Sweetgum Handbags is Kim, a twenty-something grad student who works on her PhD in ecology by day, and runs her sewing machine at all hours of the night. She learned to sew from her talented mother Chris, and from the tried and true method of trial and error.
Favorite materials include denim, corduroy, canvas, woven suede, and repurposed upholstery samples. Custom orders are more than welcome. The business is based in the lovely town of Durham in the fabulous state of North Carolina, USA. All Sweetgum bags are designed to be functional, pleasant to look at, and to last you a very long time.
We were fortunate enough to be able to visit the North of Scotland this past week – in fact it is the furthest point of mainland UK.
The air feels a little easier on my lungs, I am greeted with the almost Welsh-sounding accent when I enter into a store and there is enough beautiful scenery you’d never tire of looking out at; even the sky is a work of art.
During the day it is blue skies and fluffy clouds, with faint rain that never seems to last too long. At night you can see stars aplenty twinlking away in the sky; very much like the famed nursery rhyme promised.
Another beauty from this part of the World is the Aurora jewellery shop that can be found in town up here.
Aurora are an Orkney based jewellers who specialise in making signature pieces, dazzling collections and they insist that modern machinery can’t create the jewelery they make – so every piece is handmade.
Their jewelery also comes in a very luxurious and plush presentation box – so no skimping on the little details.
I love to visit the Aurora shop whenever I am here – they always have something new and different in their collection, or they expand upon a much loved collection.
This break has been a welcome one for me and my little family. We’re doing things we don’t normally do at home; watching TV for hours at a time, forgetting to brush our teeth at night (read: I have been forgetting) and spending time with three of our favourite furry friends (two cats and a dog, just if you’re curious.)
I’ve always been wary of flying; it remains one of my least favourite things to do. So I’m a firm believer in taking holidays/vacations within the UK. I’ve been outside of Scotland and the UK many times; I’ve travelled to America, France, Spain, Germany and even lived in London in my early twenties. I’m not exactly a seasoned traveller but I have a passport and I am not ignorant of other cultures, customs and socieities.
In the UK there has been a growing trend (mostly due to low cost airlines offering cheap flight deals) of families jetting off to Spain or Greece. I often worry and wonder about the impact that has on our environment and at what cost, other than the price people pay for their holidays, these trips come in at.
I’ve read conflicting studies about the envrionmental impact that jet fuels have on the environment; with obvious biases going this way and that when it comes to certain studies and for me the jury is still out on it.
With my overwhelming-must-take-Valium-and-lots-of-it fear of flying and my love for this part of the World (plus it helps if you have ‘connections’ aka parents who live in these parts) I think we will be having a lot of British holidays in our near future.
Aleta Wynn Yarrow: I am drawn to transitions in the landscape: passing clouds, twilight, autumn and spring. It is during transition that we are most vulnerable, and in our vulnerable hour our blessings are the most precious.
Landscape as a metaphor for emotional experience is the uniting thread in Aleta Wynn Yarrow’s work. Night represents intuition, mystery and enchantment. Autumn reminds us that what is beautiful does not always last. The story of Spring is that renewal sometimes happens swiftly. Yarrow’s work exists in the shadow land between technique and vision; emotion and intellect; the physical realm and the emotional one.
Here is a fact that almost everyone who knows me will tell you – I love stars. I’ve always been fascinated by them, both the actual stars in the night sky and anything with their shape on it. I’m so into stars that I even have 12 of them tattooed in various places on my body! This week, I’ve rounded up some fabulous star-themed handmade goodies for your enjoyment.
The inspiration for the earrings up top started with the finish, which Caroline, the artist, discovered by accident one day while working with a piece of silver. She realised that just by using a steel file, she could create a wonderful shimmer effect on the surface of the silver. Caroline has always loved star shapes in jewellery – “I feel the shape is simple, yet fun and also timeless…so what would be better than a star that gently shimmers in the light. ”
I love this print by Deb of Champignons, it reminds me of looking up at the night sky and feeling very small indeed. Deb was inspired by the juxtaposition of big things like cosmic hares and stars and tiny things we treasure and keep safe. She says, “I’ve always liked the idea of tiny world systems, there’s nothing to say that worlds have to be giant, either, so there might be tiny worlds all over the place, with stars and hares and even smaller worlds within them.”
How adorable is this zombie/stars colourful print? “The idea behind the little zombie lovers is to share some love!” says designer Rhi, who intends the expression of the zombie about to recieve the heart to depict warmth, shyness and surprise. Rhi paints these designs with the hope that someone can give the painting to another, as a gift that says ‘I love you’ in an alternative way.
Nautical stars like the ones in this cushion cover remind me of my husband, who has one tattooed on his forearm. Ruth was inspired by her daughter, who loves skulls and pirates – she also thought the red and black stripes were very piratey! “I just love being creative with fabric, it is a bit of an obsession!! I am always looking out for beautiful, luxurious and quirky fabrics.”
nism: Hi, I’m Nathan Stapleton-McKinzie. I’ve always loved to draw and paint. I studied painting for a while in Carbondale, Illinois. From there I spent some time Upstate New York where I was represented by the Varga Gallery. At the moment I am working as a Freelance Designer/Flash Animator and living in the Windy City of Chicago. I love coffee and working on art late into the night.