Arkansas Artists On NPR

Recently two of our AREtsy members were interviewed at the River Market in Little Rock! Very cool. Thanks Chris Massingill and Laurie of Glassbead for helping represent artists and crafters in Arkansas! You can listen to that NPR spot by clicking here. And learn more about the River Market here.


AREtsy Featured Artist: EkioArt

This week's AREtsy Featured Artist was a member of AREtsy before I was and so I have viewed her as kind of a Tribe Elder (if you will). Brandy of EkioArt is one of those artists who can create a lot of different things and do fabulous work with each thing. She's a blast to chat with and always seems to know someone or something going on when someone else brings it up. Yes - she is a HUGE asset to the AREtsy Team. I'm so excited to finally get to feature her.

Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.

Welll...Lets see I’m never really good at these kind of things. My name is Brandy Davis and currently I’m a Little Rock gal. I’m momma to two rowdy boys and four pets. My husband is one of the biggest supporters I’ll ever have and I love him dearly for it.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

I was a dancer for the majority of my youth. I danced my way through 12 years doing just about every form there is out there. Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Swing, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Pointe..you name it, I’ve tried it. I really enjoyed it and still do, I’d love to take up belly dancing as I hear it’s a lot of fun.

I also spend my “extra” time gardening, training my dogs, fishing, hunting, singing (and not just in the shower) and dreaming about travel. That and laying on beaches.

For my day job I’m a mom first and a toddler teacher at a local daycare second. I adore being so close to my boys all the time and at the same time I enjoy the fact that I get to teach a bit. Most of the teaching I get to do is craft related and colorful.

What first made you want to become an artist?

My mom mostly. She told me that when I was in pre-school I did a typical crayon and watercolor painting and it was part of a school show for the parents. (It was a pre-school I wish was still around for my boys.) A man came over and told her he was with a local small gallery and that he would like to purchase my painting. He said he loved the use of color. She of course told him no, but she says she always knew I’d be an artist. Now it hangs in my office, I had it framed a few years back.

She always got me supplies if I asked for them and she’s always been there when I’ve done a show.

I also had the immense luck of having some very challenging art teachers in my school days. One who made me do projects and styles I wasn’t that interested in (on which I learned so much) and One who gave us free reign on some projects that most jr high schools wouldn’t be allowing. (IE...we tore up part of the floor and made a mosaic....)

As for personally, I just love creating. I get an itch and I follow it. Granted, that means my house is amuck with supplies I purchased impulsively and sometimes I might seem a bit scattered art wise, but I love it.

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.

Usually I just go with the flow. Most of my paintings are done when I get an itch to paint something, but I also have to have the ability to draw that day. Some days I feel that tingle to pick up a paintbrush but everything that comes out is muddy. It’s almost like my brain is on overdrive.

When I get an idea for a project and I have the ability, I have to get it done fast. I’m not a slow painter or crafter in general. I think that’s why knitting has been so hard for me. I cannot finish most projects in a sitting. Most of my paintings are done at once, there’s no coming back to it for me on average.

When it comes to trying something new, I’ll read tutorials, but I tend to just go for it. Yes the first few tries are sloppy and end up in my hidden box....but they are worth it.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

My baby quilt my grandmother made me. There are two of them, one is a blue jean quilt that is favored on winter nights, but the other, the other is my absolute favorite. It’s a small quilt with the image of a clothesline on it. Hanging from the clothes line is a jumper and a few other baby things. Each item has a fact about my birth on it. Weight, length, date and time and so on. The white back drop has little patterns of clouds and horizon stitched in. It’s gentle and different and I love every stitch that she put in by hand sitting in her living room.

Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.

I tend to read the same types of books over and over, Stephen King and Dean Koontz being my favorites. King mostly because I love that things are all connected and hardly ever ended. It kind of creeps me out, but in a good way. As far as my favorites from him, Tommyknockers gets read over and over, and Shawshank Redemption.

As far as movies go, I love Wall E. Yes I know it’s a kids movie, but it’s a great piece. Well done. Just truly well done, I nearly cried in the first few minutes because of how easily true it was. (That’s part of why I love Stephen King so much, so many of the things he’s written as a horror are too easily true.) What Dreams May Come is another, it’s such an interesting concept and I love seeing Robin Williams in a non comedic role.

When it comes to music, I’m all over the board. Though I adore the Beatles and Elvis. Throw some Jack Johnson in there, a little Wolfs Rain background music, some Phantom of the Opera, a bit of Kenny Chesney and a dash of Jimmy Buffett and you’ve got a traveling mix cd. Because the mix tape is a lost art.

How do you promote your work?

At the moment on every forum that allows it, where ever I post, it’s in my signature. Family, Friends, Facebook, my blog and hopefully soon through my website. (Shhhhh! I’ll be telling Hubb about my need for tech help soon ^-~) basically anywhere I can plug it without seeming pushy or rude I will.

What are your favorite things about belonging to AREtsy?

Sometimes it easy to feel overwhelmed when thinking of shows, promotion, keeping up with what’s going on in the world of etsy, so it’s wonderful to have a group who’s so supportive.

In ten years I'd like to be...

On a beach sunning and not worrying about a thing.


That and being able to work on art full time again. I know that I’ll always be a mother first, but being able to devote my days while the boys are doing all those jr high things to creating at my every whim. It’s hard to be in the middle of making a watercolor painting with the kids in my class and get an itch to do some serious painting of my own. By the time I get home, that’s long gone.

So I’d love to be able to just jump up and go for it at any moment the urge strikes.


AREtsy Featured Member: IdyllHands/WoolyHands

It's been too long coming but this week we are finally featuring the fearless leader of AREtsy herself Erin of IdyllHands and WoolyHands on etsy! Not only does Erin work long and hard at a full time job out there in the "real" world but she runs this street team and has two etsy shops, she's amazing!

Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.

I’m Erin, the creator and artist behind IdyllHands and WoolyHands. I’m a Production Manager by day (and some nights… and some weekends) at Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas where I have the chance surround myself with artists and performers while earning the money to support my bead filled and wool surrounded habit. By night I slave over the dye pots to create colorful roving to fill WoolyHands with and hunch over my beading table coming up with new knit bracelets and necklaces to adorn IdyllHands with.

When I’m not working or crafting, I’m spending time with my sweet boy, Rocky, and my Schmoo cat. Rocky loves showing off my crafting but isn’t one to help. However, the Schmoo cat would love to get her paws into my wool and she says she’d like to help, but I think she has other motives and I have to keep her away from the yarn and beads. Cats really aren’t great helpers.

I’m slightly embarrassed with the lack of affiliations I have. I used to be a member of almost everything within my reach, but currently I’m only a member of the Longhorn Alumni Band (yes, I’m a University of Texas Alumni). I would say that I might geek out just a bit more about marching band than I do anything else. I cry when I hear a good drum line or trumpet section warming up and my heart beats just a little bit faster when I hear any school fight song as a band approaches the football stadium on game day. I suppose that is my only “active” affiliation that is not Etsy related. Yeah, I’m a bum.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Besides working in the performing arts and working for myself with my Etsy shops, I garden. I love to get my hands into the dirt and dig around. I had a wonderful herb, veggie and flower garden at my last place, but not a wonderful landlord, so I had to move. That just gives me the chance to build new gardens this year.

Oh wait – I’m also a musician. I actually have a degree in music with an emphasis in musicology. I suppose I’m committed. I love playing piano and used to play the bassoon a lot. I bought one last year after Yo Yo Ma told me to (he really did, I can tell you the story if you ask me nicely) so I suppose I should pull it out once in a while and serenade everyone with some lovely bass lines.

And, last, but certainly not least, I’m a self-proclaimed foodie. I love to cook, buy food, look at food, dream of food, and eat food. I even applied for culinary school at the end of college when I didn’t know what I would do after graduation. Upon finding out that 15 months of culinary school would cost the same as 5 years of college, I abandoned my dream of being a fabulous restaurant chef. I’m thankful for that, now I have time to cook at home and time to craft… 2 things I might not have had time to do if I was living in a restaurant kitchen for most of the day.

What first made you want to become an artist?

I honestly do not know. I’ve always made things here and there while growing up, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2007 that I started making jewelry that I wanted to share with others. My mom did wire wrapped glassware and the wire and beads were available to me to play with and I started with my knit wire bracelets and that led to earrings, then necklaces and somehow handspun yarn (explain how jewelry goes to yarn – I haven’t figured that one out yet) and then onto hand dyed wool. Even then, I didn’t sit down one day and say “Self, I want to be an artist”… heck, I’m not even sure I’m an artist. I’m a creator of colorful things. How is that for an answer?

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.

My creative process might be different than most. I don’t get ideas throughout the day and write them down to create later. I usually sit down with my jewelry supplies or wool dyes in front of me and come up with stuff then. When working on bracelets or necklaces, I set the beads, vintage findings, pieces of hardware, etc out in front of me and stare at them (sometimes for a very long time) until the colors and objects come together and I get a design going. Sometimes I even come up with a name for the piece I’m going to make before even designing it and design it around the name. Dyeing wool is similar, but not quite as easy to place all of the colors in front of me and running with it. With dyes I have to mix some colors so I have to have some idea of what colors schemes I’m going with that day. This is a hard question… can I start over?

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

My Grandma (on my mom’s side) made me a quilt when I was younger. It was a twin sized quilt and had the 12 Days of Christmas on it. For many years I was bummed that everyone else got a larger quilt in a more traditional and year round friendly pattern. However, now that I’m older, and wiser, I wouldn’t trade my 12 Days of Christmas quilt for anything in the world. I also have a water color painting that my mom painted a few years ago. She framed it and gave it to me for Christmas and I absolutely love it. My mom worked forever in various jobs that didn’t allow for a ton of creativity, so it always amazes me what a wonderful artist she is. All along she’s been this artist who created for fun, for herself, not for the approval others. I truly love that about her.

Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.

All The Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren

The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella (I’m a girl after all)

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Shawshank Redemption

Benny and Joon


Mr. Holland’s Opus

Waiting for Guffman


Dave Matthews Band (and Dave Matthews solo work)
Elton John

Barenaked Ladies

Jack Johnson

Amos Lee

Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com)

Craftster (http://www.craftster.org/)

Flickr (http://www.flickr.com)

You Grow Girl (http://www.yougrowgirl.com)

I Can Haz Cheezburger (http://icanhascheezburger.com/ - I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it)

How do you promote your work?

I’m not great at this part (I know, shocker). I have business cards that I sometimes hand out and signature lines on my emails telling people that they must shop at my site, my blog at http://knittinghands.blogspot.com, and I participate in the Phat Fiber box each month (http://phatfiber.com/) but that is about it. I’ve been lucky that my sales are pretty consistent with what I do. I do post pictures to Facebook – but I really doubt if I get any business that way.

What are your favorite things about belonging to AREtsy?

I love to know that there are quite a few people just like me across the state. It’s a great group to share ideas with, to help promote each other, and just to have a community of crafting/artist friends who are there when I have a question about a local craft fair or need tips on yarn stores to visit when passing through Hot Springs or Little Rock.

In ten years I'd like to be...

Crafting, gardening and raising a few sheep – full time. I think I can get there and have a PayPal account where I’ll gladly take donations to help me achieve my 10 year goal *winks*