This week we take a close up look at Driaa in our talk with owner and creator Dria.
Tell us about you!
Hi! My name is Dria. I am a mother of three girls. I live with my husband in a small vegetarian village in the hills of the Galilee, in Israel, where I grew up. My parents and siblings live here too, with their children. I come from a family of crafty people, and we have a small shop together – a whole wheat bakery and vegetarian café (my mother and one of my brothers are bakers) with a small handcrafts Gallery. I sell my dolls and my other brother sells his wooden toys. My father grows the vegetable garden for the bakery and Café and my sister makes sure everything is working properly. My third brother is a stone restoration expert with the Antiquities Authority.
Tell us about your business!
I am a doll maker (I consider plush animals to be dolls, too). I sew all kinds of dolls, trying out new techniques and drafting new patterns all the time. Some of my dolls are Waldorf style dolls, but I also make other types. I sew other things as well, like bags and hats and also knit and crochet.
What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I have been creating since I was a child, crocheting clothes for my dolls since I was six years old. I have been making dolls professionally for seven years.
Where do you find inspiration?
I have three main sources of inspiration:
Nature – recently have been making dolls inspired by beautiful wild flowers. (I haven’t managed to find time to make them all yet, so some of them are still only ideas in my head..)
Fabric – sometimes a piece of fabric will spark a whole new idea for a doll.
Children – many of my designs were first made for a specific child, mostly my nieces and nephews.
Oh, custom orders are a great source of inspiration, too!
What got you started in your craft?
One day, after many years of not creating at all and only studying (life sciences and history of science, if you must know), I found a teddy bear making book in the bargain area of a bookstore. Seeing a new creature come to life from my sewing was thrilling! (Of course I changed the pattern even on my first teddy and gave him my own interpretation.) That was just before my first nephews and nieces were born, and when they appeared into my life I started knitting and sewing for them.
What’s your favorite thing you have ever made?
My favorite thing right now is my new design for a Bee and a Flower that can be opened and closed. I’m very proud of it!
How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I’ve been on Etsy almost a year and a half. It’s been great! But I still have a long way to go before my Etsy shop is what I want it to be.
What advice do you have for other Etsy artisans?
Find a good team!
What do you hope to gain or contribute to the Natural Kids group?
I joined this team because I think this team has some of the best artisans and crafters on Etsy! I think that as a group we mark the stamp of quality, earth conscious and imaginative toys and items for kids. So I hope to contribute my efforts to the group and together we can get much further.
What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
Children that receive mass produced toys these days don’t expect them to last very long. They know from experience that most of their toys will end up in the trash – some of them on the same day they get them. Besides the pollution created by the short lives of these toys, I think it’s sad that children have such low expectations from their belongings. Carefully crafted natural toys that are made lovingly by an artisan can be something that chaperons a child into adulthood. I still have toys that were mine as a child, and they have a deep meaning for me – as a body that holds a piece of my childhood.