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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Forgive me for being so quiet of late! I’m still creating, just haven’t been able to share much. Have been using this time to peck away at commissions, and giving time and space for new ideas to germinate.
This electric blue peacock mask was a recent custom order. I love how well it goes with this headpiece, and may just have to make another in this color way.
Upon returning from the Thanksgiving holiday, I promptly came down with an epic flu. Two weeks later, I am finally moving and functioning again – albeit slowly. Last night I managed to list most of the goodies that I’d been working on before we left.
But before I get ahead of myself by talking about what I hope to make next, let me tell you a little more about today’s offering: these are small to medium sized hair stick pairs, measure between 5.5″ and 5.75″ long. The shape is a graceful wave that slides easily into a small bun or half up.
The laminated birch options include 3 color variations: burgundy/grey/violet striped, autumn stripes, and summer stripes. The natural hardwoods include walnut, paduk, and cherry. All have been hand sanded down to 600 grit, and finished with a blend of mineral oil and beeswax so the rich color comes through without being too shiny or shellacked.
I’m excited about this new direction, and eager to hear your feedback!
Also included in this update are a handful of my jeweled leather feather pendants. There’s a beautiful mixed media barn owl feather pendant necklace with faceted Botswana agate teardrops and a large copper circle, a barred feather in rich earth tones with dark titanium quartz crystal and semiprecious stones, and six of my classic leather peacock feathers.
Each peacock feather is unique, and they range from about 3″ long on up to 4.5″. Some are low key with simple wire work spirals, while others are more ornate with faceted cobalt beads and Swarovski crystal dangles. For the neckline, you have your choice of an antique copper chain, a glass bead and Swarovski crystal necklace, or a hand dyed ribbon neckline. As always, a portion of every peacock feather sale will be donated to cancer research, in memory of my friend who inspired this series.
These little feather pendants are simple and affordable, but they’re definitely statement pieces! Every time I wear one, it sparks conversation (and compliments). They are striking worn alone, and you can also layer them for a more dramatic look.
There are more semiprecious stone briolettes and quartz crystals, along with some blue jays (in three sizes!), green oak leaves, peacock feathers, red rose vines, and owl feathers.
It’s a small sampling, to be sure. If I’m up to it, I may trickle in a few more pieces before the weekend – but I’m not going to push myself. I hope you’ll enjoy these offerings, and thanks so much for your support this season and always!