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STYLIN' SUNDAY

A PEEK INTO THE MINDS OF ARTISTS WHO CREATE WITH BEADS-OF-CLAY...

How about a different spin on the uses of ceramic buttons?  This week's artist is John Yahn, a retired Navy submariner with 30 years service. After retirement, he worked in the test group for a local shipbuilder and retired a second time.  Now in retirement he is able to spend time teaming with his wife Jan Barbara and daughter Paige enjoying creating in their own unique ways.  They live in a very small town in the northeast North Carolina farm land with their female Saint Bernard named Gus.

John is originally from a small farming town in Northern New Jersey.  When he left there, he joined the Navy, married the girl next door, who is an artist, and extremely creative. It is she that creates the beautiful bags on our ETSY shop.
 
Your shop on Etsy really caught my eye? There is such variety. Could you start by telling our readers how your business Barbara Paige Knits got started?

Barbara Paige Knits was created by our daughter Paige. She was making candles, and punk rock clothing, along with knitting. The candles and punk rock clothing has been discontinued and the store became a place for my wife, daughter and myself to present an array of our crafts.

 From wool hats to bags, I noticed that you often use ceramic buttons, etc. to accent your pieces. What is it that you like about combining ceramics into your creations?

All the ceramic buttons are made by my wife and me, I do the standard stuff, while she is much more creative with her work. We feel that the ceramic pieces add a spot of whimsy, and brightness to the items. It seems that ceramic and fiber are very comfortable with each other.
  
There is quite a variety of ceramic pieces used. Who is the creator of all of the ceramic? Do you make buttons, etc. based on your designs or do your designs spin off (no pun intended ;o) of the materials that you have?

Both my wife and I create the ceramic pieces as I answered above. We usually go to the basement every few months or so and create a bunch of pieces. Every piece takes on its own life as it is created. After the second or glaze firing, we see can see the results. The buttons that I make are put in our shop in sets of four to six. My wife’s creations are kept in a big box and used as the inspiration dictates. 

There are a few Etsy stores that you seem to be managing. Is that difficult to keep all of that organized? Could you please tell us how you organize your online shops when there are 3 different artists involved?

We have two ETSY shops, "Barbara Paige Knits" and “Paige and Pops”. Our daughter set up both of them. It’s a family thing and we all have full access to both shops. The items on Paige and Pops are items that I make, and items that my daughter and I work together on. On Barbara Paige Knits, I make the buttons and the shawl pins, our daughter created the shawls and scarves and spins the art yarn, while my wife creates the bags, hats, and the wooden whimsical mirrors.
The organization seems to just happen.

I know that many people on Etsy were affected by the drop in economy. With what seems to be a better outlook for our country's future, have you also seen an increase compared to what was happening a year ago?

Our sales have been relatively slow during the past two years. I for one do not feel that the economy has improved by any significant amount. Let’s hope next year will bring some REAL improvement.

Could you tell us where we might also be able to
find your items besides on Etsy?

We are primarily an ETSY shop, however, we do a yearly craft show in Surry, Virginia.

I read that your Daughter is your traveling buddy for shows? Do you do many shows and could you tell us a little more about that?

My daughter and I started doing several shows a year. We tried to stay within 100 miles or so from our homes. The shows were a great learning experience, and we usually made a profit, but they became very time consuming. Paige has a very full time job, three children, three dogs, some rabbits, and a lizard, all demanding her attention. We now do only one show, the Pork, Peanut, and Pine festival in Surry VA.  The shows are a great way to meet people and once your set up it is an enjoyable experience. 

Besides creating bags, hats, etc., I see that you also sell handspun wool yarn. How did you become interested in this and do you use your own handspun yarn in your designs?

All the handspun yarns are created by our daughter. It has become a way for her to relax after a stressful day as Practice manager for a large hospital surgical group. Her “art yarns” have been a big hit with other artists on ETSY, and she purchases most of the wool roving from ETSY stores. She has used her yarns in some of the shawls that are displayed on our site. My wife has also incorporated her yarn into some hats and bags but most has been commercial yarn
because of the amount required for a creation.
John, thank-you for letting us get to know you and your family.

Check out these shops:  Barbara Paige Knits and Paige and Pops on Etsy.


3 comments:

  1. Great family! What wonderful gift to create together....Love the buttons and it's exciting to be collaborating with the artist next door...

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  2. Such nice interview and I love the family collaboration.
    Their ceramic buttons look great on the lovely knitted pieces! Thank you Mary Ann for all the wonderful interviews you bring to BOC.

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  3. Fascinating! I love seeing other folks' art, especially when they are able to include ceramic beads! These hats and purses are fantastic!

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