Shop Etsy

Featured Seller: Gildem

Jul 8, 2011

by gildem handmade and vintage goods

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Emilie Douglas Ball and I am the owner and designer behind Gildem. I am originally from Rhode Island, but moved to California with my husband seven years ago after taking a job as a designer on a TV show for the DIY Network. After a few years of living in Los Angeles, I switched jobs and we settled in a small beach community tucked along the Ventura coast.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I split my time between Gildem and freelance furniture design. The correlation of these two projects gives me great balance. Away from design, I love trying out new vegan and raw recipes, working out, taking day trips to the local hot springs, shopping at farmers’ markets and hunting for housewares at thrift stores. Oh, and spending way too much time reading blogs on my phone.

What would be the title of your memoir?
Please Stop Reading This and Go Make Something.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I draw inspiration from my living environment and from the materials I choose for my designs. I am motivated to create items that have a soulful purpose in the home. Additionally, I love celebrating materials by using them in their highest capacity possible.

What does handmade mean to you?
I think of anything not of our natural world as handmade. I have a deep respect for all craftsmen (from artisans to factory workers). There are humans behind everything we use and having a conscious idea of where something comes from makes me appreciate the objects and people that surround us.

Who has been most influential in your craft?
My family has been my biggest support. My husband has given me the time and space to create and slowly build Gildem. Also, my family far and wide; their positive reassurance is felt daily through emails, phone calls and Skype chats.

When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I’ve always been a visual learner and believe that thriving in grade school art class gave me the confidence I had trouble finding in other academics. I knew I was an artist when I started branching out and making things on my own. I am not positive when it started (maybe when I was 6?) but I distinctly remember making furniture out of sticks in the woods.

How would you describe your creative process?
It’s all in my head. I continually brainstorm before developing a new product. My process of making something starts with the design, the reason, the shape, but then moves into the physical. All these aspects have limitations, but I try to problem solve before I begin. I always have a game plan; I never just experiment with a material.

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Tage Frid, for sure. His teaching and dedication to American furniture design was so monumental to the curriculum at the Rhode Island School of Design furniture program I graduated from in 2001. Studying his techniques through his book made me feel as if I knew him. The pictures and explanations were a key building block to my education and I truly appreciate his dedication in making it his life’s work.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My husband and I were given a painting on our wedding day by the Hawaiian artist Sunao Hironaka. Growing up, my home was dotted with paintings that had a strong tie to my family’s history. This painting is the start of my history. It was originally purchased by my late grandmother in the 1960s while she and my mother were vacationing in Hawaii. It depicts two Hawaiians surfing under Diamond Head on Oahu; the scene will always remind me of my mother’s childhood, my grandparents and my honeymoon to Maui.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
Creatively, I never have problems thinking of ideas. My ruts can be described as “lulls” in the building process. Sometimes, when I get hung up on a detail, I just lose steam and I need to tuck it away for a while. A project that has had time to rest can then be seen in a fresh new perspective. I never want to force anything I do creatively.

Where would you like to be in ten years?
In a home by the beach, that has a large studio so I can build furniture, a few bountiful fruit tress out back and all my loved ones within.

Featured Seller Archive



  • CountrySquirrelsRUS

    CountrySquirrelsRUS said 9 years ago

    Love your shop! Great interview, thanks for sharing! Congratulations as the newest Etsy Featured Seller!

  • tokenandpine

    tokenandpine said 9 years ago

    Your designs are absolutely iconic!

  • VintageEyeFashion

    VintageEyeFashion said 9 years ago

    Beautiful! I thing I will stop reading & go make something! :)

  • fromthedrawingboard

    fromthedrawingboard said 9 years ago

    Enjoyed reading about your work. Great stuff!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 9 years ago

    I absolutely love the simplicity of your pieces, it shows what an amazing artisan you are room for errors! Congrats on your lovely feature :)

  • Bumbleweedz

    Bumbleweedz said 9 years ago

    very inspiring !!!!

  • styleforlife

    styleforlife said 9 years ago

    Such an amazing seller, LOVE her products.....Gorgeous!!! Thanks for featuring her! xxx EL Vintage

  • tangente

    tangente said 9 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  • barclaydouglas

    barclaydouglas said 9 years ago

    Great job Em!

  • pillowfactory

    pillowfactory said 9 years ago

    I'm a fan of your work.. congrats on being featured!!

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 9 years ago

    Very nice items! The article is quite interesting. I can only imagine how tough it must be to transplant yourself into California from Rhode Island! Congratulations on the feature!

  • RoadsidePhotographs

    RoadsidePhotographs said 9 years ago

    Great feature!!!

  • redhardwick

    redhardwick said 9 years ago

    Beautiful designs! Love the tote!

  • gardenmis

    gardenmis said 9 years ago

    Beautiful feature & love your style ~ congrats on being FS :) Many blessings for a fulfilled future!

  • nonnienews

    nonnienews said 9 years ago


  • angryhairjewelry

    angryhairjewelry said 9 years ago

    love your leather bins!

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 9 years ago

    Your shop is beautiful!!! Congrats on the FS!!!

  • ACupOfSparkle

    ACupOfSparkle said 9 years ago

    Your totes are really cute. Congratulations on the feature.

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 9 years ago

    Love the bags. Congrats on being featured!

  • NangijalaJewelry

    NangijalaJewelry said 9 years ago

    Oh what a gorgeous shop! Love your work. Congrats on the feature :-)

  • ShoponSherman

    ShoponSherman said 9 years ago

    Very interesting designs! I see why you are featured! Congratulations!

  • TheZestyDesk

    TheZestyDesk said 9 years ago

    I really love the simplicity of your modern designs! Congrats on your sucess and thanks for the great article!

  • SweetandDandyVintage

    SweetandDandyVintage said 9 years ago

    Beautiful simplicity at its finest! Congrats on the feature!

  • steampunkfunk

    steampunkfunk said 9 years ago

    Ooooh, such a great interview and your work is stunning! I love your work space! Congrats on your feature!

  • DaHukaHouse

    DaHukaHouse said 9 years ago

    Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • sonyarasi

    sonyarasi said 9 years ago

    I love your work!

  • TresChicNmodern

    TresChicNmodern said 9 years ago


  • ExclusiefByVera

    ExclusiefByVera said 9 years ago

    Love the simplicity of your designs. Keep living the dream and working with your hands to make more beautiful things. All the best and may all your dreams come true. Love your shop!!!

  • orchardfarmsoap

    orchardfarmsoap said 9 years ago

    Great function and style to your creations! Congrats

  • SovietEra

    SovietEra said 9 years ago

    Lovely items! Congrats!

  • lindaketelhut

    lindaketelhut said 9 years ago

    Wow, love your shop + the beautiful clean lines of your work. So happy to have a new store to love. I hope your 10 year plan comes true....sounds dreamy!!!

  • erinevans2

    erinevans2 said 9 years ago

    Great interview Ems... I've known you for 14 years and I still learn new things about you. I love your work and I'm really digging your new wall clock design. Congrats on being the featured seller... You deserve it!

  • BozenaWojtaszek

    BozenaWojtaszek said 9 years ago

    Love your bags and bins!

  • jaunebleu

    jaunebleu said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! Your work is beautiful!

  • RareDesign

    RareDesign said 9 years ago

    Wonderful shop!!! I love the clean lines.

  • carlosandersson

    carlosandersson said 9 years ago

    Really good work! I love the new items, the clock and door stop. Carlos Andersson, Sweden

  • pixestreasurechest

    pixestreasurechest said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on the wonderful interview! Your work is beautiful! I tend to prefer functional items in my home have some character...must be the virgo in me!

  • Armalique

    Armalique said 9 years ago

    Great interview. I love your designs.

  • RedorGrayArt

    RedorGrayArt said 9 years ago

    simple design of beautiful items.. congratulations on your feature

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 9 years ago

    Love your photography and items!

  • starmekcreations

    starmekcreations said 9 years ago

    Beautiful items.

  • KisforCalligraphy

    KisforCalligraphy said 9 years ago

    Super feature fellow Birthday friend Emilie! Hooray for you and hand making!

  • eagerhandiworks

    eagerhandiworks said 9 years ago

    Wonderful leather items! Congrats on your feature. :)

  • VintroVaVoom

    VintroVaVoom said 9 years ago

    Your leather totes are gorgeous! Congrats on your feature!

  • mamif

    mamif said 9 years ago

    great products! and ++ for vegan recipes!

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 9 years ago

    So pretty - love your items that you make! Your interview and story was great to read! Thank you for sharing!

  • rosemreyes

    rosemreyes said 9 years ago

    Love reading this! Her shop is awesome!

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 9 years ago

    Yay Rhode Island! Love your shop!! Congratulations!

  • ZeppoAprons

    ZeppoAprons said 9 years ago

    Great items... wonderful totes.. but I love the wall hooks.... very cool.

  • MyDigitalSpill

    MyDigitalSpill said 9 years ago

    Your designs are nice and clean, love it!

  • meilingsketchbook

    meilingsketchbook said 9 years ago

    Simple design, clean finished with very unique design! Congratulations!

  • grimmandgrete

    grimmandgrete said 9 years ago

    What wonderful creative, original design ideas, very cool! Congrats and continued success.

  • fullmoon87

    fullmoon87 said 9 years ago

    ec excellent

  • KARozWoodworking

    KARozWoodworking said 9 years ago

    Nice tools! Great interview...all the best.

  • HoneysuckleLane

    HoneysuckleLane said 9 years ago

    Enjoyed your story ~ congratulations on the feature!

  • ModernShop

    ModernShop said 9 years ago

    Wow, so beautiful and creative. Congrats!

  • mmiller55

    mmiller55 said 9 years ago

    Beautiful work!!


    FAIRYTALE13 said 9 years ago

    Bliss work - many congrats on FS. HAPPY ETSYING TO ALL X.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 9 years ago

    Gorgeous designs!

  • StampersCraftsGifts

    StampersCraftsGifts said 9 years ago

    leather bins........never would have thought of that. cool idea!

  • needleyou

    needleyou said 9 years ago

    Be - A - Utifulllll work! Nice to hear about this craftswoman. Congratulations!

  • forgottenstore

    forgottenstore said 9 years ago

    I love leather!

  • GardenApothecary

    GardenApothecary said 9 years ago

    your distressed leather is gorgeous! what a fabulous storage container...

  • Lolicup

    Lolicup said 9 years ago

    Wow, I am so glad i discovered you! Beautiful work, and great photography. I just moved from California, it's good to see a fellow Californian!

  • InspiredStitches

    InspiredStitches said 9 years ago

    Love your wall hook. It is very clever. Congratulations on being featured.

  • GreenPost

    GreenPost said 9 years ago

    Wonderful to get to know you better! Congratulations on your feature and best wishes with your beautiful work!

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 9 years ago

    i really like the minimalist feel of your work. congrats

  • 26Sorts

    26Sorts said 9 years ago

    So enjoyed this post, stellar design. I absolutely adore the wall clock, def a new favorite!

  • VogueVixens

    VogueVixens said 9 years ago

    Love your designs and the story about your grandmother's painting brought tears to my eyes.

  • SimpleKnitShop

    SimpleKnitShop said 9 years ago

    Shout out to RISD! Congrats on being featured. Beautiful work!

  • kapeldesigns

    kapeldesigns said 9 years ago

    I think Gildem's mind works like mine. I love Tage Frid's books. He wrote the first book on furniture building that I read. He was such an important part of me learning the process. Cool! Love your stuff Gildem!

  • masonke

    masonke said 9 years ago

    What a beautiful design your leather totes have! Congratulations!

  • planetlovevintage

    planetlovevintage said 9 years ago

    Your work is so clean and beautiful! Congrats on the feature!!

  • BeeGracious

    BeeGracious said 9 years ago

    Refreshing ~ Thanks for sharing!

  • BigGurlStuff

    BigGurlStuff said 9 years ago

    Great shop, great interview!

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 9 years ago

    Such wonderful, simple designs. Best of luck to you.

  • beliz82

    beliz82 said 9 years ago

    Great interview and wonderful shop Congrats !!!

  • TheAngryWeather

    TheAngryWeather said 9 years ago

    What a great interview. I loved your thoughts on what handmade means to you, totally right :) and your vision on the future sounds amazing. Congratulations!

  • BlueMoonLights

    BlueMoonLights said 9 years ago

    Lovely work! I love the simplicity of your designs and the beauty of the materials used. You bring out the beauty of both through your dessigns. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  • KingdomKards

    KingdomKards said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your work and your thoughts! Simply beautiful! ahhhh, Ventura!! Great place to be!

  • GiftsEtMore

    GiftsEtMore said 9 years ago

    Your designs are astonishing! Love them. Thanks for sharing them.

  • SoyabeanBaby

    SoyabeanBaby said 9 years ago

    I purchased this ( back in the day, and use it every day at the office. Lovely work!

  • gataeb1159

    gataeb1159 said 9 years ago

    Hello, I like your designs, are simple and gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.

  • ThePattypanShop

    ThePattypanShop said 9 years ago

    Love your designs! Beautiful Shop! Thanks for sharing!

  • spoonfulofcolour

    spoonfulofcolour said 9 years ago

    beautiful, simple, clever.

  • Reinhabit

    Reinhabit said 9 years ago

    what lovely items!!

  • BlissfullyRandom

    BlissfullyRandom said 9 years ago

    Thanks so sharing your story and your fun, fresh designs!

  • gretchenmist

    gretchenmist said 9 years ago

    i love your work ~ really gorgeous. great interview too :)

  • joyscottglass

    joyscottglass said 9 years ago

    Beautiful simplicity, great in site into the creative process.

  • Qminime

    Qminime said 9 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  • RubyOutlaw

    RubyOutlaw said 9 years ago

    I love the clean lines and natural elements of your work - GORGEOUS!

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 9 years ago

    Love you items and your shop. Great interview!

  • SkinnyKnits

    SkinnyKnits said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! Love your work!

  • BrandybuckClothiers

    BrandybuckClothiers said 9 years ago

    I love how you said it: "A project that has had time to rest can then be seen in a fresh new perspective." Great interview and intriguing shop.

  • ShawnBoenArt

    ShawnBoenArt said 9 years ago

    Very inventive - I like your style.

  • ElvenWreathsJewelry

    ElvenWreathsJewelry said 9 years ago

    I love the simplicity of your work.

  • annyschoo

    annyschoo said 9 years ago

    love the studio and tools photos. thank you for sharing your story :)

  • Qminime

    Qminime said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! I like your style!

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 9 years ago

    Great design

  • StinkyCute

    StinkyCute said 9 years ago

    Very inspire by your story :) Love your shop too!

  • TheScarletSageTree

    TheScarletSageTree said 9 years ago

    Congrats Emilie! Just love the beautiful simplicity of your designs. Especially dig the leather tote and bin - classic design. And am afraid I will be reading your memoir from start to finish :D - Suzanne

  • OliveLongstocking

    OliveLongstocking said 9 years ago

    beautiful emilie and so are your designs ! best wishes !

  • perfectwear

    perfectwear said 9 years ago

    Many congratulations Emilie :-o) I love your work; simple, classic and nice. Best wishes for many successes!

  • perfectwear

    perfectwear said 9 years ago

    Many congratulations Emilie :-o) I love your work; simple classic and nice. Best wishes for many success!

  • BagNoir

    BagNoir said 9 years ago

    Beautiful work Emily!!! Congrats on the FS:))

  • Poiriers

    Poiriers said 9 years ago

    Congratulations Emilie!! LOVE your work area.....I dream of a space like that!! My basement will soon have a small spot for me! I love your bins. Simple and clean! YOU GO GIRL!! :O)

  • grandmamarievintage

    grandmamarievintage said 9 years ago

    Your work looks so beautifully made!

  • forEYESandHANDS

    forEYESandHANDS said 9 years ago

    I simply love your simple yet sensitive expression in your things. It seems very nordic to me. Funny to hear about your teacher and ideal Tage Frid and to find out that he was Danish born. I have never heard about him before and have to know more about him. Good luck & best wishes from Denmark : )))

  • CherylBrissonFolkArt

    CherylBrissonFolkArt said 9 years ago

    Beautiful and chic! I was glad to hear about such an accomplished creator having "lulls" in the building process - I often encounter this dilemma when tackling something I've never painted before - can I really make a moose look like a moose? Will everyone who sees this painting know that the bird is supposed to be a seagull? Scary moments are inherent in any creative process.

  • memeandmoss

    memeandmoss said 9 years ago

    Your designs are pretty :) love the leather bin.

  • needlenerd

    needlenerd said 9 years ago

    beautiful! congrats!!

  • Gingur

    Gingur said 9 years ago

    Congrats on the interview :D Beautiful work you have there~

  • shellypsoulcircles

    shellypsoulcircles said 9 years ago

    What a beautiful & elegant simplicity you have found as a signature style, functional yet unique & creative! Best of everything to you.

  • willaby

    willaby said 9 years ago

    I love the calm simplicity of your work. Clearly so much thought has gone into each design to make it so.

  • ktrichards

    ktrichards said 9 years ago

    Beautiful work and beautiful interview, Emilie! I was thrilled to see you in my inbox today! ~ your sort-of-cousin Kate

  • WoodManArts

    WoodManArts said 9 years ago

    organic meets elegant. Great work!

  • janewearjewelry

    janewearjewelry said 9 years ago

    I love your studio! Great pieces ;)

  • ElixirPrints

    ElixirPrints said 9 years ago

    This interview was so inspiring! Beautiful work, by the way ^_^

  • pillowflightpdx

    pillowflightpdx said 9 years ago

    The tote is an instant classic!

  • MissPattisAttic

    MissPattisAttic said 9 years ago

    We enjoyed reading about you, your shop and family! Thank you for sharing. We love the wall hook, simple but so needed. Good luck!!!

  • MoshiBoshi

    MoshiBoshi said 9 years ago

    Wow. At the risk of repeating everyone else: iconic for sure. Yours are the kind of storage solutions that don't solve the problem of having too much stuff, but rather necessitate getting even more stuff in order to justify owning many, many totes! Beautiful and original products and a great article. Many thanks for the inspiration and congratulations on your feature!

  • SLSvintage

    SLSvintage said 9 years ago

    so sleek & classic! congratulations on being featured!

  • SmallkineCreations

    SmallkineCreations said 9 years ago

    Love your creations! Keep up the good work and congrats on the feature. Aloha!

  • knittingjumpers

    knittingjumpers said 9 years ago

    congrats! go RISD!

  • AltogetherLeather

    AltogetherLeather said 9 years ago

    I adore your work!! Wonderful interview. :)

  • Zhouart

    Zhouart said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! Your work is awesome :)

  • thepaperplume

    thepaperplume said 9 years ago

    Your workshop makes my heart go pitter patter. I'm so jealous. Congrats on the feature!

  • DARKLUXvintage

    DARKLUXvintage said 9 years ago

    you have such a lovely shop! congrats on the feature :)

  • maldonadojoyas

    maldonadojoyas said 9 years ago

    Love your work! Congratulations!

  • handmadecharlotte

    handmadecharlotte said 9 years ago

    Ohhh i love you! I want that big cary all out of softer leather...I emailed it to my friend and asked her if it would be crazy if I used it as my handbag...I love it! Your pretty too! Cannot wait to see more! Your garage is great...I love the you have a blog? I would love to peek!:)

  • mjsattic

    mjsattic said 9 years ago

    One thing about ETSY I have noticed is that you can get the same item from the same seller on ebay for a lot less. For some reason here on etsy they jack the price way up. Shame, you guys know who you are!

  • oppning

    oppning said 9 years ago

    I really love these "featured sellers" topics, I hope we'll get there someday !

  • oppning

    oppning said 9 years ago

    But I also think that mjsattic is right to point that out ! I don't know if he is talking about that particular seller but I noticed the same thing...

  • pamwares

    pamwares said 9 years ago

    congratulations! great little shop and feature.

  • DarkBay

    DarkBay said 9 years ago

    i totally agree about tucking away a project for a bit when a detail is giving me a hard time or i can't "feel" what to do with it..... great items! congrats!

  • bernabermek

    bernabermek said 9 years ago


  • HighPointFarm2010

    HighPointFarm2010 said 9 years ago

    Love the simplicity of your items!

  • melissadelavega

    melissadelavega said 9 years ago

    So many amazing works of art, Emilie! So proud of you- you are such a talented artist and your work IS iconic and elegant--this was an incredible feature!

  • SusanStudio

    SusanStudio said 9 years ago

    loved your interview, very peaceful

  • cassandrastephanie

    cassandrastephanie said 9 years ago

    beautiful work. congrats!

  • Niftic

    Niftic said 9 years ago

    Fabulous shop, beautiful creations. It was nice getting to know a little bit about you.

  • PiccoloInteriors

    PiccoloInteriors said 9 years ago

    It would be my dream to have a workspace like yours! Someday! :) Congrats on all your success!

  • IndustrialHabitat

    IndustrialHabitat said 9 years ago

    congratulations :) wonderful article!

  • JasminBlancBoutique

    JasminBlancBoutique said 9 years ago

    wonderful world! great feature...and fabulous shop! Keep going on with making the world an even more special place! :)

  • artispartem

    artispartem said 9 years ago

    so elegant style so clean lines - beautiful!!

  • SeedsOfCreation

    SeedsOfCreation said 9 years ago

    Very minimalist look....just lovely :)

  • Abbassi

    Abbassi said 9 years ago

    Confidence and Contentedness- Perfect combination for a happy life. I enjoy your work- strong, basic, and non-fussy. Interesting and well done interview.

  • JMWSilver

    JMWSilver said 9 years ago

    Inspiring story. Great designs!

  • KristyLynnJewelry

    KristyLynnJewelry said 9 years ago

    Your shop and designs are beautiful! Congrats on being featured!!

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