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December 13th shop update!

leather raven necklace with iridescent gemstones

New work just added ~

I’ve just posted a small shop update, which includes a small collection of necklaces, leather pendants, and hair accessories!

While I’d hoped to have more to share tonight, it just wasn’t in the cards. As is typical for the Pacific Northwest this time of year, it has been dark and gloomy and dumping rain all week. Not ideal weather for photography (in fact, I’ll likely go back and re-photograph many of these pieces the next time that the weather is favorable). Perhaps I’ll trickle in a few more pieces over the weekend if time and light allows.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the pieces that I’ve shared tonight! Also, just a friendly reminder that my holiday ordering dates are coming up quickly. If you’re in the US, there’s still time to order for the holidays, though I’d urge you not to procrastinate too much!

Cali Love Fire Benefit Tattoo & Holiday Gift Bazaar on Sunday 12/16 ~

Last but not least, I mentioned in my last post that my November giveaway winner is choosing to donate her prize to the Cali Love Fire Benefit Tattoo & Holiday Gift Bazaar this Sunday 12/16 at Eye of the Tiger Tattoo in San Francisco. The proceeds from this event will go to benefit the families who are working to rebuild their lives after the #Campfire in Paradise, CA last month. Two of my friends’ families lost their home in that fire, so this event is near and dear to my heart. With that said, I am choosing to match Angel’s donation of my Sacred Heart sugar skull mask, by adding a second “Abuelita” sugar skull mask. If you’re in the Bay Area this weekend, please consider attending and supporting this special cause!

leather sugar skull masks

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Customer Appreciation Giveaway!

leather sugar skull mask

I’m going to try something new, and hold a customer appreciation giveaway each month until the end of the year. If it goes well, I’ll continue the tradition in 2019. Since this new adventure begins on All Soul’s Day, I’m offering this handcrafted day of the dead mask as the very first handmade giveaway gift.

To enter, just send a photo of yourself wearing my work & allow me to share it on my sites + social media. There are several ways that you can share your photo – the very best way is to scroll down to use the handy form that I created just for this purpose, but you can also just share the images to Facebook or Instagram and tag me along with a comment that you’d like it to serve as a giveaway entry.

For each photo that you share, you’ll receive one entry good for the remainder of the year. For a second entry, share a story about who you are, what you do, and/or why my work resonates with you. And yes, you may submit photos that you’ve sent in the past, IF you include a damned good story!

Each month, I’ll draw one winning name. November’s winner will be chosen on Friday 11/30 at 6 pm PST

I’m doing this because your photos really do mean the world to me! I absolutely LOVE seeing my work out there in the wild, being enjoyed by cool people. More importantly, I love hearing your stories and learning about the amazing things that you do in the world! When you share who you are and why you enjoy my work, it motivates me to keep creating and to continue to improve.

Those photos and connections mean more than I can say. So I’d like to foster that, and to let you know how much I appreciate you. Thanks so much for supporting my craft, and for always inspiring me!

2018 Giveaway Entry Form

  • Here's the spot where you can share a bit about who you are, what you love, and/or what you do in the world 🙂 if you like, you can just talk a bit about what's going on in the photo. Lastly, I'd love to learn about why my work resonates with you, or why you chose it. Thank you so much for sharing this insight!
  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png.
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Halloween Ordering Info 2016 (or “he who hesitates is lost”)

leather masks in progress
leather masks in progress

As this photo suggests, I’m already up to my elbows in Halloween prep! I’ve had several requests for custom costumes, so it seems like a good time to let everyone know that commission spots will be very limited this year. Like, extremely limited. So if you’re hoping to have something made from scratch to your specifications, you should definitely contact me soon! To order a one of a kind costume piece, please visit the “Custom Work” section of my website, and fill out the inquiry form there. This form outlines the info that I’ll need in order to understand your project, and it will really streamline the process for both of us. My commission spots fill up quickly, so please don’t put this off!

If you’re simply hoping to have one of my existing designs painted in your colors, I can usually be a bit more flexible. My turn around time for these types of orders is generally around two weeks before shipping, though that wait time gets longer the closer we get to Halloween. You can check out my “Made to Order” section to find mask styles that can be made in your choice of colors.

If you’re in a hurry, please visit my “Ready to Ship” section, for a selection of masks that are in stock and ready to ship quickly. 

Last but not least, I’ll be adding a small selection of unique, one of a kind masks and costume accessories this year. Keep an eye on my website, as well as my Facebook fan page, in order to see these pieces as they’re added.

And just to reiterate: Halloween commissions will be very limited this year. If you’d like a custom costume, now’s the time to get in touch. Please don’t be one of those silly people who contacts me three days (or even 3 weeks) before Halloween in hopes of commissioning a one of a kind piece!

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Be honorable

"Venetian Bird Mask"
“Venetian Bird Mask”

I designed this original leather mask in 2013. It’s part of an ongoing series that began in 2001 – each one is unique, but shares similar lines and details. It would seem that the design has recently been copied by another artist, who is marketing it as his own.

Sadly, this stuff happens daily. If it was an isolated incident, I might be more able to let it roll off my back – but it’s not. It’s extremely frustrating, but I try to keep my mouth shut, because everyone tells me to take the high road. To “be better, not bitter” – and honestly, I want that too. Unfortunately, there are so many of these copycats these days that the “high road” is starting to feel like a lonely ledge… and it gets harder and harder to make a living doing what I love (or to love what I do for a living) from that place. 

This really hits me where I live, and I don’t know how to put a “positive” or “professional” spin on it. To my fellow aspiring artists, I cannot encourage you enough to be respectful of your peers (and yourself). Be honorable, be original, and don’t steal.


This gallery showcases many (but certainly not all!) of the designs that I’ve done in this series. It’s included to give you a sense of the time that I’ve spent honing and evolving these designs, and also to show how many people have commissioned these signature pieces from me over the last 15 years. Please be respectful of my art, my livelihood, and the wonderful people who have helped to support that process.

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Opening up commissions soon!

Halloween 2015 Commission Info Coming Soon!
Halloween 2015 Commission Info Coming Soon!

Hello friends! I’m already getting quite a few requests for custom work for Halloween. On that note, I have good news and bad news:

* The bad news (just to get it out of the way) is that commission slots will be very limited this season. My apologies in advance, but I’m taking on several new commitments this fall, and I know that I’ll need to be protective of my health and sanity if I’m to accomplish all that I hope to!

* The GOOD news is that I’ll start accepting custom orders again very soon, and past customers will get first dibs on those commission slots. If we’ve worked together before – and especially if we have already discussed your idea – your project will have priority.

Stay tuned, as I’ll be posting more details soon!

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WIP – Lady of the Roses(?)

Lady of Roses leather mask
Lady of Roses leather mask

This piece is a work in progress. It’s a new iteration of my “Lady of the Leaves” design, which I usually create in either summer  or fall colors. She was inspired by the first blooms of spring.

When I shared this piece on my facebook fan page, and asked for suggestions for a name, “Lady of the Roses” was the one that I liked best. It fits well with the rest of the series … and I suppose that once she’s finished, I’ll need to create a “Lady of Winter” too.

 

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Artchain Day 1

Arthchain Day 1 – I was nominated to post an item of artwork a day for 5 days (and to nominate others…).

These are some of the oldest masks that I can find photos of (though they were made a few years into my mask making journey) and they’re quite different from what I’m doing now. They used a lot more of the intricate featherwork, and though none of these really show it, but I used to incorporate a lot of detailed beadwork and gemstones too. They were made while my family and I were doing the pow wow circuit, and each one told a story about the people and places we encountered along the way. These would have been mid 90’s – just as I was transitioning from wallhanging/art masks, to wearable art masks.

a.adams1996 changes 16133_186859229365_6497828_n

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Throwback Thursday

I began making masks around 1991. My early masks were decorative wall hangings with elaborate bead and featherwork designs. During this same time period, I also began working with garment leather to create bags and purses. After a few years, I realized that I could fuse these interests to create *wearable* masks using leather bases. These masks are from the mid 90’s, and they show that transition from decorative to wearable.

It’s challenging to find pictures of my earlier pieces, since we were on the road for several years and simply didn’t take many photos. Even the masks that I made later (say late 90’s/early 2000’s) are not very well documented. Somewhere around here, I have floppy discs full of images… but my current computer doesn’t even have a slot for floppies! Likewise, I have slides floating around that I used to use to jury in to art shows (that’s how we did it back in the day 😉 but I have no idea where. I’ll keep an eye out for those, and share them if they ever crop up. It’s been fun to look back and notice how my work has changed and evolved over time.

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The Art of the Mask

© The Art of the Mask

I had the good fortune to meet Cyndy Salisbury of The Art of the Mask while vending at FaerieCon West this past weekend. Typically, I wouldn’t call it “good fortune” to have my booth directly beside that of another mask maker, but she is special. Not only does she do exceptional work, she seems like a genuinely kind and interesting person. I really enjoyed meeting her.

Cyndy’s masks are very labor intensive. She creates her own molds by creating life casts of her family members, and she uses these molds to create elaborate designs in paper mache. She has spent a good deal of time researching traditional Venetian mask making techniques, and the influence is very evident in her work.

© The Art of the Mask

Many of her masks look as though they came directly from Italy, while others suggest characters from Greek mythology. Other styles, like the “Autumn Winds” mask to the left, hint at her Northwest roots. This one is constructed with intricate layers upon layers of handcrafted paper leaves, blended with earthy feathers. The photos are nice, but they only scratch the surface — her masks are rich in detail, and absolutely stunning

During the event, Cyndy gave a demonstration on the life casting process. The workshop was very informative, and it really illustrated how much thought and effort goes in to her work. Her lighthearted banter with her son and husband helped to make it very entertaining as well.

© The Art of the Mask

I’ve never tried life casting, though I’ve always wanted to learn how it’s done. It looks like it will take a fair bit of experimentation to get it down, but I think it will really help me to improve my mask designs. With that said, I’m deeply grateful that she was so generous with her knowledge!

You can see more of Cyndy’s work at her Etsy shop, and you can also “like” her on facebook to keep up with her new work and upcoming shows.