Some of you may follow my Patreon where I have been mapping monuments to Scottish witches. I’ve written a great deal about the accused witch from Torryburn, Lilias Adie. Lilias Adie was innocent but she faced torture and repeated interrogations which led to her death, perhaps by suicide. She was exiled from her community, buried in the mud. Later her bones were dug up and sold as curios. There is a growing group of activists working for a memorial not only for Lilias but for all the accused witches of Scotland. I have written about the history and proposed monument in a previous post.
The group behind this work, Fife Witches Remembered, are out of pocket as costs have incurred with this work. They asked for donations for a raffle. This is the piece I gave them to help raise funds.
As with my Witches Ladder Necklaces, I was mindful of the purpose of the piece. I knotted my wishes for justice for Lilias into every wrapped link.
I stand with the Youth Climate Strikers putting themselves on the line tomorrow against corporate greed’s the destruction of the planet. My Etsy shop will be closed on September 20th in solidarity and encourage you to take a stand in any way that you can to support this mass action.
Next week, Etsy is celebrating 13 years of supporting handmade businesses by hosting a site-wide sale, and I’m participating by offering 15% off my entire shop from June 18th-22nd. No coupon is necessary. (Custom orders and made to order designs are not included in the sale).
I’ve had a handmade shop on Etsy for over 8 years of their 13 year history, and before that I was an Etsy customer. Back then, things were small– crafters and artisans offered a few of their wares and there was definitely a feeling of unique, experimental sharing. Many of the shops I visited were like me– making things on their kitchen tables, photographing them with a dinky point-and-shoot camera.
As Etsy grew, many businesses, like mine, grew with the site, and the decision-makers at Etsy seemed to be makers themselves, or at least understood the unique dilemmas makers face when running a business– Etsy supported us and we blossomed. Many of us were able to support ourselves by selling our work; a truly marvellous thing. I met other shop owners who remain friends to this day and we continue to support each other in myriad ways. There was a community of sellers sharing knowledge in Etsy Teams, and we celebrated each other’s work by making Treasuries– visual collections of selected pieces that would sometimes be featured on the front page, leading to great exposure for everyone, and a constant source of inspiration and friendship.
Of course nothing stays the same. The CEO of Etsy changed, and those of us who made a modest living had to hang on for dear life– despite Etsy’s “Quit Your Day Job” blog posts, those of us who had done just that knew that it harder for us succeed. Etsy had opened its doors to resellers and drop-shipping, and suddenly we had to compete with people who were not making their goods at all but buying them from the 3rd world, often from sweat shops employing child labour.
Etsy has had a crisis of identity: the front page is no longer curated by Etsy members via the Treasuries. Long time Etsians have noticed the site looking more and more like eBay. Also since Etsy has gone public on the stock market it must now answer to share holders rather than makers, and this has changed everything.
I have learned a great deal on this rollercoaster ride with Etsy, but these are the biggest lessons:
Be ready to spend at least half your productive hours creating a business. This involves trying to anticipate Etsy’s continued changes as you think on your feet.
Lastly, loyal customers are like gold, and if you have read this far, I know you are one of them. Every day I am filled with gratitude for the customers who continue to return to my shop, year after year. Without you, I wouldn’t be here!