Janice Hagey-Schmidt: From a young age I was going to the library checking out craft techniques. I used to paint metal shapes and glass bottles as a kid. Later I progressed to throwing pots and bowls on a wheel. I was thrilled with the use of underglazes on porcelain. And then… one day I took a metalsmithing class at a community college. I have been working mainly with metal ever since. But… I make my living as a graphic designer. Metalsmithing is my art.
When I was a kid, we got in the car and drove my dad out to a nearby town to take a hot air balloon ride. I remember watching the balloons gliding through the sky. These earrings remind me of that day.
Elle got started in handmade when she was struggling with depression and loneliness. Jewelry-making was her way to be totally immersed in something that was not only positive, but kept her mind off of what she was going through. She fell in love with jewelry making and never looked back. Her style incorporates vintage pieces with modern beads.
Encouraged by friends and family she jumped into selling through her shop Elle’s Beads. After taking a blind leap, she learned as she went setting up up a business strategy, goals, and a budget.
I’ve met such great artisans, both in real life and through venues like Etsy, and I feel like I have a sense of community and belonging now.
Elle’s grandmother is a huge influence. She uses her antique sewing machine and vintage buttons to make a lot of her creations. She’s also inspired by items that people cast away as trash. She has a way of viewing things not as what they are, but what they could become with a little bit of fabric, paint, or beads. She’s also started sewing now due to her grandmother’s influence (she was a seamstress) and makes a point to only use eco-friendly materials in the accessories she makes.
My favorite item is my Vintage Sapphire and Silver Glass Pearl Necklace. It’s the first eco-friendly piece I ever made and it’s from an old vintage earring I repurposed as a brooch. I’m really passionate now about reusing old materials and making them into something beautiful and new. This necklace is a constant reminder to me of the beginning of that journey.
Elle supports the views that many of us handmade artisans have, even though handmade goods can cost more than mass-produced goods, especially those imported from overseas, they’re so much more valuable! When you buy something handmade, you’re supporting an artisan – a small business and an entrepreneur. You’re supporting a craft and a subculture that values the importance of keeping craftsmanship alive. Each handmade item is a little bit different and Elle, like all handmade artists puts her love and a part of herself in every piece.
These adorable vintage birdies are my personal favorite!
Elle is a full-time paralegal working for a non-profit in North Carolina. When not working at her day job or on her business, you can find her relaxing in front of the television, catching up on the latest book club book, or talking on the phone with her family. Online you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and her blog.
The Haunted Hollow Tree: This is an original mixed media of pyrography, water color, and casein paint.
Most commonly known as “wood burning”, pyrography is the traditional art of using a heated tip to burn or scorch images onto natural materials such as wood or leather. It is a challenging medium to work in because the permanent nature of burning requires constant precision and missteps are not easily corrected. It is very much like drawing in a sense, but done with a hot wire tip instead of a pencil. The different tonal values and subtle graduations are created carefully by varying the pressure and temperature of the pen tip.
I wrote a few weeks back asking why you choose to shop handmade.
At the end of the day I know one thing that continually draws me back to sites like Etsy is the sheer variety that is available in some categories – above and beyond what you can find at any brick and mortar store.
What’s great about this is it means that you don’t have to be constrained to the current trends at the big box stores – particularly, if for whatever reason those trends don’t speak to you.
One category – that is often unsung but I think is a wonderful one? Pillows!
For those of you who sew, you probably make a lot of your own… But for those of us with no sewing machine – it’s nice to know all the variety that’s available right at our fingertips.
I know interior designers say that items like pillows should be the last thing you consider as you’re decorating – but I think it’s ok to consider them earlier on in the process as a means of gathering inspiration and also so you know what’s available generally. Sometimes knowing what accessories are available can help you see the big picture and can be key as you’re deciding about more important items like furniture and paint.
Burlap pillows have become very popular over the last little while – and this clever shop, Next Door to Heaven, allows you to customize your pillow with the word or destination you’d like.
Classic patterns in bold colors fill the be still shop – one of my personal favorites!
Nuka’s shop features a lot of adorable pillow covers including some with popular characters from Alice in Wonderland.
The pillow at the beginning of the post is from Home to Roost.
Andy Peutherer: I am a Scottish artist and Photographer. My landscape work featured here is based on the spectacular scenery of The Scottish western Isles, Scottish highlands and the Hebriden Islands such as The Isle of Skye, the Uists, Lewis and Harris. I have a great passion for the landscape and natural history of Scotland which has led me to attempt to capture the almost surreal elements of the Scottish landscape, weather and wildlife. My paintings are created with mixed media such as spray paint, acrylic, emulsion and ink which are used together with self taught techniques to illustrate the wild, unpredictable and spectacular nature of the land and sky. I strive to create images which have a more original style than traditional water colours and oils.