Regular subscribers to this column know Etsy shop owners and northern California craftisans and artists are regularly featured here. A few weeks ago an article appeared that featured suggested Etsy shops for Christmas and holiday gift giving. One of those featured shops was The French Circus. Shop owner Robyn Parrish recently agreed to an interview and the San Francisco Recycling Examiner is pleased to share that interview with you.
E: Why ‘The French Circus’?
R: I wanted to find a name that would conjure up images to describe my aesthetic without being too specific. I’ve loved all things French and Parisian for quite some time, but also try to impart a sense of whimsy in everything I do. I hope this name is memorable and resonates with people who share a similar vision.
E: Ideal day of treasuring hunting?
R: The ideal day starts with a beautiful morning and cup of coffee! My favorite hunting ground is the Alameda Flea Market, but it’s a long drive from my home on the peninsula, so I also visit the new Candlestick Flea Market or local antiques shoppes. Friends are also kindly starting to keep an eye out for me during their travels. Etsy has been a great resource when I have the urge to find that perfect cameo or rhinestone clasp on a Wednesday night at 11:00 pm. When I’m at the markets, I usually have a bit of a ‘wish list’ in mind, but the real fun is in that serendipitous find that you didn’t expect. It’s important when treasure-hunting to keep an open mind and listen to your instincts. Of course, I always look for items that have ‘holes’ so I can attach them with wire to my jewelry designs.
E: How long have you been creating?
R: While I’ve played around with vintage clothing and accessories since college (ahem, the mid-’80s), I only began taking assemblage jewelry seriously this year when I discovered artist Amy Hanna’s work. It has really given purpose to my collection of baubles and fuels my quest to keep hunting. My hope is to offer unique pieces that are accessible to most people, while bringing back an appreciation for timeworn items and craftsmanship.
E: What inspires you?
R: I have always been inspired by the past, although I favor different eras at different times. I may go through a Victorian phase or 1950s phase. Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic style has played a huge role in my aesthetic over the past 15 years or so, and I love anything with a tattered, faded grandeur feel. My colour palette tends toward neutrals and pastels, but I try to offer a variety in my jewelry designs. For daily eye candy, I like to read blogs (particularly those with a Parisian flair) and home decor and crafts magazines.
E: Do you have other creative outlets?
R: My main focus is jewelry right now, but I started dabbling with greeting cards and paper crafts a few years ago, and still enjoy working with those materials when I have extra time. I’ve always looked to fashion and accessories as a way of expressing my point of view, so it’s thrilling to be able to turn my kooky hobby into a small business.
E: Can your work be seen anywhere besides Etsy?
R: Etsy has been a godsend in terms of marketing my designs to an international audience from the comfort of my home. I can’t imagine my little business taking off the way it has without it. I also have pieces currently at Modern Eden Gallery in the North Beach district of San Francisco, and I will be at a trunk show at Morning Glory, an adorable clothing boutique in Burlingame, the evening of December 2. The shop owner, Moe Munroe, has been a huge mentor and supporter of mine.
Want a chance to win a one-of-a-kind set of earrings created by Robyn? Head over to the Teacup Incident and enter the giveaway! Contest ends on Sunday, November 21, so hurry!!!
You can also find Robyn on Facebook
Christmas will be here before you know it. Make sure to stop by Robyn’s Etsy shop, The French Circus and do a bit of holiday shopping; whether it is for someone on the list or just to pick up something for yourself.