NOLA (New Orleans)

The last time I was in New Orleans, it was Mardi Gras. Was it a sleepless series of hoopla and parties for me? Nope—I was 12 and with my grandparents. I remember the atmosphere of the town, but I’m pretty sure I was asleep by 9pm at the latest. Oh but those beignets, mmmm. So in the spirit of all things New Orleans (especially because of the awesome new series on HBO—Treme) today we Shop Local NOLA aka New Orleans.

The Back Porch Shoppe is run by Darline and her husband and guess where their “studio” is? Their backporch. Duh. And Darline is also a certified clogging instructor—I had nooo idea what that was, so I looked it up. Clogging is a folk dance with roots in African American, European, and traditional Cherokee dance. Pretty cool. It’s basically representing the earliest of our ancestors here in the United States. Darline and her husband make each piece in their shop by hand, from cutting the wood, to sanding, and then painting the designs and pattern. Darline has another shop as well. You can find ephemera like hardware, buttons, old bottles, lace, etc. All good stuff when you lie to repurpose or remake things yourself.

My other brush with New Orleans culture was when I planned a wedding for a cute couple from there. The had won a wedding from Martha Stewart Weddings in Puerto Rico. One of the things they wanted to include in the party was a Second Line dance. So of course, we needed umbrellas. And just like Liz, the maker of these umbrellas, we also used them to keep the guests shaded. I love the idea of walking through the streets with one of these fantastic creations. It serves a really important purpose, too, because we all need to stay out of the hot sun as the weather gets warmer. Liz’s work is also available in person, at Lost & Found at 323 Chartres St. in the French Quarter (504) 595-6745.

I have a little girl with unruly hair, so I am always on the hunt for cute hair clips. I wouldn’t describe these clips from Etsy seller FunkyHairClips as cute, they’re way cooler than that. I also love how she explains her story of starting her handmade business, she says that she was an English major, and if history were a band she’d be a groupie. So here designs are a reflection of that love of the old, and she gets inspiration from the streets of New Orleans and the eclectic blend of the old and the new. She says, “my true love is New Orleans–the hot tropic climate, the madness of Mardi Gras, the saturation of color, even the sprawling gothic voodoo creepiness of the “Cities of the Dead”. Give me my aging madness–floods, disasters and all! And that about says it all, don’t you think?

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes
  • Rainbow Crochet Toasties
  • Gift Guide For Carney Lovers
  • Woolly Fabulous
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders

Gift Guide For Carney Lovers

Do you know someone who’s favorite book is Like Water For Elephants by Sara Guen? Have they read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn till their paperback has gone soft? Does this friend think it’s a travesty that HBO’s Carnivàle series was canceled? Then you my dear have a true carney lover on your hands.

Chances are one of their favorite sensations is flying weightlessly through the air on a creaky, metal carnival swing. Gift them with this fine art print (above) found in bomobob’s etsy shop, “Summer Dreams”.

The best part of carnivals? The food of course. Corn dogs on a stick, roasted corn, cotton candy and candy apples. Though most of these delicacies are served out of questionable trailer with neon lights, they are impossible to resist. Relive those sticky moments with KcSoapsNmore’s caramel apple soaps. Her shop is filled with other sweet delights like pastel macaroons and brightly colored ice pop soaps.

And keep the taste of that delicious warm funnel cake on your lips with themorbidthemerrier’s lip balm. Best part? You won’t choke inhaling the powdered sugar while you enjoy.

Vintage carnival art is a scrumptious clutter of words and color drawing you into strange and mythical attractions, like YeeHaw’s letterpress poster advertising mule sniffing and Earl the singing chicken.

And while we’re daydreaming of old time carnivals let’s not forget the bearded lady. At last we have access to the secret of her well groomed beard thanks to scodioli’s gorgeously dark Etsy shop.

Don’t leave the fairgrounds without getting your fortune told. I predict a trip, a dark stranger and wealth from a surprising source in your future. These vintage fortune cards from ImagineArt7’s shop were used to fill fortune telling napkin holders. I adore them and often use them myself to tie on top of a gift package.

Always happy to be your sideshow,
Lotta

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes
  • Rainbow Crochet Toasties
  • Gift Guide For Carney Lovers
  • Woolly Fabulous
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders

Interview with Manny Neuzil of Mannybeads

1

What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?

I am a jewelry designer and creator with a passion for unrefined stones and other elements that inspire me to create jewelry that is designed with an organic feeling to it: a bit unrefined, beautifully irregular and suggestive of the spiritual. Some of the elements I am most drawn to are organic and unrefined stones, vintage buttons, Tibetan mala beads, and ethnic additions.

2

How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?

Some years ago I found myself really wanting to breath some fresh air into my creative lungs. I learned how to knit, took some pottery courses and dove into making jewelry. I had been creating jewelry for myself and others for many years but suddenly found myself spotting stones and beads everywhere! I’d collect them up and notice that there were some stones that just felt compelled to share the same future in an earring or necklace design!

3

Is there a story behind the name of your shop?

Certainly not an interesting one! I was eager to open my first shop at Etsy and needed to create a name so I impulsively picked ‘Mannybeads’ thinking I could change it in the next few weeks without confusing buyers…but at Etsy once you’ve got a name it’s yours for life! And…I’ve settled right into it quite nicely.

studio

Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?

Well, my day job is not jewelry making so I feel privileged to be able to create without the pressures of paying the mortgage. That truly frees me up to follow the ebb and flow of creative energy and excitement without getting in the way. Creating jewelry is very much a part of having a life for me…I’m a bit of an introvert so working alone when I feel inspired and energized is very meditative and so satisfying…

4

Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?

I sell my work primarily on line at Etsy, 1000Markets and Zibbet. I also have a virtual table at Poppytalk Handmade.

I participate in just a few seasonal shows and really enjoy that. I think if I participated in more I’m afraid it might start to feel tedious! The preparation and set up is quite something and I really admire folks who do it full time.

Hmmm…favorite venue…I must say 1000Markets is a beautiful site. Just first rate. In terms of exposure and sales I’d have to say Etsy continues to be the Gold Standard for me.

5

Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers?

I do! I have many so these three represent, perhaps hundreds! but here they are…
Desert Talismans (crazy-beautiful, inspired work…)

Artsy (my favorite in assemblage art)

Artquirk (just love this artist and the beautiful rendering of place and time…)

What inspires and motivates you?

I am most inspired by stones and beads that are very earthy, organic and natural in feel. The stone or bead leads me in design rather than having a design in mind that I’m then looking for just the right stones to complete it.

It’s a bit like finding a treasure that you just can’t keep to yourself…and waiting to find the design or arrangement that best supports the essential nature of each stone.

I am also very passionate about working with Tibetan Mala beads. The ones that I am most drawn to are very hard to find so I treasure them when they find their way to me.

6

Thanks Manny! And if you would like to be interviewed next, just stop by DIY Interview.

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes
  • Rainbow Crochet Toasties
  • Gift Guide For Carney Lovers
  • Woolly Fabulous
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders