Friday, March 13, 2009

This week's featured artist: Valerie, aka Crochetgal

Name and Business name: I'm known throughout the crochet world as Crochetgal but my close friends call me Valerie

Tell us a little about yourself and your business: Right now, the business is involved in three distinct lines. Firstly my wearable art pieces. Many are my own designs and yarn blends. Secondly is my 'yarn shop'. Yes, I'm a terrible yarnaholic, but its more of an adventure than an addiction. I love to buy yarns and tend to buy much more than I will ever use in a lifetime. As a result, there are always new and exciting yarns in the shop.

The third portion of the business is beautiful wooden soap dishes. We started supplying these to some of the local soap makers a few years ago but never thought of selling them online until my partner saw an alchemy request for a 2" square custom soapdish. As a result, we now carry the 'mini' and the standard size in varying quantities. These have been a great seller for us.

What made you get started in your business?: The business started as a result of seeing one too many television advertisement with a young child watching a battery operated toy play with itself. There was absolutely no play interaction for the child at all. I turned to my partner and said 'That's it. For Christmas this year, the grandkids will get absolutely no plastic and no batteries. Each toy MUST have some intrinsic value." And that's how it all began. And then we had to come up with some ideas for two young grandchildren!! Since I had learned to crochet as a child, I figured that I would pull out some patterns and make a couple of stuffed animals. That's basically how we started! Before Christmas had arrived, I had two or three friends ask about purchasing a set of the Winnie the Pooh characters that I had made... Winnie, Piglet, Tigger, and of course Eeyore. Before I knew it I was selling my work.

By the time Christmas arrived, I had sold 4 sets of animals, From there I branched out into making Christmas stockings, wash cloths and anything else that intrigued me. But I really wanted to do wearable art. After playing with some yarns and some different patterns over the years, I developed a style that I like to call 'exploded lace'. Basically I use antique doily patterns for inspiration and let my imagination run.

About three years ago I was contacted by a small fashion house here in Phoenix who wanted me to come and do finishing for them. I was really excited! And my boss is an absolute gem! She was the inspiration behind my blending of yarns to make my own unique ones so that each piece that I make is a one of a kind.

I love to design and can often be found with a sketch book full of ideas.

Anything else you’d like to share:
I'm a proud member of the EtsyHookers and the CreateCrochet team here on Etsy. I'm member of the SASsy team (Sellers Assisting Sellers) and can often be found in the Etsy Labs doing a workshop for both new and experienced Etsians on various topics.
I'm a member of the Crochet Guild of America http://www.crochet.org/ and a member of the local crochet guild.

Tell us about your favorite item currently listed in your shop: I'm not sure if I really have a favorite item but if I had to choose, it would have to be one of my elegant shawls.

Check out Crochetgal here:
My Etsy shop is http://crochetgal.etsy.com - affordable luxury
I blog at http://crochetgals.blogspot.com - confessions of a yarnaholic
My twitter channel is http://twitter.com/crochetgal .
I can also be found locally at many of the various art festivals located throughout the valley.

My Favorite from Crochetgal: I love this shawl from Crochetgal. It looks like it would be so warm and cozy to have wrapped around me. The different yarns and colors keep it looking fresh and easy to wear.

I also have to add that I recently purchased the three-pack of soap dishes from Valerie's shop, and they are wonderful! I have one in the kitchen, one at the bathroom sink and one in the shower, and they really do let the soap dry quicker and more completely. They're a great way to keep your handmade soap longer.