Tag Archives: grateful dead inspired

Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – September – Susie Blair – Store – Urban Prairie Girl

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My name is Susie Blair, and I have been sewing all my life!  I am a one woman business located in Sebastopol, California. I was born in Eritrea, and have also lived in Kodiak, Alaska, and Venice Beach, CA.  I have been married for 29 years to Gary, who is a high school teacher, and I have an 19 year old daughter named Hannah, who is a competitive swing dancer, and a college student.
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I am in Delhi and I seem to have grown the extra set of arms a crafter needs to do it all!

I have two shops currently, both on Etsy.  Urban Prairie Girl, which features handmade and custom fitted clothing, cloth napkins, dish towels, my ever popular pillowcases, and handmade curtains, all sewn up with Indian prints which I bring back every year from India.   I opened my first clothing shop because a friend once said to me, you know, if you spend as much time working as you do playing on the internet, you might actually make some money. (Thank you, Tony Angel!)
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My second shop on Etsy is called UPG FABRIC ANNEX, which carries my entire line of hand selected Indian fabrics that are simply the most unique and beautiful fabrics that you  will not find in the USA.  I created Urban Prairie Girl to feature my handmade clothing, to provide custom fitting clothing for ALL sizes of women, and of course, an outlet for my prolifically creative mind! I want my clothing to feel comfortable and beautiful, to be long lasting, to fit you well, and to make you feel like the free spirited woman that you are!
I would have to say, that the fabrics I choose each year for my collection, definitely lead me in whatever direction I take off in, creatively speaking.  The fabrics are my paint, my canvas, my inspiration.  I have been traveling to India for 16 years, and my fabric collection has grown so large I had to open the fabric shop, which was another dream of mine come true!
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My 2015 shipment has arrived!

Then, I have a handful of timeless designs that seem to work for all sorts of body types, which is definitely a goal of mine.  Properly fitted clothing is quite a challenge.  You know, a lot of women feel like there is something wrong with their bodies because when they go clothes shopping, nothing fits! Clothing manufacturers make clothing to fit the “average” figure, which, guess what? Practically NO ONE is that size!!! Clothing manufacturers also choose to NOT make full flowing skirts and dresses which actually fit over hips!!!  The average woman hip measurement is 38-40”!  You will not find a skirt in a clothing store like my handmade skirts, which are generously cut and made to fit your body.
You might think this is crazy, but I have never had a sewing room or workshop. Since I was 6 years old, I have been sewing in the kitchen, and cutting out my garments on the living room floor.  I am 54 years old, and I still crawl around on the floor cutting out stuff!  I sew on the kitchen table, my three trusty Berninas fit nicely there. Unfortunately, that means, no kitchen table, ever! And, no cooking super smelly and oily stuff in our kitchen because of the fabrics.  My patient family is constantly working around fabric piles, cutting boards, and that ever wobbly ironing board with precariously perched hot iron which never seems to get turned off.
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Me On a train In Sri Lanka, December 2014

I find that working at home sometimes prevents me from getting on a roll, but on the other hand, I don’t have to commute, or pay rent on a workshop or store, and I get to work in my pajamas all day if I want to! (like now!)
Anyway, sometimes, I am sewing a custom fitted garment to someone’s measurements, and other times, I just wake up in the morning and ask myself, “what do I feel like making today?”  In fact, today I am making some really cute fabric storage boxes for makeup and other small items, just because I got some very cute zippers I am dying to play with. Sometimes I just sort my fabric into piles that “go together” which inspires me to take off on another  project.  Now, lets talk about those piles of fabric.  At this point, there are mountains of fabric in three, ok, four places in my house.  Most are organized into see through plastic boxes because I do not want them to get dirty or dusty, are not prewashed, and I can see most of the fabrics through the boxes. There is one, ok, two piles that are not in plastic boxes, and all of those fabrics have been prewashed and preshrunk, and ready to be played with. I both sell the fabrics  (www.upgfabricannex.etsy.com) and use them to my hearts content! And in case you are wondering, my average shipment from India each year is around 400 pounds, that’s weight, not money.
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I grew up in a home with two very handy parents.  My father was an electronics technician in the US Navy. He was a genius and would build clocks, televisions, radios, sheds, sidewalks, patios, as well as have a hell of a good time rewiring our entire house, his way! ! He was always tinkering, building, fixing, and making stuff. We never needed to hire a handyman, or a cleaning woman, or a house helper, or babysitter, because my parents did it all! Man, they were handy!  My mother would sew a lot of our clothes, curtains and mend our stuff of course.  There was always a sewing machine around.
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In school I loved all the art classes, all the dance, all the sewing classes! It was in high school that I had an art teacher, Mr Rousey, who saw a connection that could be made with my artistic self and my sewing self, and he challenged me to make a piece of art using fabrics.  That was the first time I ever realized that art and clothing and sewing and textiles could all be bundled up into one wonderful form of expression!   Mr Dale Rousey, my favourite art teacher, and Mrs Margaret Belmar, my favourite home economics teacher, both played an enormous part in helping me find, ME!
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I have not had a “day job” for a very long time.  But when I did work for de man, this is what I did…I was a children’s photographer, a salesgirl in various mall shops including a fabric store, a bank teller, an ESL teacher, a campus supervisor for a high school, a teachers assistant.  I have also worked as a seamster for a hat company, a motorcycle luggage company, a futon company, and other designers. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, My husband and I used to have tie dye factory, probably not unlike a lot of you! Paid for those dead shows!
I once had a boyfriend that told me, take what you do best, and what you love to do, and do it. And he loaned me $1,000. so I could quit my bank teller job and try to make a living doing custom sewing, in Los Angeles.  LOL, I cannot tell you how many perverts came to my home wanting me to make them kinky clothing.  I was just 23, and not really knowing how to handle that sort of energy.  I just wanted to make stuff that I wanted to make and have people like it and buy it!
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Now, I have to take a minute here to tell you how Etsy has changed my life.  Prior to learning about Etsy, rather belatedly in March of 2007, I struggled to make money doing alterations and custom sewing around town.  It was really ungratifying and required a lot of customer contact, meaning a lot of time. I was raising my child at the time, and sewing at home was really the best way for me to make it work.  A friend of mine told me about Etsy and that I ought to try having a shop there. On Etsy, I have developed a clientele that keeps coming back for custom fitted clothes.  Then last year, I opened my fabric shop on Etsy, and wow! That is a dream come true.  I love sharing my fabric collection with the entire world. I love India, I love Indian fabric, and I love Etsy for changing my life! Thank you Etsy, and thank you to my friend, Donna, for turning me on to Etsy!
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As I said before, It must have been the influence of my parents, constantly puttering, fixing, building and making stuff around the house. I cannot so much remember what was being made, but the memory of my dad, cigarette in hand, plotting and puttering, and making another creation.  And, my mom, sewing our stuff, cooking, cleaning, fixing, shining! Always, always busy!  I remember though, one Christmas in about 6th grade, we had gotten some crafts projects as gifts, and, while the entire Christmas day happened all around me, I sat under the tree, all day, all dang day, completely absorbed in my felt kitty art, and my paint by numbers, and my new doll clothes that my mom had made for me.  I remember a feeling that day…it was.. “I AM A MAKER!!!”
Let me tell you about those doll clothes, which I still have to this day!  My mother would sew for my sister and I, every Christmas, an entire doll wardrobe for one of our dolls.  One year, an entire Barbie wardrobe! Another, a sweet baby doll wardrobe,  The next year, my Beautiful Chrissie doll received the most swingin’, hip 70’s clothing collection ever!  Funny, how in writing this, I am remembering some of the first things I remember being made as a child….

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Well, one of my favourite pieces ever is a quilt that I made in 1990, all crazy patchwork, with a purple back and extra stuffing.  I will tell you why I still love it. My daughter snatched it for her own when she was in elementary school. She even made a painting of the bed and quilt.  I noticed how much she loves the weight, the comfort and familiarity of that quilt now as much as she did when she was a small child. It has always warmed my heart that my girl ran off with my handmade quilt and has used it on her bed most of her life. Now that she is 19. the quilt is still on her bed, although ragged!
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My inspiration comes from the fabrics I collect in India, the color, the people and the designs of India. Traveling is definitely an inspiration, not only for my creations, but also for my spirit.
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Getting a fresh cut pineapple after Chamundi Hill, Mysore, India

I’d have to say, that I am stimulated by the excitement, colors, madness and beauty of India and other travels, and am calmed, nourished and
at home in my quiet, beautiful apple orchard in Northern California.
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Working in my fabric factory in India

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.

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During each yearly visit to India, I am always sure to tack on some great adventures.  For example, last year my husband, and a Scottish pal accompanied me to India, and Sri Lanka.  I also really enjoy the satisfaction of making something for someone that really appreciates it! I love it when I get a message from someone telling me how beautiful they feel in their new skirt!

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I’d have to say, that not having any orders, can really make me feel like a loser.  I have to really try sometimes to push myself to be creative, to stimulate my shop, to make something new. If all else fails, I start scrubbing and cleaning my house.  I also will paint a wall, or clean a closet, a drawer, or make something I don’t need to make…I just have to always be making stuff or doing stuff, it is what I do best. I think its more important to me than the money I make.
Fortunately, I have been married to my partner, with a “real job”, for a very long time.  I confess he makes the bulk of our money.  My income makes it possible for us to travel, buy ourselves things, and go out to dinner or little trips now and then.  It supplements our families income, but I confess, with the competition in the clothing market, I would not stand a chance against Macys, etc etc, and I will not die trying! I am fortunate to not have the need to feel desperate in my attempt at making a living with my art.
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I like to travel, I like to walk and walk and walk.  I like to spend time with my daughter, my cat, and my husband.  I like to play bright and fun games on my iPad. You are going to think Im weird, but I like to sew in my free time, too!

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I love to read Indian literature, and travel writers, like Paul Thoreaux. My favorite travel story, The Naked Hand, by Thoreaux. (If you just wanna check out Thoreaux in quick style, read Elephanta Suite, a collection of short stories)  My favorite Indian author is Rohinton Mistry, my favorite Indian book, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.
favorite quote     “It Is Written”
-and this is not for religious reasons, but because I believe that whatever happens is meant to be, and yes, sometimes is already in the cards.
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So then, since we are the Deadhead Art Alliance, I think I ought to tell you about the Grateful Dead show which would change my life, but not for a few more years to come…..It was at the Grateful Dead, Ventura County Fairgrounds, 1984 that I met my future husband, best friend and life partner. Of course at the time, he was really more interested in my best friend. . She, and the bottle of champagne we had between us on the beach after the shows.  Gary and I remained friends until 1986, when we found ourselves on a road trip together.  Somewhere in Kansas, Gary puts on Bob Dylan’s Desire CASSETTE TAPE, lol (it is 1986)….heh, that sly devil. By the time we got back home to my beach shack in Venice, I had a new boyfriend!  We were married in 1988.  Now, the thing is, while I was content enough to  see the Dead once or twice a year in Irvine and Ventura, Gary needed to go to ALL THE SHOWS!!! LOL, so eventually we got married, a dead cover band at our wedding, our first dance to Sugar Magnolia, and our honeymoon tour was summer of 1988 Dead shows all the way to the east coast and back!  Now here we are….30 years later!
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I met my husband at a dead show in 1984, and our honey moon was dead tour, 1988…

There is something as a clothing maker I would like the world to know, the artist part is more personal and really, its just me expressing stuff, nothing else to know.  As for the clothing…well, here I go on a rant…. Did you know that the main reason clothing is cut so un-generously and tight? Money.  Why is everything see through? Sex. Ok, so those are the two main focuses in the clothing industry. Money making and sex.  The sex part, whatever…..but the money part, wow!  If you have ever taken a look into my shop, you will find skirts that are generously cut using 3-6 yards of fabric, pants that fit all sorts of bootys, dresses that don’t make you look like a ho, and all made with fabrics that are 100% natural cotton, and sometimes silk and rayon.  Of course, if you did the math, you would see the skimpy mini skirt in Wet Seal, sewn by slave labor, would show quite a bit more profit than a handmade gypsy skirt sewn with 4 yards of handmade fabric. That is why you cannot buy my stuff in the mall, its not profitable.  So, what I am getting at is, the fashion industry dictates what you will wear, what colors, what styles, how short, how tight, how cheap, how expensive, how ugly, how slutty, how synthetic, how dare they!
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I have a dream to one day have my own line of sheets, comforters, bath and kitchen items, Indian style, of course.  This is a very large project, and if it is meant to be, it will happen. Thank you for taking the time to read my stuff!
Peace!
Selling Venues: Sebastopol Farm Market Sebastopol, CA Sundays 10-1:30
                        www.urbanprairiegirl.etsy.com
                        www.upgfabricannex.etsy.com
Artist Contact info:  Susie Blair  _facebook
                              www.urbanprairiegirl.etsy.com
                              barefoot_one200@Yahoo.com
Social Media Links:  upgfabricannex on Instagram
Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team

Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – March –Courtney – Store – HempHugs

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Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – March –Courtney – Store – HempHugs

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Hemp Hugs

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Revival.

 

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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.

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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. 

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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 Nice to meet you!

 

favorite quotes

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

right”

“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 🙂

Selling Venues:

Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville,Ohio (every music festival from April-
October)

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

Champion, Ohio.

Artist Contact info:

e­mail cschin4200@yahoo.com

Social Media Links:

www.facebook.com/hemphugs

www.etsy.com/shop/hemphugs

instagram­ @hemphugs

 

Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team

Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – November – Ivy Starshine – Store – Starshine Beads

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I’m Ivy and I’m located in beautiful, sunny Mesa, Arizona! My shops are Starshine Beads and Southwest Soaps!

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I create one of a kind handmade jewelry from semi-precious stones, crystals and metals in one store and I create vegan, detergent free, sodium laurel sulfate free handmade soaps. The philosophy for both of my shops is to create high quality handmade items at the lowest price for my customers and I’m proud to say I belong to the Deadhead Art Alliance as well as the Working Artists Promotion Team.

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My creative process always starts with inspiration, usually from the stones themselves, either a beautiful focal bead or pendant or the beads themselves.  I’m a Graduate Gemologist and Jeweler for over thirty five years and my first loves are stones and designing, so it’s usually some really unique stones or focal beads or pendants that set my imagination going.  I make all my pieces here at my home by hand.  Each bead is selected individually to create exactly the look I want.

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I’ve been a rockhound ever since I can remember….picking up stones and rocks and saving them since I was a little girl, so I guess I had a natural affinity for them. I began beading at the age of eleven and by twelve years old I had procured myself a booth at the Yonkers (NY) Raceway Flea Market every week and was selling on my own at twelve years old.  Beading was always my first love and I continued to make jewelry and do bead work through school. When I was in college I used one particular supplier, a Japanese pearl importer in NY and she came to know me from being her customer and one day she asked me to come work for her so I did.  I obtained some great education from her in Japanese pearls and silk stringing and knotting techniques, as well as becoming her buyer.  As her buyer I would take buying trips into New York City  (I lived about fifteen minutes outside of the city at the time)  to some of the largest pearl and bead import houses in the world. I was like a little kid in a candy store!

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Working with that Japanese pearl importer I also was lucky enough to work some of the largest gem and jewelry shows in the world at the Javitz Center in NYC.

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I worked my way through college (I have a B.S. In English) with my jewelry and after college I decided to take the turn into the jewelry field as a career.  I went to the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) in NYC and graduated with a G.G. (Graduate Gemology) degree and also as a diamontologist  (Diamontology is a branch of gemology that deals specifically with diamonds)  While I was in school at the G.I.A. I also apprenticed with a silver and goldsmith in Hastings-On-Hudson, NY.  She became a wonderful friend and a terrific teacher who I’m grateful for to this day. I also signed up for some classes in Lapidary work at the Westchester Art Workshop, but I discovered that lapidary work wasn’t really my thing. I moved on to work for two different jewelers in Scarsdale, NY, both high end designers of fine jewelry, where I worked in design and repair, as well as sales.

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As time went on, I was offered a job with Sterling Inc, owner of Kay Jewelers, Jared, Whitehall and a few others, and I worked with Sterling Inc for a number of years. I was their top seller in the United States one year and won an award (and some great jewelry!) and from there I headed up their Estate Division, which I was thrilled about, as I love Estate Jewelry.
I decided to move from NY to Arizona after a few years and was offered to transfer with Sterling Inc, but I wanted to see what Arizona had to offer me, so I declined.  I did find a job managing a designer fine jewelry store in Scottsdale, Arizona called Scott Allen Jewelers and worked for them and helped them start up their manufacturing company as well.
Then at one point I became burned out on the jewelry industry…I had gotten away from what I really loved….creating the jewelry; and I had ended up in the sales and management end of it (that’s where the money was) and so I felt unhappy and decided to take a break from jewelry for a few years.
Now I’m disabled and unable to work in the workplace these days, so now I simply do my bead work at home, back to doing what I love.

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Now What inspires me most to create are the stones and beads themselves and What makes my job interesting is finding unusual stones or beads, it’s like going on a treasure hunt. I also love doing custom orders, it’s fun to take what’s in someone else’s mind and create it for them to make them something they love.  When times get hard My dogs get me through everything! I love my two rescue dogs, they’re my joy. When sales are tight, I keep my hope that things will get better and Of course, my wonderful friends always keep me going too!  In my down time I love to spend time with my best friend, my dogs, taking short road trips, I love to read, be out in the desert, listen to lots of music!  I have many stories about music shows but I’m afraid they’d be too long to tell here, but Grateful Dead shows were always an event.

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Favorite Quote:

“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.” – Mae West

 

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We’ll leave you with this…..     When asked Is there something as an artist that you would like the world to know?
  she says this

“Be kind to each other, always.”

Ivy Starshine

Selling Venues:

Artist Contact info:

https://www.facebook.com/ivyj60

Ivy Starshine on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/southwestsoaps
Social Media Links:

My Etsy Shop

Starshine Beads – https://www.etsy.com/shop/StarshineBeads

My Facebook Fan Page for Starshine Beads –

https://www.facebook.com/StarshineBeads

My Etsy shop Southwest Soaps –

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SouthwestSoaps

My Facebook Fan Page for Southwest Soaps –

https://www.facebook.com/southwestsoaps

Sales happening: I’m having a huge 25% off sale at Starshine Beads through December 23rd and 10% off at Southwest Soaps with coupon code HAPPYHOLIDAYS10 at checkout, through December 23.

Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team

Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – APRIL 2014 – Rebekah Norgren – Store: The Elvish Acorn

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Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – APRIL 2014 – Rebekah Norgren – Store: The Elvish Acorn
Deadhead Art Alliance Would Like to introduce you to our April Artist of the Month, Rebekah Norgren from The Leadership of the Deadhead Art Alliance and the Elvish Acorn Store on Etsy.com!

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The Elvish Acorn is here to bring you upcycled articles inspired by the earth and handmade jewelry made with lots of love and heart.!

My name is Rebekah. My store is The Elvish Acorn and my only team is the DHAA. What other team would I need? 😉  

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I live about 20 minutes west of Detroit in a Garden City, MI.

My shop is called The Elvish Acorn and my goal is to create jewelry and accessories that have an earthy vibe.

I like to think that I’m putting a lot of lovely things out to go on adventures without making a negative environmental impact by reclaiming and repurposing as much as possible.

Garden City, MI

Garden City, MI

Detroit, MI

Detroit, MI

  My creative process…  Sometimes it’s embarrassingly slow and I just can’t get something right. A piece will fight me all the way and sometimes needs to be temporarily abandoned. Other times, something just falls together beautifully.  I use glass beads, wood beads, stone beads, gemstone beads, shell beads… Sometimes horn & bone.  I string on Nymo or Acuflex, depending on the project.  I used to only use sterling silver for earrings, but now make my big Gypsy hoops in base metals.  I have various boxes, bins, and drawers to keep my beads, pedants, hemp, etc, kind of in their place.  My work space is always a mess, but I happily bead in the midst of my crafty chaos!

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  If I’m sewing, I have an old Kenmore serger that my mother gave me and I have a Brother machine that I use for the finishing touches! I have piles and drawers of thrifted, upcycled, free, and vintage fabric. I’d like to focus on bags for a while, but that remains to be seen. I’m pretty fortunate in the our upstairs is divided into two rooms. I get to use the west half as my crafty corner! My husband gets to close the door and pretend that all of the string bits & lose beads in the carpet aren’t really there. Hahaha!

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    I learned the fundamentals of beading from a girl I did Dead tour with. Over the years I’ve learned some new stuff and tried to develop my own style.

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For years I supported myself and my oldest two kids exclusively with my sewing and bead work. Those were the days when Head shops were everywhere and I could walk in with bags on handmade stuff, and walk out with a grip of cash.

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*start the sad violin music now*

When Jerry died, everything changed somehow.I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I packed up my beads, got an office job, and life went on. I have since trained as a doula and a phlebotomist. After I got my associates degree, I found myself working in the mall pushing ICP t’s to kids and moonlighting as a dominatrix. No lie. I lived in a pretty rough neighbourhood for about ten years. It was buying my first house that brought me back into beading.  Moving from the concrete town homes where the only wildlife was unattended children and stray cats to a home with fruit trees, lilacs, and an INSANE, twisted pussy willow was a dream come true. Ah, serenity! Chirping birds and fleeting foxes! Who would that not inspire? Thusly, Hawthorn & Pine, the original name of my Etsy shop was born. If you’ve ever smelled a Hawthorn tree in bloom, it’s a rancid odor you will never forget. The beauty of the tree if that birds & little critters eat the berries, year ’round.  It’s a really cool life source.  I used to love snooping around the pine trees to see if there were any new birds nests!  Alas, that house wasn’t meant to be my forever home and as our family grew, the need to relocate did as well.  After about a year at our new house, It was time for a name change & image overhaul – and so began The Elvish Acorn adventure! My full time job right now is motherhood.  My youngest starts school, full-time, in the fall and I’m really hoping to put a lot of energy into The Elvish Acorn that I haven’t been able to in the past!


My mother made a lot of my clothes when I was little and she gave me free reign of the sewing machine as well as taught me how to use a needle & thread.  I had THE best dressed Glamour Gals, (no, not Barbies,) EVER!         My favorite thing in my shop right now is a big ol’ pair of Gypsy hoops. They are bright, colourful, and very brazen. https://www.etsy.com/listing/187313871/gorgeous-olive-and-purple-gypsy-or

I have two all-time favorite pieces.  I know I wasn’t the only little girl to have one of those Mexican necklaces with the tiny beaded doll on it. There were two kinds – one with a circle skirt and a male one. I LOVED those things. Well, my grandmother was a HUGE Elvis fan so I made her a little, 2 inch Vegas Elvis, white jump suit emblazoned with gold, silver, and shiny red & blue beads. She was crazy about that thing. To my knowledge my aunt has him now. My other favorite piece is this voodoo looking hemp thing that I made. In the center there is a baby bird skull that I found and sewed hematite beads in as eyes. I made it from things that came from people who were important and dear to me. It used to have a tiny glass bottle on it that contained locks of hair from my oldest two kids first haircuts.  There is an abalone that my friend Anne, whom I’ve long-since lost contact with and a piece of amber from my first love. There is also a crystal on there from my friend Jenny. She is an AMAZING fiber artist and inspires me still. She coined the term “craftmagic!”   unnamed-26

People. Conversation. Music.  Words and the way they make me feel. Cool, (the temperature, not like Arthur Fonzerelli,) warm, excited. I take these thoughts, words, and emotions and match them with colours. Sometimes it’s something like a sea shell or pine cone. I try to make things that will at least come out semi-organic!         I love the Indiana Jones aspect of thrifting. The endless search for the Holy grail of upcycleable beads or fabric. I also love finding weird old craft stores. That’s always a good time! My husband trolls the free section of Craigslist for me! Custom orders are fantastic. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized the importance of jewelry in peoples lives. You make memories with jewelry. You were wearing that necklace when your child was born. You were wearing those earrings when you got your puppy. You bought that bracelet at Soldier Field. That was the dread bead your mom got you. You know? Jewelry reminds you of places you’ve gone, people you’ve known, and things you’ve done. Jewelry can trigger some pretty powerful emotions and being able to be a part of that is really an honor.

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Have you ever put “necklace” in a search on Etsy?  Lol. I tend to get lost.  What keeps my morale up is knowing that while stuff isn’t selling, I can build up back stock for when I need it. I also get pretty stoked about selling my stuff, face-to-face. I do much better that way because you can’t catch the phantoms & sparkles of gemstones & beads in a picture!

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My favorite quotes are actually song lyrics! My favorite has got to be from The Jeff Buckley song, Last Goodbye. “Kiss me. Please kiss me. But kiss me out of desire, not consolation.”  Beautiful. Tragic. Poignant.  It gives me shivers. Aw, man. There is also ,” It’s okayI’m a saint. I forgave your mistakes,” from the And You Will Know Us By The Trail of  Dead song, Relative Ways. Again, .  gloriously poignant


Oh, geees we’re goin to take you back to the days here. Touring the the winter in 93! Too cool for winter boots & wearing 3 pairs of woolen socks in my freakin’ Birkenstock sandals! I still have my Miracle sign. I remember standing in the snow and yelling stupid stuff like, “I’m pregnant! It’s cold! I need a miracle!” Haha. Good times. I also loved doing shows with my daughters. One in a carrier on my back & one on my hip. After a show once, my oldest told my parents that she rode the (nonexistant) merry go round and saw the (nonexistent) ducks. They must have really questioned my parenting but kept supporting my decisions!     Haha.

My well worn Birkenstocks, GD bear and Tour Book

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photo credit: blingcheese entertainment

photo credit: blingcheese entertainment

I just recently started considering myself an “artist.”  I especially didn’t think of bead work and sewing being art when I did it. Basically, I do the best I can. There are better people out there that use nicer materials and have a cleaner style, but aside from wanting to expand my knowledge of technique, I’m relatively satisfied with what I’m putting out into the world! I genuinely appreciate all of the support, encouragement, and criticism from other artists and the DHAA! I am more blown away and humbled at having been picked as AOTM than any of you will ever know. Seriously.       My goal for The Elvish Acorn is to really buckle down and make a whole bunch of a couple of particular styles that I can hopefully get picked up by some sort of chain or successfully keep some consignment places stocked. I have a friend who got picked up locally by Whole Foods. I keep telling myself that IT IS POSSIBLE! I’m hoping to get my finger on the pulse of venues and festivals that I can vend. I did my first event in over 15 years earlier this year. TOTAL STAGE FRIGHT, but I did alright. I’d like to busy my weekends with that sort of thing. But, for now, I will keep picking away at building stock and making pretty things for people to take with them on their adventure through life! Thank you everyone! You all amaze me!

Selling Venues:

I am on Etsy  https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheElvishAcorn 

Storenvy  http://theelvishacorn.storenvy.com

Artist Contact info: TheElvishAcorn@hotmail.com

Social Media Links: https://www.facebook.com/TheElvishAcorn

Sales happening: Enter code THANKUDHAA on Etsy for 15% off Until the end of May Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team

 

The DHAA would like to thank Rebekah for all she does for the Deadhead Art Alliance Artists., She goes out of her way to volunteers every year to be our team’s group leader of our Secret Santa Gift Exchange!

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Rebekah Norgren “Beks” DHAA TEAM LEADER and SECRET SANTA //https://www.etsy.com/teams/12480/deadhead-art-alliance?ref=pr_teams