Mindanao Times

First PH artist featured by Etsy is a Dabawenya

- Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews

CITY (MindaNews) – A Dabawenya has become the first Philippine-based artist featured by Etsy, “a global marketplac­e for unique and creative goods” and “home to a universe of special, extraordin­ary items, from unique handcrafte­d pieces to vintage treasures.”

Etsy’s weekly Featured Shop Series, posted on August 5 in the company’s website, www.etsy.com, focused on the work of Ruby Thursday More, a Com

munication Arts graduate from the University of the Philippine­s in Mindanao.

Etsy’s ‘Featured Shop Series’ features stories that “shine a light on a standout shop from Etsy’s talented seller community, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at their process and story.”

For Ruby, “a mere mention or photo of my work in one of the gift guides or roundups would have been amazing already. But no. The Universe decided that I get a feature instead!,” she wrote on her FB page as she shared Etsy’s feature on her and her work.

“Embroidere­d Pendant Necklaces and Earrings From Thursday Craft Love,” written by Anna Hiatt describes Ruby’s elegant hand-embroidere­d products and her sources of inspiratio­n for her designs.

Thursday Craft Love is Ruby’s Etsy shop, “craft love” as her way of emphasizin­g her products are all crafted with love. Even the packaging of her products is a work of art as well.

The Etsy article also features a Q and A portion where Ruby gets to talk more about her craft.

“Creative life”

MindaNews asked Ruby, who used to contribute photograph­s to MindaNews, if she is the first Filipino artist featured by Etsy. She said she would ask. Jackie Buddie, one of the editors at Etsy sent her this reply: “I did a quick search of our archives and, while we have featured some Filipino expats before, it does appear that yours is the first Philippine-based shop we’ve featured.”

Ruby was a freelance photojourn­alist who opted to pursue a “creative life” full time with Etsy as her main platform for showing and selling her work.

She first encountere­d Etsy when she and photojourn­alist Keith Bacongco were preparing for their 2010 wedding.

In 2012, she opened her shop on Etsy but sold beaded jewelry and felt boutonierr­es. She later focused on embroidere­d jewelry while waiting for the birth of daughter Jordi. (Jordi was born in June 2014).

How did she get into embroidere­d jewelry? Ruby told Etsy that she used to work as a freelance photojourn­alist but when she got pregnant, the couple decided that “I’d stay at home for a while and take care of our daughter.”

A year after Jordi’s birth, Ruby said she felt like “I wanted to do something creative again” and made an inventory of her skills and what she liked to do “and I decided I’d really enjoy working with fabric and drawing and colors. I had a few threads, so I tried embroideri­ng, and it’s cliché, but it was love at first sight.”

In her FB post, she recalled having read the Etsy blog and its Seller Handbook, “especially their feature stories on different artists, designers, makers, vintage sellers” and it became a useful reference “especially when I was just starting out and a lot of the things I know about living and surviving life as a creative, I learned it from there.”

“I swooned over the work and studios of these artists, all the while wondering if the day will ever come that me or my work will get to the Etsy blog pages as well,” she said.

Human connection

Etsy was set up because in a time of increasing automation, “it’s our mission to keep human connection at the heart of commerce.”

“That’s why we built a place where creativity lives and thrives because it’s powered by people. We help our community of sellers turn their ideas into successful businesses. Our platform connects them with millions of buyers looking for an alternativ­e – something special with a human touch, for those moments in life that deserve imaginatio­n,” its website said.

Ruby recalled there were times she doubted the decision to pursue her creative life. “I used to wonder if we’ll ever survive” but her ever supportive husband would assure her “padayon lang gud” (just go on).

“On days when I had almost given up, Keith never wavered, as he always has on so many things in our lives and for that alone, I am truly grateful,” said Ruby.

She noted that some people may think of the artist’s life as “dreamy, glamorous and ideal” but “it’s far from that in reality” as it requires “a lot of hard work, discipline, grit and sacrifice.”

She said she feels “so guilty every time I had to sacrifice precious time” with her daughter Jordi “because I have an order to complete. This is not the ideal work-at-home mom thing I imagined. But then, real life’s really like that, I guess.”

She thanked God for blessing them with “the love, kindness and support of family, friends, neighbors, clients and strangers.”

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