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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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New Hair Toys, Coming Soon!

leather oak leaves
leather oak leaves

These photos show some of the leather hair accessories that I’ve been working on recently. They’re mostly finished, they just need findings (hair sticks, French clips, or alligator clips). I’ll be finishing these up in the week(s) ahead, and getting them all photographed and listed here on the website.

At this point, the bulk of the work is done, but it can still take a while to get the finishing touches done and to get them all photographed. If you spot one that you love, but you don’t see it listed yet, just drop me a line (either via my contact form, or in the messages below).

At this time, I have a variety of leather oak leaves, as well as peacock feathers and birch leaves.

leather peacock feathers
leather peacock feathers
leather-barrettes-birches
leather-barrettes-birches
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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

 

 

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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 🙂

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Leaf Piles

There are little piles of leather leaves all over my studio right now. Oak leaves, maple leaves, sycamore and even a few fairy and elf leaves … all in a riot of autumn color.

Eventually they’ll be fashioned into hair accessories, such as hair slides, barrettes, clips and pins. Most likely, I won’t be able to work on these too much until November. “Mask season” is going full tilt right now, so (almost) all of my energy is going toward mask and costume design.

In truth, I probably should not have been working on leaves at all. If I were a more disciplined artisan, I would focus exclusively on masks this time of year … but I do love these little leaves, and it’s hard to resist making them when there’s so much inspiration around me!

 

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“May Weather” and “Whispers in the Woods”

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Yesterday I learned that one of my masks was included in this “May Weather” treasury. I love the balance of soft grays and blues in this one, and the selections are wonderful. A few of the items that really grabbed my eye are the Irish proverb calligraphy book by Cindyyount, these beautiful letterpress printed coasters from FullCirclePress, and this photocard set featuring blossoming trees by JulieWebb.

This treasury was curated by Ranzangel, who creates “fine art and funky craft”. Her work is joyful, colorful and generally awesome. She’s got everything from whimsical jewelry to trippy polymer clay sculptures to paintings. Please take a moment to check it out!

Annnd, last night I got inspired to curate a treasury too! I’ve never tried this before, so it was pretty fun (and a wee bit frustrating) to learn how it’s done. My selections were quite varied, so it was difficult to think of a name that would “fit” with everything, but I settled on “Whispers in the Woods” because each of these images looks as though it belongs in a quiet forest. The only exception to that woodsy theme is this “Calm Cup” by AdrienArt – which is evocative of the way that I feel after a good walk in the woods.

I featured a few faeries – like this gorgeous print by RenaeLeaTaylor – and several birds, including this stellar print of ravens and a tree spirit by TommyDaceos. There are also a couple of beautiful butterfly themed pieces, and a liberal dose of trees, leaves and branches.

I enjoyed putting this together, and I may try it again in the future since I dig the whole treasury thing so much. They’re such beautiful and interesting collections, and it’s also a fun and simple way for artists to support and encourage one another.

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Spring things…

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Ok, I admit it … I am a bad blogger. I try, but as I mentioned at the end of last year, when I’m in school it can be pretty tough to find the time to post here. Spring quarter began a few weeks ago, as evidenced by the tumbleweeds blowing through this blog. On the plus side, I am taking fewer classes this time around. Last quarter I took a very full course load, and while I really enjoyed the classes, I found that it put quite a damper on my creative time. I also realized that my creative time is necessary, not only for my business, but for my sanity. So, a moderate course load should afford me more time to focus on being creative, gearing up for the upcoming show/festival season, and maybe even listing a few things on Etsy again.

Speaking of which, I got an Etsy convo yesterday letting me know that one of my little leaf barrettes has been featured in this sweet little “Leaf” treasury, which was curated by
NutfieldWeaver. It’s a precious reminder of spring, and the beauty of simple things. Look at how many artists were inspired by the quiet beauty of leaves!

There are lots of great items in this treasury, but a couple of my personal favorites include this goat’s milk maple leaf soap which was made by Lost River Rags, as well as this stone ware oak leaf trio from Lynn Cardwell Pottery. I’m inspired by this collection of goodies, and I’m always thrilled when my work is included in a treasury … makes me feel like maybe I’m doing something right, and I oughta keep trying ;o)

Thank you NutfieldWeaver, for including my little leaf barrette in your beautiful treasury! I have a lot of fun making these hairsticks, and having them noticed like this makes me want to take advantage of my new found studio time, and make a few more!
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