Monday, February 17, 2014

The CraftStar Featured Artist of the Week: Quilts By Elsie

The CraftStar Featured Artist of the Week

Quilts By Elsie

FREE GIFT WITH EVERY ORDER! Everything in my shop is made in a smoke free and pet free environment. I will do custom orders on most of the things in my shop. Size, color, design, etc. Contact me if you want to talk about a custom order.

My name is Elsie Vredenburg.  I have a shop on The CraftStar called Quilts By Elsie and I live in Tustin, Michigan.  

I am widowed, with 3 kids, 8 grandkids and 4 great-grandkids!   Pets?---------nah, they have to be fed and cleaned up after.

How did you get started in your handmade business?

Years ago, in the dark ages, my husband's aunt knew I had done some quilting, and she asked me to quilt  a top that she had pieced.  At the time, I had small children at home, and thought, "Why not hang out my shingle?  A little extra income would be nice."  For many years, I did hand quilting for other people, and then started going to arts and crafts shows in the 1980's.  That eventually led to getting into some national quilt competitions , where I've had some modest success, but I'm not doing that much any more.  After a hiatus of about 20 years, I'm back doing arts and craft shows again, on a smaller scale, and devoting more time to trying to build an online presence.

What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see yourself going from here?

I'd like to have a customer base that would come to me for custom work, and be able to generate some income from the store.

Have you experienced any major accomplishments or recognition?

As I mentioned earlier, I have had some success with competition at quilt shows, and I have written a couple of articles for The American Quilter Magazine in the past.  Not much recently.  I have 3 quilts in the Museum of the American Quilter's Society in Paducah, KY.

What are three tools in your work space that you could not live without?

Sewing machine, rotary cutter, rulers

Have you ever experienced a craft disaster?

Not me personally, but a quilt of mine that is in the above mentioned museum was transported to another site to be evaluated for an award, and due to high humidity and a plastic lined suitcase, some of the (as I learned after the fact when the quilt was finished) the red dye bled and stained white areas of the quilt.  They sent it back to me to "fix".  

Their idea was to remove the border that was stained and add a new one.  I said Nuts to that.  And washed the blasted thing.  It took 7 washed with Synthrapol, a detergent that dyers use to remove excess dye. it just kept back staining as the excess dye came out of the whole quilt.  But it did finally come out. They were happy, and I was happy.

How important is marketing for your small business and what has been most effective for you?

I know it's important, but so far I haven't had much success online.

What item in your shop is your top seller or is your favorite design?

At craft shows, it's usually the small stuff.  I don't really have a favorite.  I'm easily bored and like to make a variety of designs.

What are your 2 favorite items from other shops on TheCraftStar?

I'm pretty impressed with John's stuff, and it's been fun watching him on the Monday Hangouts.

And Patchwork Mountain.  Diane at Patchwork Mountain has a nice color sense, and it looks like she does quality work.  Gotta love another quilter!

How much do you social network? 

Trying to do more but it's hard to spend the time required, and I'm more of an introvert (believe it or not) and am happy just spending time in my "Quiltorium" (my studio) creating stuff.

Follow Elsie!

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