Monday, May 19, 2008

Bead Bugs Marathon

One thing I enjoy about being a part of Etsy is that you get to meet, talk with and make friends with so many people from around the world that you wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to. For instance Kim, creator and owner of The Artful Salamander.

The art and craft world has been a part of Kim’s life ever since she was young. Her mother is a talented craftswoman who now does traditional bead embroidery and leatherwork for historical costumes. When Kim was younger, her mom had a small business making stuffed animals. Even her family has a strong tradition of making handmade gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

Kim’s Etsy shop is new, but she is not new to selling. Besides Etsy, she also sells her creations at one of the local Farmer’s market where she lives - one of the older sections of Calgary that has lots of trees, a couple of parks and “a friendly neighborhood where people actually talk to each other”. I guess one downfall is that “the weather can be kind of insane”. She also sells at Christmas craft fairs. This works out well for Kim as she had returned to school for a degree in Psychology and needed a flexible way of earning money, and to keep her grounded.

Kim heard about Etsy “through the Craftser forums, it’s perfect for my needs right now – and there’s the bonus of meeting yet another community of creative, vibrant people”. How very true! With the daunting research of what it would take to sell via a personal website (shopping cart, secure payment system, etc.) Kim obviously selected Etsy. Good choice Kim!

The Artful Salamander, Kim’s Etsy shop, has some very unique ”beaded art, jewelry and more”. Her “Bead Bug” pieces are colorful, creative and very realistic, if I don’t say so myself (don’t worry, they don’t bite). The shop name is very interesting to me - this is what Kim had to say about how she came up with her shop name: ”Salamander Designs” was something I started using several years ago when I had some wall quilts in a friend’s shop. I was working with a research and conservation project on amphibians at the time, and I’ve also always loved the medieval alchemist’ conception of the salamander as a Fire Elemental – such a contrast between that and the humble reality”.

Unfortunately when she went to register her domain, there was already a “Salamander Design” out there, but they sell office furniture – that’s a far cry from the creative work that she makes. So, Kim came up with “The Artful Salamander” – I think that is a fabulous name!

We are all inspired by one thing or another. When asked what inspires her, she said “what doesn’t?” Nature sparks her imagination, talking with other artists & crafters, magazines, browsing through beads shops, etc. Sometimes she even awakens with every detail in mind of what to make!

If you think this doesn’t keep her busy enough, she aspires to become a Counseling Psychologist. What are her plans? I couldn’t word this better myself: “It’s fairly likely that I will end up with a practice that looks like a cross between a craft studio and a bike/outdoor outfitter’s shop – I believe strongly that connecting to the physical and natural world is crucial to keeping ourselves in balance, as human beings. Maybe a book one day…”

Make sure to check out Kim’s Etsy shop and her main website blog at You will be amazed at the detail of her work!

Happy Monday and Peace to all,
☼ Rocki

Yes, you can forget how to ride a bike “ow” (that was 3 years ago), but that isn’t going to stop Kim from one of her goals this summer to complete at least one brevet (bike ultra marathon) with the Alberta Randonneur Association:


mary jane said...

wow! great seller!
i love the scorpion...
mary jane

Anonymous said...

Those bugs are so cute! I love the bike too!!!

I posted this month's Giveaway on my blog today...

Here's me, inviting all your blog friends to stop by and enter!

Beat Black said...

its great getting to know another Etsy seller. her bugs are right up my alley :)

Grizzly Mountain Arts said...

Those are so neat! Thanks for sharing her work with us!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful write up Rocki, you're such a gifted writer!! Loved Kim's creations and am on my way to check out her shop & blog - thanks!! ~Sharon

ThisOldHenHouse said...

Oooh those bugs are so cool!!

christina said...

thanks for the kind words about my photos, rocki! i appreciate it a lot. children are such a blessing...i LOVE being able to capture them, especially so fresh and young. :) you have some very detailed work...very impressive.