I’m also inspired by travel, the people, the food, and the excitement of never quite knowing what to expect, including the selection of my fabrics. While I always return to my same fabric sources, I am constantly delighted by the textiles they have made for me during the previous months.
Hi My name is Courtney, I’m 24 and my shop is Hemp Hugs which I started as an Etsy shop in October 2010.
I consider my boyfriend Rich a member of Hemp Hugs too – we’ve been together a little
over 8 years & he’s been a huge part of making our business happen!
I mostly make hemp jewelry and Rich did wire wraps for about 2 years
and just recently started blowing glass.
I remember being young and inspired by my aunt had always been into arts & crafts. For as long as I remember, she was
always making things for my cousins and I. She would use fabric paint on shoes,
dresses, hats, shirts,etc for us and I LOVED them. I used to go over her house all the
time & make stuff with her. My favorite thing to do was make beaded jewelry with
pony beads & elastic cord.
In high school I bought my first hemp necklace. It was so plain & basic & I
remember thinking to myself “I can do this, but make it look way cooler!”
I discovered etsy.com and found people making a living from making hemp jewelry. One shop
in mind sticks out, Psysub Hemp on Etsy, I was SO inspired by their beautiful
jewelry it made me want to learn how to make my own style. I went
to the craft store & bought a macrame book, some basic natural hemp, and called
the only friend I knew that actually knew anything about macrame and showed me
the basic flat knot and that was it.. from there I pretty much taught myself. I discovered colored
hemp and went nuts from there.
” I fell in love with macrame. ”
My love for macrame started a new life for me. From my first job working restaurants at
age 16 to the time I quit my last job at age 20, I worked at 7 different places (6 of
them were restaurants). I had decided I no longer wanted to work for a corporate
business or really anyone but myself so Rich and I took a week
off work & went to a music festival where we talked to a couple food vendors who
said they hadn’t worked a ‘real job’ in 12 years. They seemed so happy. They got
to do what they wanted whenever they wanted AND got paid for it! That was it for
me. Over the next year, Rich & I saved our money to start our own small business.
In May of 2010, I was working 3 jobs, while Rich was a kitchen manager at a local
chain restaurant. Neither of us were happy with what we were doing. He went into
work one morning in a Grateful Dead t-shirt, turned his keys into the general
manager & basically said “i quit”. I quit my job at 2 of the restaurants I was working
at, and a month later walked out of my job at a movie theater. Best decision we
both ever made.
Things changed for me after I went to my first music festival.
From that moment I was hooked. I loved
EVERYTHING about them..the music, the vibe, the art, the feeling of being
whoever you want & not being judged.
Music is definitely one of my main inspirations. I am a huge fan of the Grateful Dead & have lots of GD
inspired charms & pendants. I’m also inspired by the other talented macrame artists out
there. There’s a group on Facebook just for macrame artists to share tips, get
advice, trade supplies, and just encourage each other and it’s been a big
inspiration for me.
One of my greatest memories is of our very first time vending. It was Classic Fest 2010 at Nelson Ledges
Quarry Park. We had an EZup and 2 tables.
One table had all of my jewelry.
I was even making hemp jewelry which I had scattered all over the table. No displays of any kind, just a
mess of jewelry and
some camping necessities like TP, flashlights, rain ponchos, etc. We also had
boxes of movie posters..from working at a movie theater, I got the advantage of taking
all the posters they got, otherwise they would just throw them away. Most of them
were awful movies that mostly never even made it to theaters lol. We barely made
enough money that weekend to cover our tickets to the event + vending fee. We
almost gave up on vending altogether after that.
So glad we didn’t!
We now have a 20×30 setup right next to the stage at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, with at
least 6 tables FULL of merchandise, 6+ handmade necklace boards full of my
hemp jewelry, clothes racks, grid walls, display cases.. it’s truly amazing to see
how far we’ve come in a few years.
Hemp Hugs expanded from being just
an online Etsy shop to a vending business, setting up at various music
festivals at our local venue, Nelson Ledges Quarry Park and recently we’ve also started
setting up at different concerts for a local Youngstown band, Jones for
As a hemp artist, I try to use the best quality of products available. I use 100%
natural hemp twine in a wide variety of colors. I have about 7 cases full of a variety
of beads (wood, glass, gemstone, ceramic, etc), pendants, charms, cabochons,
and other supplies. Trying to decide what to make is sometimes more of a
challenge than actually making something – lol. I spend most of my time creating in my living room, either
listening to some music or watching shows & documentaries on Netflix.
With the more intricate designs, I almost never plan it
out first. I usually just pick out some colors & just go with the flow of what I feel fits
that piece just right.
I have a small macrame board that I use to hold my piece in place while I create so Once I decide on a pendant or bead
I want to use, I match up the colors of hemp that I think would accent the piece(s)
well and then from there, I decide if I want to spend hours creating an intricate, one of a
kind piece or keep it simple.
We met our business partners, Gary & Lourie (local glassblowers
who have their own small business, Glass and Stuff) in 2012 and have been
vending music festivals with them ever since.
This past November we all got together with two other friends, Zak & Whitney (they have a small business as
well called Estimated Prospect where they sell stones, crystals & minerals) and
we opened up a store here in Ohio called Higher Minds. We all travel & vend
together at NLQP -Nelson Ledges Quary Park – every spring/summer. Our goal is to support as many local
artists & small businesses as possible. Our store Higher Minds is full of local
hand blown glass, my handmade hemp jewelry, handmade clothing, tie dyes,
tapestries, all natural beauty products (made here in Ohio), and so much
more and are mostly all from friends & local artists. If it wasn’t for Rich & I starting up
Hemp Hugs & traveling to shows, Higher Minds would potentially not exist.
It’s basically 3 small businesses joined together as one.
My favorite piece of art I’ve ever made is one I just recently made; a bracelet cuff that honestly blew my mind when I was
finished. I had a labradorite cab & some matching beads set aside for months. I
knew I wanted to make something spectacular with them, but didn’t know what
until I recently learned a new macrame technique for wrapping stones. MANY
knots later, I was so impressed with what I had created, I got a little emotional
when I was done.
My boyfriend, definitely helps keep me going when things get tough.
There have been countless times when I get myself down because maybe my Etsy sales have dropped a little from last month or for some
reason I don’t feel I’m doing my best….and he’s right there telling me otherwise,
assuring me that everything is ok. Also my friends & family’s undying support of
what I do definitely keeps me going.
I’ve also found nature & being outdoors to be very inspiring.
In my down time, when I’m not crafting, traveling, or working at the store I enjoy
just hanging out at home with my boyfriend & our animals (1 dog & 2 kitties) or
having a couple good beers with some friends (preferably around a campfire!)
Nice to meet you!
I have a lot of them!!!!
“if you get confused, listen to the music play”
“a box of rain will ease the pain & love will see you through”
“once in awhile you get shone the light in the strangest of places if you look at it
“i’m gonna love the life I live & i’m gonna live the life I love”
oh boy lol.. so many stories come to mind, I would be typing for hours haha.
When asked… Is there something about you as an artist that you would like the world to
know? she said this
“I’m a self taught macrame artist with big dreams. I never give up on something I’m
passionate about and I absolutely love what I do & will continue to push myself Furthur”
I’m beyond grateful with how much our small business has grown. I only see it
getting bigger from here & hope to one day have Higher Minds stores across the
country and possibly even the world. But for now, I couldn’t be happier with where
we are at 🙂
Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville,Ohio (every music festival from April-
Clay’s Park in Canton, Ohio for the Ville Music Festival
I also have a lot of my hemp jewelry available at our store Higher Minds in
Artist Contact info:
Social Media Links:
Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team
Hello! My name is Selena and my shop is ‘a recurring dream‘. I am
a stay at home mom living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with my husband and our
My shop takes materials that are unwanted from my local
community and I have been making quality home goods and accessories,
and started adding clothing this year.
As a young woman, I had sewn patchwork dresses, skirts, bags, purses,
etc for many years that I would vend at local concert lots and festivals.
In my mid 20’s I wanted to move to the city and started working for a
young restaurant group. I grew into adulthood along side an innovative
and maturing local restaurant group that emphasized the importance of
farm to table food, craft beer and spirits, and embracing and utilizing
the individuality of each of its employees to its advantage. I spent a
decade managing restaurants for them. The demanding schedule did
not afford me much time for sewing and once I started a family, I realized
the schedule did not allow much time for them either.
So I said good-bye
to my home away from home and a couple of months later dusted off my
sewing machine and picked up a gig doing piece work for a local clothing
company to make money for Christmas. I slowly began finding and
unpacking my sewing items and making space for them in my home. Then
I started making gifts for people and trying to come up with ideas of items
to make with materials I had on hand, or could source inexpensively, and I
found myself building a small inventory of items.
A new street fair started
that year and they were looking for vendors. I had just enough inventory
to send photos of my work along with the application and I was accepted
to vend the street fair, and started sewing A LOT in order to have enough
items to fill my vending spot!
Vending regularly was not reasonable for me with my kids in tow, and I had
researched Etsy shops for months before opening my shop. Once I started
I felt so lost! I had zero experience with internet sales. I tried finding teams
for support with little luck in the beginning, then,…. One of the articles in the Sellers Handbook
suggested using an interest as your search keyword when trying to find
a team. I searched “patchwork” and that is how I found the DHAA and I
This team has been such a source of knowledge and support
for me and has truly been a comforting support that has kept me on Etsy.
I also never would have guessed that there would have been an online
market for patchwork clothes, but maybe that is just me showing my age.
I work mainly with up-cycled clothing and de-stash items that I collect from my
community. I have an overwhelmingly diverse stash of fabric, and it can
make it hard for me to focus on one project for a very long time.
get a new idea, I have no problem abandoning a project in progress to start
on a new item. I always have a collection of items in progress…sometimes
I go back and finish them, and sometimes I take them apart to use the
materials for something else. I rarely feel committed to finishing a project I
am no longer enjoying. I find inspiration from so many places in the world
around me. It sometimes surprises even me the things I will suddenly
decide need to be made next!
I grew up with a very crafty mama who loved to sew and craft with
whatever materials we had on hand. She always encouraged us to try
new things and was never afraid of us getting dirty or making a mess. It
was a wonderful way to grow up. I was never allowed to use her machine,
but when I was a teenager and started showing interest, she was quick to
find me a hand me down machine to call my own.
I taught myself how to
sew and quickly burned through a string of hand me down machines. In
the height of my young adult sewing days my parents helped me purchase
a refurbished metal Singer machine. I was always concerned about the
quality of my items and the following year my parents gifted me a serger.
Their support meant the world to me and I still sew on the same machines
today. What a great investment they turned out to be…when I think of what
I have made on them it is almost unreal to me that they are still keeping up
Making patchwork was a natural fit for me. When I started sewing, I
made a basic dress pattern and made a couple of simple a line dresses from
lightweight vintage curtains I had found at Goodwill. My friends mother
gave me a box full of scraps she had collected over her years of sewing,
and I decided to make a pattern for a patchwork dress for myself. As a
child I had often been mesmerized with Holly Hobbie’s beautiful apron,
and wanted a dress that was a grown up version of that amazing childhood
image. After some drafting and a lot of math…I did it! I couldn’t believe
that I had actually made it! It is still my favorite item I have ever made.
I made well over 50 dresses from this pattern and never upgraded my
personal dress from that original, and I look forward to handing it down to
my girls. I have always been so proud of it, and I am hoping to revive the
pattern this Spring.
My children are the most amazing force to have ever touched my life. I
am a very active parent, and enjoy my time with them immensely. I am
also committed to my community, and spend time volunteering at my
children’s schools, helping with coat and food drives, and volunteering at
our community garden.
Our community garden is one of my favorite places
to be! In addition to our own plots, my husband, children and I spend a
lot of time helping to tend the common grounds, and tending the donation
garden. All of the harvest from the donation garden benefits our neighbors
through our local food pantry.
My family and I also love taking advantage
of all of wonderful things Pittsburgh has to offer. Pittsburgh is a beautiful
and exciting city, and we particularly love our time spent at the Carnegie
Museums and all of the surrounding State Parks. The woods are truly my
home. I like to be busy and active, and I am never at a loss for things to do
in my area.
I always loved vending at festivals and shows, and I was excited when I
started vending at the Artisan Market in the Strip District neighborhood of
Pittsburgh this year. I love people, and love getting to talk to people about
my work. I find having an internet shop to be so isolating, and it is always
nice to come face to face with someone who truly appreciated what you are
Music has always held an important role in my life. My father is very
passionate about music and ensured it was part of our daily lives. He took
me to my first concerts, and to many more later in life. The concert that left
the biggest impression was attended when I was about maybe 12 years
old. It was a music festival at Camp Lejeune Naval Base during Operation
Desert Storm. The energy in the crowd was unlike anything I had ever
experienced. I remember that Chicago was the headliner and that Sinbad
was the MC for the event. It was my first experience seeing how music
could bring people together and give them hope, joy and a strong sense of
togetherness. When I first moved to the city in my early 20’s, there was an amazing
theater that had live music almost every night. I went there just about
every evening, I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else. Some night
they had national acts, sometimes they would even have high school kids
who raised enough money to rent the theater to play for their friends and
family, and everything in between. Often times the younger bands playing
were my favorite nights. They always played with a passion that I truly
My favorite quote is by an author named Richard Bach from No Such Place
as Far Away.
“Not being known doesn’t stop the truth from being true.”
This resonates deeply with me. It is a simple statement of truth that I feel is
too often overlooked.
This past year I have had opportunities to do so many things that I never
would have imagined. I have made my first full size quilts, I have started
making bereavement items to console the families who have lost love ones,
and have written my first tutorial to be published in a national magazine this
Spring. It has been such a whirlwind and I am looking forward to what lies
“Many thanks to all of you who have supported me on this journey” Selena
Artist Contact info:
Social Media Links:
Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team
I am the creator of Tye Dye Bills, my name is Amanda Johnson
I make most of the tie dyes, tapestries and bed sheet sets (nature inspired are my favorite) and do the portrait drawings, as well as hand make the other grateful gear.
My team consists of myself and my husband who occasionally makes tie dyes (he has a very groovy style), rinses my bins and is sole owner and namesake of our shop name (tye dye bill was a name given to him during his on the road days), and my children who are the reason I create and sell on Etsy.
Tie dye is our passion. Our Creations are brought to life through parenthood, love of all things tie dye and the Grateful Family we have come to know and love after all these years. We love sharing our art, love and soul with others.
Each item contains a moment of our lives, a piece of our hearts, part of our souls. When
you purchase our creations, you are buying moments of frustration and days, weeks,
years of pure joy. You are not just buying things, but rather creating more time for us to make things we are passionate about.
The creative process happens in our home studio. All tie dyes are folded, tied and dyed
by hand. Tapestries are hand cut from quality medium weight, tightly woven, cotton fabric
and double stitched before folding and dyeing. We use only quality 100% cotton and fiber
reactive dyes. Dyes used are professional grade that creates a marriage between the
dye and cotton fibers during the tie dye process. All items are pre-washed, rinsed after
dyeing, washed with a professional textile detergent to ensure dyes are bonded and
excess dyes are removed, then washed again. Items are dried in the sunshine on the line
when weather permits or fluffed in the dryer.
Everything is handmade with love, created in a smoke free and cat friendly home.
I’ve created art for as long as I can remember. Art teachers were pivotal in my
development as an artist. The first tie dye I made was at summer camp when I was 8
years old. I’ve loved tie dye for a very long time. My kids were the driving force behind
starting my own business. I quit my job as the manager of a small, family owned
business to start my own family. I knew I would stay home to raise my children, the extra
income from selling tie dyes and more recently my drawings, helps support our family. It
has proven to be challenging to find a suitable balance for my family, finding time to work
and create things I am passionate about and still take care of my home. I created a little
play space for my children in my studio, complete with toys, an easel and desk for them to
make their own masterpieces while I work. They love being in my art space and
eventually they will help out with our business too!
I remember watching my Nan crochet blankets when I was little and my Grandma do
needlepoint. While I never got into either craft, I remember seeing my Nan’s painted
ceramics around the house and my own first interest was probably painting because of
My favorite piece I have ever made is the drawing named A Penny for Your Thoughts. It is A
drawing of my dear friend Houd (short for Houdini, his nickname) who died in March
2013. A beautiful soul. Our shop will be seeing more portraits in the future, I am very
excited about this and have been approached about orders already!What inspires me most to create is Parenthood, the love of all things tie dye and the Grateful Family we have come to know and
after all these years has inspired us the most. My portrait drawings are pure
inspiration from the beautiful souls that once walked our earth. I believe our loved ones
deserve to be honored and not forgotten and my portrait drawings do just that.
I love working with color and really enjoy making tie dye I love. Craft shows and festivals
are also a favorite part of business. Being on the scene and selling things I love to make
while having a great time and meeting great people! The same goes for drawing portraits
of our dear loved ones, uncovering their story, discovering what made them special and
the impact they made on this earth before they left.
A sale always comes through when we need it most. I am a stay at home mama so every
penny counts. Believing in ourselves and that our talents will get us through seems to do
the trick! We keep our friends close and our little family closer when times are tough.
Someone has always got our back. We’d like to believe God and our Universe is in
control of everything and we are just tiny specks. We listen to the still, small voice and
During what spare time we have we love to camp and be outdoors. Spending time with
friends while enjoying nature is our favorite. Frequenting music festivals is another fond
past time. As our kids get older it will allow for more fun music festivals to explore
together. We can always find inspiration in our little family to keep on keepin’ on.
The first epic music festival that changed my life was Grateful Fest at Nelsons Ledges. I
had not previously been to such a large festival, it had a wonderful lineup of musicians
and wonderful crowd of people amidst the beauty of the forest. It was truly a break
through for me. I can’t wait to experience that particular festival again someday.
Tell the world Amanda, Is there something about you as an artist or is there something that you would like the world to know?
“Forget about all the reasons why it won’t work and believe in the reason why it will! My
mantra for myself when I make something or have an idea that I think no one will want or
love. If you believe in it, someone else will too.”
We are Super excited about the future of our shop! As our children grow and can help more with
the shop we will be offering more tapestries and bed sheet sets. I will also be expanding
my portrait drawing and taking custom orders. Someday we hope to open a brick and
mortar shop, which is a ways off. We believe in living our dreams, its the only way to
make them come true.
“We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.”
Artist Contact info: Amanda Johnson http://treesandtents.blogspot.com/
Social Media Links: https://www.facebook.com/TyeDyeBills
Sales happening: Black Friday Sale upcoming and flash sales are announced on our
facebook page from time to time.
Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team