Hail Spring! Today is the vernal equinox, signaling the first day of spring.
As an avid gardener, I’m excited for warmer weather, planting season, colorful flowers, and butterflies! As an extreme allergy sufferer, I’m less than excited about the next few weeks of alternating between zombie mode (unmedicated) and total spazz (whacked out on allergy meds) < ~ Please bear with me there.
So happy to share that my work is featured in the Spring issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine, hitting the stands today!
I’m still waiting on my copy, so I’ll share better photos when it arrives. In the meantime, here’s a photo of a beaded leather luna moth necklace that was included in the article. This one features a boulder opal cab with brilliant fire, along with Nevada turquoise, moonstone, Moss agate and charoite.
Many thanks to Stampington & Company for this wonderful opportunity!
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 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