Tell us a Little About Yourself:
I am a mother, a minister and a natural toy maker. I work full time out of the home, and pretty much full time again when I get back home! It is exhausting, but I love every bit of what I do. We live in a small town in Northern Ontario~ the kind of small town where everyone knows you (and talks about you)~ and we love the community and the natural highland setting of rocks and trees and lakes. Life is good.
What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I work with wool, silk and wood and make a range of natural toys and accessories. I like variety and love to try new things, so I hop about a lot! My staple products are playsilks and silk based toys. My artistic outlet is felting.
I have always been creating. I was a creative kid (in a not-so-creative family). I began dyeing and hand painting clothing 3 years ago and sort of fell into the natural toys because the philosophies surrounding them resonated so deeply with me as a parent. It has been a wonderful journey of claiming my creativity and beginning to see myself as an artist.
What inspires you?
Everything. The seasons. My daughter~ I notice that as she has grown, so have I made toys to reflect her developmental stages and needs. I love colour and texture, I am drawn to them. I am also passionate about the need for children to grow up slowly and to be empathetic people.
What got you started working with natural materials?
I started making some alternative items for our home and fell in love with the natural materials. And then I made too much for our home and friends and sort of fell into business!
How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I will have been on Etsy for 3 years at the end of this month. I started when things were smaller, for which I am thankful! Etsy has been very good to me. With natural toys we have a niche that thankfully is (almost) untouched by resellers and the like and we also have a strong and committed niche market.
What advice would you have for other Etsians?
Make what you love. If you make what you love, the highs and lows and frustrations of Etsy and small business won’t matter so much because you will feel your time is well spent on creating something of value. I realized early on that if I was going to spend the time on creating and marketing, it had to be *worth* my time both financially and ‘spiritually’ (for lack of a better word). Be persistent~ keep at it~ things always ebb and flow. Connect with others.
What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
Being part of the NK Team has been wonderful for finding a sense of community in the vastness of the Etsy marketplace. It is wonderful to share with other like minded folks about our passion for the natural life for our kids.
What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
Kids know how to play. They need to play to learn and grow and develop themselves as compassionate and competent people. Open ended toys enable the child to lead the play and natural toys connect them to earth itself and teach the values of simplicity and diversity in a world that markets so strongly to children to become consumers.
http://hyenacart.com/fresh (congo stocking the 9th of every month)
http://hyenacart.com/beneaththerowantree (3rd Anniversary party on May 26th!)
(giving away a silk a day in May to FB fans)
Our second shop, with positive tees for kids
Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard