With many people shopping for holiday gifts and every day needs online, a popular place to shop is Etsy.
Etsy gives artists and crafters, like Ruthie Sutter from Somers, the opportunity to reach buyers locally and worldwide.
Sutter said that she really values the relationships she has with her customers and enjoys working with them to make meaningful custom gifts. She runs ArtSmith, a shop that specializes in custom painted pottery, charcoal portraits, and more.
“It warms me to my core to know that something I made with my hands in my small town has traveled to more places than I have ever been and some I had never heard of before,” she said. “Somewhere on the other side of the country, on Christmas morning, someone will open a gift purchased from someone they love and made by me, and it will make them smile.”
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According to Sutter, she has always loved art and wanted to be an artist since she could pick up a crayon. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs, and as a teenager, her father told her to do what she loves and find a way to make a living at it.
She taught elementary and middle school art for a few years, but when she decided to stay home with her son, she got the itch to start creating more.
“I love drawing, painting, and pottery, so I started an Etsy shop offering a few original items with the idea that ‘it couldn’t hurt,’” she said. “Within a few days of opening my shop, I had a sale from some nice person in cyberspace and then another. I was hooked.”
She said that she loves the mom and pop feel of dealing directly with the customers.
“Many of my items are custom-made and given as gifts, and in the process of working with the customer, they often share details of their life and their family,” Sutter said. “I feel like I am making friends all over the country.”
According to Sutter, Etsy has helped her fulfill the dreams of being a stay at home mom and working as an artist.
“I may be working in the middle of the night or juggling groceries with paintbrushes, but at least I get to,” she said. “I feel enormously lucky.”
There are several artists and crafters from Tolland who sell on Etsy. To find them all, go to Etsy.com, click on the “Shop Local” option under “More Ways to Shop,” and then enter the town name into the search field.