I am so excited about today! I have been looking forward to it all week. Today I am going to introduce a new concept to my little blog - Feature Friday! Basically the plan is that every Friday I will choose a shop to Feature here. We'll talk about their products, what makes them special and unique, and even have a little Q&A with the geniuses behind it to get better acquainted with the history of their shop - as well as get sneak peeks and advice from them! So, here goes Feature Friday #1!
This week I was lucky enough to work with Mike & Shaunna Fuellbrandt from DragonNerd. This is one of my favorite shops to browse on Etsy! Mike creates beautiful pieces of jewellery using wire bent in geometrical patterns called fractals. Here is one example of DragonNerd's work:
This is the classic Dragon Curve design by DragonNerd. Beautiful, right? They have this particular design in all sorts of colors, and some even have matching earrings! Check this one out!
But this isn't the only design they have. There are plenty of beautiful patterns to pick from! And they even offer to do any design in your own custom color choice, and they will even bead it with your choice of colors as well!
In fact, there are so many beautiful pieces that I wish I could just post ALL of them right here!! Here's just one more....
I had a few questions about this FANTASTIC shop. So I contacted DragonNerd and got to ask Mike a few questions. Here are some of the answers I got.....
Q: When did you start crafting?
A: I started in the summer of 2009. I was reading and getting interested in the "making" phenomenon; seeing these "makers" build these ornate sculptures with recycled materials intrigued me. Then I stumbled upon a project by the Evil Mad Scientist and it amazed me. It was an intricate 3D art piece designed by a mathematician/artist: George W Hart. The article showed me that *I* could make something like this, something beautiful and amazing. Before that, I had very little creative confidence. I was grounded in logic and never really thought of myself in any artistic capacity. I had a ton of cardboard in my garage (from a recent move) and I set out to create one of these for myself. That was the first time I threw myself whole-heartedly into crafting.
The article that started it:
The artist's work, on etsy:
Q: What inspired you to start your own shop?
A: I had discovered a certain class of fractals called Lindenmayer Fractals. In particular, there was one called the Dragon Curve: AKA the paper folding fractal. I had a moment of inspiration that I could recreate this fractal in wire (and not paper). So I did, and gave it to my wife. Then I made some smaller ones, and arranged them in a cube. I was burning with a feverish desire to see this finished, so I was using every spare moment to make these 24 copies. I was making them everywhere I had a spare moment, even on the bus ride home! Eventually I lost count of the pieces, and made too many. My wife saw these extra pieces, and thought that it would look good as a pendant. We put the extra Dragon Curve on a cord, and she wore it out with her friends. They all went wild over this and wanted ones of their own. I made those, and then Shaunna introduced me to this little site called Etsy...
Q: What hopes do you have for your shop in the future?
A: I want to get back to creating. I really love that I am creating something that people would generally use a computer to express. I'm constantly seeking out new fractals to try out. I'm even trying to design my own! I am also playing with them and seeing how they look in different arrangements.
Q: Is it hard for you to keep your personal life balanced while maintaining your shop?
A: Not really, I make most of my fractals either on the bus or after everybody has gone to bed. My wife is really supportive and does most of the product write ups and chains during the day when our youngest naps. Sometimes we try things out in the evening after the kids are in bed. Taking pictures can be tricky, but with summer on the way, I should get more hours of useable sunlight.
Q: Any advice you would give to people that are interested in or just starting out on Etsy?
A: I think we were somewhat lucky to have an almost completely unique idea. The catch with that is that it's a bit harder to get the word out! Who's going to look for dragon curves - most people on Etsy haven't even heard of them. So I guess our advice would be to tell everyone, EVERYONE, that you are selling. And if you are selling something niche, to go and join forums and tell people that you are selling stuff they might be interested. Worse case scenario? They ignore you. (But don't get spammy - you don't want to get blocked either.)
Also take good pictures. Practice and take a 100 if you aren't sure. The sun is your friend - indirect is best. We still take tons and tons of pictures - different angles, different backgrounds, any idea that comes to us and might work.
Q: Can you give us a sneak peek of what is coming soon?
A: I've been experimenting with some shapes - I decided to do a 5 pointed star. It was a little drab, so I did a second layer, and bent it up. I call them Star Flowers, and my family loves them.
He was nice enough to give me a picture of this exciting sneak peek! Here it is, people!
Well, I hope you have all come to love and enjoy this shop as much as I do. I also hope to be able to consider myself a lucky owner of one of these beautiful pieces some day!! If you haven't already discovered that any of the above pictures will take you directly to their shop's homepage, here's yet another opportunity!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/DragonNerd
So go check them out, buy their stuff, make a statement. Then tell your friends!! Together we can help DragonNerd become an even bigger success!!
A special thank you to Mike and Shaunna Fuellbrandt for allowing me to feature their shop in my VERY 1ST Feature Friday!!! Looking forward to doing this again next week. As for me, I have an Etsy Success Sympsium to attend ALL DAY (as I'm sure most of my fellow Etsy shop owners will be doing today), so stay tuned for my report on that tomorrow. Thanks everyone! See you next time!