Sunday, March 16, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Upton Elm

Where can we find you online? (Facebook, twitter, shop etc.)
My main outlet for sales is on Etsy which is a great website for finding unique and beautiful creations. Follow this link to find my shop which is called UptonElm.

I can also be found on Facebook. I have just begun working on this site.

Please introduce yourself, what lead you to begin creating?
My name is Mary Fitch. I am a transplanted Canadian, married and living in Auburn WA. I wear a "few different hats" every day. I have been a Pharmacy Technician for 18 years, Mama of 3 kids beginning eight years ago and business owner for 4 months. Since childhood I have watched my Mum sew and knit and I quickly learned from her. I have made my signature item, the "Barley Buddy" for almost 20 years now. Many, many times I was encouraged by friends and family to market my work as they loved it and figured it would sell. I have never had the courage to try until recently. Once I found a name for my shop (Upton was my Grandma's maiden name and Elm is my street) then I began in earnest to produce and sell. I find sewing pretty relaxing and jokingly call it my "therapy" after a long day doing other work. Since it's not my main income I am grateful to be able to donate portions of my profits to charity.

Who in your life has been the biggest inspiration to your work?
My Mum. She will soon be 83 and she still spends many hours at her sewing machine. She also donates her time and sewing projects that she has created to a small non-profit shop in her local town. May she continue to have the energy and the eyesight to keep it up!!

What is your favorite medium to work with/favorite technique to use?
I use fabrics of all types. I have also done some painting and ceramics in the past but my current favorite is
fabric. Transforming something from a flat piece of fabric is great fun!

What do you hope to accomplish through your work? 
I opened my business with a specific goal. Since I love to sew and create I wanted to use my talents to create items that I can sell and to use the profits from the sales to donate to charities of my choice.

Which item currently listed in your shop/in your collection is your favorite and why?
Seahawks Barley Buddy
My favorite is the Seahawks Barley Buddy. For a Seattleite that is a pretty clear choice at this point!!! GO HAWKS! Of course.
However all the Barley Buddies are my favorites as they have been what got me going in this business. Another favorite is this Original Barley Buddy in the Diamond pattern. I love it.

What fellow artist(s) have you been impressed by recently?
I have a friend, Emily, who is really into knitting. I like to knit but I know only the basics and I haven’t been able to learn the detailed work that she and her mom Laurie can do. Maybe one day I will learn it too. She has a site on Etsy that she has just begun and she sells the Cowl Scarves that are known from the Hunger Games movies. She can be found at KreativCrafts on Etsy.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Barley Buddy in Diamond Pattern
“Work to make it nice and what people will like but be sure to make it yours." Don’t be afraid to make something different.

What are you plans for the future of your shop/work?
We are working on getting our items onto to sell. I am excited about that venture as it will hopefully bring us more customers and also a broader group of people to sell to. is great but a lot of people don’t even know that it exists. We want to grow but of course still keep it handmade!!

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