Tag Archives: inspiration

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
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Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – January –Selena Gribbin Barefoot – Store – aRecurringDream

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Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – January –Selena Gribbin Barefoot – Store – aRecurringDream

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Selena Photo Credit: Ashley Gribbin

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

two children.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

was thrilled!

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.

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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.

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When I

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!

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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.

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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

with me!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

creating.

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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

appreciated.

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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.”

                                                                      Richard Bach

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

ahead.

Selena: A Recurring Dream Vending  by John Colombo Photography

Selena: A Recurring Dream Vending by John Colombo Photography

“Many thanks to all of you who have supported me on this journey”  Selena

Artist Contact info:

aRecurringDream.com

selena@aRecurringDream.com

Social Media Links:

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/aRecurringDream

Pinterest:
https://www.pinterest.com/arecurringdream/

Twitter:
www.twitter.com/_RecurringDream

Wanelo:
http://wanelo.com/arecurringdream

Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team

Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – October – Amanda Johnson– Store – TyeDyeBills

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I am the creator of Tye Dye Bills, my name is Amanda Johnson

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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
that.

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Drawings by Amanda credit: treesandtents.blogspot.com

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

love

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.

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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.

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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
have faith.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

                                                                                                     Amanda Johnson

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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.

favorite quote

“We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.”     ­

Author Unknown

Selling Venues

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TyeDyeBills

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

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

Deadhead Art Alliance Artist of the Month – MARCH 2014 – Sara Garcia – Store: DreamweaverSpirit

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DreamweaverSpirit

Welcome to DreamweaverSpirit.

Here you will discover unusual and unique jewellery and crafts inspired by Native American, Pagan and Egyptian cultures.

Horse Spirit Totem

Horse Spirit Totem

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The word jewellery itself is derived from the word jewel, which was from the Old French word “jouel“,  and beyond that, to the Latin word “jocale“, meaning plaything. In British English, it is spelled jewellery, while the spelling is jewelry in American English

 

My name is Sara and I am a Pagan artist based in Surrey, England, U.K. I was born on Summer Solstice eve in London, England many moons ago and my family is originally from Spain.  My shop is called DreamweaverSpirit – I sell Native American and Pagan inspired jewellery and crafts which are all made with love and gratitude. I love to create magical pieces that will uplift others and help them on their spiritual journey.

I also love animals and like to help them as much as I can.  A percentage of all sales go to the animal charities which I support and give monthly donations to.

Sara

I work from my home which I share with my partner and our 16 year old crazy kitten cat.  I never quite know what to expect when I start creating a piece. Sometimes I have an idea, but most of the time I just go with the flow and let it happen.  It feels like the piece is being made through me.  I get inspired by the shape of the materials I use, the crystals, wood, antler…..

Partner

My partner Andy at a Pow Wow (England) wearing my creations

Kitten Cat

Odin our Kitty

 

When I create wands and pendants, I start by preparing the wood, cutting and sanding it. Then I bind the crystals, and anything else I may be using with epoxy resin and epoxy clay.  I sand down the clay when it’s dry, and then build up the design with the same material. It can be a lengthy process as I have to wait for each layer to dry before I can move on to the next.  The faces I always sculpt in polymer clay. It’s not air drying so it gives me more time to work on them. I am usually working on five or six pieces at a time. Some get finished quickly while others might sit for a while until the time is right to finish them off. 

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Nature Spirit Wand

 

I’ve always loved art, and when I left school I went on to study photography and then fashion and graphics.  The art tutor that I had at the time was one of my mentors, she taught me a great deal and also gave me the encouragement that I needed.  After that I did a foundation course in art and design, then the next step was to go for a degree.  I’d had enough of studying by then so I took some time out to travel.  I’ve always wanted to work for myself and I’ve never stuck at a job for very long.  So when I came back I did a short business course and got some money together to buy a load of materials.  I taught myself how to make jewellery and wands and went on to do festivals, craft fairs and Pow-wows and also selling in a shop in a craft market for a year or so and also did Tarot readings while I was there as well to make a bit of extra money. 

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Spirit of the East Dreamcatcher

Then I discovered Etsy and I’ve never looked back.

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Rhythmic Motion treasury featuring DreamweaverSpirit for the Deadhead Art Alliance Team

It has really helped me get noticed and I’ve also met some wonderful people over the past four years.

COLLABORATION PROJECT with the DEADHEAD ART ALLIANCE ETSY TEAM

Artists Jen Liput from pacificnorthwestglassblowing.com, California, USA and Sara from DreamweaverSpirit, Surrey, UK

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Here’s the finished piece we came out with!

Magical Wand Collaboration with the Deadhead Art Alliance “Dreamtime”

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Magical Wand “Dreamtime”
Collaboration US and UK artists

https://www.etsy.com/people/DreamweaverSpirit
https://www.etsy.com/shop/PACIFICNWGLASS

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Magic, Wand

MATERIALS: Quartz, Bone, Hazel wood, Glass, Wooden beads, Carnelian, Suede, Feather, Shell, Epoxy putty
Dreamtime – Quartz And Hazel Lizard Totem Wand

DESCRIPTION:

I have collaborated with PACIFICNWGLASS to create this Native American inspired wand. The beautiful glass cabochons and beads were created by her and I have put it all together. The wood is Hazel, I have varnished it and attached the crystals, cabochons and bone lizard with epoxy resin. I have also attached glass beads, wooden beads and a feather with suede lace. The design around the cabochons I have created with epoxy putty. The wand measures almost 15″ and would make a lovely addition to your collection.

METAPHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES.

Lizard Medicine is the shadow side of reality where your dreams are reviewed before you decide to manifest them physically. Lizard is the Medicine of Dreamers and can always help you see the shadow. This shadow can be your fears, your hopes, or the very thing you are resisting, but it is always following you around.

Hazel wood has long been used for divination. It is said to increase intuition, wisdom, artistic ability and magical knowledge. The energy of hazel wands promote love and creativity allowing a person to move beyond self-serving modes of existence.

Quartz amplifies spiritual power and is an excellent crystal for developing psychism.

Carnelian is a stone of creativity, individuality, spiritual power. It balances the sacral chakra and is helpful for grounding oneself.

The shell is a devine feminine symbol associated with venus. It represents beauty, intuition and love.

Turkey (feather) teaches us how all life is sacred and we must learn to give and be grateful for what we have.

Link back to our Etsy store full of deadhead art alliance treasures:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/DeadheadArtAlliance

My first introduction to art was my Family.  My father was a carpenter and I would love to watch him working.  I would get bits of wood and just sit there sanding them until they were really smooth.  I loved the feel of the wood and I know it’s what gave me my passion for making wands.

My creation the “Queen of the Fae” Green Woman wand is my favourite piece at the moment. I love to sculpt nature spirits and feel the magic of the forest as I’m creating them. The crystals that I used in the wand are really beautiful too. It has a lovely energy.

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Nature inspires me more than anything.  Trees, nature spirits and animals are what I portray the most in my pieces along with mythology, ancient civilizations, fairytales and folklore.   I also get inspired by my dreams and of course the music I listen to while I’m creating is very inspirational too, … Even just looking at a crystal or a piece of wood gets the ideas flowing. 

These trees are in the forest where I find the majority of the wood that I use

I love meeting weird and wonderful people from all walks of life.  I’ve met many characters along the way and there’s nothing nicer than putting a necklace on the person that’s just bought it and having a hug  For me that’s what it all about, exchanging energies with the other person and seeing the smile on their face because they now own something I’ve made.   I also love buying as much as selling and I’m constantly looking for beautiful and unusual crystals.   I also love going to forests in search of wood and other bits and pieces. Our beautiful Mother Earth gives us so many precious treasures.

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Their has been times in the past when I’ve felt like giving it all up, but something has always happened at the last minute to make me change my mind.  I’ve learned to trust and believe in life.  When we give up hope there really is no point in carrying on and I know that creating is what I’m meant to do.  My partner is also very supportive and encouraging and is always praising my work and needless to say my buyers keep me going too. One of the nicest things that was ever said to me was “Thank you for sharing your gift with the world” 

Horus Staff

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my buddah

I love to travel around England visiting Stone circles and other sacred sites, going out for a drink and socialising, being with friends/ family, Pagan festivals, meditating and yoga. I love live music, mainly heavy rock/ metal and also Pagan/ Native American inspired music. I read books on magic/ witchcraft, philosophy and anything to do with metaphysics. I also love to grow things, be with Nature and hug lots of trees 

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Stonehenge Summer Solstice Eve

My dream would be to travel the world and sell my pieces in every country that I visited. So many people (and animals) are in need of love and healing and I hope that what I do can help a little. I would also love to have my own shop in Glastonbury, England one day. Such a beautiful and magical place. Some call it the heart chakra of world.

Thank you for reading and many blessings to all.

 

 favorite quote

Those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it.

Selling Venues:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/DreamweaverSpirit

http://www.artfire.com/users/DreamweaverSpirit
http://www.folksy.com/shops/DreamweaverSpirit

Artist Contact info: dreamweaver2@live.co.uk

Social Media Links:

Sales happening:

Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team