It was on November 1st, 2008, thirteen years ago, that I opened my Etsy shop. I didn't know what to expect of the venture. I had high hopes of earning a living through my craft, but back in reality I still held down a job I disliked for the sake of paying rent. A few years later I was earning my living almost exclusively by making and selling rings on Etsy. That was then.
These days my work is lost amidst a sea of mass produced rings, purchased for pennies on AliExpress and resold as "hand-made" on Etsy with an exponential markup. This post, however, is not intended to be a rant about how Etsy lost its way.
Behind this clean and polished website there is a person, and that person isn't doing very well at the moment. November 1st marked not just my Etsy anniversary but my 30 days notice to my commercial landlord. By the end of November I will vacate my studio which, sadly, has been open for less than a year. Earning a living through my craft while living in Canada's most expensive city is a difficult proposition at the best of times, and nearly two years into a global pandemic this certainly doesn't feel like the best of times. I'm currently looking for a more manageable space but so far nothing is guaranteed. Heartbroken barely begins to describe how I feel.
This post, however, is not a goodbye. I've invested so much into my craft, not just time and money, but heart and soul. I've been making rings for so long I feel as though my craft is woven into my very identity.
November will be a busy month. Not only will I be participating in this year's Eastside Culture Crawl, I will also be participating in a panel discussion offering fellow artists and art lovers honest, behind the scenes insight into the business side of making art for a living. You can also catch me live on CBC Radio-Canada Phare Ouest on November 19th at 8:40am. Once the dust of the Crawl settles and my studio is packed up, I will likely continue working at a reduced capacity to allow myself the time to look after my mental health. If I don't find another studio, I'll work out of my apartment if need be, much like I did when I opened up my Etsy shop in 2008. This, unfortunately, will mean I will not be able to greet customers for in-person ring viewings.
In the meantime, though, I'd like to say thank you. Thirteen years of making all or at least some of my living through my craft didn't happen in a vacuum. It happened thanks to people like you who believe in the value of my work. I am beyond humbled and I am forever grateful. Thank you.