My name is Amber Bryce-owner, designer, and soul creator of Blue Scarab Jewelry. Jewelry, to me, is an extension of oneself-your personality, your being, your soul.
From a very young age I had an intense interest for art of all kinds. I always enjoyed creating-anything I could get my hands into I would put my own spin on it. As I grew older I found myself dabbling in many different artistic medias, from drawing and writing to clays and mosaics. But creating Jewelry has always been what I come back to, because I feel such a strong connection with each piece I make. So much of myself is poured into each piece, because my creations are spawned from such a deep inspiration. I find inspiration in the moldings of old buildings, victorian dresses, fabrics, textiles, and most importantly Mother Nature herself. Moods, textures and even music spawn my creativity, constantly etching designs and images in my mind.
When I create jewelry, I don’t like to limit myself to any one technique. My repertoire of skills as an artist is ever growing-I love learning new techniques, all the while mastering old ones. Craftsmanship is very important to me-I want my customers to feel good knowing that I take great pride in providing them with an heirloom quality piece of jewelry that they can wear and pass down for many years.
The spring break season doesn’t really take place in spring at all. For many people, it typically starts in early February and goes through mid March, when many colleges have their breaks. I live in New Jersey, and growing up a lot of families flew or drove to Florida for a week in February. (A few went north to ski, but more went south.) This is such a popular time for family travel, suburban legend has it that the public school district in my hometown changed their spring break vacation from Presidents week to the week before only after being petitioned by many winter-weary parents who wanted to take families south but not incur ‘holiday week’ prices. (Watercolor by Laura Trevey, crab luggage tags from Salmon Barn.)
As I’ve mentioned, I do like winter. Just the other day, I happily walked through New York City bundled in a down coat puddle-jumping the sidewalk-moats. (A sidewalk-moat, for all of you non-NYC natives, is a disgusting phenomenon that occurs as the snow melts and forms ginormous slush puddles around street-corners, making it impossible to cross without fisherman-style waders.) I didn’t look as cute as this model from Charlie and Sarah’s shop. Not even close.
The sun felt good, and I was warm under my three layers of clothing. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t like a little tropical change of scenery. Someplace sunny, green trees, and blue seas sounds wonderful. Shedding the down coat might not be bad, either. (This dress from Ishkabiddle Designs screams for warm weather–and creamsicles.)
The local stores have shed their winter coats. Window displays are full of wonderfully light fabrics, brighter colors, and lightweight totes and beach bags. Perhaps my favorite item of the warm-weather get-away is picking out a new beach bag, like this one from Willywaw.
Although I’m not flying south anytime soon, I do like searching for the perfect warm-weather gear so I’m ready when it does appear.
Are you missing the hilarious Crafting with Lotta column? Me too… But instead of Lotta’s humor, check out her creativity. (Don’t make me use the word “craftivity” — just go look at her shop.)
Tanya Svoboda is a local Chicagoland artist that creates one of a kind jewelry. Whenever possible, she uses vintage beads, charms and buttons. She loves a good story and tries to find pieces with a unique history to incorporate into her work.
Tanya’s studio is named the “Mom O Matic” in a cheeky nod to the Automats of the early 1900s. Where women sat behind vending machines and dispensed treats to patrons day and night. As she herself frequently dispenses goldfish crackers to her two smallest patrons.
It wasn’t too hard to choose who to write about this week. I recently moved my studio and set up shop with a new studio mate. Dear readers, please meet Kim Of Stella Marie Soap Company. She is in charge of making our space smell great!
Kim makes soaps with a twist. Looking more like deserts, they are quite enticing. And we can’t forget her “last call” soap made with Narragansett Lager, which may seem good enough to drink, but really, drinking soap isn’t recommended. We’ll stick to bathing and save the beer for later.
Stella Marie Soaps may take on some unusual forms and incorporate many local ingredients (read: New Harvest Coffee in the form of java lava) but her main goals remain solid: “The mission is to produce fresh, skin-nourishing products of the highest possible quality in an environmentally responsible manner while offering an exciting alternative to the mainstream.”
She doesn’t just stick to soap either. Lip balm and body scrubs are also a staple among her fan base.
Don’t take the term fan base lightly. This woman has followers in this state. Winning such awards as Best of Rhode Island and The Phoenix Best doesn’t allow you to slip quietly around in RI. Just today two women came out to our studio to sniff around a bit. They just couldn’t wait to see her at the Providence Open Market during our fall season there. They needed their soap and needed it today.
It has been great to catch glimpses of Kim making her Stella Marie Soap while I am at my jewelers bench. She cares about her product through all of the steps. While a batch is baking she is printing labels and packaging another batch with care. Though she does stop on occasion to pet my irresistible dog who shares our space with us. Really though, who can resist a Bernese Mountain dog with the biggest, sweetest brown eyes? Enough about the dog, get on shopping and stock up on some stocking stuffers.