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What do magnetic wall paper, rainbows and butterflies, and shoes made of discarded tires have in common? According to design experts, they’re the best of the best on Etsy right now.
Etsy’s first-ever Design Awards honor six talented and creative sellers around the world — from the U.S. and U.K. to Greece and Israel — who embody the spirit of the handmade and vintage peer-to-peer marketplace.
The awards include a grand prize finalist, as well as honors in categories like “Earth-Friendly Winner” and “Inventive Decor Winner.” Etsy’s trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson, said the awards were a way to showcase some of the most interesting finds on the site.
“We’re constantly looking to uncover the latest trends emerging on Etsy, and the Etsy Design Awards were an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the highest quality items created by talented makers around the world,” Johnson told HuffPost.
London-based designer Sian Zeng was awarded the Etsy Design Awards Grand Prize for her interactive magnetic wallpaper that combines hand-drawn illustrations with ingenious magnetic lining. The result is a creation that wowed the international judging panel with its inventiveness and playfulness.
“The idea of the magnetic wallpaper really stemmed from my final year university project,” Zeng told HuffPost. “I was writing a thesis about Little Red Riding Hood and how the story has evolved and been retold over the centuries. I was fascinated by the fact that the same set of characters appear in so many different versions of the story around the world. As humans, storytelling is fundamental to how we connect and communicate. I wanted to explore this concept, so I created an interactive surface that served as a base for this storytelling.”
Zeng said her magnetic wallpapers are a fun choice for children’s playrooms, but also have broad appeal.
“We have speech bubble magnets in our shop, and we see lots of people using these on the magnetic wallpaper to leave notes for each other, written on the magnets themselves or on paper held up by the magnet,” she said. “It’s a great way to keep in touch as a family, or in the office.”
The international judging panel was made up of writer and actor Dan Levy, style expert Joe Zee, author and artist Garance Doré, interior designer Sophie Robinson, décor expert Holly Becker, fashion designer Anavila Misra, and Etsy’s Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson.
Below, you can browse all of the category award winners for the first-ever Etsy Design Awards. Be sure to sign up to HuffPost’s sales and deals newsletter for more editor-sourced products and reviews:
Etsy’s top six sellers around the world, below: