Recently in the Etsy Forums, I came across one of those avatars that captures your attention. It was this sweet little ditty, beckoning me to click-through.
Once I found myself in the Etsy shop of Abigail E. Wilder, I was so glad I took the time to follow my instincts and click on that wee thumbnail of linen and embroidered sweetness - because there is an entire shop chalk-full of even more sweet designs, all with a similar, simple aesthetic. As you well know, when I find myself inspired by a fellow Etsyian, an interview typically follows:
Although the use of linen and embroidery is not a new technique, there is something very fresh about your style. It's hard for me to put my finger on it exactly; but I'm definitely loving the colors and use of vintage buttons.
I think that’s what I love about the materials I use: they’re all so sweetly mundane. I’m a simpleton at heart so I was drawn to the clean look of color on linen. Linen has that wonderful quality of elevating whatever design you apply to it.
How has your personal style evolved over time - and where do you see it going? When you began your Etsy shop, did you know that this would become your signature technique - or has it been a more organic process?
My Etsy experience has been born from necessity. She truly is the mother of the invention of the shop. After my second child I had a doosie of a case of post partum depression. I couldn’t find an ounce of my “old self” in the aftermath. And while I wasn’t feeling inspired or creative (at all) I knew there was something to be gained by at least pretending to be creative. So I taught myself to sew on a machine my mother gave me. It seemed like a wonderful combination of keeping my brain preoccupied while my hands could work on something. Needless to say, what resulted were tiny tote bags, embroidered pants, tea towels, and growth charts strewn about the house. What started as a practical way to stave of the crazies…turned into an awesome experience. I love every aspect of embroidery and sewing.
I think my style in the shop has just been an offshoot of a “look” I’m drawn to myself. I don’t know that I ever intended to develop a signature technique, but now that you mention it – there is a theme, isn’t there!
While I continue to love working with buttons and linen and embroidery, what I appreciate even more is a handmade piece that is timeless. I wanted items that recorded my babes’ birthdates, but I wanted them to be around forever, not just until I changed the décor in their room. Thus was born the BirthDate Hoop. So more than the materials I use, my process involves providing handmade beauty that will stand the test of time. This is important to me in case we ever experience another “’80’s”.
We all have many style influences. Who are some of the people you find inspiration from?
One influence was my time spent in a Montessori classroom as an instructor. The Montessori philosophy places a high value on setting up and caring for a beautiful environment for the children. Art prints from the Masters are hung at the child’s level. Tables & chairs are wood. The materials children work with and manipulate are color-coordinated. The color scheme in the room is monochromatic to keep things soothing. I was amazed at the positive influence a beautiful environment could have on children and anyone, really. I can’t pretend it didn’t influence my style.
My first two sewing books were Amy Karol’s, “Bend the Rules of Sewing” and Lotta Jansdotter’s, “Simply Sewing.” These two gals are amazing. I also love Scandinavian design, Swedish design, clean lines…you know the drill.
Your Etsy profile alludes to "bows and arrows" as well as Montessori. You've got my attention, and curiosity piqued. Please elaborate.
Well, I mentioned above that I taught in a Montessori classroom. It was the best time. And I love now how much the philosophy has seeped into my own parenting. And yes, I do shoot bow & arrow. My husband handcrafted a traditional long bow for me on my 30th birthday. I just think it’s an amazing, primitive form of defense. I only wish it were more acceptable to grocery shop with a quiver of arrows on my back.
Not only has Abigail graciously, honestly, and humorously answered my questions - but she's also agreed to do a special giveaway just for the readers of Elan Vital Anthology! One lucky reader will win the pencil case of choice from her shop - and they are super-cute! This one is my personal favorite:
To be entered to win you absolutely must do the following:
- Visit Abigail's shop, come back to the blog and comment about your favorite item in the shop, as well as which pencil case you hope to win. (1 entry)
- Follow the Elan Vital Anthology blog, be sure and comment to let me know you've done so.
- Tweet about the giveaway, be sure and leave a comment with your twitter id so I can find your tweet
- Blog about this giveaway, comment with a link to your blogpost.
The giveaway will end on March 16th, at the stroke of midnight - when this blog post turns into a pumpkin. Until that time - it's fair play. The lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced on March 17th!
If you can't wait to see if you win, or if you don't end up winning - Abigail's done us all one better - she's extending a secret sale just to Elan Vital Anthology blog readers. At checkout, simply enter "ELANVITAL" in the "Message to Seller" section of Etsy for 15% off your entire purchase.