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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Interview with a Star – TonyaUtkina

Today our featured guest is TonyaUtkina who is a member of Russian Artists Etsy team. Tonya has two completely different shops on Etsy. In CityCrochet Tonya offers hand crocheted and hand knitted items for urban style fashionistas as well as home décor items and hand felted accessories. In TonyaUtkina Etsy shop she offers happy and bright jewelry items made of high quality Czech glass, silver plated wire and felt.
citycrochet knitted scarf in lime
Q: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Moscow, Russia and I am still in love with that beautiful and vibrant city. It’s not only a place of my childhood but a city with history that dates back to 1147 AD and diverse, fast pacing urban life. I still have a lot of friends and family members in Moscow and go back every year. In my mid 20s I moved to New York following my husband who got accepted to a university. It was a difficult but manageable transition as New York actually remind me Moscow a lot. Later on we moved to Richmond, Virginia where I reside now.
green grapes earrings by tonyautkina on etsy
Q: How did you pick up crafting?
I love to create things with my hands! I’ve been crocheting and knitting since I was little. Hand crafting runs in my family as my mom has a great taste and wonderful hands. As so many Russian moms back in 80s and 90s she sewed and knitted for all my family. My brother and I always had beautiful and neat clothes hand made by my mom. I remember myself crocheting home décor items, making small sculptures out of wood, creating figures of paper mache. It was all back in my childhood when I had plenty of time to just hang around and experiment. Since then I had my own kids. While observing my children grow at some point I felt a need to resume my crafting. It’s great that my kids watch me actually make things with my hands and even try helping me sometimes.
felted wool berry brooch in chocolate and raspberry
Q: What are your favorite materials?
I love glass for its brightness and transparency. There are so many things one can create of glass beads and wire. One’s creativity is pretty much the only limit. Recently I’ve discovered felting which in some sense is similar to knitting and crocheting but gives much more room for experimenting. The result can be totally unpredictable.

I’m a fan of minimalism that has nothing in common with a traditional Russian ornamental style rich in flowers, curves, swirls, stylized animal and nature images. I guess I’m not a typical Russian in that sense as I adore simple lines and bold colors.
wool felted acorns blue with white cups
Q: What can you tell us about your Etsy experience?
I actually discovered Etsy by pure chance through an article in Wired magazine. I really liked the idea of an independent portal for artisans and craftsmen from all over the world. Besides I always thought that Etsy layout and design is very friendly and well thought out! I had no prior experience with on-line sales and marketing and Etsy came as a sort of revelation to me. I’ve been on Etsy for a bit more than a year now and I’ve learned a tonne since I started. It’s amazing how much more I now know about the world of on-line sales, SEO and marketing!


IrinaN said...

Great story, Tonya :)

Katrinshine said...

Very interesting article! Thank you!

LiriGal said...

Тоня, Интересный рассказ!
Желаю успехов во всех начнаниях!

daimblond said...

love your story, Tonya!

Unknown said...

way to go, Tonya!

allmadewithlove said...

Very nice article! Wish you all best, Tonya!

SocksAndMittens said...

Wonderful interview, such an interesting story!

TonyaUtkina said...

Thank you so much for your kind words!!! :)))

Frannie said...

Lovely post.

YanArt said...

Hi, Tonya! Wonderful interview!
Nice to meet you!:)))

Fine said...

Beautiful story!

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