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Made in Chicago: Leaves of Glass

By Jess D'Amico in Miscellaneous on Oct 18, 2007 5:20PM

2007_10_Etsy_Kateri.jpgThe city of big shoulders is full of crafty denizens. So we here at Chicagoist have decided to feature a local artist, crafter, DIYer, designer person who makes cool stuff each week, for your shopping pleasure.

Kateri Morton is a 34-year-old crafter who’s lived in Chicago for seven years. Her jewelry shop, Leaves of Glass, makes us think of incognito sirens in silent films and gumshoe dames in crime novels.

Morton took some time from jewelry making to talk about chocolate chip cookies, upcycling, and the world of craft....

Chicagoist: How does your jewelry stand out from everything else on Etsy?

Kateri: It’s hard to get noticed, especially as a jewelry designer, where there’s so much outstanding competition. Good photographs are vital. I think Etsy has created a visual environment that allows artists to complement and draw attention to one another in a unique and really effective way. I hope my work doesn’t so much stand out as fit in with the best that Etsy has to offer.

C: What does your artistic process look like?

K: My best inspiration comes from the materials themselves – I rarely buy beads or other components without having some idea of how I’m going to use them; but the details and combinations, or the names I give my pieces, are where the element of surprise appears for me. I think my best and most organic work takes place on a level that I’m not really aware of while it’s happening.

C: How did you first get into DIY?

K: Being from Vermont, I was raised on DIY; doing it yourself can be a matter of Yankee pride. My first entrepreneurial venture was a chocolate chip cookie business when I was 12 – my dad would print out labels for me on goldenrod paper, and I sold bags of cookies to a local Mom & Pop grocery store.

C: How would you describe Chicago’s crafty scene?

K: Chicago has a really exceptional DIY vibe; there are great craft fairs held here, and neighborhoods that really encourage and thrive on indie business.

C: Where do you see Chicago’s DIY culture going?

K: Onward and upward with craftiness! As global awareness increases and recycling and upcycling become even more essential, I think craft will become increasingly important. I hope that DIY develops into a way of life for many people.

C: What advice do you have for others wanting to sell their crafty goods?

K: Spend some time soaking up the presentation and marketing techniques of people you admire, not just in your own discipline, but throughout DIY culture. These are the most inventive and community-minded people you could ever hope to meet. Good luck, have fun, and spread the word of craft!

Image of Prairie Moon Bracelet, $36