Etsy has revealed the 100 finalists of the second annual Etsy Design Awards—a global award program that celebrates the highest-quality items on Etsy while spotlighting diverse sellers from around the world at a time when they need it most—and 10 Canadian sellers are in the mix, up for a $15,000 USD grand prize or one of 10 $1,000 category prizes, to be selected by judges Drew Barrymore and Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson! Below, find our top picks from all 10 Canadian contenders, and don’t forget to vote for your fave finalist in the People’s Choice Award (do so simply by adding the item to your favourites on Etsy, and the seller behind the product with the most new favourites during the voting period, now to October 7th, 2020, will be awarded $5,000!). —Vita Daily
scandinazn rainbow confetti earrings, $69. Jamie Carlson’s background is in apparel design, but she started experimenting with sustainable jewelry during a project at school where she worked with repurposed materials. She discovered that by cutting leather, she could make some really nice fringe, and from there she moved on to making earrings, teaching herself the art of jewelry-making. Now, Jamie specializes in working with recycled leather. “There’s so much textile waste in the world, so I want to make the most of materials that are already out there,” she says.
omiwoods cowrie infinity necklace, from $176. Omi Woods founder Ashley McFarlane designs contemporary jewelry that celebrates her connection to Africa and the diaspora. Inspired by her grandmother, who gave the few pieces of jewelry she had to Ashley, her mother, and her aunts when she passed away, Ashley aims to create modern heirlooms that can be passed down for generations. “My Grandmother is the reason I started making jewelry and why Omi Woods is centred around heirloom heritage pieces,” says Ashley. Each piece of jewelry is individually and ethically handmade with fair-trade African gold and globally sourced, conflict-free fine metals.
lulaflora champagne mini piñata, $14. After searching, to no avail, for a vendor to create mini wedding favour donkey piñatas for her 2012 destination wedding in Mexico, Lula Flora’s founder, Christine, took matters (quite literally) into her own hands. She perfected a template and opened the first online shop to sell “mini piñata party favors” pioneering what has become a major trend.
lightpaper lungs papercutting artwork, from $65. After receiving a masters in community development and adult education, Ali Harrison stumbled across paper cutting while searching for DIY Christmas gift ideas online and decided to give it a try. Ali fell in love with the craft, and less than a year later, opened her Etsy shop, Light + Paper. Today she’s expanded her range of undeniably good-looking products to include laser-cut wedding cake toppers, pop-out 3D cityscapes, and greeting cards, in addition to the original freehand-cut art pieces she has made since day one. Her larger original pieces, like the paper-cut pieces in her anatomical series, take her well over 40–50 hours to create.
charlesetienneb bird house paper art, $115. Charles-Étienne Brochu is a paper artist from Québec and a freelance illustrator by trade. In developing his unique paper cutting technique, the artist was originally looking for a way to bring his illustrations to life in an innovative way, while preserving his drawing style. This particular piece is made by assembling 11 sheets of cut and stacked paper. Each layer is drawn and cut meticulously to maximize the effect of depth. Finally, the paper is cut using an automated paper cutter, stacked and framed. He uses high quality, recycled and acid free sheets of Canson paper to ensure the durability of the works, and limits the number of copies to 75 to ensure each one is unique.
leminiateliermtl modern furnished dollhouse, $550. Montreal-based Ismérie Anglade‘s passion for miniatures came about after she started making miniatures for her daughter, Alexie, so she started Le Mini Atelier with the goal of making modern and contemporary miniatures, mini representations of our interiors with cheerful and soft colours. “Nothing is more satisfying to know that many children will imagine incredible stories about our universe and that homes can be passed on from generation to generation,” she says. Ismérie carefully selects all of the materials used in her items, ensuring that her miniatures are natural and non-toxic.
kylasomething feminist crown pattern, $7. Kyla Hornberger, a mother of five, has a goal for her children: to inspire them to make things and instill in them the desire to create. “I want my kids to make; to see the wonder around them and know they are not bystanders,” she says. A big believer in the power of words, Kyla created this set of empowering crown patterns to help children, including her own, incorporate powerful words into their everyday play.
adrianmartinus skateboard credenza, $5.7K. AdrianMartinus was founded by brothers Adrian and Martinus Pool in 2012. As carpenters, they were frustrated with the construction material waste they encountered on worksites, and as avid skateboarders, they sought to give new life to broken skateboards. Working in their parents’ garage, they began turning hardwood flooring and broken skateboards into art and home décor. Since 2012, AdrianMartinus have progressively upgraded their tools and machinery, expanded their woodworking knowledge, and evolved their collaborative aesthetic. The brothers take pride in their ability to reimagine and transform skateboards into something completely new. “We don’t want you to immediately see it and think, ‘That’s an old skateboard,’” says Martinus. “When you hear that it’s a recycled skateboard, we want that to be a surprise.”
noemiah celine silk dress, $385. Montreal-based designer Noémie Vaillancourt started off making feather jewelry, which soon led her to creating a full-fledged fashion line, Noémiah. The brand’s style can be recognized by its feminine details, combined with character and elegance. Noémie values handmade work and the use of natural materials, mainly using renewable and biodegradable materials and natural fibres, such as silk, Modal and linen, in order to minimize her ecological footprint. The floral motif on her balloon sleeve printed dress is inspired by the poetry and the herbarium of Emily Dickinson. “I wanted to pay tribute to her modern poetry by reviving the dried flowers carefully selected and organized in the herbarium of her childhood,” she says.
dodoleather leather travel backpack, $550. In 2012, Andreii Gaidash, an architect with a creative mind, made a pair of earrings for his new girlfriend Natalia, and, shortly after, what started out as a hobby became Dodo Handmade Accessories. The couple soon married, and both Andreii and Natalia opened up respective Etsy shops, Andreii specializing in leather goods and Natalia focusing on jewelry. In 2017, the pair moved from the Ukraine to Canada, and brought their creative businesses with them, where they continue to work full time today.