Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Etsy Seller Spotlight...The Steamed Glass Studio

Here is another fine example of the great talent and craftsmanship that can be found on Etsy. Tim Witteveen of The Steamed Glass Studio was kind enough to respond to my request for a feature. I couldn't say it better than he does, so here is his shop announcement.

"I specialize in terrarium styles that twist nostalgia and curiosity with a very unique charm. Constructed from an actual incandescent bulb, mosses, stones and lichens are at home within the beautiful glass shape of what we will always remember as the "light bulb". An artistic way to celebrate "Green" awareness while remembering a simple household item that has been with us for generations. And in staying with all things "Green", the free standing support is twisted from a wire hanger. A well designed terrarium will stir your imagination and could transport you into a daydream. Look very closely, and you may see yourself as a child exploring the landscape within."

Submitted for your edification and reading pleasure...

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
By day I run a small company I started a few years ago. I mainly design and produce custom awards as well as doing graphic design work for my clients. I have a background in Illustration and Technical Drafting - a strange combo I know, but I've been surprised how much I've applied each equally throughout my career as an artist.
I've always lived in West Michigan. I grew up in Holland and have spent most of my adult life in Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo is definitely an artist's town with so many local artists and craftsmen making a living doing what they love.

2. How long have you been making your terrariums and working with glass?
I'm actually very new to making terrariums but have learned ALOT since I came up with my light bulb terrarium idea only a couple of months ago.
Sandblast engraving glass is a skill I use to produce my custom awards, but stained glass painting is something totally new for me. I love the transparent shapes and effects I can create on glass using the design patterns I've drawn on paper. The flat patterns take on a whole new feel when they're wrapped around the transparent bulb.

3. Do you sell your creations anywhere besides Etsy?
Currently I do not sell anywhere but Etsy, but have just recently been invited to show my terrariums in an alternative space gallery in Chicago. It's funny, when I first came up with my terrarium idea, I had no idea how to sell them to the public - I hadn't even heard of Etsy. I was about to approach local greenhouses and sign up for craft fairs but then I read an article that mentioned Etsy and how easy and inexpensive it was to sell handmade items. That's all I needed and opened my shop the next day. What a great place for any artist to showcase and sell their art.

4. What is your inspiration?
When designing my terrariums, I try to imagine walking through those old victorian conservatories, the ones with the high steel beamed arches, the sun shining down though a stained glass ceiling onto the fern beds and trees inside. The Michigan outdoors is also a big inspiration in the terrarium landscapes I come up with. I try to design my terrariums as miniature gardens that you could actually walk through and explore.

5. Do you do any other kinds of arts/crafts?
I have quite a mix of art/craft interests. I do a lot of marker and pencil sketches and also like playing with watercolors. Metal and glass engraving are a big part my custom awards. I've always had a passion for photography as well, and in taking promotional photos of my terrariums for Etsy, I've discovered a new interest in macro photography.

6. What piece in your collection is your favorite?
My SteamPunk design "Professor Alexander's Botanical Vasculum" was definitely the most fun to create. I love the mix of copper, glass and cherry wood - it looks like it came straight from a Victorian science lab. I've also included a solar powered LED light inside the terrarium. I thought it would be cool to push the "Green" ideology by putting the bulb of the future inside the bulb of the past. The surprise came when I lit it up in a dark room. The shadow patterns cast on the walls and ceiling from the stained glass and leading are just amazing. I have it sitting on my night-stand to fall asleep by.

Be sure to read his descriptions. They are beautifully written.
Thanks Tim!

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