So much to do, so little on the blog!

Let’s forget about the time gap from our last blog post until now. And let’s pretend that I’ve kept up on the writing and have just forgotten to post it. And now let’s all laugh really hard at that because we all know that didn’t happen. HOWEVER, there has been so much going on the last few weeks, that if I don’t start sharing regularly, I’m going to explode.

Finding a good place to begin didn’t take long. I figured I’d start with something jaw-dropping that hopefully gets as much of your attention as it got of mine and we have a local artist to thank for it. ‘So, what’s his name?’ you might ask. ‘I can’t tell you,’ would be my answer. And not because I want to be sneaky – it’s because I really don’t know.

So, consider this my official introduction between you and ‘Crooked Mountain Arts.’ The art is delivered by a friend and the commission checks are to be picked up the same way. The artist, from what I understand, is little bit of a hermit and rather afraid of society. As odd as you may find that tidbit of info, I think it adds to the intrigue of the art. I find myself focusing more on the details of each piece rather than the details of the artist. It’s amazing, actually, to realize how much I actually focus on the artist. How many pieces have passed by my eyes in all these years that I didn’t fully see because I was distracted by wanting to understand who made it? What I’m trying to say, I suppose, is that I admire the heck out of this artist and their anonymous journey.

Now, a little about the work itself – or at least as much as I know about it. The artist, being a resident of our beautiful mountains, enjoys time outside but near home. During those adventures, they seem to find chunks of tree roots that they see something in that no one else does. Bringing them back to the house, they begin what could be a multiple week (if not month) long process using a flat-head screw driver and a mallet. Once the carvings are completed, the painting begins. And if the detail of the carvings are at all inspirational to you, then the detail in the painting and the choices of eye-popping colors will definitely NOT disappoint you.

Believe it or not – now you know just as much about this art and the artist as I do. Except for what the art looks like – so here it is! Please believe me when I say that my pictures don’t do this work justice. If you are at all able, please stop by the shop and take a look at these beauties. Feel free to fall in love and take one home with you, too! We just want to do our part to help artists like this afford to keep creating.

 

Artist Interview: Kristen of Peaceful Treasures

It’s time to introduce you to an artist that I think is a pretty big deal. Not only does she have a great eye for color, a great knack for quality workmanship in her assembly, but she’s also got a very bright spirit and even bigger heart. Kristen has actually had her stuff for sale over at Urban Gypsy for a little while and I remember talking with Ashley about her. So when Kristen approached me about her work, not only was I already familiar, but I was already a fan. Being an even bigger fan of Urban Gypsy, however, I didn’t want to have the same work in my shop. Unnecessary competition isn’t what cool people do. Kristen not only understood but took it upon herself to talk with Ashley about it and created a very large collection just for us!

I can talk for pages about Kristen and her work and her awesome drive, but I want you to get a chance to meet her. So read her interview below and then swing by the shop and check out her work. She’s one of our best selling artists so far and we haven’t even given her the official “plug” yet . . . so you know she’s gotta be good!

Name:  Kristen Reimer

Age Group:  Cherry Blossom

Business Name:  Peaceful Treasures (Jewelry)

Facebook Page Facebook.com/Peaceful-Treasures

WebsitePeacefulTreasures.Etsy.com

ALBH: What got you started making jewelry?

KR: After falling in love with another artist’s jewelry at a farmer’s market, I decided I could make my own.

ALBH: Would you consider the art of jewelry making hard to learn?

KR: Not yet.  It has come naturally so far.

ALBH: ‘Jewelry’ is a pretty broad hobby and can be made from just about anything. What materials do you enjoy using most?

KR: I love silver, particularly sterling.  I would use all sterling if it was affordable for my hobby.  I use recycled paper beads made by women in Uganda who are struggling to get out of poverty.  The non-profit fair trade organization I buy from is called Beadforlife.  I also like glass and semiprecious stones.  I enjoy making my own fabric beads in various different shapes.  Lastly, I like to edit digital images to fit certain pieces of jewelry, like bracelets and earrings.

ALBH: You’ve got quite a collection – how long have you been at this?

KR: I have been creating jewelry for about a year.  I have had my ETSY shop since February 2011.

ALBH: Does your jewelry require any special care?

KR: I wear my jewelry and keep it with my other pieces.   I have tested the recycled paper beads by submersing them in water for a period of time.  They did not distort, but I don’t recommend wearing any of my jewelry while bathing or swimming.

ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?

KR: My long term goal is to be happy and to bring happiness to others.  I want the women in Uganda who are often HIV positive and war refugees to be educated to make better lives for themselves and their families.   I want to be able to donate my pieces to various organizations to help others.  I want people to be inspired by my jewelry and my company.

ALBH: I always have to ask – what does the word “Hippie” mean to you?

KR: Love, peace, unity, tolerance, and good music!  While I don’t condone all of the activities of the actual hippie movement from the 60’s and 70’s, I tend to be a mainstream contemporary hippie/bohemian at heart.

ALBH: As a bench jeweler myself, I’m always interested in similar artists’ approach. How long would you say a typical piece take you to make?

KR: It depends on the piece and my creative energy.  Earrings typically take the shortest amount of time unless they involve my fabric beads or if I have to find paper beads that somewhat match.  Each bead is unique, so that can be difficult.

ALBH: What is your typical day like?

KR: I am a full time Mom.  My son and I like to wake up late, between 8 and 10am.  We have breakfast:  coffee for me and whatever he will eat for him.  When we stay at home, we play, clean, read, do crafts, snuggle and play with our dog and two cats.  When my son entertains himself and/or naps, I make jewelry.  In the evenings after my husband gets home, we hang out as a family.  I make jewelry whenever I can and whenever I have an idea.  I am constantly thinking of new designs and ideas.   I am very fortunate and know it!

ALBH: It sounds like your days are already pretty full, but I always like to ask – what do you do for fun, outside of your art?

KR: I love to garden, cook, entertain and read.  I enjoy a good glass of wine.  I love hanging out with good friends and my family, extended included.

 

I can easily to speak to Kristen’s sense of charity and giving. For the silent auction that was just held for SARA, Inc, Kristen didn’t donate 1 piece of her jewelry. She donated 5 individual pieces. It’s refreshing to meet someone that is passionate about others and her community and willing to help . . . a true “Hippie!”

Artist Interview: Steven McClure

One of our artists that has been hanging around the shop for quite some time now is new hemp-knotter by the name of Steven McClure. There isn’t much time left on his feature, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care any less! He brought us a stash of hemp knot keychains with wooden beaded accents that are just awesome. And at a price point of less than $5, you really can’t do better when it comes time to find those keys.

Name: Steven McClure
Age Group: Cherry Blossom
Business Name: Shepherd Art
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ShepherdArt

ALBH: How did you get into tying hemp?
SM: I got bored one day and decided to see how hard it was to tie hemp.

ALBH: And what do you think? Is it difficult?
SM: Not really, but I’ve been tying knots since I was a kid.

ALBH: How long have you been at this?
SM: Probably a few months at most.

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?
SM: Someone who enjoys nature and seeks peace and companionship with others. Someone who understands the connection we share with everyone else in the world and tries to make the world a better place for everyone to enjoy.

ALBH:  What is your typical day like?
SM: I work full time and take a few classes online at Virginia Western Community College.

Artist Interview: Pam Regnier

With over 30 years of jewelry making experience, Pam Regnier’s work brings a touch of sparkle to our store.  Her patterns are stunning- light simply sparkles and dances in each of her unique pieces of art. As a child of the Sixties, Pam was introduced to jewelry making through seed beads. Although she works with several different mediums much of her inspiration comes from Native American seed bead jewelry. We invite you to come on in and check her work out- before it’s all gone!

Name: Pam Regnier

Age Group: Cherry Blossom

Art Medium: Bead Weaving

ALBH: How did you find your way into bead weaving?

Pam: Having grown up in the sixties, seed bead jewelry was popular. I started stringing my own necklaces. In the eighties, I found pattern books for Native American designs, and I was hooked. I quit making jewelry for awhile; starting again a couple of years ago. I wondered if at my age I would be able to work with seed beads again without having them fly all over the house. Low and behold I am better at it then I was years ago. Bead weaving is my favorite medium for making jewelry because there are so many variations and styles.

ALBH: Was your style hard to learn? The patterns look pretty hard to follow.

Pam: I have never taken lessons in jewelry creating. I taught myself how to do the stitches involved in bead weaving. It may take me a few tries to get the design to work. It just depends on what kind of design you working with as to the difficulty.

ALBH: What are the standard materials you need to have in order to make one of your pieces?

Pam: I use beading needles, Wildfire bead weaving thread, size 10 Beader’s Paradise seed beads, assorted beads, crystals, pendants, and clasps.

ALBH: How long have you been at this? I couldn’t imagine sitting down and making one of these pieces right now . . .

Pam: Off and on for 30 years 5.

ALBH: Is there anything special we should know about caring for one of your items?

Pam: My pieces are fairly sturdy, but you are dealing with thread which can wear and stretch. Try not to get them wet, and store them in a jewelry box.

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?

Pam: Peace, love and free thinking.

ALBH: What’s your favorite and least favorite part of your craft?

Pam: My favorite is seeing how the beads turn into an interesting pattern and my least favorite would be spilling the beads!

ALBH: How long does a typical piece take you to make?

Pam: Depends on the piece and the length; 3 hours to a couple of days.

ALBH: What do you do for fun, outside of your beading?

Pam: Beading is my fun!

Artist Interview: Jim Tedeschi, Woodworker

Hi Everyone! I’d like to introduce you to one of our local wood-workers here in Roanoke, Jim Tedeschi. Jim was actually one of the very first local artists that I met here in Roanoke – even before we had moved here. Actually, his wife and my husband went to school together in Florida. So it’s only fitting that he be among the top 10 or so artists to be featured in our shop. The wood he uses is stunning – Purple Heart is my favorite – and makes every day, ordinary things from it – from pens to candle holders to pepper mills. For those of you that think art is just something to be looked at – try to change it up a little, come take a look at Jim’s items and maybe use a piece of art in your every day life.

Without further ado, Readers, please meet Jim:

ALBH: How did you get into woodworking?

JT: I have been working with wood since my mid-to-late teenage years, starting mostly out of necessity to help my mother both organize and add life to her home.  I started with rough construction of stand-alone shelving, then built and finished a deck, and finally added a fence.  Over the years, I was able to build some accessory items, like outdoor planters, and do some minor-to-moderate repairs on furniture.  I was limited with what I could create, since I only had a few tools.  By my mid twenties, I had built a pretty sizeable collection of woodworking tools, and started working on more complex projects.

ALBH: Was woodworking hard to learn?

JT: It was not terribly difficult as a whole, but some aspects and projects were much harder than others.  For example, creating basic furniture is rather simple, with some of the detail work being moderately difficult.  Creating an acceptable (to me) pen is still very difficult, even with the experience of doing roughly sixty pens, because they require exceptional attention to detail due to their size.

ALBH: As a customer, is there anything special I would need to know about how to care for one of your pieces?

JT: Carnauba wax is excellent to keep everything bright and shiny, but there are no specific regular maintenance requirements.  However, it should be understood that these are fine pieces of wood, and can be subject to damage from misuse or neglect, like any other wood furniture in your house.  It is not advisable to expose any of these pieces to solvents (especially petroleum-based) or abrasives because they will certainly ruin the finish.  Use water and mild soap whenever possible.  I intentionally create most of these projects with high quality, but readily available finishes so the end user can make repairs, if they feel capable.  For example, most of the wood projects are finished with a quality spray laquer (available at any hardware store in the paint/stain/protectant section). Many of the candle glasses are simply hot glued to the wood, which allows the end user the ability to remove and replace the glass, should it be accidentally broken.  High-strength glues are only used when necessary, and most of the specialized finishes are not appropriate for these pieces.  I felt it would be doing the customer a disservice if I was to make the project irreparable, because things happen no matter how well one tries to care for something.

ALBH: I know you make a variety of pieces – what’s a quick list that comes to mind that we can share with customers?

JT: Most of my items are turned on a lathe.  Some include candle holders, spice mills, and pens.  I can make furniture pieces as well.

ALBH: As a wood-worker, what’s your long-term goal?

JT: I intend to keep this hobby from becoming very stressful.  The draw for me is to relax and have fun, so I don’t particularly like to set high production numbers and short deadlines.  I have done it occasionally, but would have a hard time sustaining it long-term.  As for goals, I would like to work my way into projects that require even more intricate detail.

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?

JT: Happy, joyous; artistic; thinking outside the box.  As for people, anyone can have characteristics that apply to the culture.  I don’t believe in stereotypes.

ALBH: How long does a typical piece take you to make?

JT: An average time to completion is 3 hours of working time (not including any stops to wait for glue or finish to dry).  Some projects take less time, some much more.  It depends on complexity and the type of wood.

ALBH: What is your typical day like?

JT: School, work, and home take a pretty good chunk out of my day.  When I have free time, I work on my hobbies or relax.  My wife and I are “expecting”, so I try to let her relax more, and I do all of the housework, if possible.

ALBH: What is your draw to woodworking?

JT: No piece of wood is ever the same, and the possibilities are endless with regard to project ideas.  Wood is inherently beautiful as well.  Wood can be both decorative and functional.

Artist Interview: Nancy Markhoff, Beaded Jewelry Designs

Okay, so instead of our typical interview template, I have to confess – I lost Nancy’s written interview. :( It’s been CRAZY at the shop (yay!) and I’ve even brought in a professional organizer (love you Anne!) to help tackle the back because there’s only so many hours in the day. I feel like I’m feeding you excuses (I am, I know) so instead of introducing Nancy with the interview, I’m doing a pictoral collage post instead of her work. Her color combos are great and she even uses some beads that are handmade from friends of hers. So if the pictures aren’t enough for you, swing back by and check out her goodies – everything from memory wire bracelets and chokers with dichroic focal drops to badge and eyeglass holders. Without further ado . . . please meet Nancy!

Artist Interview: Monica of Monica Moses Designs

It’s a simple question, really: How do you feel about buttered toast? On your shoes? Sounds messy, right? Well, I promise it’s not. It’s pretty awesome, actually. Buttered toast not quite your thing? How about a killer bunny? Or a doe-eyed monkey face? Personally, I’m after the buttered toast. Read on if I’ve managed to successfully pique your interest – I want to introduce you to Monica of Monica Moses Designs. She adorns (and adores) china flats.

Facebook: Monica Moses (It’s mostly tattoos though, although I will add some shoe and hair pretty photos soon.)

Art Medium:  Shoes with hand crafted felt appliqués

ALBH: How did you get into adorning china flats?

MMD: I have always loved Mary Janes and I wanted to customize them.  At first I only made them for myself and to give to friends and it morphed into an etsy account and now selling with A Little Bit Hippy.

ALBH: How hard was it learning how to put the patches together and get them to stay on shoe well enough to survive normal wear?

MMD: The medium was not hard to learn.  I just figured it out as I went along.

ALBH: What kind of materials do you use in your projects?

MMD: I used pre-made Chinese style mary janes and make the appliqués out of felt and thread, sometimes buttons and googley eyes.

ALBH: How should your shoes be cared for? Any advice you want us to pass on?

MMD:  Wear them as you would any shoes, but you might want to avoid mud puddles, unless you are going for that antiqued look.

ALBH: Do you make a variety of items or do you have a pretty standard design motif?

MMD: I sure do have a variety…  My designs include, but are not limited to, vampires, frankies, nautical stars, flowers, buttered toast, skulls with bows, flowers, monkeys, flying pumpkins, anchors, sacred hearts, roses, cherries, killer bunnies, cupcakes, robots, and mushrooms.

ALBH: What’s your long term goal as an artist?

MMD:  My long term goal would be to decorate everybodys tootsies north, south, east, and west of the Mason Dixon line.

ALBH: What does the word “Hippy” mean to you?

MMD: What does hippie mean to me?  Having large hips.

ALBH: Do you have advice you’d like to pass along to other artists?

MMD:  Advice for other artists:  Don’t make a TLC show.

ALBH: What do you find to be your most recurring inspiration?

MMD: My inspiration is anything cute or scary, especially if I can put those two together.

ALBH: How about your “typical” day – what’s that like?

MMD:  I tattoo all day and I make goodies all night.  Sometimes I eat and sleep.

In addition to these super cute shoes, we also brought in some of Monica’s other goodies. So come take a look before it’s all gone on August 30th!!

Artist Interview: Amanda of Quirky Forest

This month, we’re so excited to be featuring a seamstress as our artist! I know I’m ecstatic about every feature we have (do you blame me? I LOVE folks that rock the hand-made), but you HAVE to see Amanda’s work. She’s dressed a few of our mannequins and has some of her bags and “plushie wishes” on display. The dresses she has on our shop girls are just the best things ever – ‘colorful’ as a description doesn’t do them justice and they have the best little ruffles on the back of the dress. There are no details spared in her pieces – I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her work just as fast as I have. In the meantime, read through our interview with her below, check out her links and then make time to swing by and see it in person. You won’t regret it!

Name:  Amanda Abajace

Age Group (under 15 is Pussy Willow; over 15 is Cherry Blossom): cherry blossom

Business Name: the Quirky Forest

Facebook Page: the Quirky Forest

Website: thequirkyforest.blogspot.com

Art Medium: mostly cotton fabric and wool yarn (sewing and knitting)

 

ALBH: How did you get into your doing what you do?

QF: I started sewing in college to make dresses for concerts

ALBH: You’ve got quite the talent for matching colors and the assembly aspect of your pieces. How long have you been at this?

QF: I’ve been sewing for 15 yrs and knitting for 5 yrs.

ALBH: As a buyer, how would I care for one of your pieces?

QF: All dresses are machine washable, bags are washable too or spot clean, depending on how dirty they are.

ALBH: What is the difference between your items?

QF: All items are unique due to different fabrics but I also like to play around with new ideas and patterns. I also tend to get bored making the same thing over and over again so I have about a half dozen different staple items but with lots of variations.

ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?

QF: To be able to have a sustainable small business and provide some income for my family

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?

QF: Someone who values kindness and creativity  and appreciates handmade items

ALBH: What’s both your favorite and least-favorite part of your craft?

QF: I LOVE the design process! My least favorite piece is trying to figure out what a fair price is based on the amount of time it takes to create each piece.

ALBH: How long does a typical piece take you to make?

QF: Generally 3 hrs but it depends on the item.

ALBH: Where do you find your inspiration?

QF: I find inspiration everywhere: nature, cartoons, magazines, internet

There are a couple other things I would like to point out after talking with Amanda this morning. When you fall in love with one of her dresses – try it on! If it doesn’t quite fit – she doesn’t charge to alter her items! Since they aren’t “fitted” dresses, it shouldn’t be an issue – but she did mention that sometimes the straps need to be different lengths depending on a person’s height. ALSO – her dresses aren’t for sale anywhere else yet so we were able to haggle with her a little on the pricing. Keep in mind that these dresses are HAND-MADE and will be priced closer to $150 once she has them listed in her shop. But to create some interest and encourage her first couple sales we’ve convinced her to price them well below that in our shop only. Awesome, right?? So hurry up . . . you’ve only got 30 days to check her out and your countdown starts now!

 

UPDATE: We’ve already sold one of Amanda’s dresses!! Which means there are only 2 left in the shop so make sure you hurry to come take a look!

Interview: Maria Collette, Beaded Gemstone Jewelry

I had planned on just featuring one artist each month, but the concept has taken off far faster than I expected so we’re doing an overlap for this month. From mid-July to mid-august we’ve got a couple beaded jewelry designers on deck. The first is Maria Collette who uses a lot of beautiful garnet and blue lapis in her pieces. Read through our interview below to get to know her a bit and then swing by the shop to see her goodies before they’re gone. She’s had her first sale and the feature is only just being posted!

ALBH: How did you get into making your jewelry?

MC: I started working at a local jewelry store where they taught me to make their merchandise

ALBH: What materials do you use?

MC: Natural stone, crystal, glass, metal

ALBH: How should your pieces be cared for?

MC: Don’t be too rough with any jewelry. They can be cleansed in water with mild soap if necessary.

ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?

MC: To infuse the power of natural stones into jewelry

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?

MC: To be hip

ALBH: What’s your strongest inspiration for your pieces?

MC: All the different stones inspire me because there are endless colors, textures, shines, and cuts that can be twisted and molded together into something that feels and looks wonderful.

ALBH: What do you do for fun, outside of your art?

MC: I do conservation work with my german shepherd as well as many other outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and horseback riding. I also go to shows and concerts fairly often as music is a big part of my life.

Elizabeth Jones: Pottery

We would like to welcome our very first Budding Artist to A Little Bit Hippy: Elizabeth Jones!

Normally, we would share with you an interview between us and the artist so we could all get to know them a little bit better, but we’re going to put that off for just a few more days. Elizabeth is into much more than just pottery, so finding the time to answer questions is a little difficult in between digging for new septic systems, remodeling a home, installing a new kitchen, and losing internet access.

Elizabeth’s work is absolutely stunning and has a vibrant life all it’s own that you just have to see in person. With everything from mugs and dishes to knitting bowls and drums, the work is amazing and impeccable. We’ve taken a few pictures, but believe us when we say this doesn’t do her work justice. Swing by her Facebook Page, become a fan, and let her know where you’ve seen her work! Enjoy!