Category: Handmade

Meet the Maker – Amanda Brittin

If you’re in the market for an inspiring and beautiful piece of jewellery, Amanda Brittin is your go-to! Read on to find out more about Amanda and how she comes up with her creations..

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I work with hammer and torch to create hand-forged rustic sterling silver, bronze and gemstone jewelry. With a background in Anthropology and Archaeology, I am very influenced by the jewelry pieces that have been excavated from ancient Roman and Viking sites and this has been the source of inspiration for my recent “Unearthed” series of bronze and silver work.

Although I no longer work in Archaeology, I still occasionally design and install museum exhibitions!

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

Form and function are very important to me! When I go about my day to day life, the pieces of art that I enjoy the most are the things that I “use”, the functional things that are handmade and beautiful and I can enjoy as more than just a piece of art on the wall. I love my visual art too, but I get the most pleasure out of things that I can actually use; things like my hand-thrown tea pot, my funky mosaic toothbrush holder and my lovely hand-made bird feeders. Over my years as an artisan making a big variety of artwork, from floorcloths to mosaics, concrete sculpture to jewelry, this has always been the thing that informed my work – make stuff that is useful and beautiful, whether it is personal adornment or a mat in front of a kitchen sink.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

One of the more challenging aspects of business is to keep on top of business development. I may make beautiful jewelry, but unless I can get it out there in the public eye, no one will appreciate it and sales will not happen. Keeping up with daily activity in social media and maintaining frequent contact with clients has been something that I have had to become quite disciplined with. I have noticed that when I am really busy with other things and don’t keep up with my Etsy listings, Instagram and Facebook feeds, my business can really lag. I have developed a pattern now, where I choose a certain time of day and make sure to post or be active at that time!

How long does the average item take for you to create?

The average sterling silver and gemstone ring will take me several hours to design, but once I know what I want to create, the actual time to make it is usually 2-3 hours. I find that the sketching and mulling over of a design idea is a time consuming part. Once I have solved the problem or come up with creative idea, then execution of that idea comes together fairly fast. Of course, there are always a few pieces that can take a whole day!

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have a very small and joyful studio space that is connected to my house. It is only 9×11 feet in size and I pack a lot in there! I have two work benches set a different heights so that I sit at one and stand at the other. All my electrical equipment and my torch for jewelry-making are attached to these two benches. A floor to ceiling set of shelving lines one wall for shipping and packaging and my music system. My products are nicely set up in a little alcove to the side for clients to shop. I still manage to bring in a couple of lovely plants and have some great artwork on my colourful walls. My favourite aspect of my studio is that I have set up several bird feeders outside my big studio window and I have a pond out beyond those – what a view! How could this not bring joy to me as I work away creating jewelry?

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

I think that the biggest reason for my success is my willingness to work on custom jewelry, largely driven by clients’ special requests. Even an Etsy inquiry as general as, “I saw this rounded triangular ring on my last trip to Latvia…could you make something like that?” will get my creativity flowing and I will try it out for a client with no expectation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is not quite right, but the times that it is perfect and the client is thrilled, that makes it all worthwhile. I love to experiment and have no interest in mass production work, even though it is more financially feasible, so customized orders are my main business! I would say that customized and made-to-order account for half my business!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I am an avid bird-watcher and traveler with a passion for hiking in the American southwest. If I have a bit of free time during the week, I love to enjoy the wonderful forest tracts in York Region and will head out with a friend for a hike! I usually take my camera as there are almost always birds to see and capturing one or two on a hike makes the outing just perfect!

You can find Amanda’s gorgeous creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can follow her online!

Etsy: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/amandabrittin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amandajanebrittin
Instagram: @amandabrittin

VENDOR CALL – Handcrafted Christmas

Our first Market as York Makers is set for December 2, 2017!

In partnership with Etsy York Region, we are aiming for a great group of handcrafted artists to make the market a winter wonderland!

We have plans for DIY workshops, loads of gift giving ideas and even a visit with Santa! Located in the heart of Newmarket, the Handcrafted Christmas is sure to be a one-stop shop for all of your holiday requirements.

Apply to be a vendor today!

  • York Makers ~ Handcrafted Christmas Market

    SET UP:
    Set-up time is between 8am to 9:30am. Show doors open at for VIPs at 10am promptly. General public admission opens at 11am.

    TAKE DOWN:
    Shop Owners agree not to pack up prior to 4:00 pm. Failure to do so will result in rejection from future York Maker's Markets. This is non-negotiable.We are also having a mini Vendors only market right after the public market (about 45 minutes-an hour) so that you can shop each other's products - this is not mandatory - but based on feedback from last year's vendors.

    DEADLINES
    Applications are open until August 31, 2017.
    Successful applicants will be notified by email no later than September 6, 2017.
    Payment is due upon acceptance. Payment can be made by Email Money Transfer or via PayPal (PayPal payments will incur an additional 2% admin fee). Details to Follow upon Acceptance.

    We will assume forfeiture of your spot, should payment not be received by the deadline. We reserve the right to fill any spots that are not paid in full by September 30th, 2017. You will receive an email confirmation once your payment has been received. There will be no holding of spots after this date without full payment, as we are expecting a higher than usual number of applications and promotion of our vendors starts as soon as they're accepted.

    MARKETING & PROMOTION:
    We have a comprehensive plan for marketing and promotion that includes printed materials, paid social media and more!
    We expect all vendors to distribute information to their family and friends, and post on social media to assist in making this event great! Failure to do so may result in your table being revoked and payment being refunded.

    SWAG BAG:
    Vendors are required to include a small item of value in our Swag Bag! A minimum of 100 swag bags will be distributed to VIP Attendees and throughout the event. Vendors participating in the swag bag will receive extra promotion on social media. Information on Swag bags will be sent out to accepted vendors.

    SOCIAL MEDIA:
    F: www.facebook.com/etsyyorkregion
    I: www.instagram.com/etsyyorkregion
    P: www.pinterest.com/etsyyorkregion

    VOLUNTEERS:
    We are looking for 8-10 volunteers that can help during the market. If you, or someone you know is interested in becoming a volunteer, please email us at creative@yorkmakers.ca, with the subject line: Market Volunteer. Areas of help include marketing and promotion, decorations, set-up, photography, and event staff.

    NUMBER OF SHOPS:
    A minimum of 50 market spaces will be available. The final number of spaces available will be determined during the jurying process.

    CANCELLATIONS
    Please let us know if you need to cancel, by emailing creative@yorkmakers.ca. Every effort to replace your space will be made, however, should your space not be able to be filled, you will forfeit 50% of your payment. Following September 30th, 2017, no refunds will be granted and we reserve the right to fill your spot.