TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The TAFA Team's Catalog of Shops: Supplies and Patterns

Natural dyes, ribbon and other supplies on tangledlair.

TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List was launched in February, 2010.  As it has grown, now to over 200 members, so have the members who have Etsy shops.  About half of us use Etsy as our retail platform.  We decided to organize as an Etsy Team (a program Etsy has for sellers to organize under themes or locations) and set up a blog where we can talk about what is important to us and where we can show off our shops.  The blog has eight pages of shops, divided into themes and serves as our Team Shops Catalog.  Although many of us sell things that do not fit neatly into those categories, most of us do have a focus.  I am introducing each of those categories here, hoping that this will encourage you to go over there and shop, shop, shop, until you drop!  These eight pages have over 100 shops, filled with wonderful eye candy that will surely delight anyone who appreciates all the many techniques and traditions that are found in the needle and textile arts. 

Today's focus:  Supplies and Patterns 

Wool and cotton crochet flowers by fuzzystitches.

Etsy tries very hard to tout itself as a marketplace that primarily showcases handmade art and crafts.  And, yet, if you look at the top 50 sellers on Etsy, most of them sell supplies like beads, fabric, and other sundries, and most of those are reselling commercial products made of plastic, glass or metal coming in from China  (top fabric sellers are also commercially manufactured).  Definitely NOT handmade.  There is definitely a place and a need for these products, but it is rather frustrating that instead of embracing this reality, both Etsy staff and sellers on the forum constantly downgrade these suppliers, even when a great deal of revenue comes from them.  To make matters worse, a couple of years ago, Etsy changed its search to default to handmade, making it harder to find commercially made supplies and vintage items.  This does not affect producers of handmade supplies, but it does make it difficult for the rest of us.  My shop is all handmade, but most of it is supplies or vintage, things that I buy from small importers with repurposing in mind.

When I launched TAFA, I knew that I wanted to include providers of supplies, both the makers and other resellers like myself.  Quite a few of us are on Etsy, but many sell directly through their own websites.  Take some time to explore all TAFA members who sell supplies by following this link.  You will find a wonderful range of hand-spun and dyed yarns, hand-dyed fabric, textile remnants, patterns for quilts and other crafts, textile stamps, and much more.

Our supplies and patterns category on our TAFA Team Blog is made up of the members who have this as their focus, but others also have supplies in their shops.  You have to jump around and do some exploring!  But, start here and check out these great shops.  There is still time to do some shopping for the holidays and if you have a textile person on your shopping list, you cannot go wrong here.

Textile stamps:

 Oshiwa Designs

Stamping is a great way to manipulate fabric, personalize it and make it unique.  Many of these stamps can also be used on paper or impressed into clay or soap.  Oshiwa is a fair trade group working with a small workshop of carvers in Namibia.  Cindy Wills designs rubber stamps.  Two Angels in Paris has a huge selection of letterpress blocks and other letters as well as a treasure trove of vintage bits and pieces.

Rubber stamps by WillsArt on Etsy

Letterpress blocks by TwoAngelsinParis


A friend of mine in Paducah moved here with a truck load of commercial fabric that she had accumulated over the years.  Then she started dyeing her own.  There was no turning back.  Once she started working with her own dyes, she could not bear to use commercial fabric anymore, so slowly her stash has been sold at the quilt show here every year.  There is just no comparison between handmade or dyed fabrics and by what is machine made.  We have many TAFA members who are dyers and weavers, producing their own fabric lines. 

Hand dyed fat quarters by Vicki Welsh
Marbled fabrics by Marbled T Designs

Handwoven silks by TAMMACHAT Designs, a fair trade group 
working with weavers in South East Asia.

Then, we have Laura Foster Nicholson who designs her own ribbons and Castilleja Cotton who makes quilts and also provides patterns for them (see Penguin quilt at the bottom of this post).  Jane Porter of TangledLair (shown above with the natural dyes) also has a huge selection of vintage and specialty ribbons.

Suzani Design by LFN Ribbons

What a wonderful, creative time we live in!  We have the gift of sharing our skills and of bringing the world together through our creations, incorporating bits and pieces from time gone by, from living artists and from traditions from around the world!  For fiber artists, we revel in this...

Click here to visit our Supplies and Patterns section in our TAFA Team Catalog of Shops.

And, while you are there, click on the other tabs to see our other Team member shops.  We aim to be the best in textiles and fiber art on Etsy!

Happy Holidays
from the TAFA Team!

The TAFA Team:


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