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Pacific Northwest Ravens

Pacific Northwest raven barrettes

 

I love these recent customer photos so much that I wanted to share them with you! This client had me customize my Pacific Northwest raven barrette design to accommodate a larger size of French clip, and they wanted them paired so that the birds would face (or look away from) one another, rather than facing the same way.

The metal clips on these are quite a bit bigger than the ones that I usually use. Because they hold a fairly substantial amount of hair, most people will only wear one clip at the back of the head. She has so much hair that she was able to use these as a pair of side clips!

She and her husband are repeat customers, and such nice people. They’re beekeepers who share my love for nature (they even offered to help with tips and advice when my husband and I are ready to start our own beekeeping adventures!). I sincerely love when I’m able to share my work – and make connections with – people like this. You are the reason that I love my job!

 

Leather raven barrette with starry night forest design
Pacific Northwest raven barrette

 

 

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Lemanja Goddess of the Sea

sea goddess costume

Woke up to these gorgeous customer photos this morning! 2fit_samba added more jewels and beads to this leather crown to create her Lemanja goddess of the sea costume for the Notting Hill carnival in London Uk. As always, I’m so grateful for your photos – they’re a beautiful reminder of why I love my job!

sea goddess costume
Lemanja Sea Goddess
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Feathered Moth Mask in Earth Tones

Leather moth mask with feather work accents

Here’s another recent commission for a feathered moth mask. It went to a repeat client (thank you, I appreciate you!) who already owns a similar mask that I made in olive green. She wanted this one to have more of a steampunk vibe, with rich browns, metallic golds and coppers, and just a bit of green. It’s the first time that I’ve created one of these masks in these hues, and I really like it! Even more importantly, my customer was very happy with it.

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Snow Angel in July

beaded leather winter crown

I recently crafted this snow angel headpiece for beautiful Leonie of Nova Star Productions. It felt a bit strange to be working on a winter themed piece in the dead of summer, but since my client lives in Australia, it actually makes sense! I think this is the 3rd or 4th headdress that she has commissioned for her stilt walkers performance troupe. They perform at festivals and events down under, and their job is essentially to spread magic and make people smile!

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Lady Trieu Custom Headpiece

Well then! This one was a difficult birth, but I’m happy with the end result and so glad that she made it to her new owner.

Lady Trieu leather headdress
Golden wing headdress

The first time I worked with Miss K was 6 years ago, when her mother commissioned me to create custom Halloween masks for her and her sister (K is the peacock). This family was lovely to work with. Their mother let them design their costumes, and it was a lot of fun to try to actualize the kids’ ideas. I was honored to learn that mom had special shadow boxes built for these masks so that the girls can enjoy them year round.

custom leather bird masks
custom bird masks circa 2012

So when mom approached me recently for this project, I was happy to oblige. Especially when she gave me the background story: Miss K had a school report that required her to dress up as a historical figure and tell their story. She chose Lady Trieu, who is often called “the Vietnamese Joan of Arc”. She was a fierce rebel warrior who lead her people in to battle. I LOVE that K chose such a powerful role model for her school report! It was a pleasure to craft this headpiece based on her vision of this historical figure. The design was inspired by a crown worn by Miss Vietnam, as well as her mother’s tattoo. Her report was a hit, and her smile makes the costume.

 

Lady Trieu leather crown
Lady Trieu headpiece

 

 

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Cobalt Imp Mask Customer Photo

Just popping in to share a quick customer photo! Our kitchen remodel is in full effect, so the studio is still pretty quiet right now … but a client shared this recent photo of a custom cobalt blue imp mask that I made for her husband, and I wanted to share it here as well. I really love it when you send me pictures of my work “out in the wild”, it’s so rewarding to see these pieces being enjoyed!

cobalt blue leather mask
leather imp mask in cobalt blue with silver accents
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Flash Sale + Summer Vacation


Yesterday was the first day of summer, and man do I have plans! To start, I’ll be taking a road trip vacation to spend time with old friends. When I return in early July, we’ll be digging in to a major home remodel project that’s expected to take up most of July. Since it’s likely to get a bit hectic around here during that time (and since I’ll have limited access to my studio) I won’t be taking on any new commissions until that’s complete. I’ll also be working behind the scenes on that business name change/new direction that I mentioned in my last blog post … so you’ll hear more on that when I resurface from this remodel.

While I’m traveling, both my website and Etsy shop will be placed in “vacation mode”, which means that no orders will be processed. This will commence on June 26th – and run through (at least) July 10th. Since the shops will be down for a fair bit of time – and since summer has officially begun – I thought it’d be nice to go out with a small celebration! As of right now, all items on my site are eligible for a 15% discount – just use the coupon code “summervacation” when you check out. This offer starts today (Friday 6/22) and ends on Tuesday 6/26.

I hope this season holds exciting plans and relaxing moments for you too. Thanks, and happy summer to all!

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What’s in a Name?

Leather Butterflies - Adelpha californica

Butterfly imagery keeps cropping up in my work lately. Perhaps it’s because I’m an avid gardener and spring is finally here, or maybe there’s a deeper significance: butterflies symbolize transformation, change and growth. These are huge themes for my creative work this year! For some time now, I’ve felt the need for a change; at first it was a subtle whisper, but the feeling has grown progressively stronger. So much so, that I know that I absolutely must listen to my heart, even if the next steps seem scary.

Before I tell you where I’m going, I should probably tell you where I’ve been:

In 1996 I got my first computer and “discovered” the internet. Within a year, I’d created a Hometown AOL website for my business using a WYSIWG editor. Digital cameras were still fairly new (even the really good cameras were only like 4 megapixel!) so my photos were awful. In short, it was a primitive website with lousy photos, and the name was too long for anyone to find or remember. In my defense, most websites were like that back then.

My next site went up in 1998, with a shorter-but-easily-forgettable name. In those days, my handcrafted goods and my inventory of beading supplies were listed together on one site. When I’d meet online friends at bead shows or cons, they’d always say “Oh, you’re that Bead/Mask lady!”. So in 2003, I launched my new website and called it Beadmask. The name served as an umbrella for both product lines (craft supplies + handcrafted goods), and it was memorable and easy to spell.

Over time it became clear that those two different product lines had two very different audiences, who really needed two different sites. So in 2008 I launched a second website,  Treefrog Beads, which is dedicated exclusively to bead and jewelry making supplies. This left the Beadmask website for my handmade goods, and the name still sort of fit, since it featured beaded jewelry and leather masks. This set up has worked well for the last many years, but change is in the air again.

My business has evolved and outgrown the name “Beadmask”.  It just doesn’t fit anymore – the bead supplies have their own site, and masks aren’t such a primary focus anymore. I certainly intend to continue working in beads and leather, and mythology and nature are sure to remain central themes for my creations,  but it’s time to branch out. In order to clear the way for new growth, I’ll also have to let a few things go. Many older designs will be retired this year, in order to clear space in the studio (and in my mind) for new work. I’m excited to explore new media, new product designs, and to really dig in to more elaborate work that challenges me and showcases my skill. I want to focus on creating truly unique pieces that you will love to wear!

Long story short: My business name will be changing soon! Please don’t be surprised when you see a new name in your social media feeds. It’ll still be me, just with a fresh new name, new ideas, and new designs for you to enjoy.

As much as I’d love to tell you that this will be a seamless transition, growth and change are not always graceful. I’ll forewarn you that there may be a few bumps along the way, as I stretch to find my wings. I hope you’ll stick with me – and perhaps even offer your feedback as to what kinds of new designs and products you’d like to see. Some of you have been with me for a very long time, and I really hope you’ll come along for this next phase of creative growth!

 

 

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May Shop Update – You Must Believe in Spring

 

Today’s shop update is a celebration of spring! It’s an explosion of colorful butterflies, birds, flowers, and jewels. Like most artisans my work tends to mirror my interests, and this collection is no exception. My garden is my happy place, and these pieces are a clear reflection of the fact that it’s finally warming up enough for me to get back out there to start planting again. For my east coast friends who are still slogging through snow and ice, perhaps these creations can serve as a symbol of hope –  it may not feel like it at the moment, but spring is coming!

These offerings include a variety of leather barrettes and hair slides, as well as a few pair of hand crafted semiprecious stone earrings. You can find them here, and I do hope you’ll enjoy them!

purple and blue leather dragonfly barrette with quartz crystal dangle