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Taking a step back, and pausing the Etsy shop.

Wild Fae Leather Headpiece

Friends, I’m going to take a giant step back in hopes that it will get me moving in a better direction.

To start, I’ll be putting my Etsy shop on pause as of March 31st, 2019.

So if you like to shop with me on Etsy, please do so this week before I put the shop in vacation mode! My website will remain open during this Etsy break, but I won’t be adding new work for a bit, and older designs will be retired as they sell out.

Last week I shared that I found counterfeits of my work on Amazon –

What I didn’t share is that this is the 4th time this year that I’ve found my exact photos, designs and/or writing reproduced by other vendors … and it’s only March! While it’s true that this is just an occupational hazard for online sellers, this ©rap is getting out of control. It’s simply unsustainable for my small business and sanity, and I need a minute to regroup.

As awful as that sounds, it’s been a big wake up call. This has forced me to really think about how this current version of my business aligns with my goals.

Somewhere along my Etsy journey (and through the recession years) my focus gradually shifted from creating work that I love and feel challenged by, to worrying too much about making “stuff that will sell”.  And apparently, that stuff is attracting the wrong element. So I’m taking a breather in order to refocus and realign.

It’s scary to just walk away from my primary source of income for a couple of months, but I really need to love what I do again. Otherwise, what’s the point?

To get to that, I’m taking a leap of faith and giving myself permission to make the things that my heart really wants to bring forth into the world. Hopefully the world wants those pieces too, and the *right* people will connect to them. Or maybe I’ll just fall. Either way, this has to change.

Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me along the way! And many thanks to my beautiful daughter (pictured) for her insight and encouragement in making this choice.

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Competition, Community, and Respect

leather raven feather ponytail holder or shawl pin

Had a rough day today, contemplating an unsavory situation. As luck would have it, I came across these words that I wrote last year. It was a timely reminder of where to focus my energy. While the lame situation still needs resolution, I’d like to pause from my pissed-offedness for just a moment, to acknowledge the good:

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy griping about those unethical competitors who copy, undercut, and just generally slither around the internet. It’s true – they are many. But perhaps I haven’t spent enough time acknowledging the friendly and ethical competitors who have treated me kindly. There are many of you as well. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀                                                                                      ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to know countless artists who’ve helped me to hone my craft and to learn the ropes as a vendor.

Despite the fact that we’re “competing” in a similar market, you’ve treated me with integrity and respect, helping me to learn and encouraging me to grow. We’ve empathized with each others’ struggles, and celebrated successes.

These positive professional relationships have endured time and trends, and many have grown into genuine friendships that enrich my life. Thank you for this! It proves that “competitor” doesn’t have to be a dirty word. We all choose how we conduct our businesses (and ourselves) and we CAN lift each other up without detracting from our own goals. In this way, we all thrive.
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So yeah, the jackasses are out there – but so are the good ones!

I’m grateful for those of you who choose to take the high road (even when it’s not the easy road) and I promise to treat you – and your work – with the same integrity and courtesy that you’ve shown me.

Raven feather ponytail holder © 2010 Andrea Adams/ Beadmask

photo courtesy of Priya Alahan Photography

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Celebrating Wild Things – Little Brown Bat

leather bat barrette

Sharing this leather bat barrette in celebration of the wonderful little brown bat that I found in my driveway yesterday! I’m not sure if it was injured, or if it was in a torpid state. Perhaps the high winds knocked it out of its roost, and out of hibernation?

The wildlife rescue that I called was unable to make it out until the next day, but someone explained how to safely capture the bat until qualified help could get there (bats can pose health risks to humans & animals, so it’s really best to leave rehabilitation to the pros). .

Thankfully, the little fella made it through the night, and the rescuer was able to pick it up today. She’ll check it for injuries and tend them if needed … or just give it a safe space to crash until it’s ready to come out of hibernation. In either case, the bat survived, and is now in more capable hands. I’m so grateful that there are folks with the knowledge, skill, and heart to do such work!

Bats get a bad rap for being vicious and spooky, but in truth, they’re lovely creatures who play an important role as pollinators. With that said, this post is a celebration of bats in general, and particularly, the little creature that I found yesterday. This barrette is a fantastical shade of shimmering burgundy-purple, but the real life bat that I met was an adorable little brown bat.

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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!