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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
$23.16 USD
hemp wash cloths
hemp wash cloths
pilosale
$23.16 USD
smocked linen bag (light)
smocked linen bag (light)
pilosale
$70.32 USD
black linen tissue cover
black linen tissue cover
pilosale
$23.16 USD
3 linen tissue covers
3 linen tissue covers
pilosale
$62.05 USD
wrapping bag: oatmeal
wrapping bag: oatmeal
pilosale
$24.82 USD
2 linen tissue covers
2 linen tissue covers
pilosale
$41.36 USD
oval bottomed case
oval bottomed case
pilosale
$29.78 USD
6 linen tissue covers
6 linen tissue covers
pilosale
$115.82 USD
little hemp tooth fairy pillow
little hemp tooth fairy pillow
pilosale
$14.89 USD
map pillows (misprinted)
map pillows (misprinted)
pilosale
$16.55 USD
lined paper pencil case
lined paper pencil case
pilosale
$16.55 USD
image hankies
image hankies
pilosale
$12.41 USD
conversion chart tea towel
conversion chart tea towel
pilosale
$14.89 USD
map case
map case
pilosale
$18.20 USD
car bingo game
car bingo game
pilosale
$9.93 USD
linen tissue cover: oatmeal
linen tissue cover: oatmeal
pilosale
$23.16 USD
allium tea towel
allium tea towel
pilosale
$14.89 USD
acorn tea towel
acorn tea towel
pilosale
$14.89 USD
canadian tea towel
canadian tea towel
pilosale
$14.89 USD
set (3) embroidered hankies
set (3) embroidered hankies
pilosale
$16.55 USD
baby blankets
baby blankets
pilosale
$70.32 USD
pocket pillow with bear ( striped )
pocket pillow with bear ( striped )
pilosale
$31.44 USD
pocket pillow ( linen or hemp )
pocket pillow ( linen or hemp )
pilosale
$16.55 USD
100 dollar gift certificate
100 dollar gift certificate
pilosale
$82.73 USD
lavender image sachets
lavender image sachets
pilosale
$19.85 USD
5 wooden bells
5 wooden bells
pilosale
$55.43 USD
laundry sachet
laundry sachet
pilosale
$19.85 USD
sewing kit in vintage mason jar
sewing kit in vintage mason jar
pilosale
$39.71 USD
advent calendar
advent calendar
pilosale
$82.73 USD
bike tea towel
bike tea towel
pilosale
$14.89 USD
lined paper medium case
lined paper medium case
pilosale
$18.20 USD
vintage lace dream catchers
vintage lace dream catchers
pilosale
$33.09 USD
lined paper pillow cover
lined paper pillow cover
pilosale
$33.09 USD
north american map pillow
north american map pillow
pilosale
$49.64 USD
bird tea towel
bird tea towel
pilosale
$14.89 USD
smocked linen bag (dark)
smocked linen bag (dark)
pilosale
$70.32 USD
black alphabet pillow
black alphabet pillow
pilosale
$41.36 USD
printed 'give' ribbon
printed 'give' ribbon
pilosale
$16.55 USD
typewriter pillow cover
typewriter pillow cover
pilosale
$37.23 USD
white linen tea towel with recipe
white linen tea towel with recipe
pilosale
$14.89 USD
smocked half apron (top)
smocked half apron (top)
pilosale
$24.82 USD
bless you hankie
bless you hankie
pilosale
$9.93 USD
printed cotton bags with text
printed cotton bags with text
pilosale
$7.45 USD
SALE  printed bicycle tape
SALE printed bicycle tape
pilosale
$4.14 USD
wooden eggs in a bag
wooden eggs in a bag
pilosale
$19.85 USD
bag of wooden ornaments (6)
bag of wooden ornaments (6)
pilosale
$19.85 USD
linen ditty bag
linen ditty bag
pilosale
$24.82 USD
tooth fairy pillow
tooth fairy pillow
pilosale
$37.23 USD
alf letter case
alf letter case
pilosale
$18.20 USD
SALE  bike pillow
SALE bike pillow
pilosale
$16.55 USD
dark linen tea towel with recipe
dark linen tea towel with recipe
pilosale
$14.89 USD
set of 3 noel bags
set of 3 noel bags
pilosale
$20.68 USD
map pillow: cover only
map pillow: cover only
pilosale
$37.23 USD
abc bear pillow
abc bear pillow
pilosale
$37.23 USD
alf letter pillow
alf letter pillow
pilosale
$46.33 USD
kids smocked apron (dark)
kids smocked apron (dark)
pilosale
$47.98 USD
square typewriter pillow
square typewriter pillow
pilosale
$44.67 USD
bird metallic cases
bird metallic cases
pilosale
$19.85 USD
grass metallic cases
grass metallic cases
pilosale
$19.85 USD

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