PASCO — Etsy, a website just for makers and buyers of handmade arts and crafts, is one of the best-kept secrets for Mid-Columbia artists.
That's an opinion by jewelry artist Kay Fort of Pasco, who regularly sells her vintage and nature-inspired pieces to buyers on the East Coast, Canada and overseas through etsy.com.
"Ask around here and people will tell you they've never heard of Etsy, but elsewhere it's very popular," Fort said. Her Etsy shop has been open about a year and a half and she gets orders several times a week.
Fort said Etsy is better than having your own website because customers don't have to search the internet to find you. And people going to Etsy only are looking for one-of-a-kind arts and crafts.
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The site is set up so shoppers can search for a specific item, a certain type of art or visit all the shops owned by vendors from a particular area.
For sellers, Etsy is easier than going to shows. And Fort said because she only deals with one customer at a time, she doesn't need to amass a large inventory.
"There's no way I could do a show with my 100 things," she said.
To get Tri-City buyers familiar with Etsy and the Tri-City artists who have virtual shops on the website, Fort has invited nine other artists who use the site to join her at the River View Arts and Crafts Show on Thursday at the Hampton Inn in Richland from 4 to 8 p.m. Admission is free.
There are 30 or more Mid-Columbia artists and craftsmen who use Etsy, Fort said.
"I invited people like me who have a small inventory and can't go out and do a show on their own. But together we can come up with several tables," she said.
Another jewelry artist, Mary Morris Jewelry of Kennewick, works with a lot of beads, while Mary Ann Fitzgerald of Bent Wire Jewelry in Richland, works with hammered and forged metal. Floreine Turlington of West Richland, owner of Reine Crafts, uses semi-precious stones, beads and wire.
Corina Peterson Manning of My Style Home Decor in the Tri-Cities, creates picture frames, wooden letter blocks and canvas women's totes. A sewing hobby led Christine Bastien-Brandstetter of Richland to establish her Etsy shop, Blue Bassinet, where she sells tulle tutus, barrettes and appliqud T-shirts and onesies.
Richlander Lori Cook, who owns Kilted Woman, uses tartan fabrics, Iona marble and sea glass from Scotland in her jewelry and other crafts.
To check out their Etsy websites, search for the name of their shops at www. etsy.com.
* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org