Have you ever had that moment when you find something so unique, and so beautiful, that you just have to have it? That is the effect that the designs of bstudio can have. The variety of pieces featuring gorgeous silk ribbon embroidery can make the princess in you do delighted cartwheels.
The artist, Brenda, has embellished cards, pillows and even jewelry featuring silk flowers, butterflies and hearts. Her classy designs have a lot of feminine appeal - exquisite enough for your most special occasions, and affordable enough for everyday. Oh Canada has put bstudio in the spotlight.
Oh Canada: Of all the things that you sell, which item or style is your favorite?
Brenda: That's a hard question to answer, it's like asking which one of your kids you like the best!
The major part of my shop features my silk ribbon embroidery and that is my favourite style. My favourite item would have to be my silk ribbon butterfly pillows. I developed the design and sewing technique to make the butterflies myself. It was prompted by a request for a custom ring pillow, up until then I only had my dragonfly ring pillow in my shop, and my client asked if I could change the dragonfly to a butterfly.
The butterfly design has also brought about a request from the Managing Editor of the publication Somerset Home. Two of my pillows were featured in the annual 2009 edition along with a how-to article that I wrote.
Oh Canada: Where did you learn your skills?
Brenda: The silk ribbon embroidery skills are completely self taught from books, magazines and blogs. My Mum was always making me clothes when I was growing up and I learned to sew from her, I also had some sewing classes in high school and night school.
Oh Canada: Everyone has different motivations for making their unique wares. What drives you to create?
Brenda: I have always had an innate sense to create and have been involved in art and design all my life.
In high school I took a unique arts course where we had three art teachers each specializing in different aspects of design. (We were also the first high school in our area to have nude models! We had to keep the window blinds closed and paper over the window in the classroom door whenever we had that class!)
In college I took a creative arts course where I was able to experiment with various mediums. After I graduated I landed a job in an interior design firm and that became my career.
My husband and I retired when we were both 55 and moved out of Toronto. As much as I loved gardening, it is a seasonal activity and I still needed to be creative. I started to focus more on my silk ribbon embroidery. Luckily I discovered Etsy and was delighted to find an outlet for my work!
Oh Canada: If you could learn to use any new technique or material, what would it be?
Brenda: Lately I've been thinking about smocking and incorporating it into some of my work. It has a really interesting look to it. I think it would look great having just one part of a pillow with some smocking on it or mounting a bit of it in a card.
Oh Canada: Any plans to incorporate a new product into your shop this year?
Brenda: I'm always thinking about what other smaller items I could introduce to my product line while still using my silk ribbon techniques so my shop has a cohesive look to it. I'll probably be introducing some hair combs, headbands and necklaces, all with silk ribbon flowers on them, into the lineup.
I'd also like to experiment with printing designs from my computer onto my silk dupioni fabric and then embellishing that with embroidery.
Oh Canada: What is your favorite thing about selling on Etsy?
Brenda: I love the fact that I can sell to people from all over the world from the comfort of my home. I'm a relatively shy person and not very good at talking myself up to sell to others, and I really don't like the task of having to go to store owners and ask if they'll carry my work.
Oh Canada: Do you have a number one tip for new sellers?
Brenda: Your photos are the most important aspect of your shop. A potential buyer can't pick up your item and examine it so you have to present your products clearly and in as much detail as possible, including your descriptions. Read everything that Etsy has to offer about how to improve your photos and your shop.
Oh Canada: What is your favorite thing to buy on Etsy?
Brenda: If I had the room there, are all sorts of neat retro housewares that I'd buy. I have purchased bath and body items, business related items like my business cards, and some of my supplies from Etsy.
Oh Canada: What is the number one best item in your shop right now?
Brenda: My dragonfly ring bearer's pillow - I've sold 18 of them. It's obviously not for every bride since it's geared more towards the nature loving outdoorsy sort, but it is unique. It even made it to the Front Page!
You can see all of Brenda’s fantastic designs in her Etsy shop, bstudio, or on Flickr. To catch up on her latest inspirations, visit the bstudio designs blog or follow her on Facebook. If you're interested in trying out silk ribbon embroidery, you can pick up Brenda's Ribbon Art Book & Kit on Amazon.
Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and bstudio