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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

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A Small Shop Update

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.

This includes a variety of handcrafted wooden hair sticks in natural hardwoods and colorful laminates. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that I really enjoy woodworking! These hair sticks reflect some of my simpler early efforts, though I hope to offer a much wider variety in the year ahead. I’ve been experimenting with different types of wood, different lengths, and of course, different shapes. I think that these will make a great addition to my existing line of hair accessories.

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.

 

Last but not least, I’ve added a smattering of leather and semiprecious stone earrings. There are a couple of new designs, and I’ve also restocked several of my popular favorites.

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!

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Disaster Relief Offerings

 

leather rose hair stick barrettes

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.

leather monarch butterfly wing earrings with glass flowers
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The Return of Wednesday Inspiration (featuring Mermaiden Creations)!

Those ofBrown velvet tricorn hat 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.

butterfly wing earrings
“Waiting on the Eastern Glow” earrings

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.

Sterling and labradorite ring by Mermaiden Creations
“Midnight Moon”labradorite ring

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!

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Little Projects

Nov 6th – iolite and blue titanium quartz earrings

For the past few days my NaSeBeMo projects have been small, but I’m still feeling pretty good about it. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I do have quite a few custom orders in the queue right now, and those have to take priority. With that being said, the fact that I am getting in any beading time at all is really good. In fact, I’m finding that my desire to bead is motivating me to try and finish up these orders a bit faster so that I can have more time to play with beads!

The 6th was pretty busy, so I just made the mate to an earring, and added some dangles to the hair stick from the other night. On the 7th I gave myself permission to take a night off, since I’d had painful dental work AND the early signs of a migraine — not a fun combo.

Nov 8th – branch fringe earrings with blue quartz points

On the 8th, I created these branch fringe earrings with more titanium quartz (yeah, I’m on a little kick here) and on the 9th I started a matching bracelet. I’ll post pictures of that one when I complete it.

Thus far, the majority of my projects have been small ones, but I’m enjoying the process. It’s been quite some time since I made an effort to bead every day, and I’ve really missed it. I’m hoping that these little efforts will grow to be a steady practice again.

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Mostly Rippit

Nov 5th – a beaded hair stick and a single earring

Last night’s NaSeBeMo results are rather slim. My first project — or rather, attempt at a project — was to turn one of my UFO’s into a bracelet. The piece features bead embroidery around a vintage brass filigree and I thought it would make a lovely little bangle. Unfortunately, the filigree was too rigid to work well for a bracelet. I fought with it for far too long, stitching beads and then ripping them back out (for the uninitiated, this is known as “rippit stitch” 😉 before accepting my defeat. That piece will have to be a pendant or barrette.

I did manage to work on a couple of smaller pieces before the night was through. One is a beaded hair stick with a vintage WG glass cab; I’m on the fence as to whether or not to add dangles to this one. The other will be an earring. It features a stunning titanium coated quartz crystal and a faceted iolite. Maybe I’ll make the mate tonight.

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Further evolution…

leather leaf earrings 2009

I’m not doing the “inspiration Wednesday” thing today, cause I’m just not feeling it at the moment*.

Instead, I’d like to reflect on some design progress that a friend recently pointed out. In 2009, I started playing with a new (to me) earring style that makes use of some of my smaller leather scraps. There were several styles of leaves, and of course, lots of feathers — especially raven feathers (if you scroll through this blog, you may notice that I have a thing for corvids ;). These were accented with mixed metal wire, Swarovski crystals, and assorted gem stones. I debated whether or not to add real feathers.

blue jay earrings 2009

When I created their facebook photo album, I asked my fans if they were “Good, Bad or Ugly?” — which hints at how unsure I was about the style. They were well received, and I kept playing with the designs. These were somewhat tricky at first because I’d never really done such small leather projects. They’re simple enough to make, but working with leather at this scale was new and challenging for me; in addition, I’ve never been much of a wireworker. There are people who can do amazing things with wire, but I am not one of them. My knowledge and experience with that type of jewelry design is limited to the most basic skills.

peacock earrings 2011

I’ve continued to play with this style over time, and I suspect that I’ll continue to do so.  They’re admittedly simple designs, but I think the little projects tend to be the ones that build your skills the most (see this earlier post on formative work). There are many artisans who claim that every single piece they make is a one of a kind design. That is admirable  — though I always wonder if they are actually selling their work as a substantial portion of their income. As a working artist, it seems like it would be incredibly challenging not to repeat designs, and still create enough to support oneself. But I’m getting off track — my point is that I actually find value in revisiting designs. It helps me to hone my skills and also gives me a yardstick for progress.

raven earrings 2012

The current variations are still not exactly what I saw in my mind’s eye when I began making these; I hope there will be more permutations as time goes on. Still, it’s nice to contrast then and now. I often get restless or frustrated because my “creative vision” is usually far ahead of my actual skills. This is probably a good thing in that it keeps me striving — but sometimes it leads to feeling impatient or being hard on myself. When I can stop long enough to notice progress, it motivates me to keep exploring.

 * As to the “Inspiration Wednesday” posts, I think they’ll become a bi-weekly thing. It’s a fun theme that challenges me to think about what inspires me, and having a “prompt” does get me to blog more. I love being able to share these things, and to promote other artists and creative spirits — but it’s starting to make me feel pressured and I don’t like that. Every other week seems more balanced and comfortable for me 🙂