Hidden Gems…Free Land Folk Art Signs

In my series titled Hidden Gems I would like to introduce you to Heather the owner of Free Land Folk Art Signs!!

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Heather would you share with my readers a little bit about yourself and your Etsy shop.- My partner originally started on Etsy selling antique and vintage items she bought at auctions. I participated in this by going to the auctions with her and found it interesting but it just wasn’t my thing although I didn’t mind packing the items that were sold – this was my job lol. I made attempts at businesses before and I’ve always wanted to start my own business but just never could come up with something that truly was my passion. I originally started out with craft fairs selling Adirondack coat racks, calendar holders, etc., but found that not everyone loved the Adirondack style like we do and the audience was very limited. We are both big fans of the meaning of quotes and my partner looked at one of our stenciled signs one day and said “You can do this”! Although I had reservations about being able to make these I gave it a shot. Of course in the beginning it was a lot of trial and error as I taught myself how to make these without having to learn from someone else. I originally ordered the stencils on-line but this was a huge expense and I found that I was really limiting myself to what I can make unless i spent thousands of dollars for stencils. I did some research online and found a machine that was within our means and gave it a shot. Although, the machine I bought did not state that I would be able to use stencil material. I again did more research and was able to find a material that I could use that my machine would cut the stencils. Now, there is no limitation to what I can do and it’s such an awesome feeling. I have been selling on Etsy for over 2 years and hope to continue my business into retirement as I currently work a full-time job besides my Etsy business.

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What first got you interested in your craft…
I was trying to find a way to make a little bit of extra income as well as find a hobby that I truly enjoyed as I’m the type of person that has a really hard time just sitting in front of the television.

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Please describe your creative process…

I only use 100% solid knotty pine – 3/4″. With knotty pine there are imperfections in the wood as this is a soft wood. I sand each board down to alleviate many of the imprecations associated with the wood then stain the board twice, front and back. Although, there still may be imperfections with the wood, this just adds to the rustic look. I don’t like just staining the front side as I like the sign to look complete. After the staining has dried, I use a hand sander and eye sand around the edges of the sign to give it a nice rustic finished look. Then the stenciling fun begins! I use what’s called a dry brush technique. This is acquired by using a stencil brush with a very limited amount of paint on the brush, actually the brush is dry to the touch. This technique is very time-consuming as for each letter it takes several coats of paint to achieve the density you want. I like all of my signs to look full. Once the lettering has been competed, then I apply several coats of a matte finish to ensure a long life. The last part of the sign is attaching hangers to the back, which are 16″ on center.

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Apart from creating things, what do you do…

I have worked for New York State for the past 32 years. I started working in one of the largest maximum security prisons in NYS – started when I was 19 years old and of course very naive! I spent a total of 18 years working for this prison then transferred to a State college where I worked for 8 years. My partner and I relocated and landed in the Central NY area where I am currently working for a Psychiatric Center for children. I work in the Human Resource Department and have various jobs. In my spare time, I LOVE making signs, this truly is my passion in life and I’m so grateful to have this for a hobby.

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Where can people find you on the internet…

I currently sell on Etsy
www.freelandfolkartsigns.etsy.com

I would like to thank Heather of Free Land Folk Art Signs for allowing me to share her shop and her creative mind!! Please take a few minutes to go and visit her shop and check out all her creations!!

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About Black Raven Creations

I love to create things and am one of those people who has to keep my hands busy. I have always been this way. If I am not "creating" in some form I tend to get depressed and blue. I spent many hours at my Grandmother's knees learning how to china paint, knit, and crochet. My home is now filled with items I have created thanks to my Grandmother!! She was a great and loving teacher and I was an eager learner. I have not only filled my house with my creations, but I have filled other family members homes as well. My oldest son told me recently "no more", he will not accept another painting, quilt, or wall hanging of any sort...his walls are filled!! Since my friends and families homes are filled, I have acquired a large pile of finished products... I was encouraged for years to open an Etsy shop, So I finally did!! In my shop you will find my creations using a wide range of textiles all created and made by my hands lovingly taught by my Grandmothers hands. All items are 100% handmade!! There are paintings, hand-stitched items, knitted and crocheted items, sewn items and many more. I hope you enjoy investigating my shop and if you have any questions just ask me. I am looking foward to running my shop and getting to meet new and exciting people. I hope to be able to service this community for many years.
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