Just over a year ago I set up my business and started trading on Etsy, oh what an amazing journey it has been. For those who don't know, in 2005, in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, three men sat down one day and invented an online marketplace for makers and artisans. The company Etsy – so-called because in Italian, it means ‘oh yes’ and in French ‘what if?’ – was an overnight success. Today it is a trading outlet to a worldwide community of sellers.
This summer – over the weekend of 15th & 16th June – Lowther Castle will play host to the first ever ‘Made in Cumbria’ Etsy Market. I am so excited that this event is happening. Coordinated by Kate Antrobus (www.bouslife.co.uk – maker of scented botanical candles), the market will showcase makers, artisans and artists from across the county. Although existing commitments prevent me from selling that weekend I am going to try and pop up the M6 and support the event aswell as support the artists who work very hard on their makes and on their businesses.
I am looking forward to seeing the wide range of items on sale including Furniture & Lampshades, Hand-woven Items, Fine Art Etchings, to Clay Figures, Nature-based Fabric Items and Handmade Soaps. Other stalls will sell Handmade Wooden Items, Handmade Bears & Cushions, Vintage Hares & Mice, Handmade Mosaics, Prints, Stoneware, Vintage Furniture and Ceramic Homewares. I am also looking forward to bumping into artists from other local art groups who are selling at the event, its a small world out there! The market will also feature live music and, an important part of the Etsy ethos, ‘Meet-the-Maker’ sessions – where visitors can discover more about what is involved in being involved in crafts.
When I first set up Designs By Kathryn Stevens on Etsy I joined the Lancashire team community as there was not anything set up for Cumbria so I am very pleased that this group now exists. Asked why she launched the Summer Market, Kate Antrobus said: “I’m a fellow Etsy seller originally from Cumbria. I have been a member of Etsy communities in Durham, Newcastle and Leeds. There are so many great artists, makers and artisans in this region but with the pressures of running a business as a one-man band, we often work in solitude from our studios and workshops. Having seen how effective Etsy groups can be and how well they can work, I thought it was time to create a community here in Cumbria. It gives us all the opportunity to shout out about how great we are, whilst supporting each other along the way.”
I hope to be selling my work at a future Etsy Made In Cumbria event. It would also be great to see an event in the south of the region. As my regular followers will know I am very passionate about promoting art in this lovely area, here in Furness. With that in mind I would like to thank everyone who came to the Fired Up Furness event last month. It was a huge success, better than we expected, so thank you. We have booked the same venue and same weekend for next year, looking to make it even bigger with more ceramic artists invited. Planning has already begun so watch this space.
Don't forget to visit the Etsy Made In Cumbria event next weekend, there is such variety on offer, I hope to get one or two pieces myself for my new home.