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Posts: 76
Location: St. Ignatius, Montana, zone 5b
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I am a fiber artist as well, spinning, weaving, knitting, lace making, rug making - anything that looks like thread or string, comes from a cocoon, rabbit, sheep, goat or buffalo, is grown in a field and is turned into something else! I owned a shop in Yorktown VA before moving back home to Montana, and one thing I learned from that shop was that you know if something will sell when folks ask you to make one for them. Then the hard part: pricing. No matter which craft you do, the people buying it want a bargain. They might even have a good idea what went into making it, especially if by hand (the long-arm is automation, but there is still skill involved). I can shear the sheep, wash the wool, spin the yarn and weave the fabric and make the garment and some husband will stand next to his wife at a show and say "$250! You can get that at Walmart!" I had a man say just that thing to his wife in my shop one day regarding hand spun and hand woven Linen towels, and having heard that line just one too many times, I became the Shop Keeper From Hell, but only for a moment. I walked back to the stack of hand spun, hand woven Linen towels (that she was looking at) and handed one to her husband and in a calm voice with half a smile on my face, said "Sir, this is %100 hand spun, hand woven linen towel, made right here in Yorktown on that loom sitting right there, by me, and here is $20. Go to Walmart and see if you can bring one of the same quality back to me, ok?"

The wife got the biggest grin on her face! I got the feeling it had become a LONG vacation for her. Instead of taking the money and going to Walmart, he walked out looking for the Ice Cream shop down the way.

And she bought 4 towels.

Moral of the story: don't short change your craft or your skill. If YOU value what you do, then show it and others will begin to value it as well and will be encouraged by your appreciation for the art.

Nettie
 
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hi, Nettie, good to hear your experience. I have had similar frustration and realized it is important to work at educating the public about hand crafted work (and permaculture!). I was actually weaving on a four harness loom at a show with my work hanging next to me and had someone ask where I got my fabric to make those clothes....go figure...always a jaw dropper.
 
Posts: 2
Location: Southeast Texas
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This is a good thread and this is my first reply to these forums.

It's good to know that there are those who are thinking of how to use their abilities to create things to add to one's income. I am fixing two treadle machines for use when straight stitches are fine and electricity is scarce. I think there will always be a need for sewists, spinners, weavers, crocheters and knitters, as well as good cooks, handipersons and gardeners.

I have seen so much about other types of preparation, but I feel like there are lots of people who are jumping into an effort at sustainable living without having some basic skills with which to, at the very least, barter with others. I’ve sewn for many years, I can hand or machine quilt, I can spin, cook, garden - all of these are things that can be used as income-producing as well as life skills.

Seems to me that, if you want to live successfully in any area, you need to be in good stead with whatever neighbors you may find around you. To do that, you need to ::be:: a good neighbor. Just stands to reason that if something happens, good neighbors will be there to lend a helping hand, while those you have shunned may not give a whit what happens to you. Therefore, if you are planning a money-making endeavor, why wouldn't you want it to possibly include locals who are already there? For instance, a craft or gardening coop that works together to sell their wares to other locals and to tourists, etc.? By the same token, if you sew and your neighbor makes jam, you can barter by making something for your neighbor in return for some jam for your freshly-baked bread. Labor can be bartered, also, as well as time. And, in the doing of this, you form bonds and relationships that make you a viable neighbor, which could mean a lot in a disaster or an emergency.

I’ve drawn up a pretty flexible business plan to include whatever I may find when I settle in on the farm.

Just thinking about what may come. . .

Anyone else given this some thought?

Sharon


 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hello Sharon and welcome to Permies...glad you are here!
Excellent first post...you have hit on some of my favorite areas.
I saw a sign in a small town diner once that said "Think globally, act neighborly" . Our area has integrated a large craft and music community...a big tourist draw...and life support for this little town. I might prefer fewer outsiders but that focus also keeps the area cleaned up and a little less industry coming in. I think there will always be value in quality homegrown and handmade.
 
Sharon Kirkpatrick
Posts: 2
Location: Southeast Texas
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A craft and music community? Excellent idea! Establishing the kind of relationship it takes to make that work will certainly pay off later.

I have noted that many long-established small communities / towns are not always eager to welcome newbies. So, if you come in with a money-making venture that does not disturb the current way of life, but does help the town thrive, then, I would bet that you would have a much better chance of being accepted by the local residents. They are often much more like you than you might think.

Not to sound like a screaming survivalist, but, in the long run, should there be any kind of disruption of the current society, having people around who are part of a larger group to which you belong seems a good way to make it through a period that might not be so easy to navigate on your own. There is strength in numbers. This applies to the basic day-to-day life while establishing your homestead, as well as in times of strife. Applying the Golden Rule to your new life just seems smart on so many levels. I might eventually help you when your goat becomes ill, help you repair a leaky roof, help you figure out why your chicken aren't eating or your eggplant is not growing well, and, it might even save your life. And, in turn, of course, you reciprocate, using your skills to help wherever and whenever possible.

Plus, having big ol' community dinners and events with good neighbors is a marvelous way to spend a long weekend afternoon or evening.

Just sayin... :O)
Sharon
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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The craft and music community here is old...from the fifties and sixties...there were then a lot of us looking for land late sixties and early seventies who ended up here as part of that craft resurgance...so a slow progression towards where it is at today.
The festivals, the craft organizations, the craft schools, the studio tours, the music venues all happened slowly over that time...no one came in with a plan really...the ideas evolved from the needs of the community.
 
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While I'm still working on transitioning to a more sustainable method of living, I have been playing over the past year with smithing. I'm at the point now, after developing a small amount of skill, where I am trying to decide on a direction. Most of what I have made, up to this point have been knives for friends and family. I've mostly had requests for utility knives, hunting knives and the odd bowie, but I am truly interested in tools and tool making, from axes and chisels for timber framing, to carving tools. I am also looking at finding a way to recycle metals into this, since this is often an untapped aspect of sustainability. I suppose, my question for the group is "is there a need/demand/interest in hand made tools" using recycled metal, all or in part, in the permaculture community"? By moving in this direction as opposed to other available directions I am considering I would be hopefully providing a resource.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hi, Nate...I think every community needs at least one blacksmith. We have several in our area crafting everything from art/sculpture to knives to repair and custom work. Among these most use at least some recycled materials. I think your line of thinking is great. If you don't get much input in this thread maybe you could start a topic just for your question...folks might notice it more...maybe post in 'products' or where ever you think fits best, and then I could add it to a few more forums for you.
 
Posts: 7
Location: Colorado/New Mexico border, 6200'
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Blacksmithing is a great fit with farming. Having ways to heat, bend, and cut metal are extremely useful. I've made wheel hoes, hand tools of all sorts, gate latches, reinforcing straps, etc. As an income producing venture, there are all sorts of niches. Etsy is a good place to have an online presence, but don't neglect knocking on likely doors. I prefer to accept a lower price and wholesale my iron craft items for the most part, because craft fairs and other direct retail methods seem to eat up time and money. There are schools and associations to help anyone get started smithing; there's been a resurgence in the craft for going on thirty years now. Look at www.abana.org
 
Nate Bocker
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There is actually an ABANA group here in Northern Virginia, and I had a chance to take a class this past winter with a member in Maryland. At this time my focus is.more on edged tools, and I live in a pretty urban area. I've been considering going through the local farmer's market and fisherman's wharf here. I'm active duty military, and a full time student as well, so my time is limited to smaller projects, like knives and axes, and such. I'm also less inclined to do decorative iron work, which seems to be the majority of the focus of modern smithing (although, not all).
 
gardener
Posts: 707
Location: south central VA 7B
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I am amazed at all of the talented people living in rural areas. My husband is a professional blacksmith, has been for over 35 years. I kept seeing local craft people at farmers markets, local craft fairs etc. We carry a lot of their good at our store, on consignment just cause it's a crime for locals to not know what homespun well made goods are available. Last year, we put together an on-line store for these people and of course my husband. Had a great Christmas season and then lean, lean lean. I take responsibility for that as the spring, summer planting etc takes a lot of time and then our brick & mortor does as well. A friend has happily agreed to update (we've redone the pics with a white background etc) and be proactive with marketing and getting us higher on the google, bing sites etc.
If there are a group of artists/artisans, kick around going on-line. MAKE sure you have someone who will be in charge of the site though - we went for a flash in the pan to hardly any smoke.

if you want to see what we've done (and I hope you visit after we update etc) www.thebackroadsmarket.com

hats off to all of you that dedicate yourself to your craft!!!
 
Posts: 33
Location: piedmont north carolina
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I sketch. while I appreciate others' art, I've always struggled with prioritizing the time required to develop my own--until I realized how poor I am! nowadays I'm spending a handful of hours each week sketching things from nature (bones, vegetables, etc) in the hopes of amassing a collection large enough to sell prints or originals. but I'm a total novice in the marketing side of things. maybe Etsy can help me out.
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pollinator
Posts: 167
Location: NE Ohio (Zone 6a, on the cusp of 6b) 38.7" annual precip
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Ariel-
These are lovely!
Mariamne
 
Posts: 158
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I AM interested inlearning more about he hand cranked sock knitting machine,
sounds very interesting!
Please let us know more details about it!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Wow that beat copper garden trowel was a work of art! Almost to pretty to use. I get the chance on occasion to screw around with a hammer and fire. Here are a few barn hooks I made a few weeks back. One on the right was banged out by a master smith (aka the awesome dude who lets me hang out and use his stuff) in seconds flat. My widely varying, but totally functional copies to the left.

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Posts: 52
Location: Yonkers, NY/ Berkshires, MA USA
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I love this thread and appreciate people sharing their sites/etsy stores.

If it interests anyone, I was recently interviewed about my experience using Etsy: baxnyc

I am using it to sell printed material. I am finding that original artwork is too expensive for most people, so if I can transmute my work into cards, calendars, stickers, etc hopefully eventually it will become a significant income for me. I really appreciate all the advice posted above! Thanks!

aaaand, if you'd like to check out my 2014 wall calendar for sale, you can find it here

 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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When I started this thread I didn't have any way to post pictures of our work and now I do...I'll add some of my guy's woodworking first...
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coopering
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tools
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home woodshop
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Here are a few pictures from my rug twining class...students make the frame and twine a rug. Sometimes we do a field trip to our wonderful local thrift store. I taught it for more than ten years and stopped just recently. Fun to do and a good way to slip recycling into someone's psyche and earn a little income.
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corner of student made frame with hemp warp and edge
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cutting thrift store cotton t-shirts for weft
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begining of a students rug
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one of my rugs
 
pollinator
Posts: 10057
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Lately I've been spending a lot of my time embroidering.







More: http://imagination-heart.deviantart.com/gallery/33561114

Brand new shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheImaginationsHeart
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Beautiful work, Tyler.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10057
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Thank you!
 
Posts: 23
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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I am hoping to make a small income from one or more of these: smithing, turning wood, wood working, painting and metal sculpting. Going to semi-retire in 3 months so will have lots of time to practice! Although I haven't started on any of them, I have been acquiring the tools second hand over the last few years.

Lot's of people, including family have of course been asking what I plan to do as they know my last shop is closing in August. I have been to embarrassed to say "I plan to learn smithing/painting and sell my wares at markets" - it sound so far fetched and frankly quite naive, so have been telling people that I will be building websites....which is not altogether a lie as it is something I do and would like to take a bit further learning PHP and SQL.
 
Posts: 21
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I do dry stone work. Mostly building stone patios and retaining walls. Sometimes I'm lucky and I'll get hired to build something creative:




Also, I'll collect storm fallen branches and put them together as furniture, cat trees, log arbors, things like that:



 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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@ Devin...your stone work is wonderful....I saw the picture in your other thread, too...absolutely beautiful! thanks for posting pictures and feel free to add more.
...and our cat would be jealous, she loves high perches but we never built her anything so classy.
 
Devin Devine
Posts: 21
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Thanks Judith

Stone work is my main thing, but here's another one, for cat lovers:

 
Posts: 82
Location: SW Wisconsin zone 4
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I have several sources of income, working from home in order to avoid a commute to the nearest city which is a half hour drive. Ironically, one of those sources happens to be driving, doing occasional "taxi service" for Amish. I also do handyman/repair work. I have a ton of "stuff" to sell on ebay. I've been selling comfrey roots and sunchoke tubers for about 1 1/2 yrs now here on permies.com. Back on the subject of this thread, my biggest passion has been woodturning, for almost 25 years now, although I had a big slump of interest in it starting in 2008 but that passion is coming back this spring. I have had an Etsy shop with my turnings for almost ten years but never got rich from it. I have done the occasional craft show, one or two per year which is a lot of fun. I have turned a few of the aforementioned drop spindles, and have one currently listed on my Etsy shop. I have been trying to think of ideas for products pertinent to permaculture and organic gardening/farming, and last night one idea jumped out at me as I was thinking about where to plant new comfrey stands. I wanted so bad to go out to the woodshop and spin one up but it was too late so today I whipped up a dibble, or dibbler, which is a traditional planting stick. Made from American Hophornbeam, it has a T-handle securely pinned to the 6" long pointed shaft with a brass tube, which also serves as an eyelet for your lanyard. I'll be making these to order depending on interest.
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Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10057
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Some fanciful embroidery by me:







Gallery: http://imagination-heart.deviantart.com/gallery/
 
garden master
Posts: 4785
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I will be returning to coopering tight casks, in smaller sizes (1 through 10 gal). I know a lot of folks that are in the hobby of distilling and many have asked me to make them some smaller than 53 gal. size casks, so that is one venue that I will be doing. I have plenty of white oaks growing and will do it all from felling the tree to making my own bands. I am also a Martin Guitar Master Repairman ( passed my master's test in 1976) and will be delving into opening a shop to build some instruments for sale, and perhaps I will get some repair work also. Our homestead farm goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible and just use retirement money for what we can't supply ourselves with. I know I can make enough income with the cooperage to supply what extra monies we might require.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:I will be returning to coopering tight casks, in smaller sizes (1 through 10 gal). I know a lot of folks that are in the hobby of distilling and many have asked me to make them some smaller than 53 gal. size casks, so that is one venue that I will be doing. I have plenty of white oaks growing and will do it all from felling the tree to making my own bands. I am also a Martin Guitar Master Repairman ( passed my master's test in 1976) and will be delving into opening a shop to build some instruments for sale, and perhaps I will get some repair work also. Our homestead farm goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible and just use retirement money for what we can't supply ourselves with. I know I can make enough income with the cooperage to supply what extra monies we might require.



please post some pictures when you can.... it's great to hear what you do!
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Made from American Hophornbeam, it has a T-handle securely pinned to the 6" long pointed shaft with a brass tube, which also serves as an eyelet for your lanyard. I'll be making these to order depending on interest.



Ken, are you selling these on Etsy? add a link if you would like they look wonderful.
 
Ken Grunke
Posts: 82
Location: SW Wisconsin zone 4
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Judith, I'm glad you asked. I just realized my Etsy shop listings had expired! It's back now. I'll add the dibbler soon, I'm in the midst of repairing a borked system on my main PC and am muddling it out on an old computer right now. Here's the link to my store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/naturalrotations
Thank you for the kind words
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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everyone, feel free to do a little advertizing of your craft here...if you have an online store or web page please post a link with some pictures, if you would like
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 707
Location: south central VA 7B
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I just found this thread and think it's important! We are in a very rural area and the amount of craftspeople is impressive but they have little local outlets. If anyone is in the same boat, I urge you to go chat with local businesses to see if consignment is an option. Local artists have made such an incredible difference in our nursery where we are beautifully appointed with local pottery, brooms, painted furniture, walking sticks, metalwork, handmade soaps, lotion and even a local kid's book writter who is doing a book signing next week-end. The "house" takes 20% to cover credit card costs, advertising and display space. I'm always impressed by the local talent as are our customers.
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Judith Browning
Posts: 6492
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Marianne Cicala wrote:I just found this thread and think it's important! We are in a very rural area and the amount of craftspeople is impressive but they have little local outlets. If anyone is in the same boat, I urge you to go chat with local businesses to see if consignment is an option. Local artists have made such an incredible difference in our nursery where we are beautifully appointed with local pottery, brooms, painted furniture, walking sticks, metalwork, handmade soaps, lotion and even a local kid's book writter who is doing a book signing next week-end. The "house" takes 20% to cover credit card costs, advertising and display space. I'm always impressed by the local talent as are our customers.


I LOVE the fish!

I think we live in similar areas......lots of isolated artists and craftspeople here who fill the little town with craft at different venues. What also has helped greatly is a yearly Studio Tour that began 13 years ago http://www.offthebeatenpathstudiotour.com/
We were part of it from the beginning until just two years ago. It is selected craftspeople whose studios aren't ordinarily open to the public, most work at home. There is a map and booklet given when folks register for the tour. Directions are in the booklet and studios put out signs on the road as it nears their workplace. The first year some studios that were way back gravel roads had a lot of folks lost because the directions weren't so good and some visitors thought GPS could get them anywhere A few who participate on the tour make a large part of their yearly income that weekend through sales and orders.
If anyone is interested I could share more information or just go to the web site and a lot is apparent in how it is set up.
 
Posts: 68
Location: Central Iowa
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Here's a coloring page I did for my guests of my blog to print for their kids to color.


and another one with a Thanksgiving theme...
 
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Ontario
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I'm not (yet) a homesteader, but I'd like to transition from being a full-time sculptor of various media, to having a rural-based business, making sculpture from paper.
I came to this interest in paper just this past summer from two main occurrences: 1) I took my first papermaking classes and 2) I got my first allergic reactions to materials that I was working with in commercial sculpting studios.

So, I'm taking this winter to research papermaking processes, reading-up mostly about Japanese papermaking processes. I am also continuing my research and experimentation with natural dyes, an interest that I really started digging into last year in order to dye pysanky (Ukrainian decorated eggs), but is also somewhat transferable to paper. I have a lot more experimentation to do, but maybe, eventually, I'll nail some fine papermaking techniques and sculpture methods. We'll see!
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Cotton linter cast into one of my rubber moulds
 
pollinator
Posts: 692
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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I found this old thread and like to give my comment.
I do 'crafts', mostly textile crafts. I am not good at marketing / selling, but making my own things (and using second hand materials) saves me a lot of money.
Is drawing a 'craft' too? I draw in an illustrative style. I illustrated a few childrens' books.
A blanket knitted of a mixture of unraveled wool yarns:


One of the books I illustrated:
 
gardener
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I do a lot of craft to fill the shelf. Quilt blocks, have a few 12 1/2" left overs, (I learned, make extra) and use them to pretty up reuseable grocery bags (I often replace the handles with strapping that goes all the way under to help support the load as well) for totes. I still have connections to the gaming/scifi/fantasy sector and make wands of all kinds (I forever have something needing trimming so cut the twigs and branches appropriately). Recycle jeans into purses (legs usually yield the straps, the rest gets lined as the purse body), and recycle full length denim skirts into full front aprons with pockets. Macramé; hanging pot holders, window art with stones and crystals and beads, jewelry. Wire wrap stones and the myriad of things I do with pliers and wire (garden decorations, adjustable wire pot hangers when your plastic hanger bits broke and the twisted arch for your vining houseplant). Wired glass small jars to hang and hold a votive or small led light, or stake in ground for your garden. Pincushions, the triangle hens with the prairie point tails; the teacup recycle ones... Making bloom bags (for pollination control or bagging fruit to help keep the bugs off) and custom sized reusable produce bags (I tag with pre-tared weight, I have a licensed scale that does .01 pound). Even the retro arts... collecting pine cones to paint as 'Christmas Tree' decorations, seasonally collecting small tumbleweeds to spray paint and put bows and jinglebells on... plus running the crochet hook and my peg looms and tablet weaving. Jewelry also, I chain a lot of beads (take a coil of wire and make loops at each end of the bead, no eyepins here!) and make various jewelry.

Never a dull moment around here. Oh, and this year, the truck garden. Next year adding bedding plants and premade (by me) XXXL tomato cages for the serious gardener. In both Brandywine/Black Pearl size and low and wide for Roma style (two rings) as well as peony rings. (I got this nifty 36" bolt cutter and I can cut calf panel easily now)

Hubby is collecting wood for turning and this winter I want to start making spoons and dreidl like tops. Heh. Pictures to come, populating the URL's right now. Every bit helps in an income stream. I am really not enjoying the daily get out there before he tromps on the pine cone falls and pick up some more.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
Posts: 692
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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Please can you (who's reading this topic) tell me:
how do you do the marketing of your craft products?
Do you sell at a fair, at a shop, through the internet

That's the part I find difficult. I like making all kind of things, but I am not good at selling ... 
 
That's my roommate. He's kinda weird, but he always pays his half of the rent. And he gave me this tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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