Artist Spotlight: Christopher Auyeung

Christopher Auyeung of Topher & Company creates amazing jewelry and accessories and also is involved in graphic design. I came across one of his necklaces when I was putting together a treasury for Team Discovery. The design was so original and beautiful that I just had to include it! I'm very happy to have the opportunity to feature Christopher and some of his work :)
Oversized EGO Scarf by Topher & Company

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Christopher, and I currently live in San Diego, California. I just graduated from UCSD with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Psychology, and I am currently an M.A. candidate for Marriage and Family Therapy at Bethel Seminary San Diego. I love to knit, and Topher & Company is the inevitable product of that love. I also currently work as a part-time graphic designer (my current contract is with a non-profit called CK-12, doing textbook figures and illustrations) and SAT tutor.
2. In addition to creating art, how else do you spend your time? What are your favorite hobbies, places to go, people to see?
I love people. Throughout college, I was involved with InterVarsity, which is a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to raising up effective, world-changing leaders, and probably my favorite part of my four years at UCSD was all of the people I got to hang out with, counsel, develop, and learn from. I also love to cook, especially for people, and sing, especially with people. Do you see a pattern? In fact, my favorite part about being self-employed is the fact that I literally get to choose my favorite coffee shop, call up a friend, and hang out with them while I work. It’s awesome.
3. Were you always drawn to art? If so, how did this manifest growing up? If not, what made you first want to become an artist?
I took art classes from when I was really young, learning to draw and use pencils. There was this program called Monart that I used to take classes from, and it was really big back then; I’m not sure how popular it is now. In high school, I switched to a local art studio, where I learned how to oil paint – so I have a pretty solid foundation in fine arts.
In junior high, I played this online… game? It was called Neopets, and I was totally addicted. You were allowed to have a shop as a Neopet owner, and I discovered that you could design your own banners and backgrounds, so I just decided to jump in and purchase a graphics editing program. The rest is pretty much history – I’ve been designing for over 9 years! This inevitably led to my love of design in general, including knitwear.
4. Your jewelry is so unique! How do you come up with the designs?
Thanks! Funny story, the first necklace that I designed actually started out as a headband. When I finished, it was too big and didn’t fit on my friend’s head, but it fell around her neckline, and I thought it looked really cool as a necklace. I looked up some soft jewelry, found out that it was totally on trend, and then started designing the braided necklaces because I like how the knitted braids look. I modeled them sort of after how trendy jewelry looks right now – you know, with the big flowers and multiple strands.
3Stranded Necklace with Flower by Topher & Company
5. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Honestly, mostly from fashion! I keep an eye on what’s coming out of stores that I like, and I also really love when I see unusual shapes and graphic elements (probably because of my graphic design background) in clothing. I also flip through stitch dictionaries regularly to see if anything catches my eye or piques my interest.
6. How do you promote your work?
Mostly I just try to list as many items as I can. My life is pretty busy, but I knit as much as I can. On Etsy, I’m also part of Team Discovery, which has been an incredible team to be a part of. I’ve felt so loved and supported – I get featured in SO many treasuries, and I ended up on the front page of Etsy this past week for the first time, which increased my views and hearts like CRAZY! So those two things have been the most beneficial: listing items regularly, and joining an active treasury-making team.
7. What advice would you give other artists that are new to selling their work?
Do your research! I kind of jumped headfirst into the pool of selling on Etsy, and hit my head quite a few times. I listed like eight items, and wondered why I wasn’t getting any views or sales. You really have to know what you’re getting yourself into, and research as many good tips, resources, and business tricks as you can before you start selling, especially those that are specific to selling on Etsy. Make sure you have great photography, research your competition and make sure you know what sets you apart, make sure you calculate a good, fair price for what you sell, and make sure to keep impeccable records of what you buy!
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have absolutely no idea. This is the worst question to ask someone right out of college. Hahaha.
The NAUTILUS Beret in Eggplant by Topher & Company
Christopher's work can be found at:

Etsy Shop:  

Facebook Fan Page: 


Design studio:

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Personal Touches

One of my favorite things about creating things for others is that you can add personal touches that make the item unique to the individual. Whether through color, fabric, or design choice even small gifts become extra special by incorporating aspects that your represent your recipient's personality.
One thing that I really enjoy making for others is storage pouches. Not only are they a useful gift in that they organize everything from cosmetics to writing utensils, but they can be made out of practically any fabric! They are also fairly easy to embellish, so pleats or flowers really add something special.

My friend had a birthday coming up recently and I wanted to make her something that would be functional but would also incorporate aspects of her personality. I know that she is fond of purple and prefers contemporary color combinations. I found a lovely gray linen fabric that I used for the main component of her pouches and found coordinating purple fabrics for the interiors. Beautiful hand-sewn flowers in complimentary shades of purple chiffon created a contemporary and feminine look. I wanted to make her two pouches but didn't want to them to be too matchy-matchy. The pouches differ on the floral embellishments, however, the flowers on both pouches are made of the same colors to identify them as a set without being identical.

I made this same pouch out of different fabric and got an entirely different look! I find that focusing on textures and contrasting colors often achieves a very modern look. The canvas has a fabulous diamond texture and the opposing light blue and bold dark brown colors are perfect!

Finally, for a more traditional look, I found gorgeous feminine fabrics with pink floral and butterflies. A touch of pink ribbon separating the two exterior fabrics tastefully adds another feminine dimension. This pouch is the exact pattern as the previous pouches yet the overall effect is entirely different.

When creating items for specific people you care about, think about what colors and styles they are drawn to. One of the best things about making handmade goods is that it's so wonderful to be able to give someone a gift that is practical and truly resembles their unique personality. Have fun experimenting with colors and fabric styles and incorporate special personal touches to create the perfect gift for your loved ones!

Artist Spotlight: Tahlia Day

I found Tahlia's artwork on Etsy and was incredibly impressed by the ingenuity of her style. Her technique creates beautiful shapes and her color choices add to the complexity and appeal of the work.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live right outside Madison, Wisconsin with my mother, two younger brothers, two cats, and a dog. (My mom has been wonderful about letting me stay with her and use her big basement as a studio while I work on getting my student loans paid off.) My “day job” is freelance editing and proofreading -- I love having my own business because I’m not really cut out for the corporate 9-5 lifestyle and I can manage my time in whatever eccentric way I want :).
2. In addition to creating art, how else do you spend your time? What are your favorite hobbies, places to go, people to see?
I’m kind of a hermity geek who lives in my head most of the time. I read a lot of books (I’m a regular at the library) and spend a lot of time on the Internet. I also like movies, folk music, marathoning good TV shows on DVD, and gaming, whether PC/console or tabletop. I knit and sew occasionally when I get ideas for things to make – like most artists, I’m always interested in trying out new techniques and learning new things, and I’ve experimented with a lot of crafts.
3. Were you always drawn to art? If so, how did this manifest growing up? If not, what made you first want to become an artist?
I’ve been making up stories and creating things for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t really get into formal visual art until college. I majored in art and took a lot of art history at the small liberal arts college I went to, and then ended up getting a second degree from a professional art school (the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which was an amazing experience). That was just three years ago, so I feel like I’m still emerging as an artist.
4. Your “Charted Unterritories” collection is so unique! How did you come up with the methodology?
Thank you! I had the original idea during a landscape drawing class where the professor had us make journals out of watercolor paper that we prepared with washes in various colors before drawing on it. I was fascinated by the random shapes the watercolor made as it dried on the paper, so I started drawing around them and noticed that my drawings developed into topography-like forms.
I really loved the notion of the water on the paper mimicking geological processes in a way and creating little continents and seas and islands and worlds, or maps of nonexistent ones. So I kept working on them after that class, refined it, added more layers of painting and drawing, experimented with different types of grounds, etc. I’ve been making them for about four years now and I still have many more ideas for ways to push the concept further.

5. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Most of it for the individual pieces comes out of the way the paint reacts on the paper -- I don’t know what they’re going to look like when I start; I start with a random splatter on wet paper and let it dry and work from what I get. That’s always interesting.
Otherwise, I’m a big fan of fantasy, folklore, and mythology, and I draw on what I’ve read to find most of the titles and stories that go with my paintings. (I’ve loved the maps in fantasy novels ever since my mom read Tolkien to me as a little girl, so that’s another inspiration.) I also look to medieval illuminated manuscripts for inspiration on the pieces that include text and margin illustrations.
6. How do you promote your work?
Not as well as I should! I’m quite shy and not good at self-promotion. I’ve shown/sold work at several local juried art fairs over the last three summers, and I have a website, but haven’t done much to promote it beyond handing out postcards in my art fair tent.
I just started my Etsy shop about a month ago, and I joined a couple of teams (Team WIST and Team Discovery), which has been very helpful (Thanks, teammates!).
7. What advice would you give other artists that are new to selling their work?
I’m still pretty new to it myself! I’ve struggled a lot with pricing and I think the best decision I’ve made is to offer prints/reproductions of my work, so I can price my originals fairly and most people can still afford to buy something. I also started making note cards this year, and those were pretty popular at the art fairs.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m not sure! Most likely in my own place with my cats, hopefully selling more work and showing in more venues. I did some bookbinding in school and I’d like to get back into making some artist’s books, doing more with illumination and gilding, possibly doing larger-scale pieces.

Tahlia's work can be found at:

Andrea Lynn HANDMADE Artist Spotlight

I'm happy to announce that I will be featuring a new artist  on a weekly basis! The intent of this blog feature is to showcase beautiful works by artists in a variety of realms and get greater insight into each artists style and personality. The artists will be chosen as I peruse Etsy for different treasuries and items. Artist diversity is important to me for this feature. I think it will be helpful to showcase everything from painters to jewelers in both traditional and modern/contemporary styles. Hopefully this will help other artists along their journey and meet some fantastic people along the way! If anyone would like to nominate an artist or volunteer their work for a showcase please contact me at

"as plain as black and white" Team Discovery Treasury

I created a new treasury for Team Discovery titled "as plain as black and white"

The item selection was centered around black and white colors, new shops with less than 20 sales, and items from other members of Team Discovery. Using the "Pounce" selection on Etsy is a great way to find fantastic items from new Etsy members. I'm always so impressed by the items from newbies! Pounce also offers an option to view items that have just recently sold. I use this selection frequently to try and gauge what people are purchasing, color trends of items, etc.

Treasuries also offer a fun and unique way to search for items on Etsy.  There are endless combinations and themes that people use to create treasuries. It's really fun just to peruse and see what types of items end up together. Happy treasure hunting!

Fabric Flower Tutorial

I am always so impressed with the variety of ways that individuals use fabric flowers. Whether alone, as a hair piece, embedded in a handbag or to dress up an old shirt, fabric flowers are the perfect way to add that something special to your crafts and wardrobe!
These particular flowers add fabulous dimension and can be made out of practically any type of fabric - so get out your scraps and make something truly unique :)

1. Cut a square piece of fabric. I used a 3 x 3 inch piece.

2. Fold the square in half on the diagonal.

3. Fold one corner to meet the opposite diagonal corner.

4. Fold the adjacent corner to the same diagonal corner.

5. Turn the square over to the other side while keeping the folder corners in place.

6. Fold one corner to the center of the square.

7. Fold the opposite corner to the center of the square.

8. Fold the fabric so the straight sides are on top of one another.

9. This is what the fabric will look like from the top.

10. Sew the fabric together at the loose ends and cut the remaining fabric below the stitch line.

11. On the front pull the sides apart to expand the petal.

12. Arrange your completed petals on a piece of felt to form a flower. Use fabric glue to keep the petals in place on the felt. Finish with a button, fabric roll, or other decoration for the center.