Meet Myrna and her cat, co-owner/co-designer, Pepe :) Their shop is called Craftuile. They specialize in handmade ceramic tile coasters. Read their story below and make sure to visit their shop to see all of their beautiful designs.
What inspired you to start making ceramic coasters. Was it a person or event?
A little over a year ago I moved into my new apartment. As a lover of Scandinavian design, I bought minimalistic, white furniture from Ikea, but I wanted some colorful details to give my new home some warmth. I wanted my home decorations to be unique and decided to make them myself. In the basement of my parents’ house I found old white tiles and, as I had already been acquainted with the decoupage technique, by using these tiles, same beautiful napkins, felt, some glue and varnish, created beautiful colorful squares. They were not only decorative, but were also a stylish protection for my new furniture. Later, as guests started to visit me in my new apartment, they all become enthusiastic about my decorative coasters. That encouraged me to start transforming the remaining tiles from the basement into the colorful coasters which, on various occasions, I started to give as presents to my friends and relatives. As I received a lot of compliments, I got the idea to turn this hobby of mine into a business. That is how I recently launched Craftuile store on Etsy. But I want to say that the real owner of the shop is actually my ragdoll cat Pepa, whom I, shortly after moving into my new apartment, took from a shelter for stray cats. I named Pepa the owner of the store because I wanted to use the opportunity to promote the adoption of pets from shelters, instead of buying them.
How do you come up with the designs for the coasters?
When I started to create my own coasters, I mostly used napkins which I found at various hobby shops in the city, but since, apart from making coasters I also draw, I decided to combine my two hobbies, and began to create patterns for the coasters myself. That is how the coasters with cats and paws, named after my Pepa, have been created. I have made a lot of drawings that I plan to apply to my coasters by decoupage technique. The procedure is as follows: I draw a specific pattern, scan it and print on a special, thin paper, apply paper on tiles with special glue for decoupage, then put them into the warmed oven to fix the paper on tiles, and when they are completely cooled, I coat them with a glossy varnish. This procedure ensures that my coasters are waterproof and not sticky.
What is your work space like?
Sketching and drafting patterns I always do at my desk in the apartment, while the production itself takes place in the basement of my parents' house where I have a large table on which coasters can be dried after coating. Although the basement is rather run-down, I like working there especially in spring, when I could feel the fragrance of linden blossoms getting through the open window. In spring I intend to renovate the basement and make it a more comfortable place for work.
What is your favorite part/ least favorite part of being a business owner?
I opened my Etsy shop at the end of January, so it is a little difficult to talk about this yet, but it's definitely nice to be one’s own boss, even though it is not easy to make one's way into the market. But I hope I will succeed.
Who are your favorite artists and designers?
I really love art, so it is hard for me to pick just one favorite artist and that is why I leave the answer to my cat - Pepa. Her favorite artist is Suzanne Valadon, the first woman painter who was admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (National Society of Fine Art), organization of French artists that was previously reserved exclusively for men. Pepa particularly likes her numerous paintings of cats. As for designers, we can both agree that our favorite is Vivienne Westwood. We both really liked last season's cat prints on her shirts.