Tuesday, September 28, 2010

relda, velda and my etsy holiday mission

Part of my "duty" as a participant in the Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp is to write a mission statement that will give me a sense of focus and help guide me through all the anti-calm of the season. I am thankful for this.

The exercise was relatively easy for me because I have just recently declared my artistic purpose and started sharing my thoughts and work through this blog. Since I am clear of what I want and what I need to do as an artist, creating a mission statement for selling my work came naturally. Danielle's link to Seth Godin's blog post, The Hierarchy of Success, was also very helpful -- thank you Danielle!

But before I state my Etsy mission, I should first introduce you to two very special women who inspire my work as an artist: my maternal great-grandmothers Relda and Velda. I will blog about another highly influential woman, my mother Relda Jane, in a later post.

This is my great-grandma Relda Mae Carpenter Fossett (my mother's namesake).
She raised eleven children.

This is my great-grandma Velda Boles at a family picnic on the prairies of Kansas. She is standing in front of the tarpaulin on the far right.

Secondly, you should also know that I have a strong affinity for the old ways and timeworn objects. Back in the early 1900s when my great-grandparents and their parents homesteaded in this country, they lived off the land and relied upon each other to survive. They had to be creative and industrious with what little they had. Many people took on apprenticeships to master traditional crafts like tool making, textile production, soap and candle making, and much more as so beautifully described in John Seymours' The Forgotten Crafts (I have a copy on my bedside table). The point I'm trying to make here is that all these creations and processes exuded quality, durability, and in my opinion, beauty.

So what's this have to do with my Etsy holiday mission? A lot!

My mission this holiday season is to create little pieces of art and handmade goods that embody the ingenuity and resilience of my great-grandmothers, Relda and Velda. To only offer goods that are not mass-produced, but rather one-of-a-kind creations these ladies would be proud of. And use earth-friendly materials and sustainable practices whenever possible...hopefully teaching my daughters the value of craftsmanship along the way.


  1. Quite inspiring! Love the history (and photos). You're rockin' it!


  2. Beautiful story! Can't wait to see your work on Etsy! I just had to add The Forgotten Crafts to my Amazon list. Looks very interesting...

  3. So wonderful that you have these precious photo's. My husbands grandma lives off her land in a tiny village in Bulgaria. She is in her 80's and to this day still makes her own soap, grows and tends to her own garden, sews her own clothes, she even shears her own sheep and makes blankets from their wool on a huge, wooden, old fashioned loom. To her it is a way of life and a lot of hard work, but to me it's an experience. It's beautiful and artistic in creation. This is such an inspiring mission. Good luck to you this upcoming Holiday season.

  4. So poignant. Thank you. I have similar roots from both Kansas and Colorado. My great grandmother Stella, my grandma Wilma and her sister Grace are always in the back of my mind as I create. To me they are such strong, resilient women who through it all always emerged with style and grace.


  5. This is really great - you inspire me! :)

    xox dawn xox

  6. I love the way you connect the past to the present. I left the industry to to more or less the same wishing us all a great and gracefull holidays season

  7. Love your sensibilities. Probably because they are so like mine. I, too am doing the etsy bootcamp. Your heirloom photos are precious. I'm sure your g-grandmothers would be proud of you.


  8. Thank you for helping us be motivated to keep going. Good luck to you!

  9. Thank you all for such lovely words and stories. It's such a great feeling to know that there are similar-minded artists out there cheering each other on. I look forward to following you all as well. Happy weekend! Mandy

  10. Great mission statement! I am struggling a little with this task of the boot camp, but I'll get it! Your story was inspiring and I loved seeing the pictures of your ancestors!


  11. Great pictures and story. You now have me thinking and nothing yet but I like the way you connected your ideas.

  12. Your history is so rich and lovely. It is wonderful to see you bringing it into the future of your children.... and passing on what you have learned. Your Mission is wonderfully stated and rings true to me as well! Thank you for sharing all that you have.

  13. Your mission statement is wonderful. I love the story of your Great Grandmothers. I must do some more brainstorming for my mission statement. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Thank you for this post! I hope to participate in the next Etsy bootcamp. You are inspiring!