Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One Little Artist

Etsy is fun for so many reasons, but mainly for the community of artists and crafters you meet. There are people from all over the world putting a little of themselves into the internet ethos, selling their art, making a little beer money, making ends meet, or making a good living. It's both enjoyable and inspiring to be a part of such and energetic and creative community.

In case you think we're all grownups here, let me add that there are also youngsters on Etsy who take their work quite seriously. One such little artist owns the shop "AnArtistNamedKatie," which features her paintings. Why sell her work on Etsy? According to her profile, it's to raise money for a new school building (and perhaps for that new horse she has always dreamed about)!

Check out her shop and you'll see why I've featured her. This is a kid's work, but there is a hint of her future artistic eye in it. Look at those faces in "Girl," "Mouse," and "A Pig in Theory." There's a poignancy in their expressions. This, coupled with genuinely interesting shading and color choices, makes her work rather captivating. Katie adds her own unique expression to the diverse, complicated, and fascinating world of arts and crafts.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wrist Malas: Convenient, Affordable, and Spiritually Handy

Although I love my beautiful carnelian 108 bead mala--and I love making 108 bead malas--I also own and frequently wear a wrist mala. Mine is aquamarine and crackle quartz with a small sterling buddha charm serving as the guru bead. It's pretty and wearable, it's pleasing to look at, and it is entirely functional.

Case in point: during a recent and particularly turbulent airplane ride which ended with an unpleasantly bumpy landing, you can bet I was using my wrist mala to close my eyes, focus, breathe, and not allow myself to freak out. Or throw up.

A stretch mala doesn't replace a hand-knotted 108 bead mala, but it is ideal when your regular mala is not available or convenient. I like to use mine when traveling, when out for a busy day working or running errands, or anytime I can't or don't wish to bring along my full mala. My wrist beads are always right with me, next to my skin, ready for use or just a quick reminder to be in the moment and to stay calm. They're also pretty.

I'm excited to say that we have just listed several new wrist malas in our shop. I have been designing and making these for some time, and I'm excited to have them available at last. Nothing makes me happier than sharing an item that brings peace, acceptance, and awareness.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lampwork Glass and Some New Charms

As our designer has mentioned before, glass is a wonderful material and especially nice for making jewelry. Gemstones are so popular right now--and for good reason, they're gorgeous--that it's easy to forget how beautiful and versatile glass can be.

Our chief designer loves to work with a variety of beads called lampwork glass. The artisans who make this kind of layered, colorful bead start with solid rods of glass, then use a gas torch to melt the rods. Once the glass is melted, the artisan can use tools or simply blowing on the glass or through a tube to shape the material and add layers of design in any color or shape she chooses.

Not surprisingly, this practice of lampworking glass was perfected in Murano, Italy, a location reknowned for making many kinds of beautiful, high-quality artisan glass. I'm wondering if I can write off a business trip to Murano. You know, to check out the glass. :-) (Find more information on lampworking here.)

We have several lampwork glass items in our shop, the newest being our lampwork glass phone and zipper pull charms. You can find them here.

Do you work with or purchase lampwork glass items? Do you specialize or find them a nice occasional alternative to gemstones and other materials?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Treasury and a Little Bit About Malas

There's a neat treasury on Etsy of items made by New England artists and crafters. One of my malas is featured (the one I have pictured here). It's made of nephrite jade, Czech glass, sterling silver, cotton thread, and a Tibetan white turquoise guru bead.

Every mala I make is designed with a distinct meaning and purpose. It's important to feel a connection with the mala you're choosing--that instinctual, visceral "ah" feeling that lets you know it was meant for you. If you're in the market for some prayer beads and/or malas, take some time, look around, and follow your intuition. The most important thing is to feel connected to your mala.

Here are a few more examples to check out:

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