Cara Carmina

Norma Andreu; Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When it comes to truly unique one-of-a-kind goods, Cara Carmina’s got it covered. The creative and quirky artist behind the Cara Carmina collection, Norma Andreu is the epitome of why I love the handmade-with-love movement. Sure, you can get quirky cards and home goods at big-box retailers, but Norma is the reason not to.

Cara Carmina is all about spreading the love and showing gratitude in truly unique ways. When I attended the latest One-of-a-Kind Show in Toronto, I was clearly just one person in a hoard of thousands. Yet when I stopped by Cara Carmina’s little booth and started rifling through kitty cards, Norma popped up from behind the display and thanked me for my smiles. How crazy cool and adorable is that? To have someone actually thank you for being happy by looking at their labours of love is something I’ve never experienced before. Just as memorable as her bubbly personality, though, are Norma’s works.

I’m absolutely in love with her paper cut diorama cards featuring cats with fish-filled thought bubbles and illustrated kitty postcards. but this is just a small fraction of the world that is Cara Carmina. In her Etsy store, Norma also offers Frida Kahlo-inspired dolls, printed clothing, illustrations, collages, pillows, calendars, prints, and wall decals.

Here I’ve included just a small sampling of it all; head on over to Norma’s Etsy shop to see all of Cara Carmina’s offerings and learn more about Norma—and be sure to spread some Et Cetera love while you’re there!

Purchasing information: Check out Cara Carmina’s Etsy shop or visit www.caracarmina.com.

Salvage Ink

Shannon Smith; Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I first came across Salvage Ink in the Etsy district at the One-of-a-Kind Spring Show in Toronto. When I learned about the inspiration behind the hand screenprinted patterns, I fell in love.

Salvage Ink is all about everyday lines and images, the simplification of common objects or sights into lines and recurring patterns, and the translation of the urban and industrial into something more natural. The manhole-inspired leaf pattern is a perfect example of the latter. Her bird patterns are a slight reversal of this, the focus being more on the lines and patterns than the flocks. Finally, Shannon’s diamond pattern is an example of how she takes an industrial antique to create a blockprint with a cast-iron original, leading to a raw, texturized look. This is the idea behind the name Salvage Ink.

My personal interpretation: There are times when cities have their eyesores or there are those little everyday elements in nature that we tend to overlook—those common objects and natural elements. Shannon’s works present these overlooked and forgotten features in a simple, minimalistic way that breaks them down into their basic forms, forcing us to see worn, salvaged items and nature in a new, inspiring way.

Shannon applies her contemporary designs to napkins, dish towels, and pillows, all made of eco-friendly organic and hemp fabrics whenever possible and water-based, non-toxic inks.

Purchase information: Find Shannon’s Salvage Ink creations on Etsy.