Quietly putting Yass on the global 'handcraft' map, artist Marie-Nicole Roberts works away in her serene rural surroundings on a sheep farm just outside of Yass, transforming rescued old woollen blankets and leather offcuts into unique, one-of-a-kind, items. This year she has once again received recognition for her work, named as a finalist in the Etsy Design Awards in the category of 'Business as Unusual', which focuses on social and environmental responsibility.
Starting out with guitar cases and then a range of totes, satchels and technology sleeves, using repurposed materials, Marie-Nicole has shipped them all around the world through her online store within the selling portal Etsy, a US based online marketplace with a global reach. In November of 2013 she was honoured by the rare opportunity to be Etsy’s 'Featured Shop' world wide.
Marie-Nicole, who sells her uniquely hand crafted range of wool, feather and leather goods at a range of regional markets from Canberra to Newcastle and Millthorpe, has been selling on Etsy for nearly 6 years.
“Aside from the fact that Etsy has a global reach and enables me to sell my wares from my rural location, I love the people that I get to engage with through Etsy. I liken it to trading at artisan markets but from the comfort of my own home based studio” Marie-Nicole stated in a recent interview with 'Inside Out' magazine.
Yass Valley locals had the opportunity to view Marie-Nicole's work at the recent 'Odd Collection of Fellows' exhibition staged at the Oddfellows’ Arts Centre in Yass as part of 'YASSarts SPRING!' along with artists Kim Nelson, Anne & Ivor Hind and Col Nelson. She has been apart of the YASSarts initiative since moving to the region in 2011.
The Etsy design awards are a recognition of excellence in creativity and include other categories such as, art and illustration; home and living; fashion and accessories, which are judged by a panel of experts giving industry related prizes. The grand prize for the Design Awards, however, is the 'Communities Choice Award' which anyone can vote for and the prize being a trip to Etsy Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. Those voting can also win a $250 Etsy gift voucher to spend online.
If you'd like to vote for Marie-Nicole and support one of our regional creatives, simply go online to: www.etsydesignawards.com/nominees/business-as-unusual/by-marie-nicole and follow the instructions.