edgerton. So every shop I've been to is special.
Etsy is an online marketplace whose mission is to "reconnect makers with buyers." These explorations will connect you with the makers in your neighborhood.