Being a part of the Etsy community, not only as a seller but as a customer, I have come across many talented individuals. With this series, I hope to introduce you to some of these creative people, finding out where they find their creativity, and a little bit more about them.
Hi, my name is Donna, and I'm so thrilled that Kathy asked me to participate in her “The Artist Behind the Etsy” series!
I opened my Etsy shop, The Shabby Chateau, in March 2010. Soon after that I started my blog “My Shabby Chateau”. I must have spent a good month researching and planning before I got up the courage to open my shop! At the time, I didn't know anyone else who had a shop, so I just had to learn as I went along, and let me tell you I was more than a little nervous! Since then, I have learned a lot about being a shop owner, but of course I'm never really finished learning!
Let me back up and tell you a little bit about myself. I've loved to create for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, I would spend hours fashioning clothes and furniture and accessories for my beloved dolls, all from found objects around the house. My mom was always making something from nothing, whether it be sewing my clothes, crocheting things of beauty for our home, or other handiwork. While I didn't inherit her “sewing gene”, I do believe that my urge to create came from her!
For the past few years, I've been blessed with the opportunity to work from home, so most days you'll find me in my craft room, working on new creations for my shop, packaging up orders, or just trying out new techniques for future projects. When I first heard of Etsy, I thought that would be the perfect venue for my work, as I would be able to stay home and create to my hearts content. In the past, I dabbled in selling at flea markets and craft shows, but they just don't seem for me. I would much rather be home working in my craft room! I find inspiration just about everywhere, from my own backyard to my travels. My husband John and I love to travel. As a matter of fact, we just returned from 10 days in Italy! Paris is our very favorite place in the world, so you will notice that many of my creations have a bit of a French accent! While I love cream, white, and all shades in between, I also love working with color! Shades of blue, aqua, turquoise and pink also are favorites of mine to work with.
When I first opened my Etsy shop, I featured mostly decoupaged items, such as trays and wall hangings. Well, I found out that not only were they very labor intensive (cutting out all those intricate little details by hand!), there just didn't seem to be a very big demand for those items. So, I eventually started creating and selling pieces that are mostly upcycled: everything from painted picture frame collections, wall shelves, chalkboards, painted candlesticks, and other home décor pieces I still occasionally add decoupaged items to my shop, as I just love working in that medium! For me, one of the most exciting parts of the creative process is knowing who will be using my creations. I've had many brides to be purchase my chalkboards to use at their weddings and receptions, and many mother's have purchased my picture frame collections to use in their babies nursery’s. It gives me a little thrill to know that I've played a roll in their special day, or special stages of their lives!
There is hardly a week that goes by that I'm not hunting for treasures to transform! I'm constantly searching thrift shops, consignment and antique stores, as well as yard sales, for treasures in the making. Even John gets in the act, I call him my official “picker”, as he now knows just what to look for! My husband is also very talented, and will often build shelves for me to paint, or cut boards that I can paint and stencil.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing a small sampling of my work. It has been a pleasure being featured here today, and I welcome you to visit The Shabby Chateau! Thank you again, Kathy!
Thanks so much for sharing your Etsy journey with us, Donna! I’m so glad you plucked up the courage and took the plunge in opening your shop! You can visit Donna’s shop The Shabby Chateau here and her blog here.