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Featured Shop: p i’ l o

Dec 14, 2015

by Heather Shaw

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Heather Shaw, and I’m the owner of p i’ l o. I’ve been making things and selling my work since art school – 20+ years! I live in Toronto, Ontario, and I work out of a coach house studio in my backyard that once housed a sausage factory.

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I always knew I would do something creative, but in the beginning, I wasn’t totally clear on what that would be. I learned how to sew when I was quite young, and I made things all the time…some things better than others. I dabbled in a lot of different mediums before eventually heading off to the Emily Carr College of Art and Design. While my fellow students made conceptual pieces and dug deep into themselves, I was showing up to sculpture class with hats I had sewn, which the professors weren’t really sure what to do with. And so I went from one coast to the other, switching schools to attend the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. There they had a craft department, which meant I was able to spend all day studying ceramics and textiles. It was a great fit for me.

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One summer during college, I split my time between making things and driving to craft fairs all over Ontario in my old Volkswagen van. I learned quickly that some venues were better than others; eventually, when the summer ended, I was making and selling so many items that it became difficult to do school, too. My solution for this was to convince my professors to let me do a large show here in Toronto as an independent study. I used my studio space in the school for production, and I hired fellow students to help me out. In the end, I did finish my Fine Art degree, but by then, p i’ lo was already well underway. I am always grateful that it started out this way.

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My workspace has evolved over the years – from my parents’ basement, to the living rooms of my rented apartments, to a cool warehouse studio in downtown Toronto, to the old coach house behind the house I live in now. Today, my studio has a skylight and a washroom for cold days, when I don’t want to run into the house to clean up. It’s situated in an alley, so customers and couriers don’t have to go into the house. The space is very special to me – it has allowed for me to simultaneously work and raise a family (my boys are ten and twelve now); years ago, I would have the baby monitor on while they napped, and today, I package things while the dinner cooks.

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My workspace isn’t the only thing that has evolved over the years –  as my life and needs have changed, my line has, too. Through it all, I’ve always believed that if I make something that I want to use or have in my home, there are probably other people out there who want something similar. I’ve always loved collecting supplies, and having a lot on hand to work with at any given time. Just seeing them around the studio can be very inspiring. I’ve also always loved making a lot of the same item, which is a good thing in this business, especially when it comes to large wholesale orders. It’s like baking.

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Over the years, I’ve found that my sketchbook is coming out less and less as the days of ripping ideas out of magazines and drawing has been replaced with a never-ending supply of digital imagery. I learn and get a lot of inspiration from collecting vintage supplies and vintage textile pieces. I used to travel a lot, though I’ve found that harder to do with children. The great thing about Etsy is how it allows people, especially women and mothers, the opportunity to do what they love and to continue parenting. E-commerce was so daunting in the beginning, but Etsy made it easy to sell and connect with great people who appreciate handmade. This platform allows business models to be more organic and less linear. Here’s to another twenty years of making and selling on Etsy as my life evolves and changes further. I know there will be people along for the ride with me.

Follow the p i’ l o blog, or keep up with the latest updates on Instagram and Pinterest.

Maker photographs by Donna Griffith Photographs; thread photos by Erin Riley; all other photos by p i’ l o.

Shop p i’ l o

 

dark linen tissue cover
dark linen tissue cover
pilosale
$21.54 USD
bird book pillows
bird book pillows
pilosale
$30.77 USD
SALE tic tac toe
SALE tic tac toe
pilosale
$9.23 USD
linen tissue cover
linen tissue cover
pilosale
$21.54 USD
image hankies
image hankies
pilosale
$11.54 USD
wooden bell
wooden bell
pilosale
$9.23 USD
lined paper pencil case
lined paper pencil case
pilosale
$15.38 USD
advent calendar
advent calendar
pilosale
$76.92 USD
lined paper card holder
lined paper card holder
pilosale
$16.15 USD
flying bird case
flying bird case
pilosale
$18.46 USD
oval bottomed case
oval bottomed case
pilosale
$27.69 USD
bike metallic cases
bike metallic cases
pilosale
$18.46 USD
bee metallic cases
bee metallic cases
pilosale
$18.46 USD
5 wooden bells
5 wooden bells
pilosale
$51.54 USD
bless you hankie
bless you hankie
pilosale
$9.23 USD
knitting tea towel
knitting tea towel
pilosale
$13.85 USD
knit linen shawl
knit linen shawl
pilosale
$44.62 USD
linen napkins printed with images (2)
linen napkins printed with images (2)
pilosale
$18.46 USD
tea towel with image  ( set of 3 )
tea towel with image ( set of 3 )
pilosale
$34.62 USD
bag of wooden snowflakes
bag of wooden snowflakes
pilosale
$18.46 USD
wrapping bag: oatmeal
wrapping bag: oatmeal
pilosale
$23.08 USD
2 linen tissue covers
2 linen tissue covers
pilosale
$38.46 USD
sewn heart / star card
sewn heart / star card
pilosale
$5.38 USD
lavender sachet printed with text
lavender sachet printed with text
pilosale
$18.46 USD
cross back smock
cross back smock
pilosale
$50.00 USD
set (3) embroidered hankies
set (3) embroidered hankies
pilosale
$15.38 USD
smocked half apron (top)
smocked half apron (top)
pilosale
$23.08 USD
map pillows (misprinted)
map pillows (misprinted)
pilosale
$15.38 USD
bike tea towel
bike tea towel
pilosale
$13.85 USD
baby blankets
baby blankets
pilosale
$65.38 USD
allium metallic cases
allium metallic cases
pilosale
$18.46 USD
lavender image sachets
lavender image sachets
pilosale
$18.46 USD
printed ruler tape
printed ruler tape
pilosale
$9.23 USD
sewing kit in mason jar
sewing kit in mason jar
pilosale
$34.62 USD
pocket pillow with bear ( striped )
pocket pillow with bear ( striped )
pilosale
$29.23 USD
sewing kit in vintage mason jar
sewing kit in vintage mason jar
pilosale
$36.92 USD
alphabet pillow
alphabet pillow
pilosale
$38.46 USD
bear with wings
bear with wings
pilosale
$11.54 USD
black linen tissue cover
black linen tissue cover
pilosale
$21.54 USD
3 linen tissue covers
3 linen tissue covers
pilosale
$57.69 USD
tea towel with recipe (reserved)
tea towel with recipe (reserved)
pilosale
$13.85 USD
conversion chart tea towel
conversion chart tea towel
pilosale
$13.85 USD
white linen tissue cover
white linen tissue cover
pilosale
$21.54 USD
X O bags (set of 2)
X O bags (set of 2)
pilosale
$15.38 USD
printed cotton bags with text
printed cotton bags with text
pilosale
$6.92 USD
sewn card
sewn card
pilosale
$3.08 USD
lined paper pillow
lined paper pillow
pilosale
$36.92 USD
typewriter pillow
typewriter pillow
pilosale
$41.54 USD
canvas ditty bag
canvas ditty bag
pilosale
$23.08 USD
lined paper pillow cover
lined paper pillow cover
pilosale
$30.77 USD
little hemp tooth fairy pillow
little hemp tooth fairy pillow
pilosale
$13.85 USD
vintage lace dream catchers
vintage lace dream catchers
pilosale
$30.77 USD
6 linen tissue covers
6 linen tissue covers
pilosale
$107.69 USD
north american map pillow
north american map pillow
pilosale
$46.15 USD
smocked full apron  ( light )
smocked full apron ( light )
pilosale
$57.69 USD
bird tea towel
bird tea towel
pilosale
$13.85 USD
smocked linen bag (dark)
smocked linen bag (dark)
pilosale
$65.38 USD
seed metallic cases
seed metallic cases
pilosale
$18.46 USD
printed 'give' ribbon
printed 'give' ribbon
pilosale
$15.38 USD
typewriter pillow cover
typewriter pillow cover
pilosale
$34.62 USD

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