Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gwen Made

Gwen Paja's shop, "Gwen Made" has a nice selection of jewelry, fiber art, and vibrant clutch purses. Glen states that as a traveling artist, her items feature unique materials and that her shop has a distinct eclectic and ethnic style. But, every bit as interesting and feminine as Gwen's beautiful creations is the story behind the artist and her art!

Gwen says that she was surrounded by art growing up, and that her mom is a fabulous quilter who can make beautiful and trendy fiber artwork. As a child, Gwen sketched and drew, and occasionally made her own jewelry.

Although Gwen's major in school was business, her passion to be artistic in everything she did was never overshadowed, and it spilled into every corner of her life. As a child, she decorated her room with posters of ink anime and experimented with a sewing machine and made many of her own summer skirts. And, eventually she learned what the power of a paintbrush could do to her soul!

Not afraid of change, and wanting to soak up all that the world has to offer, Gwen says that her artistic passion has taken her on many travel adventures that have revolutionised her world. She says that last year she realized that she never wanted to work in an office again, quit her job, and painted full time. She started selling acrylic paintings at markets in LA, and when the cash flow was low, she sold designer items on eBay through her consignment program and tutored kids.

Gwen thinks that part of her eclectic nature also stems from her experience of living in a variety of places that are rich in culture and diversity. She loves to travel, and this year, alone, she's lived first in Paris, and now in Heidelberg, Germany. She's in Germany on a four month business tour, and in the midst of her other business, she's also found a market selling her artistic accessories on US military bases. While in Germany, Gwen has traveled to 7 different countries including the Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Malta, buying supplies all along the way that she's used in her designs.

Her Etsy shop and retail ventures were hatched in Germany, where she got her start repairing jewelry, then making and selling some of her own. With encouragement, she started her own line of jewelry and accessories. She purchased a sewing machine, combined her talents, and has added sewn wearable art to her line. Her hand sewn creations utilize different mediums, and include little clutch purses that suit her on-the-go, city girl personality.

But with her travel permit about to run out, Gwen is now returning home to LA to continue selling through both brick and mortar shops and through her young Etsy shop. Her goal is not to become rich or to sell in great quantities, but to bring happiness to one person at a time. Gwen measures success by the joy she sees in people's faces when they wear or try on her pieces. She feels that her resources are limitless and says "I have so much creativity inside me, I can work all day long and come out with a thousand different ideas."

She says she's most comfortable with the eclectic character that her shop manifests, and this is the persona that she wants the Etsy community to really see. "The mission of my line is to utilize the absolute freedom in creativity and provide unique pieces that are not only fun to wear and carry, but are truly artistic in nature. My line is made for those who defy normal and those who are fearless in self-expression. I hope to share my artistic expression with everyone, where the human being is my canvas."

In addition to her Etsy shop, Gwen writes a blog - says that initially, she only wrote about her own creations. She says that she's now turned it into an eco-friendly and independent artist blog that incorporates eco-friendly tips, and that also features the eco-friendly artists and artists she loves.

Gwen is proud of the fact that she uses eco-friendly materials such as felt that is made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles, and by recycling vintage jewelry to reduce waste and do her part.

She's also a member of the Etsy Veg team for vegetarians and vegans, and writes a series in the team blog to help Etsy artists market and promote their work. With her business background in marketing and advertising, she finds many ways to improve sales that are yet undiscovered, and as she learns, she shares.

I think we all have a great lesson to learn from Gwen. I know that she embodies the courage and passion that lives in my soul, and that she's a wonderful example of what we can all aspire to be and achieve if we just put our minds to it. I couldn't help thinking, as I wrote about Gwen, that her words echo my own small inner voice. Not once did I get the impression that she was worried about failing, that she should be making more money, or that the worlds "selfish" or "fear" are even in her vocabulary. What shines through is that "all is OK" in her world, as it really is with all of us - if we just let go and trust the process of life while following our own hearts.

Take Chances necklace:

Gwen Made Lacy Beaded Turquoise Flower Clutch Purse Wristlet:

Gwen Made:

Blog - for ongoings in Gwen's creative studio:


  1. Aw I am so honored and inspired!

    Thanks so much Pat! Will link back


  2. Gwen, I am such a homebody and fuddy-dud, I can't imagine living in two different countries in a single year! :)

    Celeste (Crickets)

  3. What a great feature! Gwen is quite inspirational :)

  4. So wonderful to get to know you better, Gwen! :) I love the interview!

  5. What an inspiring story! Thank you for spotlighting such an interesting artist!