Local talent showcased as Etsy announces the six winners of the annual Etsy Design Awards.
Six winners have been announced for Etsy.com’s annual Design Awards for Australia and New Zealand, which showcase some incredible local designers and some of the best Etsy stores in the region.
Judges included Helen Souness, managing director of Etsy Australia and Asia, Ewan McEoin, senior curator of the National Gallery of Victoria and Clare Bradley, editor-in-chief of Inside Out Magazine, where the winners will be showcased in the October issue.
“I am forever amazed at the talented makers and curators that are part of our burgeoning community,” Helen Souness told finder.com.au in an interview. “I am fortunate to be on the judging panel of our 2016 Etsy Design Awards...and have fallen in love with all of the finalists.”
Finalists were divided into five categories, which were ranked by the judges and a community choice prize was allocated to one store.
Community Choice Winner: Sonia Singh from Tree Change Dolls (Hobart, TAS)
Creator Sonia Singh brings a new life to old Bratz dolls, which are often criticised for promoting a sexualised image to girls. Singh repaints their makeup to reflect a more natural look. The dolls' clothing is also replaced with modest, hand-knitted outfits.
Singh is certainly doing something right. The store has a massive social media following, with more than 440,000 likes on Facebook and almost 10,000 followers on Instagram, where she often posts pictures of the dolls in outdoor settings.
Business As Unusual: Grace Wood from Grace Wood Designs (Ingleburn, NSW)
Focusing on sustainable designs from her Blue Mountains studio, Grace Wood creates her range from renewable, biodegradable materials like wool, plant dyes and Australian fleeces like alpaca, corriedale and mohair. Her collection features earth-toned and natural coloured cushion covers, scarves, bed linens and ceramic cups.
New Talent: James Howe from Vos Kho Baby (Adelaide, SA)
While the offerings at Vos Kho Baby are limited, the quality is not. This South Australia-based store creates baby furniture that’s unique and uses materials like Danish cord and European ash timber.
Fashion & Accessories: Sarah van Oosterom from Sarah van Oosterom (Melbourne, VIC)
Designing and creating from a small studio/shop in hip Melbourne suburb Collingwood, leathersmith Sarah van Oosterom crafts a range of bags, belts, wallets and other small leather goods. All of the pieces she crafts are cut by hand and made using ethically-sourced leathers (when possible) and eco-friendly dyes and finishes.
Home & Living: Gwenyth and Dave Hulse from Gwyneth Hulse Design (Kerikeri, NZ)
Using materials found in the store’s base, Kerikeri, Gwenyth and Dave Hulse create geographical-designed inspired by their native New Zealand. Their line of candleholders, small planers, pods, coasters and jewellery feature rare woods like ancient kauri, puriri and pohutukawa.
Art & Illustration: Liz Payne from Flirting with Yellow (Sydney, NSW)
Creating one-of-a-kind, hand-embroidered pieces, Sydney-based Liz Payne designs everything from art to shoes. Her creations, sold through her shop Flirting with Yellow, are bright, fun and made-to-order. One of her pieces, 'It's What's on the Inside that Counts', was recently a finalist in the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award Exhibition.