Friday, January 22, 2010

Featured SME Member ~ Ravyn's Cache


What's the story behind the name of your business?
When I first joined the medieval re-enactment group, Society for Creative Anachronism, I chose the name Raven because I’d also chosen a Viking persona, both because it allowed me to have things from all over the world rather than just one country (Viking trade route, you know!). I’d first thought of Bronwyn, so the “Y” stayed. The name stuck, and it fit. The name later migrated into character names for various games (as Ravyncrow and Ravyn Crowe) and eventually became part of who I am. Somewhere in there I ran across a shop in Clayton called Page One. It was an awesome little book shop that sold used books, new books, and random other things. Reading and collecting things had always been a passion of mine, and I loved to shop, unpack and sort things, (still do!) but then they just sat there (they still do!). So I thought one day I’d open a shop like that and call it Ravyn’s Cache, for the magpie in me to shop and order and sort and then SELL. Once I started my Etsy shop, there was no doubt what the name would be. Then I joined the ShowMe Etsy Team, and started doing actual craft shows and farmers markets, so it became my official business name on my license as well.

How did you get involved in your craft?
My mother was an artist and seamstress, played the violin when she was younger, and encouraged creativity. My dad was a photographer, a draftsman, sang in choirs and played the trumpet when he was younger, and also encouraged creativity. So I had the background and grew up with artsy things all around me. I started out with paper crafts, linoleum block printing, painting and clay. That was in elementary school. Then I moved on to writing poetry, short stories, and thinking about becoming a concert pianist. In college I ended up in the theatre department and everything changed, as whole new worlds opened up. I actually didn’t start making jewelry until I was grown and married. I started with plastic pony beads and any other free or inexpensive beads that were as unique as I could find. Eventually I progressed to where I could afford the ‘real’ stuff and now I use everything I can. Several classes in metalworking added another dimension. But jewelry isn’t my only craft, it’s just the one on which I’m currently focused. I also paint, crochet, needle felt, work with papers and fabric (I love hand made paper! Textiles! Fabrics!), and make my own blends of scented oils, both to wear and for candle making. The next thing to show up in my shop will be crochet items, most likely, followed by paintings. At least that’s the plan.

What inspires you?
Everything and anything! Nature … something I’ve read or seen … seeing someone wearing an outfit that makes me say “I can make something to go with that” … sometimes just whatever beads and items happen to land together in front of me. I like to work in semi-organized chaos, so a lot of times the pile in front of me brings out some very interesting pieces.

Beside your craft, what other activities do you enjoy?
I love to read, and do all the crafts listed above. I enjoy learning new things, and meeting new people. I’m passionate about nature and the outdoors and animals (including spiders and centipedes, which I passionately detest). I enjoy playing the piano, which I’m finally relearning after decades of not having a piano on which to practice. Facebook and online computer games also take up a lot of my time, but I enjoy them quite a bit as well.

Can you give any advice about selling on Etsy?
Promote! I’m not good at promoting, but I know it’s important. I know I’d do much better if I spent more time in promotion. Good photography is a must as well, since your customer is not able to touch and examine your product in person.

Favorite movie/book/music?
Books by Terry Pratchett, Katherine Kurtz, Mark Twain, Neil Gaiman, Alexander Dumas, and (as one friend used to say) any book with an animal on the front and the word “telepathy” on the back. Hah.

Movies? I like comedies and farces, fantasy and science fiction, action and westerns. Old movies with Audrey or Katherine Hepburn, or Cary Grant or David Niven are awesome. Cartoons are good too. Ice Age was great, and I love musicals like Mame and Paint Your Wagon. Tombstone is still one of my favorite Westerns, although Cat Ballou is definitely in the running. I do have trouble with movies that make me cry. If I *know* it will make me cry I probably won’t watch it, even if I *know* I’ll like it otherwise. (I still won’t watch Old Yeller or Marly & Me … All Dogs Go To Heaven about did me in)

Music? Classical, particularly Baroque, but I like Dvorak and Chopin and Tchaikowsky too. Folk, folk rock, and Celtic music. Gypsy music. Emmylou Harris and Garth Brooks (although I’m not fond of the man, I do like his songs). Tom Russell. Natalie McMaster.

In ten years you'll be...
10 years older! And hopefully still alive and crafting!

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