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: 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!

The Next Life

A retailer that sells through every single thing they keep on hand in their inventory without any damages or “expired” styles is . . . well, my hero. But let’s face it, that just doesn’t really happen. So the question really becomes what to do with the stuff. Do you just throw it away? Do you donate it? If you donate it, how do you choose who to donate to?

For me, I found a place pretty close to perfect. At least for the remainder of 2011, we’ve decided to name Roanoke’s Rescue Mission as our donation center of choice. We try to spread the love around as much as possible and be non-judgemental when it comes to religious views. After all . . . we’re hippies. At least a little bit. :)

What hooked me about donating to the Rescue Mission is what they do with the clothing they are unable to sell: They recycle it. That’s right. They bundle up all their old goodies and ship it off for the fabric to be recycled. I learned about it from an article I found on Google and here’s the quote that sold me:

“The Mission sold 290,268 bales of unusable clothing in 2009, which is fabric that didn’t end up being tossed into the landfill said Clark. That material will be recycled into new fabric and paper. Not only does this effort bring in revenue for the Mission, it saves money by not having to dump over 1 million pounds a year of potential recyclables into the landfill.”

So who really knows – maybe the next order we place will be made from the items we’re donating today – in their next life.