We love our members, so every month we feature one of them on the site and in the newsletter. This month, our featured member is Rosie Schinners of Arco & Iris (@arcoandirisdesign) on Salt Spring Island, B.C., who gamely answered all our questions about her work and her life.
(P.S., not a member yet? What are you waiting for?)
Workshop: Describe your business in 10 words or less.
Rosie Schinners: Colourful, quirky and artsy handcrafted paper jewellery.
W: What was the first product you sold?
RS: It didn't occur to me right away. But then when I sat with the question for a bit, I realized that my first product ever sold was handmade scrunchies, at my dance school when I was 13. I thought I was onto a really successful business; I think maybe I sold one. The company tanked. But the feeling of being a maker and selling something to somebody, that seed got planted quite early.
W: What’s your latest innovation?
RS: I started making the jewellery only last year. I have been working as a collage artist for quite some time, and it occurred to me to combine the two. So I've been exploring collage art with the jewellery, and making wearable art pieces. It seems to be something people are really responding to. And the more I've been looking out for other people in that realm, I haven't seen a lot of it. So it's an exciting thing to have stumbled upon.
W: What’s something you’ve done in the past year that you’re proud of?
RS: For me, it's been taking the steps to being a full-time maker and artist.
Through the pandemic, I think a lot of people have really reflected on what is important to them, and what matters. And for me, it's wanting to be a maker full-time. And so I took the steps to inch closer to that dream. I still have to work part-time, though I'm lucky to be able to work for another Canadian maker, Tamara Wesley at Island Soap Co., who has been incredibly supportive of my pursuits. But I have worked really hard at trying to do my own thing full-time, and I'm inching ever closer. I'm proud of taking that step because it's scary, as well.
W: What’s something new that you’ve learned lately?
RS: I recently volunteered at a kids' art camp, and I learned how to make a basic weaving loom. And I was probably more into it than the kids were. I have been really attracted to large weaving pieces and want one for my own house, and I've thought, I really want to make this but I don't have time. But the fact that I learned how to make a weaving loom — maybe it was a sign that it's something I should consider actually doing. I think it could be a good winter activity.
W: What’s the most recent thing you’ve bought from another Canadian maker?
RS: I live on Salt Spring Island. The great thing about being here is it's quite renowned for its artisans and makers, so I'm surrounded by small businesses that are doing all sorts of things. One nice thing about that is that we also trade. So I haven't necessarily bought it, but I have traded a pair of earrings for a very lovely mug from a ceramicist named Julie MacKinnon. She teaches pottery classes on the island. I also love supporting the farm stands around here, people doing baked goods and things that I'll pick up on my bike ride.
W: Where’s your dream studio?
RS: I feel very grateful to be where I am as an artist and maker. It's really supportive of that lifestyle. But I think somewhere that's sunny year round. Because the jewellery I make, the pieces — when I start from scratch, I put them outside in the sun to bake. And we don't get too much sun in the winter! So I'm thinking somewhere sunny year-round like Costa Rica, which is a beautiful natural place to be in as well.
W: What’s one book, movie, TV show, magazine, podcast or album that you’re loving right now?
RS: I'm a huge RuPaul's Drag Race superfan. I've probably been watching it since the show started. And this is maybe slightly embarrassing, but I've been feeling quite nostalgic lately. I grew up in the '90s. So I've been binge-watching Dawson's Creek. It's been refreshing watching people not be on their phones or anything. It's been an interesting thing to see from the past.