Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.
Today’s feature is all about Matt and Grace from Conversation Glass on Etsy!
Tell me about yourself and your shop.
We’re a family business – my wife, my daughter and myself. We found a way to teach our daughter that business can have a conscience through our bottle crafting! We take bottles destined for landfills and make awesome glassware and housewares from them. The process from start to finish is quite fun. From finding just the right bottles, to cutting them into something reusable and fun.
Random fact about us: On our bottle runs, we play the punchbuggy game and are ruthless with making up new rules to outwit one another. Grace and my daughter will hate me for saying so, but I always win 😉
How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
Our shop and craft started at about the same time – we saw another bottle-crafter making glassware from wine bottles and were intrigued. With the courage from a nice bottle of wine, we found resources teaching us how to cut bottles and decided to try. After many, many, many bottles, we finally have a success rate we can count on.
Recycled Wine Bottle & Liquor Bottle Glasses Multi Color Set of 4
What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
My influence comes primarily from having a family that likes to eat regularly…All kidding aside, we are passionate about living responsibly. We know that there are many things on this planet that are renewable. As a family that’s felt the effects of industrial outsourcing and labor expendability, we sought a way to find our own way. And this way had to harm none – a business with a conscience.
What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
Inspiration comes from our travel, friends and spending time together. Like our name says, we are all about the exchange of ideas and good conversations.
What is your best achievement?
Our greatest achievement so far has been getting and keeping our daughter involved and excited about the process. With typical teenage reluctance, she dragged a bit at first, but now she gets excited, too when we complete glassware sets and make sales. Recently, she designed (by hand) a Dr Who Tardis from a Bombay Sapphire bottle. Impressive work that brought her mucho satisfaction!
Tea Light Candle Holders Hurricane Lamps Lanterns made from Upcycled Wine Bottles
What does handmade mean to you?
“Handmade” to us equates to something that you craft yourself. This is pretty broad, but I think even something brought together by other somethings can be an original item! This is why upcycling – the taking of something discarded to make something useful and green – is so fun and creative! You’re only limited by your imagination.
Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
We offer custom quantities of our items. We’ve made glassware and tea light lanterns for bistros and bars, and even special occasion events. We love these projects because they’re a fun way to see our former bottles in all their glory!
We also hand-etch glasses for personalization – letters and images that we draw. We’ve made glasses for sorority sisters and neighborhood drinking buddies alike.
Etched Paw Prints on Recycled Wine Bottles Glasses
What plans do you have for the future of you business?
At some point in the future, we’d like to set up a real workshop away from our home. It would also be nice to be a part of some of our local craft fairs in the Dallas area and beyond…maybe in one of our other favorite cities like New Orleans or Portland, ME? We love to travel!
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
Our advice to anyone looking to start selling their handmade goodies is this: Prepare to work hard, listen to feedback from people you trust, and don’t let yourself be discouraged. There is a niche out there for your stuff – you just have to find it! Did I mention the working hard part?
Many thanks to Matt and Grace and be sure to check out the rest of their shop for more unique finds!
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