Shop Etsy

Featured Shop: Meghann Rader

Feb 20, 2013

by botanicaltheatre handmade and vintage goods

I’m Meghann. I live with my husband Toby and our dog, Lucy, in Port Alberni, British Columbia – a small town that sits right in the middle of Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. I spend my days woodworking, and in my spare time I run my little Etsy shop where I make small scale artwork and jewelry influenced by the local wilderness and wildlife.

I’ve always made things because it makes me happy. After finishing my BFA I had a very difficult time producing anything. I’d become too caught up in the meaning behind the work. It took me several years of second guessing myself to finally just start drawing what made me happy again and to not worry about doing it for any other reason. It’s worked out pretty well so far.

I love playing with textures, like the scribbled markings of a pencil or the lovely staining effects of watercolor. I’m most happy working small and can usually be found with the tiniest tool I can find. My tiny obsession, along with a wish to make my work accessible, eventually led me to turn my art into jewelry. Each one of my pieces is drawn and painted by hand, making them all slightly unique.  I create multiples of a design by transferring my original line drawing onto each surface with good old fashioned graphite transfer paper. Then I fill in the rest of the image, scratching away with my favorite mechanical pencil and sometimes adding a bit of color with one of my many miniature watercolor brushes.

I didn’t have a specific plan for my shop when I joined Etsy, I just knew it was a place I wanted to be. Over time I realized that in order to stand out and be memorable I needed to narrow my focus. I wanted a shop that could be recognized in a search or treasury just by looking at one image. I’ve put a lot of time into creating a cohesive shop that speaks to who I am. From subject matter to photography to packaging, I try to make sure everything works together to create a memorable brand and a positive experience for my customers.

Etsy has given me options, opportunity and an achievable definition of success. It’s provided me with an alternative to the stark white gallery walls and endlessly unsuccessful show proposals that I was once headed for. It’s included me and encouraged me. It’s warm and welcoming, friendly, fun, creative, goofy, helpful, knowledgeable and just plain awesome.

I have a natural tendency to go on crafting tangents that usually end up with piles of half finished items strewn around the house. Having a creative business has helped me become more focused and organized. It’s helped me realize that I don’t have the time or energy to make everything I want to. Instead I’ve learned to focus on a few things at a time, keeping my stress levels down and giving me the time to not only finish something but to move forward with my work as a whole.

When you receive a handmade item you’re receiving a connection to the maker through the time, effort and care they put into it. That everyday item, so often overlooked, becomes a little bit more meaningful when you know someone took time out of their day to make it for you, and that, in turn, makes the time you spend using it a little bit more special.

All photographs by Toby Rader.

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