Inside an Etsy shop

No matter what else is going on in my life, my Etsy shop is open for business and humming along in the background, taking online orders from people all over the world. I opened Earthshards in 2012. Actually, it was the my second shop – anybody remember those kindle covers that I used to make? Boy, were those suckers labor-intensive.

There’s always stock on hand for the Earthshards shop, small earthenware faces that I make in the evenings when I’m not busy. I usually make about 80 each time, which takes two hours or so. They take a day to dry. After they are fired, they are sorted by clay type.

White and terra cotta unfinished clay faces

When I get an order, I select the faces according to the quantity and finish requested. Buyers can order three different finishes, Rune and Relic (walnut ink), Celtic Forge (metallic layers), or Mesa Verde (faux turquoise). I can’t do the finishes in advance because I never know who will want what, so they are finished at the time the orders are received.

From top left clockwise: Celtic Forge, Mesa Verde, and Rune and Relic finishes

Yesterday’s orders set a record – ten! Three were from other countries – Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia.

Etsy orders printed and in progress

After the orders are sorted and laid out, each face is finished with walnut ink, wiped with a studio cloth, and signed on the back.

Then other finishes are applied.Here are some faces getting the Celtic Forge treatment. This takes about four separate layers of various metallics.

The Mesa Verde finish is done with hand-applied acrylics. It’s much like the faux-turquoise finish I wrote about in a recent post.

Once all of the faces are completed, each one is individually wrapped in bubble wrap.

The orders are then wrapped in tissue with ribbon with a packing slip, a skeleton leaf for decoration, one of my business cards, and, of course, a thank-you note..

The wrapped package goes into a padded envelope and weighed for postage. Most postage is $3-$4, but it cost about $24 to send that little package to the Netherlands!

Etsy makes it easy to calculate postage and print labels. You can print them out on your own printer and stick them on. I use spray adhesive. Here are the packages waiting for their labels – then off they will go to the Post Office this morning!

It’s fun to have an Etsy shop. The best part is knowing that your work is going out all over the world to inspire other artists. The extra income is nice, too, but rarely do you get rich with your shop! And it’s definitely a bit of work, as you can see, but you can usually pace yourself.

If you’re thinking about opening your own Etsy shop, here’s a good article on what sells best on Etsy – the trick is to have a niche, I think.

And here’s an example of a creative idea that makes a ton of money on Etsy:

Confetti Momma is a popular party supply shop with more than 75,000 sales, thanks to vibrant colors, unicorn cake toppers, and endless boutique confetti. Confetti Momma found an engaged demographic on Etsy by offering trendy, handmade party supplies at an affordable price.

“My advice is to just get started,” Orillion said. “Let your customers tell you what they like or don’t like and then adjust. Today’s social selling platforms, such as Etsy, make it easy for your products to go viral, especially if you focus on delivering great customer service and a quality product.”

So there you have it – what goes on inside an Etsy shop! If you need advice, just send me an email. And if you know how to take digital photos of your work, you can be in business!


What to do with your face

Kiln-Fired Earthenware Shard Faces, unfinished

Sometimes people who come to the Studio and see a basket of my little earthenware shard faces say, “These are interesting, but what do you DO with them?” Need ideas? This week, I received photos from two California artists who incorporate these faces into their pieces.

Erica Seelig, from Ukiah, CA, has a beautiful Etsy shop called A Gathering of Good. She sent photos of these two pieces – astonishing craftsmanship! I told her she has elevated my faces to stratospheric status!

Terra Cotta Woman

Spring Woman

Also from California (Sacramento), jewelry designer Karen Anderson  sent these photos from her Etsy shop, Catching Waves. Karen has such a great eye for matching the shard color and texture to the beads and theme – look!

Sea Goddess – glass beads, earthenware pendant, silver plated brass chain, pearls, moonstones, vintage glass pearls, sterling and enamel earring, crystal dangle, vintage glass seed beads

Wild Coral Sea Goddess – sterling silver clasp, raw coral branch beads, turquoise nuggets, African silver beads, antique silver plated solid brass chain, vintage silver beads, clay face shard, seashell

It’s pretty nifty seeing these inclusions of my face shards in such stunning work.Thank you, Karen and Erica, for sharing your artistic vision.

fluffheadBut enhancing an earthenware shard face doesn’t have to be elaborate – last night, I got a photo from dear friend Carol Mylar, a fiber artist from Colorado, who added a bit of fiber fluff to her Sprig Shard – voila! Instant mini-clay-and-fiber wall piece!

For today’s Friday Freebie, I’m giving three little unfinished shard faces to three SHARDS subscribers, one for each – not a biggie, but lots of potential for creativity, as you can see! And as usual, you can go to my Esty shop, Earthshards, to get ideas for surface finishes. Stay safe and warm this weekend!






Carol Mylar –

Far-flung faces and una mas Friday Freebie

I told my Trinity students that if they finished their websites by class time yesterday, we wouldn’t have class on Tuesday of next week and they could travel home for Thanksgiving. Worked like a charm! Which, of course, means *I* don’t have class next Tuesday either. Yahaha.

And speaking of travels, the little Face Shards that I make and sell on Esty sure get around. I love getting photos of how people use them. This first batch shows detailed spirit dolls made by my friend Ginger Quinn in New Mexico (some of you know Ginger) – and check out the neat mud-cloth jacket she made, also:

These photos come from Karen Anderson in Sacramento, California. She created these lovely necklaces using my face shards for her Etsy shop, Catching Waves:

I’m grateful to all the artists who get inspired by these little faces and use them in the most creative ways – and I’m also grateful to you SHARDS subscribers, so here’s the “una mas”  Friday Freebie. It’s a sister piece to the Friendship Bridge purse given away a couple of weeks ago with a face shard inside. And if you are a SHARDS subscriber by this coming Monday morning, you’ll have a chance for your name to be drawn. Good luck and have a lovely weekend!