This week we take a close up look at EntWorks in our talk with owner and artisan Alicia.
Tell us about you!
I am a long time lover of dirt, who defines herself as a teacher, mother, artisan, wife, scientist, tree huger, gardener, friend, and nerd who’s seemingly not outgrown her fondness of frogs.
Tell us about your business!
EntWorks was born from a “why not?” I have been creating for years and two fabulous neighbors, who happened already to be Etsy sellers, Talcotts & BCharmer, inspired me that I only had to gain by putting myself out there. So I did, and continue to do so. What I first started listing is different than what I list today. Inspirations, locations, suppliers, and time all seemingly evolve, literally, into something new.
My focus is twofold- creating useful items from upcycled, recycled, or natural materials and being as green as can be. I’m a huge packrat who clings to every scrap, button, and shrunken sweater thinking “I can do something with this” and I usually can.
What do you make and how long have you been creating?
Literally, as far back as I can remember I have been making something. My most memorable toys were ones that could mark up walls (to my mother’s dismay). If I had to consider a “beginning” it would have been the Pentel Felt Tip set when I was seven, oh how I loved that yellow plastic case full of inky rainbow delights. Then there was a whirlwind over the years dabbling and achieving different degrees of success in nearly every medium possible. It has just been in the past three years that I’ve taken to felting.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find my general love of nature helps with directions to go, but it is the tactile nature of materials in hand that tell me what it should be. If I start out to make something in my mind’s eye, it never lives up to the expectation in my head. However, if I start out with a general idea of what I’d like to make, I always pleasantly surprised myself. My daughter is my other source of ideas. Usually an idea stems from a play thing she desires or a need for the perfect holiday gift. My best items are ones that she snatches from my studio before I even get a chance to finish them.
What got you started in your craft?
I was lucky enough to live in Olympia, WA for a few years within a thriving arts community. After seeing other felters’ work, I thought “I can do that.” After a few tries, I was hooked. It blended what I liked about yarns, fabric, fibers, and wool. And it created a product faster than sewing, knitting, or sculpture. I could be as impulsive as I wanted and it was so forgiving. I’m a bit lazy when it comes to pre-washing fabric and guage count with proper respect to a project. Wool felting is more intuitive for me, but I still have a lot to learn.
What’s your favorite thing you have ever made?
Most of my favorites are the ones I’ve made with a loved one in mind. I loved my first proper quilt that I made for my brother-in-law’s wedding gift. It was a huge learning process that was so time and emotionally intensive. I am still massively proud of that achievement in textiles, but after my second quilt for my brother’s wedding, I’m done. I’m sticking to wool.
How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
EntWorks has been with Etsy 2 years and I’m finally giving it a proper go. In the past, it was for fun to see what the public thought of my creations rather than just my loving family and friends. It was all positive and I wanted to do more, but being a mama came first. Now my daughter starts Reception this fall and I’ll have entire days where I can create, sell, and run a business properly. I look forward to seeing what growth can be made.
What advice do you have for other Etsy artisans?
Enjoy what you do; otherwise what’s the point in all the effort. Also, price your items to be fair to yourself. I see so many labor & material intensive pieces sell, in my opinion, what it cost just to produce them. Your time is money, so are your ideas, make sure you pay yourself too.
What do you hope to gain or contribute to the Natural Kids group?
Peers, mentors, & like minded business partners are what I am looking for in the Natural Kids group. Living in the UK outside my cozy artistic community has made me aware of how lonesome a single artist can be.
What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
I always think of what my child comes in contact with will shape the person that she is to become. I mind what my child eats, what media she encounters, and what experiences she has. So that care goes towards choosing her toys as well. Mass produced items for girls seem to come in shades of pink and purple plastic with some sort of glitter and rhinestones attached. I want my daughter to define herself by the all the various shades of who she can be. I want her to be able to play queen-ballerina-fairy as well as dinosaur-farmer-chef. I make the toys so she can do so. I hate hearing “that’s a girl toy, that’s a boy toy”. I believe a toy is a toy despite the child’s inclined gender. Imagination is needed for play; EntWorks helps give props to those who like to dream.
Find EntWorks and Alicia at: