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Featured Seller: longwinterfarm

Jan 1, 2010

by longwinterfarm

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi there! I’m Amanda Nolan, and I live off-grid in a yurt in the Maine woods most of the year with two mostly very sweet little girls, two goats, a cat, and a 120 lb dog named Finn. I grew up on Long Island, NY, and even though I traded pavement for pine sap more than a decade ago, I’m still easily fascinated by the artistry of spiders and the grace of newts nimbly passing through tiny lichen regiments.

This may sound strange and a little bit terrible, but I judge people by their favorite smell. It can speak volumes through olfactory memory and association about where a person’s been in life, and what little scraps of past they’ve deemed important enough to bring with them. Plus it gives me a heads up if they’re going to smell like licorice or something. I don’t like the licorice. I also don’t like red sauce on my pizza or syrup on my pancakes, and when I drive through the woods at night, I watch out for zombies on the side of the road.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

My day job is running one half of a handmade consignment shop, so I guess I don’t really do anything that’s outside the realm of creativity, unless we’re counting bodily functions. Which I guess can be carried out creatively, but that would be gross.

I do create things besides soap, though. I knit well, spin badly, build gardens then neglect them, embroider tiny enough things to have a killer case of carpal tunnel syndrome, and I’m a trained marching snarist, but we won’t talk about that.

What first made you want to become an artist?

I don’t think many children announce a future soaping career. My kid has, but that’s just because she’s so very small and still thinks I’m awesome. When I was nine, I drew a picture of myself as a marine biologist (in a bikini, with a pet shark) and I would have gone all the way with it had I not fallen in love with my keyboard halfway through college and switched my major from ecology to English. English majors are supposed to do educationally irrelevant things, so I fell in love with saponification values and little brown bottles of stink. I smell so much better now than I did as an ecology major.

Also, Prince.

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.

I make cold process soap, which means I mix lye, liquid, and fat together, mold it, and let it sit on a shelf for a month. I love activating the lye with strange liquids, anywhere from apple cider to green tea, and I try to only use sustainably harvested vegetable oils in my recipes. At the yurt, I soap without grid electricity, running my stick blender off of a solar-charged car battery, sometimes even melting solid oils next to a wood stove.

I tend to soap when I’m hungry. So, any scents that I’ve created by my own intuition will have something to do with chocolate, baked goods, fruit, alcoholic beverages, or sandwiches. Anything else was a solid request from a brilliant, well-fed customer.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

My great grandmother’s impossibly heavy, hand-stitched 19th-century Welsh quilt (she was a Welsh immigrant and seamstress) and my great, great grandfather’s general store ledger. The latter isn’t technically handmade I guess, but it’s proof enough of a home grown life. “April 9th, 1873: William Amesbury gave three dozen hen’s eggs in exchange for removal of lower left incisor.” Or at least it’s proof of home grown health care.

Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.

Books:

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Millions of Cats

The Roaches Have No King

Desert Notes/River Notes

Life of Pi

Movies:

A Very Long Engagement

The Science of Sleep

Left Hand Luke

The Brothers Bloom

Off the Map

Music:

Midlake

Noah & the Whale

Jaymay

Andrew Bird

Blitzen Trapper

Websites:

npr

ravelry

flickr

motherearthnews

instructables

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

In a physical shopping experience, a buyer is able to use all senses in making their decision to purchase a product. On Etsy, we’ve got to cram that decision between the walls of five photographs and a set of words. Make sure your photos are super awesome and draw the buyer’s eye to the item in question, and try to verbally mimic a physical encounter with familiar comparisons in your description. Stories don’t hurt, either. Everybody loves to hear about where their recycled sweater kitten grew up. Don’t say it’s just me.

What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?

I love the treasury, public favorites + connections; I would love an in-house shipping calculator with weights and buyer-chosen method options and combined shipment pricing consideration. And a ball pit.

How do you promote your work?

I don’t have any attack strategies mapped out, I just list as often as I can and relist when something sells. The key, I think, is loving my craft enough to be addicted to it, and getting all excited when someone lets me ramble on about it. Everything else just seems to fall into place from there.

In ten years I’d like to be…

I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in terms of the fine details of life, so wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I hope I’m in love and laughing more often than crying. I’ll also need a pet shark.

Featured Seller Archive

19 comments

  • NostalgiaGems

    NostalgiaGems said 7 years ago

    Great Gal !!!!...Great Items !!!!!...Fellow Honey Lover !!!!..The Lip Balm is YUMMY !!!!

  • WildWildernessPhotos

    WildWildernessPhotos said 7 years ago

    I can tell you have great sense of humor! Love your items.

  • isewcute

    isewcute said 7 years ago

    I adore your shop! This was such a fun article to read! I can tell you put a lot of heart into your art!

  • AltogetherLeather

    AltogetherLeather said 7 years ago

    Love your cleverness! Great interview and beautiful products. :)

  • XOgigi

    XOgigi said 7 years ago

    Oh, I am addicted. I have been rubbing my hands endlessly to feel the softness. Tell me why do I keep sniffing them? Yum!

  • debbjean

    debbjean said 7 years ago

    I can't wait to try ......oh like everything you have! I have become an Etsy creeper....not a bad one.....but I keep finding things I HAVE to HAVE. Love your shop and your sense of humor...I will be ordering many items...soon ! Debb

  • TeawithGigi

    TeawithGigi said 7 years ago

    This girl rocks!! What an original with the courage to live the way many of us dream we'd like to... I'm getting ready to place an order. Love.

  • runicrhymesoap

    runicrhymesoap said 7 years ago

    Campfire perfume !>!>!>! MY HEART ...

  • TheKraftRoom

    TheKraftRoom said 7 years ago

    Great interview and congrats on your success!

  • howsweetthesky

    howsweetthesky said 7 years ago

    this was definitely inspiring. thanks!

  • LittleBeanPrints

    LittleBeanPrints said 7 years ago

    Late to the party, but love the interview Amanda!

  • KatyintheUK

    KatyintheUK said 7 years ago

    Love it!

  • hisOpal

    Stacy from hisOpal said 6 years ago

    You are fab. I do believe I've developed a crush.

  • HoneyBeeHolistics

    Melissa from HoneyBeeHolistics said 6 years ago

    Great interview! I love the Yurt & off-the-grid life! I myself make my soaps and goodies in my cabin in the mountain valley! Woodstove and all......what a life! I love it, in a Caroline Ingalls-sort-of-way☺My heroine!

  • yittoeeyowen

    Lauren Berg said 6 years ago

    LOVE the lip balm!!

  • braquelsbathroom

    Tyra from shopbelleandblaire said 6 years ago

    I always admired your beautiful work and now since I come across your Featured Seller site. I can finally put a face and story to your products. Great job!!!! A little late getting here though. You are an inspiration! Keep up the good work.

  • kisvinyl

    kisvinyl from kisvinyl said 5 years ago

    Love her products

  • Xenotees

    Xenotees from Xenotees said 4 years ago

  • Homepage said 3 years ago

    ... [Trackback] [...] There you will find 32183 more Infos: blog.etsy.com/en/2010/featured-seller-longwinterfarm/ [...]

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