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.
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!
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!
Here’s another recent commission that has flown off to its new owner. I love the deep green that she chose, it gives the design a completely different look!
These leather rose barrettes , shawl pins, and monarch wing earrings were inspired by my desire to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Before they were completed, disaster touched down in Florida and Puerto Rico as well. Thus, 50% of the proceeds from these pieces will be donated to the American Red Cross.
This custom moth necklace is winging her way to her owner today. While it’s simple on the surface, the piece holds special meaning and function for the wearer. These are my favorite projects – the ones that are personal, meaningful and even healing in their own way.
This piece was a pleasure to create, and the recipient was wonderful to work with. This has been true of all of the commissions that I’ve worked on this year – they’ve been great projects for lovely people. Thank you for that!
These little bee and butterfly themed pieces were created to welcome summer, and to celebrate Pollinator Week (which is this week!). Unfortunately, I was under the weather for a few days and could not finish them in time. Still, the intention is there and they’ll be finished up ASAP :)
I realize that it’s hard to “see” or imagine the finished piece(s) while they’re still in progress. Truthfully, I usually have no idea what the finished work will look like until it’s complete! But at very least, I can tell you that these are intended as jewelry components. The little butterflies and at least one of the bees will become pendants or necklaces, while the wings will be used in some of my earring designs. I’m leaning toward a bracelet for the bee on the blue background, though that may change by the time I complete them all. Oh, and there are some bee wings and a luna moth that didn’t make it into the photo.
Here’s a preview of my newest “Pollinator Prayer” necklace, loosely inspired by the Monarch butterfly. This piece incorporates sculpted leather, Baltic amber, antique Victorian era “nailhead” and French jet beads, as well as quartz crystal, glass flowers and seed beads.
It seems appropriate to share during Dias de los Muertos, since Mexican folklore tells us that the monarchs are the souls of our ancestors, returning to earth for a brief visit. This is also the time when these beautiful endangered creatures are making their long (3000 mile!) journey back to Mexico <3
Those of you who follow my blog (all two of you) may remember way back when I used to do this thing called “Wednesday Inspiration”. It served two purposes: one was to celebrate and promote other artists that I admire, and the other was to give myself a writing prompt in hopes that it would get me to blog more regularly. So every Wednesday (or every other Wednesday… or as often as I could find the time) I would share images and links from artist friends and strangers who inspire me to be more creative.
I’m bringing that back – in part because I’m trying to post more often, and partially because I realize that I fret and complain too much about copycats and jackasses. While the latter concerns are real and should not be swept under the rug completely, there is GOOD stuff happening in the creative community too. I’d like to make a greater effort to celebrate that. My motivation for this is summed up nicely by this quote: “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate”.
So without further ado, today I’m sharing a few pieces by Mermaiden Creations. My friend Julie creates work that”is the stuffs of fairy tales and legends; curious offerings of nature, weird beauty, wild and fey-inspired organically imperfect designs”. She moves fluidly from jewelry design to millinery work, to hair accessories and home decor.
Her work is imaginative, dreamlike, organic, untamed… and skillfully crafted. I own a few pieces of her jewelry and one of her scarves, so when I attest to the quality of her work, I am speaking from affection and experience. I’ve showcased a small handful of my favorite pieces here, but I encourage you to visit her Etsy shop or to follow her on facebook in order to see more of her beautiful work!
As an avid gardener and wildlife enthusiast, I have a special love for our pollinator species which include bees, birds, butterflies and bats. These creatures are not only beautiful, they’re important. It is said that one in three bites of human food and drink are available because of pollinators. So while these beings are small, they actually play a huge role in human food production! Sadly, our pollinator species are declining – but there are a few things that we can do to help keep them around.
For example, I plant flowers that will attract pollinators, and I try to employ sustainable gardening practices. My respect for these creatures is often reflected in my creative work as well, which you can see from the little photo montage included with this post. The necklace and bracelet shown in that photo are from my “Pollinator Prayer” series. Each piece is unique, created with a little prayer for their survival. The intent is to celebrate our pollinators and also to educate others about their plight.
I’ll be transplanting more sunflowers out in the garden this week, and doing counts for The Great Sunflower Project. Will you consider joining me in this effort? If you don’t want to plant sunflowers or count bees, you can plant milkweed for the monarchs, provide a water source for bats, build a bug house, make a donation to the Xerces Society, or even simply stop using neonicotinoids (such as “Round Up”) in your garden. Please consider taking one small action this week to help ensure the survival of our pollinator species.