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Posts Tagged ‘Special Feature’

Is there anything Aya Rosen doesn’t do? Ask and she’ll tell you: she’s a graphic designer by profession and a painter by definition. And then, just when you think those are a truckload of skills to last a lifetime, she reveals her web design, illustration, and crafting abilities too.

I say, more power to you, honey!

Aya’s move from Tel Aviv, Israel to her current residence in Brooklyn, NY may have been a huge jump, but her space in this bustling borough looks to be a cozy choice as she creates the thoughtful and fun pieces that can be found in her Louche Lab shop. Take a peek at her site and you’ll find foxes made out of sweaters, a pocket knife painted on leather, and even a woman baring her back on the front of a sketchbook.

Yep, Aya’s creative. But that’s only one of the words she uses to describe herself. There’s emotional and changing, too. With that last self-description, one can definitely agree. She regularly enjoys motorcycle rides with her photographer/artist husband, Ned. And just to switch things up a bit, she recently joined her other half for a bike trip down the Appalachian Mountains for his 40th birthday.

Read this great interview with Louche Lab’s talented founder. See where she’s been, what’s new, and the interesting changes to come:

In business, the 20 second pitch means everything. In 2 sentences or less, tell us what you sell in your Etsy shop and why it is unique.

The coolest thing about my Etsy store, is well . . . me. I’m an artist with a very different perspective of the world and a unique style. This comes out in everything that the store has, so that even though every day there are new products and items, the style is always personal, rough, and a little strange, like me.

What are your favorite materials to use in your pieces?

I love discovering new things to work with and I get bored doing the same thing over and over again. So, I keep finding and making up new things. The last discovery was leather. It’s amazing – I always liked how leather looks, but actually working with it is new to me. It’s very different than anything I’ve ever worked with before. Somewhere between clay and paper, but also like fabric. I can’t wait to experiment more.

Which item from Louche Lab is your most treasured piece? Why?

That’s a hard one. Over all, I don’t really treasure the items in my store. I don’t get attached to art so much at any rate. Most of my joy comes from the process of making it, not from owning it. And I love it when things sell in my store – it makes room in the studio for more things. Saying that, I do have this one painting (below) that I made a while ago, and for some reason decided to list it even though I had no intention to give it away or sell it after I made it. I think I was trying to challenge myself with selling something that’s really precious to me. So far, it did not sell (which is a bit of a relief). I would be sad to see it go.

Night Time - Original Painting by Louche Lab

We all pull from different things to inspire our art. What 3 things inspire your creativity the most?

More than inspiration, I’m just driven by a need to create and make stuff. My hands feels itchy if I don’t draw or paint or make things for more then a day or two. I have a sketchbook in my bag and I basically draw every minute I’m not doing something else. Between courses in a restaurant, in concerts, even, once or twice, on the back of the motorcycle.

However, I do use a lot of reference in my art, and one of the major influences is Ned’s photography. He’s an amazing fine art and fashion photographer and the way he shoots makes me want to make art all the time. Also, I love botanical or zoological vintage prints and I have a few books of those that I use a lot for both inspiration and reference.

Another big source of inspiration is the internet – so many amazing artist and people to meet and interact and share my art with. I spend a lot of time on Flickr and on Etsy making friends and looking at art.

What is your definition of success?

Being free. Making or having enough money to not have to work a 9-5 job. That, I don’t like. overcoming fears and having faith in oneself. Also, living a life in which you don’t have to lie or hide things and being able to be the same person at any situation without apologizing for who you are. Is that to vague?! I guess I’m still trying to figure it out.

Etsy selling is all about survival of the fittest. What has been your toughest challenge while running Louche Lab?

The hardest thing for me is to keep at it even when nothing sells for a while. I just came back from a 2 weeks vacation to visit my family in Israel and ever since I got back the store hadn’t really bounce back. It’s really hard to keep making stuff and listing when no one buy my things. So I guess for me just keep doing it is the hardest part.

Share your most exciting experience while running Louche Lab.

There is so much! It’s all exciting. Every time I make a sale I get all excited about it. I guess the most wonderful part was being picked for a video Storque article about our wedding. I love the way it came out. When we got married my family wasn’t there – they live far away – and so, being able to share a movie with them about the preparation and the whole thing was the next best thing. Tara – who made the video – shot us 2 evenings for about 3 hours each, so I had no idea how the whole thing was going to come out, but when I saw the movie, it all made so much sense and was beautiful.You can see it here.

What words of wisdom do you live by when selling on Etsy?

Just that it’s important to be original and make cool stuff, oh, and play nice with others

If you could open a brick and mortar shop anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

It would be right here in Williamsburg, I love this neighborhood, it’s a really nice place to live and a lot of young people and artists live here (even though the rent’s going crazy now). It feels like Brooklyn is the place to be right now, both with art and with craft. Plus, I like working close to home!

If you could select only one celebrity to be photographed with one of your pieces, who would it be?

I have no idea! I really don’t get that much media exposure, so I’m not even sure who’s a celebrity now. I love the author Chuck Palahniuk. Last year I went to a reading he did in a book store. He talked about how he loves to collect strange things that people send to him and sometimes he send them things back, just very random toys or papers or anything really, so I think it would be cool if he took pictures with one of my pieces before he sent it to someone.

(Chuck Palaniuk; Fly Away Business Card Case by Louche Lab)

What new things should we look forward to in your shop?

I’m actually really excited about that. At around Christmas, I illustrated a deck of tarot card, The full Tarot Deck is 78 cards – that’s a lot of Illustrations. It’s divided into the major arcana and 4 suites. At the end of December, I started selling the major archana which had 22 cards, and then, in February, I started working on the suites. I designed and illustrated the first one, which is “the cups”. I’m now working on “The swords”. I’m really happy to go on with this project and I know a lot of people are waiting for it. So, once I’m back from my big trip, I’m going to finish illustrating and start producing. In the meantime, the major archana and the cups can be found in my store.

Visit Louche Lab to see more great items. You can also visit louchelab.com

___________________________________________________________________________________________________ Aya’s MOST MEMORABLE CARNIVAL MOMENT:

I’m actually not a big fan. I have a traumatic fair experience from when I was about 3 which involved, me on some scary ride trying to jump off a plane shaped pod thingy and crying like crazy. I do however, love Coney Island, last summer we rode there all the time, and it’s one of the most wonderful places in New York and the world, I love the colors and crazy combination of old, new, beautiful and derelict. I’m SO glad it’s staying open for at least another summer.

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Pretty In Peace

A proud native New Yorker, Tameka Allen-Mercado will tell you that she’s only hiding out in Goodyear, Arizona. With every bit of time she can find, the mastermind behind Pretty In Peace, creates jewelry, collages, cards and other pretty little pieces of art while pondering stuff to write about. Yes – writing is her first love. Yet, her hideout in the Grand Canyon State is where this wife and mother creates an amazing collection of earthy, eco-conscious pieces. Her warm and peaceful shop makes your fingers itch to purchase every pretty item that catches your eye.

When Tameka isn’t designing accessories, writing, or working on an original piece of art, she manages her family-owned Indie electronic label at Next Dimension Music.com. Obviously, Mrs. Allen-Mercado does it all. This fact explains why she describes herself as “Deep, rich, and brilliant!” to which she adds, “Modest, aren’t I?” Read her candid interview below to see why those three adjectives are more than appropriate to roll off her tongue:

In business, the 20 second pitch means everything. In 2 sentences or less, tell us what you sell in your Etsy shop and why it is unique.

I design art and artistic wares that make Mother Earth smile. Stop, shop, smile and live Pretty in Peace.

What are your favorite materials to use in your pieces?

It’s a tie between junk and organic materials. In jewelry I absolutely love working with wood, copper and semi-precious stones. For my mixed media pieces, I’m rather fond of ephemera and random fabric scraps and such . . . y’know junk!

Which item from Pretty in Peace is your most treasured piece? Why?

I think this piece (below) is probably the best visual interpretation of who Tameka is. There’s smoothe stones and faceted ones and wood and rugged little bells. It’s all organic, and funky just a mix of loveliness. It’s my favorite.

We all pull from different things to inspire our art. What 3 things inspire your creativity the most?

I’m a cultural sponge, growing up in NYC has exposed me to so much beautiful color and culture. It’s all sitting in a grey fold somewhere waiting to make itself tangible. I listen to world music while I create and burn incense . . . so I’d say my inspiration comes from, “Far away people, places, and patchouli.”

What is your definition of success?

Success is the journey. As cliche as it is I have no destination, but everyday that I rise and create something is a successful one. Sometimes, it’s a meal other times a mess, but always a success.

Etsy selling is all about survival of the fittest. What has been your toughest challenge while running Pretty In Peace?

Not necessarily Etsy related, but on a whole I’m not sure how I feel about art as a business. Pricing a piece of my self is at times difficult, granted you have the materials but the creative process is really a part of your self and, putting a price on it is bittersweet. I want people to be able to afford my wares and at the same time I want to feel a deep appreciation for the creative process, money doesn’t do that. Coupled with not seeing and feeling the energy of my customers. Internet sales can be impersonal.

Share your most exciting experience while running Pretty in Peace.

There isn’t one, the mere existence of Pretty in Peace is exciting. Everyday that a new design is born makes me giddy all over again.

What words of wisdom do you live by when selling on Etsy?

From my husband, an artist and musician, “You just gotta keep doing what you do.” It is so easy to identify the target demographic on Etsy (or anyplace else for that matter) and design around their desires, but in the end it doesn’t pay off on the grand scale.

If you could open a brick and mortar shop anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

Key West, Florida. We honeymooned there, nothing would please me more than to ride a bike with a basket in the front to work in a quaint little village town full of funky little shops and folks.

If you could select only one celebrity to be photographed with one of your pieces, who would it be?

Corinne Bailey Rae. Before I took the plunge and left corporate America to “make stuff”, her song, Put Your Records On was my mantra.

(Corinne Bailey Rae; Trois Fleurs Ring by Pretty In Peace)

What new things should we look forward to in your shop?

Actually, just today I listed my first mixed media piece, and plan to continue adding some ACEOs and other pieces of visual art alongside my wearables.

Visit Pretty In Peace to see more great items.

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Tameka’s MOST MEMORABLE CARNIVAL MOMENT:

Carnivals . . . aah sweet nostalgia, funnel cakes, cotton candy, giant rainbow swirl lollipops…of course these things taste much better on the way down than on the way up. o_0

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