Etsy Thursdays: Avant-Carde

  Halloween Crown

The Halloween countdown is on with only 11 days left.  This week I was inspired by this Queen of Halloween themed party so I set off to find a crown.  I loved this one by the lovely ladies of Avant-Carde!  The creativity inspired by simple materials like paper never ceases to amaze me.  I love these handmade ornaments, crowns, dolls and altered books from Avant-Carde. Julie, Joan and Jan love crafting together but most importantly they are family and the best of friends.  How awesome is that? Please welcome from Julie, Joan and Jan from Avant-Carde! 
Where do you get your creative inspiration from?
"Inspiration for us comes in many forms. We are inspired by the colors, textures and patterns that we find in fabric, paper, ribbons or embellishments and love to incorporate these elements into our mixed media designs. In general, we are inspired by ideas that come from online sources, magazines (Stampington & Company, for instance), flea markets, other artists and, most importantly, each other!!"

How long have you been crafting?
"We have been crafting for as long as each of us can remember. Our creativity has been passed down to us through previous generations of creative women (most notably, my 94-year old grandma). Avant-Carde represents the creative work of my mom (Joan), my sister (Jan) and myself (Julie). We each bring a unique set of skills to the mix which is why our work is so diverse."

How did your Etsy shop come about?
"We opened our Etsy shop in early 2009 as a unique way to showcase and sell our items to a worldwide audience. We love that technology now makes it possible to promote our items on a larger scale (something that was never before available for artists, like ourselves, who were generally limited to selling locally). Since Etsy is dedicated to the handmade community, it’s a perfect fit for us."

Which item in your current collection is your favorite?
"Right now, we are excited about our paper items such as this hanging paper doll: We made and sold three Halloween versions of the doll and plan to do more for Christmas (most likely an angel version). We love making them since we can incorporate so much detail and the color and style possibilities are endless!"

Besides Etsy, where else can we find you?

"Etsy is our main online presence right now; however, we are in the process of creating a site at (feel free to bookmark for future reference) !! Locally, we have items displayed in various gift and art galleries."

What advice do you have for aspiring art/craft sellers?
"We approach the creative process with the following in mind:
1. Always (always!) use the best supplies possible (ie. upscale fabrics, ribbons, etc.). It does make a difference and confirms that you take pride in making high-quality items that are true keepsakes.
2. Always opt for more detail instead of less. We want our customers to know that each piece is interesting, detailed and well designed.
3. Always keep your work original and unique. This takes time (and often a lot of effort to keep abreast of trends), but well worth it in the end.

We approach the sales process with the following in mind: 
1.  Your customers need to trust you and know that you care (especially in an online world); therefore, communication is key. Always make a point of communicating with them at various points throughout the sales process."

Thank you to Julie, Jan and Joan of Avant-Carde for your interview!  It has been a pleasure having you here at Castles and Carriages.  Please come back soon :)

Would you like to see more of Avant-Carde's creations?  
Please click on the link below!

Website: (coming soon!)


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