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

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Jewelry Circuit

The kraken has been released at this recycling monster of a shop, theBlueKraken, on Artfire. The leaf brooch caught my eye, as the color reminded me of the elven cloak pins from Lord of the Rings, and I had to investigate what green stone the leaf was made of. To my surprise it was a computer circuit board! Amanda takes the unwanted bits of technology that we casually toss out without a though and turn them into amazing wearable art. This innovative artist is certainly running far out front on the recycled jewelry circuit.

Amanda has a line of guitar picks sure to delight any musician or guitar pick collector. If you know someone in the tech world, a circuit board tie clip or pendant is sure to bring a smile. Be sure to see the butterfly pendants. I marvel at the colors and her mastery of silversmithing. She works with hard drives too, nothing goes to waste with her creative mind.

This recycling wizard is master of her craft in North Carolina and ships internationally. You can also find her on Facebook, and will want to bookmark her shop for more great artistic art works from this upcycling genius. If you have a piece in mind, possibly sets for a bridal party with a high tech theme, be sure to contact her for custom work.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Puzzle Me This

These stunning treasure boxes caught my eye on oka-craft, an Artfire shop. The lovely wood piecing Hiroyuki does reminds me of quilting patterns. These intricate designs are made with different woods and the colors are all natural. I still can't figure out the Rubik's Cube puzzle, so these artistic brain teasers would present me with quite a challenge. The size of a puzzle box is measured with a traditional Japanese length measuring system called SUN where 1 sun is about 1.22 inches or 3.09 centimeters.

The art of crafting a Japanese puzzle box has been around for over 100 years and is called Himitsu Bako in Japan. Each box must be turned, pushed, and moved in a very specific way. It is impossible to open unless the exact steps designed for each box are followed. It can take any number of moves depending on the cunning of the box designer. The wooden designs are made in large blocks then delicately shaved. These shavings are then glued to adorn the box surfaces. I thought of how designs are made in taffy or Fimo clay rolls, but this is wood, and all those little bits have to be perfectly glued in place – amazing! My husband says this is a common wood working technique, marquetry, for making fancy designs on guitars.

Hiroyuki makes these incredible show stoppers in Japan and ships internationally. He has a website and can be found on etsy. These would be great conversation pieces on a desk or coffee table. Which end is up? What is concealed within? How do I get it open? No worries. You won't have to spend weeks discovering the trick. Each box comes with instructions.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Candle Carving

How precious it is when the skills and love of a craft are passed down from parent to child. This is the case at WildwoodGeneralStore on zibbet. Brian is a second generation chandler, an old-time term for candle maker, and has an impressive array of carved beauties for burning. These lovely wax art works will be sitting pretty for many years to come. After the candle has burned down an inch or so, you can put tea lights in your candle and enjoy the glorious glow without melting the wax sculpture.

Another team member is his wife Wynne, an accomplished artist and art professor at a local college. She paints, blacksmiths, and follows wherever the creative spirit takes her. Find her unique chandeliers on her website. There is definitely a creative gene in this family. Stop by their second etsy shop where they team up with Wynne's brother and dog prints on fabric wine gift bags.

Brian and Wynne keep busy in Georgia, ship to the United States, and can be found on facebook carving away. They have an etsy candle shop and a website getting underway. If you need custom colors for a special occasion, be sure to contact Brian, who is happy to discuss your candle design. Surrounded by such creative and talented parents, their children are sure to excel is the art of their choice.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wood Trek

With phasers at the ready and shields up, this reclaimed wood shop on zibbet is boldly going where no other wood recycler has gone before. RaysScraps pieces together impressive modes of the Starship Enterprise from little bits of scrap wood. It is almost like 3D intarsia, although he does stain or paint most pieces. I am a great fan of The Original Series – Star TrekTOS – and was tickled to find a great selection of USS Enterprise models; ships on their own, in spacedock, and even Klingon birds of prey can be found is this fun shop. The rainbow Enterprise mobile is perfect for any nursery or child's room.

Ray has not stopped at making unique Star Trek collectible mobiles and desk art available, but uses his woodworking skills at crafting an assortment of airplanes from bygone eras, helicopters, trucks and cars. His selection of trains makes me think of the children's book The Little Engine That Could. What a delight they would be for any train enthusiast. Be sure to see the bi-plane birdhouse. How special is that for the backyard!

Ray precision pieces his wooden wonders in California and ships to the United States. He has a shop on etsy where even more wonderful wood workings await. He creates these unique art works with scrap wood bits so no two will ever be identical. You are guaranteed of an unparalleled work of art to display. If you have a custom order in mind, be sure to contact him. I showed my husband what Ray does with wood scraps, but he is going to stick to making guitars and let the scraps fall where they may.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Magic Mirror

A burst of lovely colors and shapes captured my attention, and before I knew it, I had been transported into the magical recycling world of MarilyndaGallery on etsy. This mother and daughter team give an exciting new life to the forgotten fancies of fashion. Their bewitching arrangements of costume jewelry pieces adorn the backs of hand mirrors. The queen may ask, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” I don't know the fairest one of all, but I'm sure the fairest mirror is found right here!

Whether you prefer square, round, oblong, or hearts, they have bejeweled mirrors in a shape and size for you. These two tempt our eyes to discover every added trinket in their elaborate playful designs. Although this team is enhancing functional hand mirrors, their mirrors strike me as eye-catching works of wall art. Pick your favorite color combination and add intrigue to a desolate wall space. Visitors are sure to pause as they examine the pleasing shapes and colors. They do have a few wall mirrors available.

Marilyn and Lynda artistically collude in Michigan and ship internationally. You can see their past 'sold' work as well as available art mirrors on their website. There is so much to see on each artistic piece. Take a look, then look again. I'm sure you will smile with delight as another element reveals itself. If you are interested in having a custom mirror made with your baubles from the past or a love one's costume collection, be sure to contact them for a truly memorable piece of art that will be treasured.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cozy Cat Crochet

This artist captivated me with the photography of her endearing cat pillows. Ralitza at zolayka on etsy will crochet a pillow to remind you of your beloved kitty. All she needs is a few photos of your furry friend and her hook and yarn will start flying. Her crafty cat crochet is just the tip of the talent truck. More crochet treasures await; lace wrist cuffs and socks, hats, baskets, and doilies. Her wide range of emoticons is sure to bring a smile, and those amigurumi owls are show stoppers for any owl collector!

When Raliza is not wielding a hook she works with knitting needles or a needle and thread. Embroidery hoop wall art, accent pillows, and so much more is waiting to be discovered in her shops. Be sure to see her line of french macaron coin purses. They make wonderful little zippered treasure boxes and would be perfect bridesmaid gifts.

Ralitza creatively crochets her cats in Bulgaria, ships internationally, and is found on Facebook. You will find more of her work on her website, and she keeps a second etsy shop, Bubabuba, with her creative overflow. Special orders are no problems for this artist, just contact her. How does this actress, musician, mommy, shop owner find the time to be so creative?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mesoamerican Art

My exploration of zibbet revealed one of those 'you'll never find it anywhere else shops', michaelgoard. Michael gets his creative inspiration from the Mesoamerican cultures of the ancient Aztec and Mayan. He uses enriched concrete and replicates Aztec and Mayan glyphs on tiles, dishes, garden decoration, and wall art. His wondrous works remind me of spectacular History Channel shows and archaeological specials on foreign lands, and they take my husband back to his childhood by Tazumal.

Michael is also an accomplished silversmith and lapidarist. Many of his jewelry pieces honor the rich cultures of the past. Be sure to see the Mayan glyph 'mountain' jade pendant, and the Aztec 'movement' Glyph necklace. He has also taken his hand to painting, drawing on Mesoamerica for inspiration in a series of colorful interpretations.

Michael revives the past in my part of the woods in California, and can ship internationally if you contact him. This gentleman loves the art world, and much more about his restoration work, mural painting, and art services is found on his website. He also has a shop on etsy. If you are interested in a custom or large order, be sure to contact him. My mom is going to adore the coaster for Mother's day! She doesn't use a computer, so I can tell you.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Beadwoven Brooches

I was struck by the unique beauty of the weaving and colorful design in the beaded brooches found in enchantedbeads on etsy. Ileana strings seed beads and uses shells, lovely stones, larger beads, and other interesting items in her unique creations. Many of her works are one-of-kind wearable art pieces. A web of beads strategically placed over a sea shell makes an intriguing necklace. If you are ready to give beading a go, be sure to take a look at her tutorials, and don't miss the cute owl, which is suitable as a brooch or pendant.

Ileana is an award winning artist and designs much more than brooches. The beaded brooches drew me in, but after I went exploring in her shop, I discovered the full wonder of her creativity; earrings, both pierced and clip on, a host of rings, necklaces and pendants, bracelets, and awesome beaded boxes for a special gift.

Ileana makes bead magic in New York, ships internationally, and is found on Facebook. Stop by her second etsy shop at enchantedbeas for more jewelry offerings. Visit her website where you can see more of her amazing designs. Check the exhibition schedule to find her work at a gallery near you. She does such beautiful work.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rags to Rugs

There are many styles of rag rugs, and I found an artist creating the crocheted version at PineywoodsFolkArts on etsy. The traditional art of rug making with rags is a refreshing return of the waste-not-want-not concept that has nearly lost its voice in our disposable world. When the idea of throwing anything away was a last resort, worn clothing, linens, and fabric scraps were put to good use in rug making. Although we no longer need these rugs to cover dirt floors or keep out drafts as so many generations before us did, we can appreciate the rebirth of a T-shirt, which has seen its last useful day, into the mosaic of a useful rug that will be around for many years to come.

This mother and daughter team produces a shop of rag rugs and jewelry, and each incorporates rescued materials in their artistic pieces. Daughter Bean handles the crochet hook with ease in her transformation of seemingly useless rag to beautiful and durable rag rugs. Andi is the self professed jewelry geek with a recycler's heart. Be sure to see her fishing lure earrings; perfect for anyone who patiently waits hours for that exciting nibble at the end of a line.

This terrific team calls Texas home, ships to the United States, and is found on Facebook. They have a presence on ArtFire. Most of their creations are one-of-a-kind, but if you are interested in a special jewelry or rug design, they are waiting to hear from you. Fabrics from a loved one can be made into a mantel or table decoration, as well as a rug. It's nice to see a shop where Recycling Works!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Trolling Compliments

I ran across a very interesting mix of shop treasures in a husband and wife team, ronisboutique, on etsy. Do you remember the troll craze of the 1960s? If you are ready to update your troll's wardrobe, this is the designer shop of dream gowns. Your little one will be the best dressed troll in town sporting a one-of-a-kind frock and hair piece, and boy, do these trolls have hair!

Beyond tailor to the trolls, the lady of this team keeps her crochet hook busy with a wide selection of doilies and other crocheted items. The gentleman is busy out in his wood shop with intarsia inspired art works among other things. He cuts out an artistic design making a wood jigsaw puzzle from a plain piece of pine, the pieces are colorfully dyed, and the work is precisely reassembled transforming it into lovely hanging wall art. The flowers are perfect for Mother's day or her birthday.

This precision team creates in California, ships internationally, and is found on Facebook. They have shops on bonanza and zibbet with a greater selection of their work and offerings. His handcrafted wooden toy airplane is so precious. Custom orders are welcome, and they look forward to creating the perfect piece for you!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Primitive Dolls

I've been looking at bunnies lately with the coming of Easter, and found a warren of well dressed rabbit primitive art dolls at MorningMistDesigns on zibbet. I wasn't sure what primitive meant in art dolls, so I looked at the Online Dictionary and to summarize: primitive is art made by untrained artists who do not recognize themselves as artists. Another source says it's a style of art that deliberately rejects sophisticated artistic techniques. Nancy's creations may be in a primitive style, but these crafty creations are far from primitive.

Nancy is a true artisan; a self taught art doll maker of folk art, primitive, and Victorian style dolls. Each doll is lovingly designed, handmade, signed and dated by her. You will also find a mischief of the cutest mice in their unique finery. Whether it's a pumpkin head, snowman, witch, cat, or any of the other dolls that have struck her creative fancy, you will be delighted with the variety and uniqueness found in her shop.

Nancy designs her dolls in Virginia, is found on Facebook, and has an etsy shop. Her dolls are for display and decorative purposes only, and are not toys for children. If you have a particular doll in mind for a special occasion, be sure to contact her for a custom order. She also has decades of experience creating various themed wreaths to add old time charm to your holiday decorating.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Tisket A Tasket

A satin corded basket is what you will find in this crochet artist's etsy shop, LissaBee Creations. And yes, if you are thinking of the nursery rhyme, you can order a green and yellow basket. There are so many designs, shapes, and lid or no lid to choose from. Melissa gives her baskets a felt bottom as an elegant finishing touch. Satin cording is shiny and feels so smooth, yet rigid enough to give baskets their shape.

Melissa also makes the cutest little acorn shaped baskets with squirrel charms on the lids out of hemp twine. She has a wide range of hanging decorations that would be perfect on a Christmas tree or can bring cheer to a room year round in your favorite color. As Christmas ornaments, they can be packed away year after year with no worries of breakage. She turns her satin color pallet to unique necklace and pendant designs as well. 

Melissa artistically crochets in Virginia, ships internationally, and can be found on Facebook. Satin cording comes in so many beautiful colors, and she is happy to create the perfect basket for you. If you have a basket design and colors in mind, be sure to contact her for a custom order. Think of a basket with a lid as a very special gift box for a small treasure – a double gift for your loved one!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Painted Glass

Colorful flowers on hand painted glass vases had me exploring SylwiaGlassArt on etsy. She uses ceramic, porcelain, and glass paints to decorate each piece freehand making them unique works of art. Be sure to see some of her vase pictures showing the beautiful stained glass room glow when a tea light is used. You can special order the perfect tea cup or coffee mug for mom or dad. All the kitchenware I looked at was microwave safe, but to give your painted work of art a long life, hand washing is advised. I found the serving bowls with holes for chopsticks very interesting.

You know how passionate I am when it comes to recycling. Sylwia hand paints Tabasco bottles with little houses giving them a second life of beauty and usefulness as decorative art works! She uses other rescued glass bottles for her colorful creations. In her shop, her favorite style of bottle to paint has a Sunflower design, but she can paint yours with any design you fancy, and has many vase and bottle styles available.


Originally from Poland, Sylwia now calls California home where she paints her pretty pieces. She ships internationally and is found on Facebook. If you see a pattern you like, but prefer other colors or a different shape, be sure to contact her for a custom piece. Sylwia's love of flowers and nature takes her outside with her camera, and you will find photography in her second etsy shop SeeWorldThruMyEyes.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chinese Knotting

The butterfly first caught my eye at SarahCollection on ArtFire, as I wondered what it was made of. This artist has taken the traditional art of Chinese knotting into the 21st century with her innovative animal key chain designs. The turtles are adorable. There are frogs, spiders, ladybugs, and an unusual shrimp key chain. She has tutorial kits available too.

Sarah has knotted beautiful jewelry pieces in the Chinese tradition, and she uses Chinese knotting techniques to make lovely Celtic knot earrings. Keep an eye on this shop as she is always trying fresh designs and pushing her knotting skills to create new wonders. Be sure to see the pig! Her peaches remind me more of hearts or strawberries.

Sarah knots her colorful cords in Hong Kong, ships internationally, and has an etsy shop. More of her unique creations are on her website, where you will find a tutorial for the dragonfly and rose in the DIY Zone. Try your hand at some of the knots in the Knots Tutorials. She has so many lovely pieces, but if you are interested in a different color or combination, be sure to contact her.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Clean Sweep

This shop on zibbet, Skagit BroomWorks, is doing their best to help you clean up. Kevin and Sarah Miller have a passion for traditional broom making. Their brooms are made from 100% North American broomcorn, which provides many years of use. Each of their brooms is constructed by hand using the same methods used by the Shakers in the 1800's . Special orders are not a problem, and if you have a favorite handle, they will dress it with the perfect broom.

I have been around plenty of corn fields, and couldn't figure out where the broomcorn came from. It turns out it has nothing to do with corn at all, but is a common name used for sorghum, which includes various species of grasses, and is apparently very good for making scrubbing and sweeping devices. Did you know that hanging a broom to dry after sweeping a damp surface will prolong its life?

 The Miller's have a well swept store in Washington State, which I understand smells wonderful and is a great place to pick out your own broom. They ship to the United States, are found on Facebook, with a larger shop on etsy. Find a lovely picture of this remarkable team on their website, where you can order from them directly. They even take phone orders. Pure beeswax candles is another undertaking for their shop, and you will find a great selection of sizes.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pony Up

When I first saw one of these colorful pieces, I wasn't sure what it was. I though a work in cross stitch or plastic canvas, but now I know another spectacular use for pony beads. These pretty beaded banners are found at SherryRidge, a relatively new shop on etsy. Bead by bead these artistic wall hangings are created. The cat in the window looks like my Panther. These beaded works of art can grace a wall inside or decorate an outside space. The look of depth translucent beads give the fish in Under the Sea is amazing, and would make the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys a fish tank or trip to the aquarium.

Claudine and Jim have a range of beautiful works in their shop perfect for Mother's Day, Father's Day, and birthdays year round. There are also a few counted cross stitch seed packet completed pieces available. I know the hours that went into creating these lovely stitched works or art, and they would be so pretty framed for wall display.

These two have their needles flying and beads bouncing in Texas and ship to the United States. I can just imagine how much fun my boys would have chasing beads around the floor. They already pitch in to help me sort buttons from time to time. I'm sure we can expect more creative works from this artistic duo, so check back to see their new shop offerings.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Petting Zoo

Make you smile cuteness on every page; that's what you will find at MelodysMiniArt on ArtFire. The captivating eyes of mice, bunnies, kittens, and puppies among other endearing animals will ensnare you as you travel through this delightful petting zoo. Prints of her original art works are available as bookmarks, blank note cards, and ACEOs (Art Cards Editions and Originals) at very affordable prices. The serious art collector can choose from her originals to grace their wall.

Melody's artistic abilities are matched with her deep passion for the protection of animals, and a portion of every sale is donated to an animal charity. I laugh at the fantasy cat with wings. My boys are mischievous now. I would never be able to put anything out of reach if they had wings. Some of her works are available as wearable pendant art. I do like the tuxedo cat necklace. It reminds me of my beloved cat Chris, who we lost last year.

Melody draws her furry friends in Massachusetts, ships internationally, and can be found on Facebook. A greater selection of her work is found on etsy. Explore her website ,where you can find hanging ornaments and order signed copies of the children's books she illustrated. My girls are quite artistic with a pencil, and I am in awe at even the mindless doodlings, which could be framed, of such talented individuals. My drawing skills are limited to a game of hangman.