Friday, 20 December 2013

NadiasKnits, Shop of the Week no.11

This week's winning treasury was chosen by the owner of shop of the week no. 10, Elizabeth from FairyFlowerDreams and was made by Nadia of NadiasKnits. Here is the winning treasury. 

These days, knitting is increasing in popularity again. This is possibly due to various worldwide economic problems, but I also feel it has as much to do with the beautiful variety of yarns available these days. I knit and crochet myself, though I don't sell my own work, but the fabulous yarns each time I go to the shop! It's amazing and I always want to buy all of them.

This week's shop of the week, NadiasKnits, does just what it says on the tin. It is fabulous knitwear, soft and warm, sumptuous colours, and on browsing, makes you want to wear them all there and then, and go out in the cold winter air knowing you'll be snug and warm. Let's find out about the creator of NadiasKnits...Nadia!

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I started knitting when I was about 12 years old living overseas. I was inspired by my Grandmother and my Aunt. They made it look so peaceful. They slowly showed me the basics of knitting and I picked it up quickly. Within a couple of months, I was making sweaters. When I returned to the United States, I focussed on my education and then later on my career in Social Services. Although I enjoyed my career, something was always missing. I realised the missing part was my creative side. A friend was telling me about Etsy and encouraged me to open a shop. I started my shop in November 2012 with only one item, which by the way I just sold in December 2013. That was bittersweet.

What inspires your work?

I am inspired by creativity, originality and uniqueness. I’m always trying to come up with something different. Another inspiration for me is, I want the world to realise once again the importance of Handmade, the creative spirit. Many have forgotten the effort, thought and love behind truly handmade knits. When someone purchases an item from my shop, I feel like they are getting a piece of me. This is the best feeling ever! Someone loves something I created!

What are your favourite colours?
I can honestly say I love all colours, but if I were to choose, I would say reds and golds are just beautiful colours. To me the yarn is what I enjoy more than the colour. I love difficult yarns and fabrics, like fuzzy yarns or sari fabric. Also the feel of the yarn is important to me. My favourite yarn would be Cashmere. The feel of it in your hands when you are working with it is amazing!

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I would say my favourite holiday destination would be Jordan. It’s a simple and rustic land. Whenever I visit, I feel like I am part of something bigger. The land is barely touched by time and technology and to me that’s very deep. When I am there I feel like I am part of history. 

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I love abstract art and am always amazed at the many talented painters on the All Handmade By Me Team. I dabble in painting a little but would love to me more like them. I also love the many knitters’ work out there. I know that they understand how much love and effort goes into the knitting process. 

What are you most proud of?
I would say that I am most proud of is how much I have grown over the past year. I feel like I have found who I truly am and want to continue to be, someone who creates one of a kind, beautiful handmade knits that people can use and wear all year round.

Ooooh! And I am working on a secret project right now!

Thank you Nadia for taking part. If you want to visit Nadia's shop, just click here and see for yourself!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

FairyFlowerDreams, Shop of the Week no.10

I can't believe we have covered 10 shops already, and there is just so much amazing talent out there I can't wait to cover more as time goes by. This week I chose the winning treasury, made by Elizabeth Reed from FairyFlowerDreams. This is the winning treasury.

I feel like I'm wondering into some secret magical place when I look at this shop. The flowers, the colours, all make me feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland. You can tell right away Elizabeth's work comes from the heart, and oodles of love is poured into every flower, every wing. Let's find out more...

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
Although I am technically a forty-year-old stay-at-home mother of two amazing children, I still feel like a kid inside myself. I express that inner child through art, and I have progressed through various mediums. I used to paint and sculpt with clay in my spare time. Then my kids came along and spare time became a thing of the past. Now, as the kids are getting a little older, I have a little time to create and express the child in me again, although usually at the expense of the housework!
My shop FairyFlowerDreams started as an effort to save money. My sweet daughter and I would see
beautiful dress-up items in the stores, but they were out of our price range. Then it occurred to me that I could make her flower crowns myself. I had never used a hot glue gun before, but I gave it a try. The results delighted my little girl, and I was soon making them for her friends as well.  I was having so much fun making the crowns that I took a table at a local winter fair to sell them. I priced them low so that children could but them themselves…I always hate seeing my kids disappointed by being unable to afford the things they want. Anyway, the show was a huge success and a friend suggested I open an Etsy shop, and here I am!

What inspires your work?
My work is inspired by what my daughter likes, what cloth flowers are on sale at the local craft store and the magic of fairies.

What are your favourite colours?
My favourite colours are purple and green, but pink is the colour I use most because so many little girls like it best.

What is your favourite medium/material?
My favourite material is milk jug. When I was little my mother used to make me fairy
wings out of construction paper. I loved them, but they never lasted long at all. I wanted to make my daughter wings that would last. I occurred to me to try cutting them out of milk jugs, and it worked! I like how the resulting wings are transparent and durable, and the materials are virtually free since we drink the milk either way…I only have to buy the elastic for straps. You can do a lot with milk jugs. I have worked pieces of them into many of my headbands. They also strengthen my hair ties, and they make excellent containers for blackberry picking!

What is your favourite holiday destination?
The summer before last my husband and two children and I flew to Thailand to visit my father who had moved there for retirement. We had never travelled beyond our own country before. The experience was amazing! We stayed almost a month on a small island in the Andaman Sea. The Thai people were so friendly, the water was so warm, and even the stars were different. There were so many new plants and animals to discover. Sadly, my father passed away a few months after our return but I feel so blessed that we got to spend that magical time with him.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I really admire Brian Froud. I have enjoyed his fairy art since I was a child.

What are you most proud of?

What I am most proud of in my life is my children. As far as my art, I feel the most proud when I see a child wearing one of my headbands or wings. It is a really good feeling. 

Thank you Elizabeth for taking part. I recommend you take a wander through this delightful shop and release your own inner child. Just click here

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Creative Treasures, Shop of the Week no. 9

Every Saturday a new Shop Of The Week is chosen by the previous shop of the week from the numbers of treasuries made for them. This week that honour goes to Creative Treasures...yes me! This is the winning treasury. 

Yes, I was chosen as shop of the week this week, and I am amazed at how many beautiful treasuries were made featuring items from my shop, so thank you everyone.
I wasn’t going to write a piece about me, as this blog is full of me me me, but then I thought, well for the sake of continuity, and fairness, I’d answer the same questions I set everyone else. So here goes.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I am a self-taught jewellery-maker. I use lots of different media for making my jewellery, gemstones, glass beads,
wire, seed beads, polymer clay. I love it all. It all started when my partner decided he wanted a new hobby and bought himself a kit for making bead earrings, and a set of tools. I watched as he tried looping the headpins and though, hmm, that’s the same technique I used to use when I worked in electronics to loop a copper core cable. I resisted having a try myself for…ooo...three days, then I made several pairs of earrings. Not happy with that, I wire-wrapped a few beads and made more earrings, then a bracelet or two, and I was away.
Of course, it was all rubbish, but as I got better at it, I put a few photos on facebook, and sold them! Encouraged by this I made more, and sold them. Eventually I began selling on Folksy, then Etsy, and the rest is history.
Naturally I moved on from the simple bead-on-a-headpin earrings. I learned how to bead weave with tiny seed beads, I made beautiful strung gemstone necklaces and bracelets, and the one thing I absolutely love doing, bead embroidery. My partner bought me a starter kit for polymer clay, and I started messing around with that, and had great success with it all. I love the way you can blend and mix colours to produce some amazing effects.

What inspires your work?
I’m going to say what a lot of other people say, but it’s true; nature, the environment around me, textures, colours, all the things mother nature provides for us. I use leaves a lot.

What are your favourite colours?
Purple. When I was little it was always pink, but it’s progressed to purple because it will blend with so many other colours and still look fabulous.

What is your favourite medium/material?

Without a doubt, seed beads. I just love weaving those little critters into something intricate and beautiful.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I’m not a well-travelled person, I’ve never left the UK except to go on a day trip to Dublin which I absolutely loved, and would love to go back there again some day, but one place I love to go which always feels like home is North Wales, Snowdonia in particular. There is a little town called Llanberis at the foot of Mount Snowdon, and a beautiful waterfall hidden away in a ravine. It’s a magical place, almost like a grotto, and I feel certain it would have been a sacred place in pre-Roman times.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
First let me make it clear there is no way I could or would copy any of them, but I do try to make my work of the same standard. Zoya Gutina, a fantastic renowned beadworker, and all the Eastern European bead embroiderers. Their work is such a high standard of art and craftsmanship, I want to be as good as them.

What are you most proud of? 
There are many things in life I could be proud of, achieving the Queen’s Guide award at 15 as a Girl Guide, having two beautiful children, surviving life, owning my own business, but if we are talking about my work, then Iceni is my pride and joy. This is my first bead embroidered necklace, and one in which I wanted to encapsulate the feel of the ancient British Iceni tribe, and their warrior queen Boudicca in particular. I think I did that, I hope so anyway.


Thursday, 5 December 2013

MaatSilk. Shop of the Week no. 8

Every Saturday, a new Shop of the Week is chosed by the previous shop of the week, from the numbers of treasuries made from them. This week that honour belongs to Maisie from MaatSilk. This is the winning treasury.

I fell in love with all the scarves and cushions when I first saw this shop. The colours are superb, and clearly so carefully thought out, the patterns are exquisite and remind me so much of a little kaleidoscope I had when I was little. Let's find out a little more about the artist behind MaatSilk, Maisie. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
My shop sells mostly hand painted silk scarves and cushions. At the moment my design style is the realm of patterns, swirls, lines, circles, and various shapes of all kinds. It all started when I was bought a set of silk paints for a birthday and, well, the rest just happened. It took many experiments and horrid looking scarves before I came up with one I was happy with. Now I have a system worked out. When I design a pattern for a scarf I usually plan a set of three colourways. I don’t know why but I like working in odd numbers. Then with each scarf I write a narrative piece of writing. Trying to explain this is harder, but I’ll give it a shot. For me, painting on silk and for that matter all my work, is art and more. It’s a thought, an idea, a feeling, and most importantly is a story.  Words accompany me as I design and paint the patterns. They are part of it all. The colours and design blend in my mind and an idea forms: of an image, a place, a time. Why? I’m not usre but the narrative writing that accompanies each scarf is as important to me as the colours themselves. It’s the setting and completes the scene.  So each set of scarves tells a story and the narratives fit really well into three. Every story had a beginning, a middle, and an end after all. Each scarf is a limited edition and I only make five of them. It can get a little complicated and I have to keep careful track which number I’m on.  I do sign and number each scarf so that helps. At the moment I am working on completing my scarf sets, most of the ones in the shop are lacking a third and I am also beginning to use my designs on paper, for gift cards, notebooks, writing sets and e-cards.

What inspires your work?

I am inspired by all forms of nature, plants, history and ancient art in particular. I only have to look at a book full of Minoan temples or Egyptian tombs and I am reaching for my sketch book. I have a set of scarfs based on Egytian designs for sale at the moment and I would like to do several more, a Celtic and Minoan are in the pipeline.

What are your favourite colours?
My favourite colour is yellow, just because it’s bright and happy, but I love to paint purple and blues. Grey is also a colour I use a lot, because it helps the darker shades stand out and helps to lighten the silk. Using just pure colours can make it very heavy, so a soft background colour makes all the difference.

What is your favourite medium/material?
Water based gutta, either white or gold. I use them on all of my scarves as an outliner. When I was first starting to paint silk, I bought so much gutta from the local shops that they all ran out and now I have to buy online!

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I’ve travelled quite a lot around Europe with my family. It would probably be Venice or Paris. I’ve been to both a couple of times, but would love to go again. Because I live in Spain, where it’s really hot in the summer, I like to go to cooler places. I am a museum person, so having lots to visit is top of my list, as well as going to see a ballet or show.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?

I admire artists from all sorts of different mediums. I particularly marvel at illustrators and painters, probably because I am hopeless at drawing people, animals or anything from real life. This is why I stick to patterns. That’s one of the things I enjoy about Etsy, I get to see and discover so many new artists.
As for someone I aspire to be like, well that’s easy and for me there is only one answer: my mother.

What are you most proud of?

This is a really hard question. I am proud of my shop and all my work, because I know that I always do my very best. 

Thank you Maisie for taking part. If you want to browse around Maisie's wonderful shop, just click here.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Shop of the Week no. 7. Abounding Treasures.

Every Saturday, a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week, from the number of treasuries made for them. This week that honour belongs to Dallas Manicom from AboundingTreasures. This is the winning treasury. 

As I browse through this gorgeous shop, not only am I struck immediately by the variety of paper butterflies, but the colourful abstract encaustic was art too. As an owner of some encaustic art, I fully appreciate the way the waxes flow into one another to create beautiful blends of colour and shape, with the illusion of deep texture. This shop belongs to a true artisan and creative. Let’s find out more about the owner of aboundingtreasures, Dallas Manicom.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I live in the Maritimes on the east coast of Canada and am a grandma to 2 sweet little boys and a precious new-born grand-daughter, all of whom live so far away that I rarely get to see them.
8 ½ years ago, I was given a second chance at life when God performed a miracle and I received a heart transplant after suffering 8 years with congestive heart failure – all as a result of a simple two-day sore throat!
So for the very first time ever, I began feeling brave enough to allow whatever latent creativity I might have, a chance to make itself known in some way.

Field of Dreams - Encaustic (Wax) Original Painting

Making mistakes or not having a clue what to do caused me to hesitate but my dear husband as well as a woman in our local scrapbooking store told me not to be nervous about making the first cut – if things were not as I wanted them, the only thing I would have wasted was a piece of paper!
So, my new adventure began and I now use new cardstock and patterned papers as well as recycling old books, magazines, calendars and such.
Almost two years ago my husband gave me a special iron and beeswax blocks and I began experimenting with encaustic SFA (Small Format Art) which is never larger than 14 inches in any one direction. I fell in love with the medium and the magical process.

        Music Butterflies and Favourite Line

What inspires your work?
My mood at the moment dictates whether I pick up my iron to paint of pick up an old book or new papers to create a 3-D piece. Lately I’ve been incorporating quotes along with butterflies to create 3-D word art and I love the customization of those for my customers.

What are your favourite colours?
My preferred colours totally depend on my mood at the moment and what I want to work with. Cobalt blue, shades of pink, shades of teal or a mix of yellows and greys together are some of my favourites.

RICHARD SCARRY Upcycled - 3D Baby Whale Collage

What is your favourite medium/material?This depends on whether I feel in the mood to work with encaustics or paper. New coloured card stock or upcycled calendars or old books, I love it all.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere that I am spending time with family, especially our grandchildren.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I really admire my husband’s detailed watercolours. He doesn’t have a lot of time to spend painting as he’s still working full time, but I encouraged him to open an Etsy shop and he’s already had a few sales! See Ed Manicom's Work here.

Memorial 3D Heart of Butterflies. Personalized.

What are you most proud of?
Having lost a daughter to stillbirth many years ago, I understand the pain and grief suffered by so many, often silently. So my most meaningful creation has to be my Memorial Heart of Butterflies which I’ve sold all over the world, sometimes immediately following such a loss and sometimes, many, many years afterwards.

Thank you Dallas for such an open and honest insight into your story, one which I know many will relate to, both from the health and the bereavement point of view. Now we can see the raw emotion that goes into your creativity, and it shows every inch of the way, it comes from your very soul, not just your hands and mind.

Do pop along to Dallas's shop to see more wonderful surprises she hasn't mentioned here 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Penori. Shop of the Week no. 6.

Every Saturday, a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week, from the number of treasuries made for them. This week that honour belongs to Melissa from Penori. This is the winning treasury.

This wonderful shop takes me back to my childhood. The very sight of all those naturally scented soaps and body products reminds my of my aunt's thatched cottage, which was full of drying flowers, pot pourri, and the perfumes of essential oils, lavender, rose, and filled with wonderful colour. So although Melissa, the owner of Penori, lives and works in Wisconsin, there is something quintessentially English in the feel of her shop. Let's find out a little more about Melissa.

1.     Tell us a little about yourself and your work
I love to create, especially environmental and body-friendly products. My work started out when my
youngest son was born and I learned about all of the toxins in baby products and dug further and found almost everything was made with toxins that were not really needed to be in a product, so I started creating

Romantic Rose - Shea Butter Soap

natural products. I use my craft as a vent for the daily grind of life (my day job and all the stresses that go with it.) There’s nothing like jamming to music and whipping up a creation to ‘wash’ the stress away. I also like to think of myself as a wacky soul. I will bust out with a crazy dance move, facial expression, or dinosaur impression at the oddest times. I also like to make up mhy own words or use puns. One cannot be sad, stressed or angry if you’re smiling or being silly, so using the power of one’s own mind and body is what I use best to lift my spirits.

What inspires your work?
I get inspiration from everything! A colour, a flower, a smell, a shape and feel. If I feel it, it will come (the design or product that is).

Natural Cream Deodorant

What are your favourite colours?
Grey is my favourite colour, I just absolutely love this colour! It goes with any other colour and is just stunning by itself.

What is your favourite medium/material?
Sweet almond oil. It’s absolutely amazing and I have to pick on more, Lavender essential oil. I use it for everything from household cleaning, helping me sleep, on my face and body. There are just so many uses for it.

Almond Milk Soap - Kokum Butter Soap

What is your favourite holiday destination?
My living room surrounded by my family.

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to?
I admire knitters. For the life of me I can’t knit even though my grandmother relentlessly tried to teach me as a child.

Patchouli Coconut Milk Soap 

What are you most proud of?
In relation to my business the fact that I had the courage to start it, even though it sounded ridiculous coming from my mouth when I first started the process.  I overcame my own ‘what-ifs’ and just went for it because even if it doesn’t succeed I will have soap to clean my family for life and will give the gift of how to create awesome handmade bath, body and cleaning products to my children so they can continue to live a non-toxic life (although they have asked to send me monthly care packages when they move out because they said they don’t have time when they are in college.)

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

        Facial Toner

Mmmmm doesn't it make you just want to pick up a bar of that beautiful soap and dive into the bath right now? Thank you Melissa for this little insight into you and your business. To view this shop, just click here 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Wycked Pretty Things. Shop of the Week no.5.

Every Saturday a new shop of the week is chosen by the previous shop of the week from the number of treasuries made for the. This week that honour belongs to Michaela and Roxanne from Wycked Pretty Things. This is the winning treasury.

Taking a peek into Wycked Pretty Things, I am struck immediately by the apparent simplicity of each design, but the way the jewellery is made, and the colours used, give it a uniqueness and freshness, and makes me want to pick it up and wear it now...right now. So what about the artists behind this lovely shop?

                     Lavender and Gold Tree of Life Bracelet

Tell us a little about yourself and your work
Roxanne and I are a mother and daughter team. Roxanne has been a painter for the past thirty years and I (Michaela) was raised in a house amongst her and my farther who is a red smith – giving me the idea to combine talents. We both love colour and art, and think making jewellery is a way to display art on the physical form.

What inspires your work?
Our work is inspired by nature. We believe the most beautiful colour combinations are found naturally in the shades of blue in a glacier, the pinks and greens of a meadow etc.

What are your favourite colours?

We love burgundy and gold as well as cerulean blues and purples.

                           Blue and Green Celtic Cross Bracelet

What is your favourite medium/material?
My favourite medium is bronze/copper for welding (second to paint/pastel) while Roxanne prefers acrylic paint.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
Our favourite holiday destination is St Augustine, Florida, where we can never get enough of the historical district.

          Blue Abstract Suncatcher

What other artists work to you admire and aspire to? We greatly admire an array of artists, however our favourites include for Roxanne; H.R. Gigers’ work as well as the abstract creations of Jackson Pollock that she draws a large amount of her inspiration from. For me I am largely influenced by the fantasy-like, dark art of Anne Stokes and was inspired to begin painting by the work of Vincent van Goch (particularly Starry Night).

What are you most proud of?
For both of us we can confidently say that we are most proud of the fact that our art makes people happy; when we see customers smile, know that our work is a birthday gift etc. Nothing makes us happier than knowing something we love is spreading joy, and we are most proud of that.

                   Blue and Black Gothic Celtic Knot Earrings

                         Purple Octopus Tentacle Bracelet

Thank you Roxanne and Michaela for taking part in this. I love how your work is inspired by nature. There is an old saying here 'Pink and Green should ne'er be seen' Well I heartily disagree with that. If that were true, we wouldn't see pink flowers in a meadow would we? If it's good enough for mother nature, its absolutely fine with me.

To visit Wycked Pretty Things, just click here