I thought I’d share a little about my process and how these earrings came to be. The idea for them came about when I saw a beautiful dragonfly outside my studio on a sunny summer day. I began by doodling a rough idea. Then I go into a computer program to draw out the design as a vector graphic. After I have a vector design I hand saw it out. In this case I cut it out of brass.
I wasn’t entirely happy with the look of them so I tweaked the design slightly and re-cut them.
Once I was happy with the design, I sent the file off to have them laser cut out of stainless steel. When I get the parts back from the laser cutter they are pretty rough, so I spend some time cleaning them up.
After they are cleaned up I solder the sterling silver posts onto them and do the finish work.
Head over to my Etsy Shop to get a pair, and to celebrate the release of these earrings I’m offering free shipping through the end of the month. Use the coupon code “SEPTEMBER12” at checkout.
Last week I created these new silver basket earrings. They are big but very lightweight. They will soon be available on my Etsy.
I also had company while making the earrings. Sadie, joined me on my bench for a while. Since I’ve been back in Seattle my studio has been out in the garage, so I keep the door open while I’m working, and Sadie was pretty content just to sit and watch what was going on outside.
On Friday, Stephanie and I found a studio space in Ballard. We are pretty excited about it. It’s a nice large space. There are two other artists in the building – both painters – and a maritime IT guy. On Sunday I painted the floor, and yesterday moved my stuff in. Now to get everything set up.
I’m excited to say that I will now be offering my lace collection in 14k gold plate with a satin finish! These items will soon be available on my Etsy site, but if you would like to order before they are on there, just email me (info[at]bittersweetproject[dot]com). Items from my other collections will soon become available with a gold-plated option as well.
I bought some sweet stuff, and made a couple of choice trades, when I was at Renegade San Francisco. So, I thought that over the next few weeks I’d share with you my new handmade goodies that I am loving.
I bought a wallet for my brother for his birthday from Couch Guitar Straps – a maker from Long Beach, CA that repurposed old car vinyl to create wallets, guitar straps, belts and other accessories. And by using the car vinyl, all his accessories are vegan, which is sometimes hard to find in belts and wallets.
The wallet that I got for Sean is this one:
Made from this:
Dan also picked up a couple of things from him. A wallet and this black and white belt.
While I was at Renegade SF, I noticed an abundance in the trend of using Native American, and Navajo in particular, patterns. I’ve also noticed this trending big time on Etsy. Something that makers should be aware of is that recently Urban Outfitters was sued for using the word Navajo in connection to their designs, because they were in violation of trademarks (the Navajo Nation has 10) and the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act, “which makes it illegal to sell arts or crafts in a way to falsely suggest they’re made by American Indians when they’re not.” (Huffington Post)
The issue that I’ve been having with this trend is that a lot of the people using these patterns in their crafts have no real ties to the cultures that they are appropriating from. There is a blog post on Native Appropriations about the many issues behind this, but the part that I want to express here is this idea of crafts being about an honesty in processes, and a connection with the makers. Just as folks in the handmade movement are pushing for people to buy local and handmade, I would like to push the idea that Adrienne puts forth in her blog – “If you choose to wear something Native, buy it from a Native.”
As Adrienne goes on to say, “There are federal laws that protect Native artists and craftspeople who make genuine jewelry, art, etc. (see info here about The Indian Arts and Crafts Act). Anything you buy should have a label that says “Indian made” or “Native made”. Talk to the artist. find out where they’re from. Be diligent. Don’t go out in a full “costume”. It’s ok to have on some beaded earrings or a turquoise ring, but don’t march down the street wearing a feather, with loaded on jewelry, and a ribbon shirt.”
I’m not saying that anyone who isn’t Native should not wear or own anything with Native designs. What I am saying is that just like we talk about when we say “buy handmade” so that we can support the maker directly, when you buy Native, support a Native artisan directly.