My latest handmade product is officially live in our Etsy shop today! These lovelies have been long in the making (I posted a little peek at them last December), but my felted and coppered antlers are finally ready for their spotlight:
Oh hey, pretty things. One of our goals for this year is to focus more on handmade items and art in our Etsy shop (we're actually planning to open an art shop, too), so we'll have a more finely curated selection of vintage items alongside our handmade decor items that work well in a vintage setting. The first step towards that goal was listing (and selling tons of) my state ornaments, and now it's adding these antlers.
I tend to struggle with the feeling that if I'm going to sell something handmade, it needs to be 100% original, which can be quite the challenge considering how much stuff is out there on Etsy, but I think I've found a good middle ground of making high-end versions of concepts that are already out there (state ornaments and yarn-wrapped or painted antlers) with my own little twists. It's important to me that I'm not stealing someone else's idea, but there are so many different variations of these already, I feel like I'm just joining the party with my own fancy version.
Update: apparently the paragraph above was a little confusing to some, so I just want to clarify that I have no delusions that my antlers are 100% original. I know they are very similar to many other products out there, namely the various painted and yarn-wrapped antlers I mentioned. I feel like my use of wool roving and copper and my unique strap design makes my antlers stand apart.
These guys started as a lot of small naturally shed antlers from Texas, which I bought on eBay. Then I used one of my favorite materials--soft fluffy wool roving--to wrap stripes of color around the antlers. Unlike yarn, wool roving doesn't require any glue or anything to stay attached to the antler; as I go I just twist the roving around the antler repeatedly, and then I stick the whole thing under warm water and rub it with a little natural soap. That process felts the thin layer of wool just enough to keep it relatively tight and firmly attached.
Then I used the sealer and liquid copper leaf from my ornament project to add some metallic highlights. I started with simple strips of copper that continued the striped pattern of the wool, and then I tried dipping the ends in the copper, which looked awesome, so each antler has some combination of those coppering techniques. I experimented with adding the copper with and without the sealer, and I found that the sealer helped the copper from bleeding up the antler.
The antlers look great on their own as little sculptural pieces, but I thought they really needed a hanging option, especially some of the smaller ones. So, again borrowing the concept from my ornaments, I made little leather hanging straps using the same deerskin lace and copper wire. This photo shows two straps in various stages of progress. I can't get enough of the leather and copper together.
I wanted the straps to be easily removable, so I made the bottom loop adjustable, while the top loop for hanging is fixed.
I have made six antlers so far, which I figured was critical mass enough to get them listed on Etsy, but I still have plenty more to make. Going clockwise from the left, here they are in our shop: one, two, three. Loving that How to Use Hypnosis book we picked up at an estate sale a couple weeks ago as a styling item!
Again, clockwise from the left: one (SOLD! Yay!), two, three. That simple little black and white guy was the last one I made, and it's one of my favs, so I'll definitely be making more in that vein as I move forward. Which one of the first six is your favorite? Are you drawn to the color combination, the shape, something else? Help with my marketing research!
Mmm they look so good hanging in a group. I just love the combination of textures and materials--everything from soft and fuzzy wool to natural and rustic antler to shiny metallic copper to rich supple leather. Next up is that sweet deer skull we picked up at the Rose Bowl a couple months ago. I'm a little nervous to get going on it; it was a much bigger investment to start with, and I want to get it right!
What do you think of my latest creations? What do you think of our shop goals of diversifying into more handmade and art stuff? Have you thought about making things to sell? Do you love all these yummy materials as much as I do?