Friday, August 9, 2013

Featured Seller: Erin from This One's Mine Ceramic Design

This week's featured seller is Erin from This One's Mine Ceramic Design. Erin makes buttons, earrings, ID clips, ornaments, and other cute trinkets from ceramic. Her whole story is worth sharing. She is a pretty amazing woman!

I married a wonderful man. He was 6'6", incredibly strong, my best friend, a bit of a goofball, and one of the best men I've ever known. Nine years ago, he died of cancer, leaving me a single mom with 6 kids under the age of 13.

Up until that point, I'd been a stay-at-home mom and home-schooled our kids. We didn't have life insurance (my husband used to joke and call it dating money), so I went back to school and worked odd jobs to make ends meet. I even spent a couple of summers working seven days a week in a local cannery, graveyard, for minimum wage, to help put myself through school. I'm currently in my last semester of nursing school and looking forward to graduating in December. The kiddos went to public school for the first time as well. Needless to say, life changed drastically for us.

I've learned to do a lot in the last few years. I can now change a garbage disposal, switch out circuit breakers, replace a ceiling fan, tile and grout, roof a house, program the air conditioner (hey, it was a real accomplishment), and other exciting feats. The hardest lesson has been to learn how to ask for help when I really need it. Guess you could say I'm pretty stubborn.

I started making ceramic buttons a couple of years ago, and have developed my product through trial and error. I've always loved sewing, and buttons are fascinating to me. If you've ever stuck your hand in your grandma's button jar and just felt them, then you know what I mean. And they're the part that can make or break a project, in my opinion. They're the icing on the cake. And they just plain old make me happy. It's a good combination.

My shop name came about when I was in a store one day. I picked up a crazy birthday card and thought, "This one's mine!" As I stood there with a big grin on my face, it struck me that I wanted others to have that same smile. I wanted to make something fun and bright and happy that resonated with my customers. I wanted them to see something in my shop and think, "Yeah, this one's mine."

My buttons, badge reels, and beads are all made of ceramic clay and use lead free underglazes and glazes. Everything is hand painted; I never use silk screening or decals. I love working with vibrant colors. I research popular fabrics, looking for color and subject trends for the season. Then I draw up my designs, make special cutters, cut and dry the clay, smooth rough edges, paint it, fire it, glaze it, and fire it a final time to about 2000 degrees. The whole process takes a minimum of 5 days from start to finish to make a single button.

I went through a pretty rough time when I lost my husband, and when I came out of it, it was with the realization that life can be good again despite the challenges. I think the colors I use and the designs I make are a result of my decision to be happy, to live life, and to look for the fun in each day.

Check out This One's Mine Ceramic Design for more wonderful items in fun themes!
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