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Such a long long time to be gone…

“You need music, I don’t know why. It’s probably one of those Joseph Campbell questions, why we need ritual. We need magic and bliss, and power and myth, and celebration and religion in our lives and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it.”

~ Jerry Garcia

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Wednesday Inspiration – Baked Alaskan Designs

baked-alaskaMy friends Phil and Julie are a couple of hippies who live up in Alaska, in a house that they built themselves. Now some of you might react by thinking “ewww, hippies!” but rest assured that they’re the cool kind of hippies; they are homesteading, homeschooling, organic gardening, child rearing, chicken raising, art making hippies who make the world brighter just by being in it.

Julie is a beadworker, and Phil helps with her small business, Baked Alaskan Designs . As you can see
from the photos, she creates gorgeous, heirloom quality bead baked-alaska3embroidered barrettes. Her “Stealie” barrettes are very popular, though I’m especially fond of her rosette style barrettes. They remind me of the type of beadwork that I used to see at Pow Wows – bold, elaborate and carefully crafted. Recent instagram posts from Julie suggest that she may have some new tricks up her sleeve as well. I’m excited to see the new ideas that she’s working on; so far, they look stunning!

She opened their Etsy shop a little over a year and a half ago and quickly found her niche, not only in terms of her work, but as far as community. She gravitated baked-alaska2toward groups of artists that network and encourage each other, and she clearly strives to support her fellow creatives. Julie often shares tips and info with me, and she shares my work (and the work of her many creative friends) on social media. Those things may sound small, but they’re actually HUGE. Making a living as an artisan is no small feat, so it means a lot that Julie not only  focuses on trying to make her business successful, she actively tries to bring others with her on that road to success.

With that said, I’m inspired by Julie’s art AND by her attitude. Thank you for being one of the good ones, may it come back to you tenfold <3

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Wednesday Inspiration – Raffle for Cecil

Amanda Edwards Mosaics' Raffle for Cecil
Amanda Edwards Mosaics’ Raffle for Cecil

I’m sharing the information about this raffle in part because I love this artist’s work, and partially because I admire her spirit. When she learned about the recent killing of a lion named Cecil, Amanda Edwards decided to raffle off a piece of her art and to donate the proceeds to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of Oxford University. This organization studies lions in hopes of aiding in their conservation.

It struck me as such a loving and hopeful response to a terrible situation, and it reminded me of the many ways that art can heal. I donated for a chance to win, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same: just click on this link and donate to get a ticket(s). Doing so offers the opportunity to win a beautiful work of art, and the ability to participate in a very kind response to a tragic situation.

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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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Full Circle?

I’m a bit hesitant to post this, simply because my creative work has been moving so slowly of late. There’s a superstitious (?) side of me that fears that sharing this idea before it’s complete will somehow “jinx” it… but I’m pretty excited about it, so I’m choosing to let my enthusiasm outweigh my fear.

For some time now, I’ve been wanting to play with purse designs again. Those of you who have followed my work for a very long time will remember that I used to create a variety of purses and bags. In the late 90’s, the demand for my leather masks grew, and I sort of meandered away from making purses. Another big factor in this was the fact that all of my purse patterns (and several works in progress) were destroyed by water damage… or so I thought.

The other day, I was rummaging through an old box of beads that I’d packed up long ago. I thought I knew what was in there (and for the most part, I did) but there was a surprise! At the bottom of the box, I found 4 purses that had been cut out and partially sewn, as well as a folder full of my old patterns! I’m not sure how these pieces survived the flood, but I’m so glad they did.

Hand sewn and braided leather purses, circa 1997-ish.
Hand sewn and braided leather purses, circa 1997-ish.

The purses shown here are in various stages of completion. They were probably created some time between 1995 and 1997. There are two light brown cow hide purses (one small, one medium) as well as a medium sized black buckskin purse and a larger buffalo hide purse with cowskin lacing. All are entirely hand cut, sewn and braided. The one on top has holes punched for some leather braiding, which was going to outline a beaded mandala. Not sure if I still have that piece of beadwork, but I’ll probably create something similar for it.

These are quite a bit different than what I’d like to make today, but finding them seemed like a little sign from the universe that I should pursue the purse idea. I’m not sure how soon I’ll finish these, or when I’ll start introducing new designs… but I’ll definitely keep everyone posted as I roll them out!

 

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Featured Artist – Aaron Silverman

Aaron Silverman of Silverman Workshop is a fellow mask maker. He was one of the winners in the recent “Mask of Death” contest over at the Leather Mask Art group on Deviantart; his entry is shown below:

Bog Mummy by Silverman Workshop
Bog Mummy by Silverman Workshop

In his own words: ‘I chose to model my mask after a picture I saw of a bog mummy named, “Tollund Man”. It amazed me how well his face was preserved! He looks as if he just laid down and fell asleep. I can even see ancient stubble that grew on his face. Because of his remarkable preservation in a Danish bog I would consider his face a mask of death.’

When asked for a bio, Aaron said “I’m not professional by any stretch of the imagination. I mainly just consider myself a tinkerer of sorts. I think since I’ve started about 2ish years ago I’ve really been trying to find a style of my own. Emotion is really what I’ve been wanting to convey in my mask making. Like the one I made for the contest and I made another like it a while back called the crying mask.

Really though, my collection of mask styles have been pretty diverse. I was enjoying making Mardi Gras or carnival masks just because they are outlandishly decorated and historically rich.

So yeah besides that I’m very much a hobbyist, though I’m not one to turn down a commission.”

I’ve just liked his facebook page, and I hope you’ll do the same. Between his innate talent and his willingness to explore and take risks with his work, it’ll be fun to watch him develop his style and skills. On that note, please enjoy these images of Aaron’s work:

The Crying Mask by Silverman Workshop
The Crying Mask by Silverman Workshop

He posted a very cool back story on this piece over on his DA page.

Royal Jester by Silverman Worksho
Royal Jester by Silverman Workshop

 

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New Hair Toys Incoming!

Oak Leaf Leather Hairslides
Oak Leaf Leather Hairslides

I love to incorporate artisan made sticks into my hair accessory designs. Since I have no talent for wood or wireworking, I prefer to buy or barter with other artisans who have actually honed those skills. The resulting works are fun little collaborations of their handwork and my own.

Over the last few months, I’ve acquired some fabulous handcrafted cedar driftwood sticks, as well as copper, brass and aluminum wire sticks from GypsyMoon Art and Nicholas and Felice. Last but not least, I’ve reconnected with Morgan Reed of Morgan’s Mane.

Long story short, I’ve got some fun pieces to show you in the coming weeks! Stay tuned…

Elvish Leaf Leather Hair Slides
Elvish Leaf Leather Hair Slides

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Fall Tidings

fall leaves - leather leaf pile

Autumn is my favorite time of year. It is also my busiest time of year, and as much as I love it, there are moments when the flurry of activity and change begin to feel a bit overwhelming. I notice a lot of friends feeling this way as well. Maybe some of this is just an awkward response to the shifting season? Everyone is going back to school or work, and adjusting to changing light and weather. So many changing rhythms at once!

In the midst of all that change, there’s a lot of beauty too; I’d like to remind everyone (especially myself) to stop and breathe it all in. The gorgeous colors of changing leaves, the smell of autumn on the wind, the spectacular quality of light this time of year and of course… pumpkin flavored everything.

May autumn’s blessings surround you, and may everything fall gently in to place.

fall leaves - leather leaf pile
fall leaves – leather leaf pile