Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Avril and I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I share a cozy apartment in the west end of the city with my boyfriend Frank and kitty cat Nico. I create home décor and accessories and I’ve been in business for just a bit over a year. When I’m not creating products for my business I’m in the kitchen experimenting with new ingredients. Art and food are my favorite media to create with, indulge in, and savor!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Here’s my idea of a perfect day doing what I love to do sans creating things… I’d start the day off with some brunch with good friends. Follow that with a road trip to anywhere. Along the way we’d stop by some old antique shops, delicious farmers markets, a mini golf course, and finally we’d end up reading trashy magazines on a beach. If I could squeeze in a drive in movie, a game of squash, gallery hopping, creating a huge feast, and watching an episode of Lost, then that would be the perfect day of doing what I love to do.
What first made you want to become an artist?
Creative exploration has always influenced my life choices: What classes I would take in high school; what undergrad degree I wanted to major in; what jobs I would apply for; and what people I wanted to surround myself with. I don’t really think I had a choice in becoming an artist, I just knew that I was always happier working on my art.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Most of my creating happens in my amazing attic studio. It’s the best room in the whole apartment with lots of natural light and plenty of space to spread out… which is a must. Me and my creative process like to spread out wide and juggle at least 5 things at once. In that swarm of activity there’s a little scanning and sketching, Illustratoring and Photoshoping, ironing and pressing, pondering and dreaming, and finally some packaging and mailing.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a small oil painting of a snowy winter Quebec landscape that my Godmother painted in 1984. Whenever I move apartments it’s the first piece that I hang and It’s always the piece that I like to visit when I’m meditating on my creative practice or just life in general. I received the painting after she passed away and I’ve cherished it ever since. She was so amazing, so full of life and always creating something new!
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
My Life So Far – Jane Fonda autobiography
Harry Potter – JK Rowling
Hiroshi Sugimoto Retrospective
Oh The Places You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss
Lonely Planet – Italy
Barefoot in the Park
What About Bob
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Iron and Wine
poppytalk – Great art and design blog.
101cookbooks – Amazing recipes.
raretreasure – Girl’s got great style.
betterlivingthroughdesign – Great design blog.
murdershepodcasted – The best podcast to work to!
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Work on your business every day. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, make it a goal to always spend a little time working on your business. Whether it’s chatting in the forums, working on a new product, developing a system to organize your receipts, practicing your photography skills, applying to shows, and even surfing through blogs to get inspired, it all goes towards your professional development. Do at least 15 minutes a day and you’ll see how fast those baby steps really add up.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I love flipping through the Gift Guides to find treasures for friends… and often for myself. I also like the Favorites tool to keep my Hearted finds close at hand. I’d like it if I was able to do a search within my Favorites instead of having to scroll through the pages to find a specific item.
How do you promote your work?
I promote my work through word of mouth and features in blogs. Online marketplaces (like poppytalkhandmade.com) have been great for exposure, and they are just a click away from my Etsy Shop. I also like to use my blog to promote my work as well as other Etsy artists and designers. Beyond these things I focus on the overall look of my photography, website, blog, Etsy shop and packaging. My consistent visual identity has been extremely helpful in getting people to gravitate towards my products.
In ten years I’d like to be…
I’d like to be actively working on my art practice, developing new ideas that would just blow my mind today, and sharing all the fun with the people around me.