Thursday, August 20

In Interview: UNR's Nevada Sagebrush

Minus not putting our shop url ANYWHERE in the interview, I'd say it was one of the better plugs we've had. From our university's student-run newspaper, the Sagebrush


Under the name Argenta Collaborative, 20-year-old Charlene Gey and 19-year-old Gina Lee have transformed their lifelong interest in arts and crafts into a business. The Argenta Collaborative shop is run through, a Web site that enables patrons to easily buy and sell gifts.

The Argenta Collaborative specializes in handmade items, and offers a wide variety of artwork in many mediums: this includes traditional forms of art such as watercolor paintings or more contemporary art such as fusible plastic Perler bead creations, with many of their pieces centering around “geeky” themes.

“The geek and gamer themes exist because I am, and Charlene is too, a geeky gamer at times,” Lee, a psychology major, said. “But aren’t we all? The old-school Nintendo icons are with all of us because that’s what we remember playing with. There’s a certain nostalgia present with seeing them again.”
Although both artists have been creating work for many years, the idea to begin selling it came later.
“The art sales have been relatively recent, in the scheme of things,” Gey, a communications major, said. “I’ve had some formal art training under my belt, and I feel I’m to a point where my things don’t look too bad. I didn’t have anything to lose, anyway. It just seemed like the next logical step.”
Gey began filling requests and selling her pieces to friends through her MySpace account. As this endeavor progressed, she opted to expose her artwork to a larger audience by showing items at local shops.

“I had a decent number of requests; that was inspiring,” she said. “It helped me want to expand and keep going. You never really know how your work is going to be received until it’s out there.”
In search of more exposure for her pieces, Gey discovered the Etsy Web site by browsing the Internet and became interested.

“I became curious and started reading about it,” she said. “I read the site top to bottom before I even signed up. What sold me most were the low fees and the amount of people that could potentially view my shop. I was caught up in a rush of energy and dumped most of what I still had hanging around into the shop. I didn’t wait to make items that related to each other or had a certain theme.”

Lee similarly began selling her pieces to friends and family before joining with Gey to form the Argenta Collaborative.

“I never really thought about selling my stuff until friends and family kept urging me to do so, and so, I thought, ‘Why not?’” she said. “I originally sold to friends and family because they were the only ones to actually see and know about the felties (plush-like characters). Eventually, Charlene persuaded me to give it a go on Etsy with her.”

Since establishing their Etsy shop, the Argenta Collaborative has focussed heavily on homemade gifts revolving around classic video games and other “geeky” themes.

“The test round was a hodgepodge,” Gey said. “Now I put a little more thought into what I post in the shop. Geekery and arcade are the most fun for us to make and primarily what we stick to. These items hold great memories for a lot of people. We like the reaction to our products from people who’ve spent a great deal of their young lives with these characters. On Etsy forums, whenever someone sees our Donkey Kong cross-stitch, they always repeat the ‘It’s on like Donkey Kong!’ tagline.”

The Argenta Collaborative shop offers free shipping to customers in Nevada and California, and hand delivery to customers attending the University of Nevada, Reno. Their prices range anywhere from $3 to $20, depending on its size and complexity.

“I’d say that the UNR students who know what I make are drawn in by the cuteness,” Lee said. “I think my main sales are out of state—maybe even out of the country.”

While the shop is new for both artists, the creative process is not, as both have been making art for most of their lives.

“I started making art as soon as I could in life,” Gey said. “I think everyone starts out with some amount of artistic inclination as a child, but so many lose interest in it as they get older and it’s a shame. I never did. I had such a lucid imagination that it had to channel to something physical—I was never satisfied with anything less.”

Lee also works with a range of materials to create her pieces.

“Art has always been appealing to me,” she said. “There would always be something interesting to make. Most recently, I’ve been working mainly with felt, making small plushies and key chain-type things. It takes me a good few hours to complete a feltie set consisting of four to five little felt creations, just because they are so small and I hand stitch each one. And then there’s spray paint—I simply love it for all the different things you can do. It’s so much faster than a tube of paint and, at times, so much more messy.”

Although neither artist plans to pursue a career in the arts, both hope to continue creating and selling artwork as much as possible.

“The plans for the future are open,” Gey said. “I’d love to continue with the store and keep doing what I love. Bigger, better, geekier.”

Casey O’Lear can be reached at

Tuesday, August 18

Autumn is Coming

Fading Flowers Print (5x7) by us

It seems like just yesterday I was drumming my head against the wall trying to come up with ways to pass the 3 month summer hell in Las Vegas. Now I leave in 4 days to go back to school and couldnt be happier for a change of scenery, new classes and cooler weather.

I made a down beat playlist, because I'm usually more mellow in the latter parts of the year. I may have landed a $50 sewing machine from Craiglist. If that's the case then I'll start making clothes sooner than I planned ;] I'm also prepping for more stitching and things to keep you warm this winter, because if you're farther north [and have snow] like me, you like your hands to be warm at all times. My library job seems pretty laid back, the perfect place to get some crafting or homework in. I'm not gonna let my 16 credits, pool and jobs keep me from keeping the shop up [Gina's promised the same, but she has around 19 credits. yikes]

That's about the updates for now. All my stuff's packed so I cant make anything. Sniff.

Til Saturday, stay crafty out there.



Wednesday, August 12

Steampunk Love

I've been on a steampunk tangent; ever since buying my lovely [what I call] steampunk wallet, (which is fabulous, by the way), I've been digging through the web for more design and deals. This is a style that I truly want to emulate, and though my mom rolled her eyes when I told her I was going to start making my own clothes, it's the easiest way to wear what you want (if you have time and a bit of talent). I swear I will make time and should have enough talent for this. Plus, it's right up my alley with the DIY and thrift finds lifestyle I have. Here's a few pics of things that I've found yummy to the eye [that I would actually wear! I've long had various loves of fashion and they were divided into two parts; things I loved and would wear, and things that looked nice but could never see myself in].

Jumpers. Cute! I'd make mine a bit longer at the bottom [I'm 5'11 with a ridiculous torso]. Perfect for hotter days when a steampunk long jacket would give you heatstroke.

Pants that dont stick to your sides. Yay!

I've always been a fan of long jackets--- just not in the 'have to be black, Hot Topic' kind of way. Steampunk is the clothes I've wanted without knowing it my entire life. Plus, the colors look great on me.

I found this darling on Etsy. I love the simplicity of it but would like to the add a few things to it. I highly suggest you check out SWAK's shop, though. Lots of nice things in it, with designs that I never thought of. Great inspiration.

While I have a love-hate relationship with the hyper-feminine [lace, ruffles, dresses, diamonds, makeup. etc], this may be the perfect balance of it [with maybe a little less ruffle]. It's sexy without being revealing, plus, I love that corset.... boustier. :]

Another sweet coat. I like how it drops in the back. I would've actually bought this one but the 4 buckles on the back turned me off. It was restraint-trashy. Didnt go well with the excellent design on the front.

Loved the overall design of this photo. The shoe covers [I'm not sure what they're called] are especially cute.

Harness! This would be awesome with a little jacket over it. In my living room, we have leather chairs with ottomans that are this shade and wear. If my parents ever wonder where the missing ottoman's gone, I hope they dont stop paying my tuition D:

Granny boots, so they're called. I love these, not sure I fit in them, or would pay 65$ for "vintage" [really?], but if you buy them I'll kill you ... just because I can.

What's steampunk without keys and clocks? An beautiful find from Etsy.

Love. Good Etsy shop overall.

The great thing about steampunk is that you dont have to stick to the 'typical' time frame of Victorian/Edwardian periods where most steampunk fashion lies ... you can mix and match with other time periods or whatever your likes are. Another great love of mine is the attitude and fashion of the Roaring 20s; the slinky dresses, the kinked hair, the tassles, the coats, the long pearl strands and most of all, the Cloche hats. I was made in the wrong time, people. No hats today fit this head. My S.O. is the same way. We both have 23 + some inch heads, so Cloche hats are perfect because they're made to be worn low on the forehead, so they're bound to be big enough [plus, independent artists who make these do it custom anyway, so you can tell them to fit yo' head]. HatsByDenise is a definite favorite of mine. I've trolled through all the "flapper hats" that Etsy could throw at me, and she was definitely the best. Her stuff wasnt knitted like everyone elses, plus she has a huge selection. What more can you ask for?

These are my loves, what are yours?

Sunday, August 9

June & July Stats

Well, we have to say that the summer sales in general can be summed up in one word : depressing. With 3 sales in June & another whopping 3 sales in July, we were really starting to wonder what had happened to the world. Did the "economic CRISIS" leave everyone living in boxes, or just foregoing cuteness? This summary wont be too exciting we dont think, but I like looking at charts, so here we go.

I know you cant read that, but it says that my peak visit was 132 people on July 18th. All the low places were where I was on vacation ^^ But we still did managed to get around 20 people in each day even though I wasnt advertising or hitting the forumns.

We like seeing where our visitors come from, but it's definitely no surprise that we get the most visitors from the US. Just proves in graph form how much of our lives we waste away in front of a computer screen. What's cool to note is that the majority of our orders ship to the US & UK, which is always fun. ...until you get a $7 shipping bill D:

A more detailed country breakdown. Australia's starting to visit us more. Yay!

This shows how people find us, where they came from before us, and what they searched for to find us. The most entertaining entry so far has been "butt freckles". True story.

More detailed breakdown of referral sites, though you probably cant read that at all. It's important to us though because we get to see how effective our advertising is.

This shows the times of day that our peak visits come from. They usually corrolate to when I'm on chat the most, but not always. Latest nights are usually the highest, but I've been trying to hit all time schedules and see what works best. Right now 9am is the winner with noon & 8pm close behind.

Glad you had fun checking charts with us. August is already starting to pick up with 3 sales and triple digit visits, so we're hoping for more excitement the next time around.


Saturday, August 8

Look What I Has :}

Silver Seahorse Cigarette Case Credit Card Holder By Cosmic Firefly

Yes, you may ooooooh and ahhhhh now :}

My steampunk cig holder [that I will use as a wallet & business card holder] is in the mail to me as we speak--- well, I type and you read.

Funny thing is [well, there's a few funny things] ... this seller lives in the same town (it's Vegas, so who knows how far), and I wasnt really even looking for this item. In my boredom I just happened to search for steampunk gear on Etsy and a few pages in, BAM, here was this beauty. Yes it was more than I would've paid for a 4 inch piece of folding metal otherwise, but its beauty and function blew me away, plus, there isnt many items like it [believe me, I looked]. I proceeded to haggle the shipping down because he was only sending it across town, so I felt a little better because I got a bit better of a deal, but I'll tell you, I would've bought it anyway if he'd said no.

It has two clasps on either side so I can have my stuff on one end and my business cards on the other. I'll have fun whipping this thing out and have others marvel at it. What can I say that I havent already; I was in love when I first saw it. I DONT do this often; the last 'OOOOHHH I WANT' purchase was an-atleast 45 year old $20 army footlocker find at a Goodwill 2 years ago... which I then stuck on a plane across the country. This piece says "me;" hot, sleek, shiny, rustic, multipurpose, oceanic, steampunk.

If you'd like a hot piece of steampunk awesomeness, check out Cosmic Firefly's Etsy shop.

'God Hates Reno,' But Loves Us

God Hates Reno is a great tongue-and-cheek way that we [the gay community] like to respond to things like, by giving it our own little spin and highlighting all the great and blasphemous things Reno NV has to offer. They were happy to give us a nice review. Check them out; you're sure to laugh.

* * *

Artist Spotlight: Geek-Cute and Nerd-Kitsch

This is not an ass-kiss to the powers-that-be at Facebook, but I’ve met a lot of interesting people there since my arrival…

…of which has been Charlene and Gina, co-proprietors of Argenta Collaborative, local gals extraordinaire, fans of grassroots nerddom, and interested in making sure your refrigerator is properly magneted, your desk decorated and your lapels properly adorned with the proper gear.

Their reasonably-priced, totally impractical and adoarable handmade pieces give nod to nostalgia and 8-bit awesomeness, something I’m partial to, myself. There’s also a small collection of photographs, stencil art and other bits, again, all reasonably priced. Your dorm room or office cubicle never had it so good.

They deliever under certain circumstances (UNR only, I believe) and have free shipping to just about anywhere on the west coast. Give these Reno girls some encouragement by visiting our buddies La Bussola and picking up their creations or visiting their website and pick something up for you, or someone you know! They’ll even do some customization if you’re really, really nice.

- GR

We Think We're Done!

We'd like to thank Cutest Blog on the Block for html tweaks for 3 column blogs, and for their 500+ rgb & hex color values... and also Mesha's great blog for some kind of squeaky column organization.


Being inspired by the countless HGTV shows I've been watching, I've decided to demo the blog and get a need layout in here. I've achieved 3 columns so far, let's see if I can make everything else work. Keep your fingers crossed.


I'm bad about this blogging thing. I never know what to talk about, nor do I want to regurgitate what I see on other blogs [I read alot of blogs]. Maybe I'll try a bit of both, blogs are cool, I just have to find a way to make mine cool.