Beautiful Etsian : Please meet with our Honor Friend Raw Art Letter Press

Today I'd like to introduce to you lovely Etsian Colette. She made us very big surprise and create our Famous Turkish Leader Ataturk's words to print with her style. We are honored very much. I'd like to thank her for all the Turks.

Merhaba and Hello!
I am so happy to have met the ISOT Ladies and it is an honor to be interviewed!

My name is Colette Urquhart, I live and work in a big dome-home in the town of Mount Shasta located in Northern California, USA.

My mother’s parents come from a small village in what today is Romania, but in 1910 it was still Austria-Hungary. My grandma, Paulina, is 98 and is still making things! She does a lot of needle work including crochet, much like so many of the ISOT ladies do.

My father is retired from United Airlines and my mother loves to travel, so growing up we travelled all over the world. My mom stayed at home to take care of me and my sister, but worked making crafts, mostly dolls and Christmas ornaments.

My sister, Sue, is an Etsy seller. Her shop is lulubugjewelry; she works in precious metal/silver clay. She has been designing jewelry for many years for other people, but after one year of selling on Etsy she quit her day job and is a full-time Etsy seller.

In 1998, I made a set of alphabet stamps that I cut out from erasers, and that is when I started making prints with words. I began making prints like the ones in my Etsy shop in January of 2009 and I can’t stop!

Traditional printmaking techniques are pretty complicated and precision is important. I’m impatient and I don’t follow instructions very well so I experimented and came up with what I call the ‘raw art letterpress’ process. It is essentially the same as traditional letterpress, but I use cardboard for my printing plates and I cut out each letter from playing cards. I have at least 200 different plates and I usually make a new one every day.

The printmaker I admire most was a Catholic nun named Sister Corita Kent. She was known as the “joyous revolutionary. Almost all of her later prints include words, her messages are political, but she speaks about peace not politics. I suspect she would have agreed with Ataturk: Peace at Home, Peace in the World. She is no longer living, at you can find out more about her.

I started selling on Etsy on June 26th, my shop was called “Project Speak Love” (this is the name of a program I am starting and is to be the shop for that program). I didn’t think I would sell anything, but I listed some prints anyhow. I was very fortunate in that my sister was the front page featured seller soon after I opened and, much to my surprise, I had customers! She makes jewelry from my prints that she sells in her shop, so I get a lot of customers through her.

The biggest surprise was that I did not anticipate meeting so many wonderful people when started my shop. I love to make treasuries and have met so many people that way. Seeing the things people create, both their own work and the treasuries they make, says so much about them. I caught on to the spirit of the Turkish sellers right away - it seemed like they were always having fun and supporting each other!

A few months ago I made a treasury called ‘Merhaba’ and it included work by Turkish artists. From that I met many wonderful people. Nesrin (from gullist) and I have been writing since then, she is teaching me (a little) Turkish. I asked her if there was a Turkish saying about peace or hope and she offered Ataturk’s words, so I made a print of it. Then I found out that October 29th is Turkish Independence Day.

I am starting to teach some teenagers this printmaking process and hope the program will grow. We all have something to say, and I believe it is important for young people to be heard. When we get together, we talk about what is important to them, or what they want to express - it doesn’t have to be pretty or ‘nice.’ They usually come up with a concise way to deliver their message because they have to cut out each letter and it has to fit on a certain sized cardboard plate!

My hope is to bring this technique to kids all over the world and to have an online gallery as well as an opportunity for them to sell prints through the Project Speak Love Etsy shop. This is a simple and relatively inexpensive process, you don’t need to be a great artist to teach, but you may need a lot of patience and compassion. Please contact me if you would like to know more.

I don’t know if this is true amongst Turkish people, but many people I know think they have little to offer creatively, or that what they make isn’t ‘good enough.’ A while back, someone with a lot of experience offered me this wisdom: we cannot know how what we create, no matter how small, influences others. What you have to offer is necessary for all of us, so stop holding on to your gifts, get out of your own way, start somewhere and make something!

Likewise there is no act of kindness too small: Nesrin wrote a brief note from which so many blessings have come to me. The print of Ataturk‘s quote won’t change the world, it is a small thing in and of itself, but making it has changed mine. Wow, I guess that was his point!

Thank you for inviting me to share my story and for the warmth and kindness you share with me and everyone on Etsy. I look forward to meeting all of the ISOT Ladies!

Warm Regards, Colette

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