Fab sponsor: Sleepless Storyteller | the ReFab Diaries

Introducing... drumroll please .... the Sleepless StorytellerMy first blog sponsor for 2014 :) 

Christine Hart lives and creates in Vancouver, BC. When she's not conjuring jewelry, she's writing young adult novels, working as a copywriter, blogging and being a mom. To say that I jumped at the chance to feature her work would be an understatement!

All the pieces pictured above are from her her Etsy store. The work covers steampunk, cyberpunk, trashion, neo-victorian and upcycled vintage jewelry. When you visit the store, be sure to read the product descriptions. They go like this: If Mid-Century Modern style ever found its way to Mars, the landscape might be inspired to grow flowers like these. A vintage enamel flower accented with an atomic-shaped brass finding, small enamel flowers, hand-set rhinestones and a tiny brass gear (the white daisy pictured above).

This is jewelry created by "an eccentric fiction writer,  inspired by alternate realities". If you love science fiction, fantasy or gritty urban settings, you'll see it in her work. If you have a touch of whimsy, remember your dreams, feel sure you've fallen down a rabbit hole at some point and, maybe, have a crush on Neil Gaiman, you might want to one of these lovely pieces.

Here's a little more about Christine: 

1. What came first, the crafting or the writing? How do they influence each other

I've been crafting and writing as long as I can remember, but writing came first as a career. I studied professional writing at the University of Victoria. After graduating in 2001, I worked in roles that utilized my copywriting and journalism skills. 

I started making my own jewellery probably as far back as high school. I have very petite wrists and fingers, so the best way to find rings and bracelets that fit was to make my own. I'm also fond of chokers, which I need a small size for as well.

Today, the two pursuits really weave into each other at a higher level. My work as a communications and marketing writer gave me the training I needed to handle the promotional and graphics side of having a shop, backed by a website and social media.

2. You are strongly oriented to repurposing, upcycling etc... where did that come from for you

Being a writer, even working mostly in the corporate world, is rarely a lucrative pursuit. I start the answer there to explain that recycling, for me, began as simple thrift. Already making my own jewelry, I found myself remaking old designs I became tired of, and from there, experimenting with clockwork and computer parts I had access to at home.

3. Advice for folk who are trying to turn their passion/craft into an online business?

Turning a crafting hobby into a business isn't as big an undertaking as you might think, now that sites like Etsy, Big Cartel, ArtFire and others make it fairly painless to upload and offer goods for sale. In addition to your products of course, you need a decent camera, photo editing software, and time. Time for things like copywriting and social media, as well as the time spent crafting.

The main challenge is trying to grow that shop into a recognized brand with a sales volume that covers a real wage, after expenses are deducted. Most crafters work on their business while holding down a job, often while raising a family. Growing a business when you can't devote all your time to it is a process that takes several years at a bare minimum.

I want Sleepless Storyteller to grow and thrive. But I also enjoy my work as a copywriter and I'm working on having another novel published. I have a toddler at home and I'm thinking about having another baby.

To enjoy your business and your brand, I think it's critical to know where you want it to go and why. For a self-employed crafter to replace the income of a day job, I think it takes an all-consuming passion. A complete devotion of all waking hours. And luck on top of that. 

4. What are you excited to read this year?? 

Great question! This year, I'm doing quite a bit of research reading, so my list looks something like: Cryptids And Other Creepy Creatures by John D. Wright, African Mythology by Jan Knappert, Gods, Heroes and Men of Ancient Greece by W.H.D. Rouse and Dictionary of the Occult by André Nataf.
For fun though, I'm reading Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Before that it was A Clash of Kings. Is there anyone left who's not a Game of Thrones fan?

I hope that list isn't too long! When start talking (or writing) about literature and crafting, I can really get going.

Visit Christine's Etsy store and follow her Facebook

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