Mother Earth Living

Meet Your Maker: An Interview with Etsy Artisans BootsNGus

Natural Home & Garden chats with Jeff Risinger and Mark Winn of the Etsy shop BootsNGus.
By Ginevra Holtkamp
July/August 2011
Add to My MSN

Artisans Jeff Risinger and Mark Winn of the Etsy shop BootsNGus pose with one of their upcycled lighting creations.
Photo Courtesy Jeff Risinger and Mark Winn
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

3 Great Pregnancy Skin Products

These three pregnancy skin care products will help prevent stretch marks and keep your baby belly so...

Cute Find: Handmade Herb Markers

We found this cute garden decor idea and insist you take a look!

Really Big and Off the Grid

Michael Funk's 6,000-square-foot off-the-grid home and retreat center on 1,200 acres in the Sierra N...

Don’t Get Fooled Again: FTC Revises Green Marketing Guidelines

The Federal Trade Commission is creating stricter guidelines for environmental marketing. Could this...

You’ll notice plenty of handmade goods in our Guide to Green Products feature. That’s because we love small-scale artisans and all the wonderful things they produce. Ann Arbor, Michigan, artists Jeff Risinger (above left) and Mark Winn design one-of-a-kind lighting fixtures for their Etsy shop, BootsNGus. We chatted with them about parents’ basements, recycling blenders and enjoying life. 

NHG: You make upcycled lighting out of unusual things. When did you begin tinkering?
Jeff: I’ve been designing lighting fixtures since I was a teenager. Last spring I was looking for a product to offer in our Etsy shop along with our vintage housewares. We had tons of awesome vintage Tupperware and beautiful blue mason jars, and they were begging for new lives. Turning them into lamps people could enjoy just made sense.

NHG: Where do you find your materials?
Mark: We find our materials everywhere, from our parents’ basements to garage and estate sales, from antique stores to Craigslist. Ann Arbor is full of great secondhand stores. 

NHG: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever turned into a light?
Jeff: We see so many old, broken blenders at garage sales. I turn them upside down and make them into pendant lights. They’ve been quite popular, and it’s great to see these lonely, overlooked objects become the shining star in a kitchen or office.

NHG: Apart from creating amazing lighting, what do you do?
Mark: I spent 20 years working in the corporate world. Jeff was a personal assistant. We found we never had time to do the things we really wanted to do. We left our jobs to pursue a dream of working for ourselves and living a more simple, peaceful life. We live in an old farmhouse, and we’re always working on home improvement projects. Our gardens keep us busy from spring to autumn. We have five silly cats that make us laugh every day. We also enjoy giving back to the awesome community we are lucky to be a part of!








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.