Sunday, September 7, 2014

To reflect.

Running a shop is a lot of work. Fun work, rewarding work, trying work, but time-consuming work nonetheless. Which is why I've been away from writing for such a long stint.

Communicating with over 70 artists; seeking out new artists; accepting, pricing, documenting, displaying, and promoting their work; paying these talents, the landlord, the utility company, the phone company, and various local charities; fighting fundamentalist community members and the town council to repeal antiquated and offensive town business codes (a whole 'nuther story, but here's one article on the matter, and my letter to the editor); connecting with customers via emails and the Gathered website and Facebook page; organizing events; keeping the shop interior and window display fresh.

These are the things I do now. I'm in no way trying to make myself look good here. In fact I mostly probably look disheveled and a little crazy. But these are things I can proudly say I'm good at. However, my own personal time-- time to connect with my family and reflect and create and listen to Nature-- is a very precious commodity indeed. I now hold my time in the mornings when I walk our mountain to reconnect and recharge in my carefully cupped hands, close to my heart.

I've managed to eek out a few moments here and there at the shop when it gets quiet, usually in the dwindling hour before I close (such as now), to make a couple new pieces. They've been mostly direct customer requests, but I'm slowly getting back into replenishing my beadwork display at Gathered and making exactly what I feel like making.

Here are the most recent customer creations:

Equus Cuff, with its inspiration (a customer's rare breed horse)

Stormy Cuff in black & white (which I've made in bronze in the past)

And here is my most recent piece, finished just yesterday, for Gathered: 

 Luna Necklace in green

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Continuing on a theme

I've always been inspired by my natural surroundings, for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories of integrating myself with nature was convincing my sister that we were wild girls, with no home to call our own except the great outdoors. We would spend afternoons collecting rocks, leaves, flowers, and snail shells in a bucket to make Stew. We would decorate our Secret Place with strips of fabric, branches, and our favorite Anole lizard family. We would ride our trikes up and down the sidewalk with our sippy cups, confident that since we knew our neighbors by name, we could count on them to refill our water, should we ever get so desperate. Let me be clear-- none of this was ever because we felt neglect at home, let alone to the point of feeling the need to fend for ourselves in the wild. Quite the opposite; my parents have always showered my sister and me with love and freedom. But the idea of living outside and relying on Nature's elements gave me such a thrill, even then.

So, to continue on a theme of extracting inspiration from the natural world, here is my latest work:

You can see more of Basaltic Cuff on my Etsy site.

I'd say this cuff was directly influenced by one of my favorite memories of visiting the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in D.C. when I was a kid. My dad and I spent what seemed like hours (never long enough) in the Gem & Mineral section, me pointing out my favorites. To this day I still mourn the loss of my Rock Collection which went mysteriously missing during my family's move when I was fifteen. My husband and I have since worked up a pretty good collection to replace it, though.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Stellaris, Part Deux

Apparently getting turned down from an art show isn't stopping me from beading. Here's my latest work, finished today, inspired by the recent Stellaris Collar...

 If you're interested, you can see more about Stellaris Cuff in my shop.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Year, New Projects

First off, a very belated Happy (calendar) New Year! The holidays were a whirlwind for us, as usual, but we've settled back into our rituals here on the mountain: frozen walks, roasting sweet potatoes, keeping the wood stove ablaze. We've had so many snowfalls this winter, I've lost count! But I'm proud to say we've officially cut our fossil-fuel addiction (in the form of Electricity) in half, compared to last winter. We've heavily relied on our wood stove for heat, and we've been as conscious as possible to turning out lights when they're not in use. Also, our clothes dryer conveniently broke last fall. So although we've obtained an estate-sale-find, new-to-us dryer since then, we have yet to hook it up. Instead, we've been line-drying all our laundry for the past 4 months or so. It definitely takes more energy of the human persuasion, but waaaaay less of the ever-depleting oil-based kind.

While I'm awaiting news of acceptance (or rejection) to the Fine Arts Show I applied to at the end of last year, I'm trying to keep making new work. It's really hard to focus on beading recently, though, I must admit. I'm throwing myself into promoting and refreshing gathered, as well as its Facebook presence, and re-vamping our Immortal Mountain chocolate website & blog, which all sadly take a lot out of me.

Here is my latest creation, completed today:

See more views of Stellaris Collar necklace on my website.

Also, to celebrate this past winter solstice, Drew got me my first bow! I've been wanting desperately to learn archery for quite a few years now, and I finally can! To compliment my self-taught lessons, I've been reading Zen in the Art of Archery, which is really good so far, and watching a ton of redneck youtube videos.

And lastly, here's a photo the mother of the princesses sent me, wearing their crowns...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gettin' Crafty

Sometimes when you're an art & craft shop owner, and the holidays roll around, and you're a little strapped for time, you're tempted to get all your family's gifts from your own shop. Well, this is what I'm doing this year, for the most part. It's not only because somehow Thanksgiving has come and gone already. It's that I'm just way too tempted by all the lovelies surrounding me everyday to not buy some of them (for other people, of course). But there are always a few difficult people to shop for. So in the spare moments here and the spare moments there, I've been making a few people's gifts myself.

Of course I can't show you the gifts I'm buying from gathered, for fear the recipients may be reading this. But here are a couple of my latest craft projects that I'm pretty sure are safe to show.

A new earring layout. 

And these are actually going to be a gift from a loved one,
who kindly commissioned them from me.
Who would have thought the beaded princess crowns would take off like this??

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Official...

... is now where you will find any and all of my beadwork. Don't worry, you can still use my old website address (, but it will take you directly to my Etsy page. Crafty, huh? I did a little investigating and taught myself how to do that! With a little help from my website's tech support, that is. You can even get to it on your phone, in case you want to see my latest work while you're out and about being mobile (just please, whatever you do, not while you're driving!)

And here's a recent piece that you actually won't see on my Etsy page (the aesthetic is just a tad different than my other work...) It's a custom headband crown for a lovely customer's five-year-old princess. I'm always happy to do custom pretty-much-anything,  so please contact me if you ever need a unique, personal gift for a little loved one (or your inner child).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The holidays are supposed to be a fun time of year, right?

Well the last six weeks have gone by in more of a blur than I could have thought possible. Speed of light, to be exact. Somehow we're ending the first week of December already?! No comprendo. My shop gathered has been super busy with the holidays approaching, and I am endlessly grateful for all the local folks who want to support other locals by buying things that are handcrafted right in their own area. The shop is actually doing well for itself, considering I haven't been open a year yet. It's grown to be a mutually supportive endeavor between myself and over 50 (that's fifty, I tell you!) regional artists and crafters! I'm able to make rent and bills for the space, and I'm hoping in the following year to possibly bring home a paycheck of my very own. One can hope...

Also, I've entered a juried market as an art vendor for next May! I'll find out if I've made it in January, so keep your fingers crossed for me, pretty please. It's called the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, and you can find out more about it here. A big thank you (even if I don't make it) to my family, Zoe, Jocelyn, and Kathleen for motivating me to even attempt this. I'll really have to get my beading act together if I get in!

Entering this show inspired me to revamp my Etsy site, as well as my entire personal website. The latter was an undertaking, let me tell you. I'd really like to do even more updating with the look of the website, but the way it's set up I can only access so much that I can change myself. I hope to do something about that soon.

Here is my most recent work:
(all of these can be found on my website or Etsy)

Equilibrium cuff 

 Flux necklace

 Royal Reishi necklace

Stacks necklace

And lastly, some Thanksgiving photos
from my recent trip to visit family in Atlanta:

Fixins' becoming fixin's

The men folk like to claim they do some of the work on Thanksgiving.

Gardenscapes during the mayhem indoors.

This was the best I could find with almost all the family members.
I realized too late that no one took an actual group photo this year. Sad.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Doubling Up

I've decided to really start working on increasing my inventory again. I may or may not try to enter an undisclosed high-end Fine Art Festival for next year, but I figured either way it'd be a good idea to start producing some volume. If I don't do the Art Market (or worse, pay the non-refundable application fee and get denied), at least I'll have a bunch of back-stock for my own shop, as well as enough to shop it around to other regional boutiques/galleries. I've been burned before by juried craft markets, but I think I've waited long enough to have healed from that.

Here are my most recent pendant necklaces:

You can view more info on Spur necklace in moss or indigo on my Etsy site.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Amanitas and Puffballs and Witch's Hats, oh my...

Today marks a full Day 3 of nonstop rain here in the Virginia Mountains. And rain in the fall = mushroom hunting! No, not these kinds of mushrooms pictured below (unless you're so inclined). There are plenty of delectable culinary and medicinal mushrooms pushing their fruit bodies out of the earth and decomposing trees this time of year. Our dear friends Zoe & Matt just brought us a whopping Maitake that we sauteed with butter, onions, garlic, and thyme.

image courtesy of

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Matt (on right) offering us a Maitake

To honor our fungi allies, here is my latest beaded piece. Now go take a walk in the woods.

For more views & info for Amanita Cuff in crimson, please visit my Etsy page.