Parsimony: I grew up with a grandmother, my meemaw, who is an amazing seamstress. Even now at almost 92 years old she’s still sewing strong. It wasn’t until I was well into my 20’s and a new wife that I decided…hmmmm. I want better curtains than I can afford. And the rest is history. I took a class and have never stopped sewing. I love it.
I first met the gutsy Emily (and her gorgeous gEMs) about a year ago and I have been a die-hard fan ever-since. For those who have yet to discover the EmmsgEMs shop, allow me to introduce you. Winnipegger Emily designs pieces that are colourful, timeless, funky and fun. Always on-trend, the collection is constantly growing with casually-elegant, easy-to-wear earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
In the interest of full-disclosure, I should mention that I came home last Thursday evening and found a flat of petunias on my doorstep. They weren’t put there by a secret admirer, or mysterious garden-fairy, but were dispatched by the lovely (and generous) Emily and delivered by her wonderful hubby. The gesture, while much-appreciated, had nothing to do with this week’s feature on Emily and her shop, EmmsgEMs. No, the gems in Em’s shop stand on their own merit; especially the gorgeous new “eco-collection”, which has me all a-flutter. I had the opportunity to feature one of Emily’s coconut shell pieces in an earlier post, as some of you may remember, and couldn’t wait to shine the spotlight on her again. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Emily agreed to an interview…
My creative mind is in hyper-drive – which is detrimental to my health.
You have new, eco-fabulous materials in your shop! What’s the scoop?
I stumbled in to eco-fabulous by accident. (eco-fabulous – I love that!) By that, I mean that I didn’t just decide one day that I wanted to create jewelry that uses sustainable and recycled materials. I purchase beads that I love – and it all started with coconut. Discovering coconut beads in my collection, along with Buri nut beads, I did some research, and discovered that beads derived from nuts and seeds are sustainable – no trees are harmed. I’ve been using these ingredients for over a decade! How cool and green is that?! Some of my other “green” ingredients include paper, recycled glass, and various nuts-seeds from Peru (picked up by a good friend who was traveling the world).
I love the new pieces. You have such a distinctive style (there’s no doubt that these are “gEMs”); were there any challenges in introducing/integrating the new materials, while keeping with the EmmsgEMs “look”?
I like to put elements together that you wouldn’t normally expect to be paired – like paper and glass – and I don’t like to over-do a piece. The bead is the star – second to the person wearing the jewelry.
Is there a learning curve in working with new beads?
Test the bead holes before beginning the task of stringing! And don’t expect two identical pieces! Oh – and a bead reamer might be good to have – I have pricked myself many times using a short straight pin to clean out holes!
To me, the beauty of recycled materials lies in the imperfections. What is it for you?
Colour and texture (both visual and tactile) are what draw me to a specific bead. I’m a “bead grabber” when shopping; I don’t set out to buy beads that match. Nature is full of these elements!
What has been the response to the new “eco-collection”?
I was recently selected as an “Etsy Find”! And, I’m here! This is the big time!
What are your favourite pieces?
Seriously? I have a difficult time parting with ALL of my pieces, but I’m really enjoying my front toggle necklaces and my red Bahay seed earrings.
I never see you mention “limited mobility” in your product descriptions, yet your pieces all seem to be made for easy-use/wearability (slip on necklaces and bracelets, big toggles, etc). As someone who has MS, do you design with this specifically in mind?
Thanks for the idea! I often tag my slip on necklaces as “easy-on” – once I realized that it was an additional benefit to what was originally my “metal free” line of jewelry. I struggle with fatigue, and just because I’ve given up wearing make-up to save energy, it takes a lot less effort to compliment my outside-self with a great stretch bracelet!
Generally speaking, do you think jewelry designers are getting better in terms of universal design?
I don’t know what other jewelry designers are doing – but it’s a great idea.
Tell me something good.
It’s baseball season in Winnipeg!
Print above is from The Big Harumph
As I write this, the New Year is just days away… Every year for as many years as I can remember I have had more resolutions than I could count: Eat less candy, workout more, save more money, be more tidy, and on and on the list goes. How about you? What kind of resolutions do you set each year?
This year I won’t set a single resolution. It’s not that I don’t think resolutions are valuable, I know they are! For me they’ve never lasted long, but I’m still glad that I kept each one for a week or two or three.
Image above is from The Wheatfield
This year I’m allowing myself to dream new dreams. Always a pragmatist, I’ll let you know that this is because I feel the time is right for me to try different things and to redefine what I value and what I would like my future to look like. So this means shifting my work focus, and spending more time doing things I love: decorating our family home, hiking, and hanging out with family and friends. It sounds simple, but something in me knows that this will fuel my creativity and my perspective.
Life’s disappointments often ask us to become jaded and to be fearful of trying new things. We so easily tell ourselves that we cannot accomplish the wonderful things we would like to do. This will be a year where my own voice grows stronger and as I work and rest and play I will remind myself that with diligence and persistence that I can accomplish new things.
Image above is from Valentina Design
I have heard experts suggest every year as we set resolutions that we be careful not to set too many, that we write them down and revisit them weekly. I am certain this is good advice, but this year – I’m choosing to dream and to believe that I will find growth both personally and artistically and that my life will continue to spring forth more beautifully than each year before it.
I want to hear your dreams and resolutions for the year ahead of us. It’s the perfect time of year for us to sweep away old disappointments and to look ahead with expectation!
I know that spring is time for cleaning out and organizing, but is summer time for redecorating? It sure is feeling that way to me! Maybe it’s just all the garage sale finds that I am repurposing or the warm weather inspiring me to bring some sunshine into my home decor, but right now I have definitely been bit by the decorating bug. This week I thought we’d focus on one of the quickest ways to do some redecorating – adding new prints to your walls. There’s no faster or easier way to spice up blah bedrooms, boring baths, and dismal dining rooms than with a flurry of new art. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite options.
This first print comes from NorthTrain Designs and features two of my favorite things – bugs and old books. I love that the print is done on an old dictionary page, lending a vintage modern feel to any room.
I love the next print, a Godzilla inspired colorful confection from Monster Gallery, for its Geek Chic. It would look darling in a nursery or child’s room, but my husband would also love it above his desk, in our family room, or as a fun touch in a retro kitchen.
The room that is most in need of art right now in my house is the master bedroom. We are getting a new quilt, made by my aunt, and I have been on the hunt for just the right images to go with the new bedding. I’ll definitely be ordering one of these finch prints from Bee Things. The cheerful color and folk art based design are just the thing to keep our room feeling fresh and keep smiles on our faces when we wake up.
Continuing the bird theme, this adorable little owl from Jen Skelley is simply wonderful. He would be lovely on a gallery wall in your hallway, or perfect in a child’s room or studio.
Another whimsical and beautiful print is this one from Leah Duncan. The soft colors would be perfect anywhere in your home!
Last, but not least, this fabulous print from Undone. The pattern and colors in this one are just stunning!
If summer is making you feel like your home needs some redesign, try some of these handmade prints to lighten and brighten every room! See you next week!
Kate MccGwire: Intrinsic to her method is the collecting and sorting of materials from hundreds of different sources over a period of months, even years. In turn, pieces evolve intuitively as if out of the subconscious, the language evocative rather than purely illustrative. As the work takes shape, a new, playful reality emerges, so that the object itself becomes a sort of prism, refracting the layers of meaning and cultural associations buried within, the quantity of materials used sometimes deliberately overwhelming, as if charged with a power and ambition beyond the reach they possess when seen in isolation.