Joy Light normally sells her hand-painted silk scarves online, but today she and as many as 52 other Ashland Etsy crafters are displaying their wares in person.

Joy Light normally sells her hand-painted silk scarves online, but today she and as many as 52 other Ashland Etsy crafters are displaying their wares in person.

Light has organized the first Ashland Etsy craft party, a benefit for the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. Sellers from the popular website Etsy.com will mingle with community members from 3 to 9 p.m. at 980 Park St.

"We're bringing this from the virtual to the real," Light said.

Partygoers will be able to make crafts alongside the Etsy artists and also purchase some of the creations normally sold online. Attendees are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the food bank.

Etsy crafters worldwide are holding parties on Friday to bring sellers and buyers together in person — because they normally meet only through the Internet.

The process of setting up a shop on Etsy is relatively simple, but making sales depends on perseverance and marketing, said Light, who has operated her Joy Handpainted Silk shop for two years. Crafters create an Etsy page and post photos and descriptions of their items for sale.

Then, they're responsible for driving Web traffic to their page.

"Just like in any other business, you need to do marketing," Light said. "You can't just open up your shop and expect people to find it."

Buyers can click on the photos of the for-sale items and place an order on the website, using a credit card to pay.

The website charges a listing fee of 20 cents per item and takes 3.5 percent of every sale. The rest of the proceeds go to the artists.

The site also allows people who make handmade sweets or sell vintage items to post their wares.

There are more than 800,000 active shops on the website and in 2010 they brought in $314.3 million in gross sales, according to Etsy.

Light said business is usually unpredictable — sometimes she has multiple large orders to fill at once and other times she has none.

"It's not consistent," she said. "That's one thing I'm working on. Maybe this party will help let more people know we exist."

For more information on the craft party call 541-482-9665.

Contact reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-708-1158 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.