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Bringing exposure to wonderful artisans whose shops have gone unnoticed or under appreciated.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I host weekly drop-in chess at our library and teach anyone wanting to learn. It is the game you will play your entire life! I was therefore very struck when I ran across this incredibly unique chess set, and applaud the ingenuity and creativity of AutumnSteam (closed), a fascinating Artfire studio specializing in steampunk jewelry. The wing nuts on the bishops bring a smile.

From Washington to Texas, this artistic family travels from show to show living the gypsy life and sharing their inspired creations along the way. Autumn still manages to maintain her online presence despite their traveling schedule, and can also be found on Etsy. Most of her artistic pieces are one-of-a-kind and cannot be reproduced. I think the copper flower pendant is particularly stunning.

They are roaming somewhere in the Western United States, ship internationally, and have a host of information on Autumn’s blog. As you know, I have a blue bias, but The Blue Evidence Book does look like it would make a wonderful steampunk scrapbook or journal. Congratulations on an interesting shop Autumn and Andrew, and keep creating!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Exploring Micro-Macramé

Now I know about macramé, and even took second place in the County fair one year for a large plant hanger, but I had never heard of micro-macramé until running across this charming ArtFire shop, Annika. After looking at a piece’s construction, I am reminded of friendship bracelets, but this jewelry designer has taken a unique twist on things and produced a line of incredibly attractive and artistic wearable art, incorporating beads and stones in her knotting. I am very impressed with her use of color and texture.

Annika is the author of Micro-Macrame: 30 Beaded Designs for Jewelry Using Crystals and Cords, which also has a British edition. She offers an autographed copy of her book along with a special treat. What a delightful Christmas present this would make for a crafty person on your list. If you are familiar with macramé knots, you may enjoy the challenge of The Aspen Choker, a fully illustrated how to PDF found on her website.

Annika knots up a storm in Washington, ships internationally, and has a website where you will find more of her amazing work. If you are interested in a custom-designed piece for a special occasion, please contact her and she will be happy to make your dream piece a reality.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Joy of Quilling

This Discovered Treasure introduces us to another ancient art form sometimes called paper twirling. Have you ever rolled up your straw wrapper at a restaurant while waiting for your order to arrive? Quilling is the art of rolling and shaping narrow strips of paper then arranging them artistically. You probably weren't very impressed with your straw wrapper, but joanscrafts on etsy has definitely been rolling and shaping up a creative storm with impressive results.

After nearly 30 years of quilling experience, Joan still loves what she does, and this joy is apparent in the wide range of colorful creations available in her shop. There are eye-catching greeting cards and a line of masterfully crafted shadow boxes that ensure her striking art pieces will be proudly displayed for many years to come. A love of birds and butterflies has inspired her to create colorful and delicately winged creatures, each individually boxed and ready to be given as charming gifts. Her exceptionally crafted Christmas ornaments include a line of fabulous snowflakes.

Joan twirls her paper arts in Pennsylvania and ships internationally. If you have an idea for a special piece, please contact her. She will be very happy to work with you on a custom order. Joan will be creatively quilling for many years to come. What will she quill up next?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cold Porcelain Flowers

A professional crafter for nearly 30 years, Norma of RosePetals, on ArtFire, painstakingly shapes each of her spectacular floral sculptures petal by petal. Necklaces, earrings, hair ornaments, and brooches are all artfully fashioned in a magnificent array of colors, each one a unique handcrafted treasure. Be sure to see the decorated pedestal candles and wedding cake toppers, which would also make an eye-catching table display.

She started her career with salt dough, moving to bread dough shortly thereafter. Perfecting her bread dough roses for over 20 years, she recently began creating with cold porcelain and the results are stunning! She now calls on her wealth of experience to create heirloom pieces in cold porcelain. Norma continues to produce her signature bread dough roses, and the special recipe she uses insures that her roses are hard, very durable, and bug resistant.

Norma's garden grows in New York, she ships internationally, and can also be found on Etsy as DoughRoses. She even accepts wholesale orders for her beautiful jewelry. This is an artist to keep an eye on as she launches into a new medium with overwhelming success!

Cold porcelain is a combination of white glue, cornstarch, water, glycerin, and cold cream, which is mixed together and heated on a stove or in a microwave. If you would like to give it a try, directions can be found online (search for cold porcelain recipe). The dough is messy, but easy to make. The ability to shape it with consistency, however, takes the skill of a master crafter.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Simply Lavender

It is refreshing to see a truly unique bead shop. Here is an artist who has taken her love of lavender and turned it into a thriving business. Let me introduce Andrea of Lavender Beads, an Etsy shop. Whether you are looking for English, Spanish or French lavender, you will find an amazing likeness of it here. There are over 200 varieties of lavender and 28 different species. Do you know a glass collector who would appreciate a truly unusual find? Be sure to see her lavender perfume vials.

Andrea works on a lavender farm, so she is very familiar with the different varieties of lavender. Your individually handcrafted lavender beads will come carefully packaged in dried lavender buds so you can make and aromatic sachet. Andrea also makes jewelry from the lovely beads she creates. If you would like to see some of her creations, please visit her other Etsy shop.

She works on San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state, ships internationally, and can be found on her website. She can take wholesale orders and has a trade friendly shop so if you see something you like, and have a shop of your own, please contact her. Living at the end of the long dirt road, keeping chickens and honeybees, sure sounds like a little piece of heaven.