Did You Know?


***Please note any and all images you see from our artisans belong TO the artisans so please respect copyrights and our artists by not copying them. If you'd like to share something you see on this blog, please do, but always link back to the artist and ask permission if in doubt.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Member Artist Profile: Stitches in Cotton


Congratulations to November’s Craft-a-Long runner up: Stitches in Cotton. (It was Handmade Louisiana's closest vote ever!)

Artist/owner Dee creates accessories for babies, children and adults. “Throughout my life I have had an interest in various crafts,” she says. “I learned how to crochet when I was a little girl, then I moved on to hand quilting. It’s been about a year since I’ve gotten back to doing it on a more regular basis.”

Hers is another example of necessity being the mother of invention. She explains, “When I found out my boys were allergic to polyester. It was getting cold and I needed to find hats and gloves that didn’t contain polyester. I searched stores and the internet and came up with nothing. I decided to look for a crochet pattern and I found an adorable little hat. My boys loved the hats so much and it brought so much joy to them that I decided to create more to spread that joy. Nothing makes a mama happier than seeing her creation being drug inside and outside, through stores and being slept with because it’s their prized possession.”

When asked which is her favorite item, Dee cites the popcorn hats she made for her boys (and the one submitted to the Handmade Louisiana November Craft-a-Long).

Dee’s biggest challenges include time and money. “I have so many ideas in my head I don’t have enough time to get them out,” she says. Her favorite part of the works she does is being able to stay home with her sons and earning a little spending money.

She offers the following advice to new sellers: “If you are just starting out, have patience. It’s hard at first. Get a lot of products together and take the best pictures you can.” She advises seasoned sellers to “help the newer sellers. The advice of those that have ‘been there, done that’ is invaluable to us. I tend to promote those who have helped me to try and pay back what I was given.” (Her philosophy epitomizes Handmade Louisiana’s mission.)

When asked what other skills she’d like to learn, Dee replies, “I don’t think I could fit another skill in my life. HA HA! But if I had all the time in the world I would say painting.”

Dee’s connections to Louisiana are strong. She grew up in the Greater New Orleans area, left for a brief year stint in the Air Force. “There is no place like LA, and no matter where I am it will always be home for me,” she says.

To learn more about Stitches in Cotton, visit the following links:
www.stitchesincotton.artfire.com
www.stitchesincotton.etsy.com
http://www.stitchesincotton.com
http://twitter.com/stitchesncotton

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Etco, winner of November Craft-a-Long



Congratulations, Yamarilet of Etco, winner of the November Craft-a-long!

Yamarilet has been selling handcrafted jewelry and paper bowls online for about six months, but says “for as long as I can remember I have been a maker of things.”

“My grandmother is an amazing ceramic artist,” Yamarilet explains. “I remember helping her when I was a child, I enjoyed that time so much! So I have been encouraged in that direction since I was a little girl!”

When asked about her favorite creation, she’s hard pressed to choose just one. “I do love a pair of black earrings that I called Manhattan Nights, but I also really like my paper bowls.”



Her biggest challenge as an artist to earning a living from what she loves to do, but the best perk she says, is “it‘s great when you do what you love to do, be my own boss and have the time to be with my children.”

When asked to provide advice for other sellers, Yamarilet says, “I am pretty new myself! Share what you love to do with others, be honest, take the best photos you can, Be patient!” She adds, “Nothing will happen overnight. Post often and the most important: always appreciate and treat your customers with care.”



Yamarilet was born and raised in Venezuela. She moved to United States 17 years ago and has lived in New Orleans for over nine years now. She shares a home with husband William, daughters Nikole and Mara, and finds inspiration from the natural beauty around her. “I always will be connected to LA since my daughters where born here,” she explains. “Time has gone by so quickly, and I’m so grateful for the moments I have here.”

“Being with my family comes before anything else. My life is mostly about my kids, I also volunteer at my daughter’s school,” she says. By way of introduction, she adds: “I love: the ocean, silence, coffee, stay at home, cook, swim, and create things.”

Welcome to Handmade Louisiana, and congratulations on winning the November Craft-a-long!

To learn more about Etco, visit the following links:
SHOP: http://www.etco.etsy.com
BLOG: http://etcoblog.blogspot.com/
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/etco/146192609053?v=wall
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/handmadebyetco

Monday, December 21, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Chloe Boutique


Amanda, owner of Chloe Boutique, has been creating beautiful artisan jewelry for about 3 years. She found herself increasing frustrated when she couldn't find high quality, chic accessories for outfits. She explains, “When I did find something in a store, it just seemed so cheaply put together with wires sticking out, or coatings chipping off of beads, cheap metals that quickly tarnish, etc., and, stores charged a lot for this mass produced sup-par jewelry! I knew I had to have a creative side to me; my entire family is artistic. Just took me a while to find my own creative niche!”

One of her favorite pieces is one she made for herself for autumn. Using a friend’s handcrafted polymer clay maple leaf bead as a focal point, she embellished it with peridot, citrine, carnelian and red aventurine, and Karen Hill Tribe Silver. “[It] features all of those gloriously warm and cheerful autumn colors that I miss so much,” says Amanda, who originally hails from northern West Virginia, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.



Amanda draws her inspiration from nature. “Born and raised in the beautiful mountains of northern West Virginia, I appreciated the simple things in life. As I got older and went to college (my Bachelor of Science degree is Wildlife & Fisheries Management, Master of Science degree is Biology with an Ornithology concentration--Study of Birds), that only intensified.” She continues, “I love gemstones! They're ‘handmade’ by Mother Nature! I take what Earth has provided and I add flair to it. My pieces are perfect for everyday wearing. One piece can be casual enough to be worn with your favorite pair of jeans, or dressy enough to be worn with your business attire, or even a nice evening out!”

Amanda cites keeping up with fashion trends as her biggest challenge. “I usually create jewelry that I would personally wear. I tend to stick to medium sized stones, and streamline in design,” she explains. “I'm not usually one to go huge and bold since I have a smaller frame. So, it's really hard to make things out of my comfort zone and [still] feel that it fits in to my Chloe Boutique jewelry line, if you will.”



When asked the favorite thing about her work, she says, “I love the vast possibilities that you have as a jewelry designer. The world is literally your limit! With all of the colors, shapes, cuts, sizes, and types of gemstones alone, your jewelry creativeness is limitless! Then, you add the array of metals, findings, artisan-created lampwork glass (which is unique in itself with no two pieces being the same) and polymer clay beads, crystals, glass, vintage beads, etc., you can just let your mind go crazy...just hope your fingers can keep up with all the designs that play in your head!”

With nearly 450 sales in just 2 ½ years, she’s in a fine position to offer advice to other sellers. “Promotion is key to being a successful seller. This is hard for me personally because time does not allow me to promote as much as I would like. Jewelry making started off as a hobby, and something to supplement my own personal jewelry box. I do have a full-time day job,” Amanda says. “But, for those that create and sell as their livelihood, self-promotion seems to be the successful tool. Join groups, have a blog (and keep it updated, this is something I admit to be lacking in), submit your work to local galleries, magazines, etc., do craft shows, get business cards made and hand them out everywhere you go, get yourself a Fan Page on Facebook and post your work there. There are so many things you can do to promote your work. Get as many people to your sites as you can...they'll like what they see, and they will most likely spread the word!”

When asked what skill she’d like to learn, Amanda says she’d like to improve her wire-working skills. “I’m so intimidated by the whole ‘wire-wrapping of gemstones’ concept that I do them few and far between. So, I end up almost starting over each time I create a wire-wrapped piece of jewelry.”

For the curious, Amanda’s pseudonym, Wildlifer78, is her original Etsy buyer’s ID. Her shop name, Chloe Boutique, honors her dog, a pug. (In addition to pug Chloe, she also has a beagle named Ellie.)

Amanda lived for a short time in New Orleans when she was a year or so old. She returned to Louisiana to pursue a Master's degree at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. Her research was studying migratory songbirds and determining the forest management practice effects on their abundance and vitality.

“I always wanted to see and work in the bottomland hardwood forests of the Mississippi River Alluvial Valley. So, that's why I chose to do my Master's work here,” she explains. “I met my husband while working as a student worker at the local Wildlife and Fisheries office. We married in November 2004, built our first home in 2005, and both have good jobs here. Louisiana is now home!” She enjoys her day job as an Environmental Scientist for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Other personal interests include the outdoors, exercising (especially running), hiking, backpacking, canoeing/kayaking, occasional hunting/fishing, and bird watching. She says, “I also thoroughly enjoy traveling, spending time with friends and family, reading, music, shopping (like any other girl!), cooking (mostly baking), and of course being creative.”

Amanda’s stunning creations can be found at the following:
http://www.wildlifer78.etsy.com
http://www.artfire.com/users/chloeboutique
http://twitter.com/chloeboutique
http://www.facebook.com/chloeboutique (fan page)
http://chloeboutique.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Benjy Davis Christmas Show

Special Delivery from Jake at RockRidge Music! :)
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I wanted to let you know about the Benjy Davis Project Christmas show this Friday, 12/18/09 at the Varsity Theatre. Doors are at 8pm and the show is $15.

There’s all kinds of exciting things going on: BDP will be on the WCDV morning show that day and performing on KSLU out of Hammond on 12/17 at noon. WCDV will be hosting a soundcheck party before the show where the band will be doing a signing. Additionally, tracks from the new album “Lost Souls Like Us” are going to be played before the show. That night, the band will be performing a special set just for this show.




~~~~~~~~~~

I hope you guys can make it! They put on an awesome show! :)
~~Amy

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December Giveaway: Get your Techie on!


This month's giveaway comes from Easy Shop Names.com, one of the shops of our very own AmazingArt. Amazing Arts is run by Bob, who technically lives in California, but was born and raised Louisiana, and still carries it in his heart! :)


This month Bob is offering a fabulous package deal to help you get your business or websites in order for the coming year!!


What You'll Win:

The Giveaway will be for my EasyShopNames.com full Artisan Domain Name & Support Package, including 1 year of:


  • Domain Name Registration
  • Tech Support via online Help Desk or Toll Free telephone
  • 1 business day turn-around or less for all updates (forwarding changes, etc.) - most changes made in one our or less
  • Unlimited Sub-Domains






  • Blogger Domain Setup (blog.domain.com)
  • Branded Google Apps Standard under selected domain, with:



    • Up to 50 users (less 1 for me to administer the account)
    • Google Mail/Gmail
    • Google Calendar
    • Google Docs
    • Google chat username@domain.com, including AIM support
    • Google Sites – Template drive website creation with UNLIMITED number of sites
    • much, much



  • 1 business day turn-around or less for all updates (forwarding changes, etc.) - most changes made in one our or less

If the winner already has a domain name, then I’ll substitute the Artisan Support Package, which is all the same services and features, but just transfers an existing domain to our servers rather than registering a new domain name.



(Don't worry, Bob will communicate in a less tech way if you need him to!)




HOW TO WIN:



1. Visit Bob's Shop, AmazingArtPhotos. Come back and leave a comment on which item is your fave!



2. Visit one of these shops belonging to my fellow members. Come back and leave a comment on which of their items is your fave!

(IF any of these shops are on vacation as does happen this time of year, make sure to look in the shops SOLD ITEMS to see super cool items the artisan has made before!)







You must leave a link to the items and you must complete steps 1 AND 2 to be entered. You MUST leave a URL, email, or contact IN your comment for us to contact you when you win! We have to have some way to contact you, via your shop, blog, whatnot if you don't want to leave your email.




You have until January 4th to get your comments in!






Extra entries:


1. Send an email to merry@handmadelouisiana.com with your email address for our future mailing list.
2. Tweet, Facebook, or promote this contest. You MUST provide a URL where you promoted this so we can verify.
3. Join our Facebook Group.Please make sure your Facebook account is set so we can contact you, and include info about yourself (friend, buyer, seller, artist, etc) in your application.




If you would like to join Handmade Louisiana please email Merry at merry@handmadelouisiana.com and she'll send you what you need to know! There is never any cost to join HML!


Good luck!


Wordless Wednesday



Lady in Red (8 Note Cards) by marilynnarrington

Monday, December 14, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Charmies Online


Meet Tiffany of Charmies Online. She’s been creating jewelry for nearly five years. Tiffany has lived in New Orleans her entire life. “It is all I know,” she explains. “Even after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina, I have chosen to rebuild and start my life over again. I love New Orleans!”

It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s certainly true for Tiffany. Following Hurricane Katrina, she was laid off from her job in New Orleans and had to come up with other means of income. Hence the birth of Charmies Online.

“I love designing jewelry,” Tiffany explains. “It has always brought me pleasure in designing special keepsake pieces for people... I am inspired by things going on in my life. “ When asked which is her favorite piece, Tiffany names her Snowball Jewelry Collection.



Her biggest challenge is managing multiple online accounts. “I go from my website to Etsy to Facebook to Myspace to my blog to Twitter, etc. Too many!” she says with a laugh.

When asked her favorite piece of advice for other sellers, she responds, “Don't give up. Success doesn't happen overnight. I work full-time outside of the home, plus run my personal site and an Etsy site. It is a lot of work but I love every minute of it. If you love it, go for it.”



Tiffany’s oh-so-cool creations can be found online at:
http://www,charmiesonline.com/
www.facebook.com/keepsakejewelry
www.twitter.com/charmiesonline
http://www.charmiesonline.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Local Musician Review: Marc Broussard

Full disclosure: I am a HUGE Marc Broussard fan. There, now on to business! :)

I first heard of Marc from my niece a few years ago. My first thought was, "who?". Then I listened to some tunes on his Myspace page...I was hooked! Such soul, such life, such a gorgeous voice..and he was HOW old?

Marc released his debut album, "Momentary Setback" in 2002 at the age of 20 but he is no stranger to music. Marc is the son of acclaimed Louisiana Hall of Fame Guitarist and former member of The Boogie Kings, Ted Broussard. Marc has been on and off the stage since age 5. It's obviously in his blood! Multiple albums have succeeded but my favorite is the "Must be the Water EP". It's only 5 songs but I feel they are some of the best 5 songs Marc has ever done. So New Orleans, so Louisiana, so US!




Marc is one of those artists who does actually talk to his fans, appreciates them and never forgets that fans are the reason he is where he is. Music may be his life but he'll tell you the bigger part of his life is his wife, Sonya and his three young children. Marc's family are important and that is just another example of his down home attitude. What is more important around here than family!??

The Broussards hail from Carencro, La (also the name of one of Marc's albums!) I would call Marc's music a blend of rock, soul, R&B, and definiately southern jazz. Seriously, whan a man busts out a washboard on stage, you KNOW it's going to be a good show!

Marc and his band put on one hell of a show and if you ever get the opportunity to see one, I HIGHLY Suggest you do so! His bandmates are equally talented and fabulous! I'll be the tall brunette in the front singing along and dancing!

I also respect Marc because he openly talks about his political beliefs on Twitter. He is a staunch conservative and proud of it. At a time when many in the public eye would hide their beliefs, Marc stands up for what he believes in. Be forewarned, if you instigate a twitter argument, he will come right back at you with facts, so be prepared!

You can learn more about Marc from his website. You can also keep up with him on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.

Rock Steady Marc!!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Handmade Louisiana November Craft a Long Voting!

This month's theme was "Be Thankful!" And our fabulous artisans came up with some great work!! Please be sure to read the meaning behind each piece if one is provided and vote for the one you feel most fits the theme "Be Thankful." Vote for your favorite in the poll on the sidebar.

With Gratitude by Hurricane Pottery
The curves of this little pot remind me of cupped hands making an offering to give thanks.



































Rustic Pumpkins by ChloeBoutique





















Nutcracker Santa Stripe Bag by Splendiferous Fiber
I've made many friends over the years working backstage at the ballet company. After 10 years, my daughter moved on to dance at the college/ pro level, but I still go help out and hang out with the other parents and volunteers. We work ourselves half to death, but always have fun. It's so worthwhile to not only help the dancers have a performance venue, but to present the ballet to the public and school classes that come to watch. I love seeing the dancers grow and improve every year.























Fleur De Lis Pendant by Gaudet's Gems
Thankful that the Saints are thus far UNDEFEATED!





















Andrew and Matthew's Beau Beau Bags by Mama's Little Monkeys
I am thankful to do this charity for Matthew Akin. Baby brother Andrew may be gone but will never be forgotten. I am thankful for healthy kids and that I can help this one family even a little.



















Black Lotus Bracelet by Etco
Lotus flowers symbolize ….how people should live…with purity of speech, mind and body.
















Crochet Child's Hat by Stitches in Cotton
I am thankful for the ability to crochet and 100% cotton yarn, without these my children's heads would be cold during the winter.





















So be sure to get your votes in, check out these great shops and more from our lovely team members!! :)

~~Amy

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Specials from Handmade Louisiana Artisans

The following shops are offering specials for Black Friday (November 27) and/or Cyber Monday (November 30). Please read each listing carefully as the effective dates/terms vary from shop to shop. Please note that this info was compiled from our member portal. I'll check the message board Friday to see if there any additions and add them to this post. Happy shopping!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chloe Boutique:
EARLY BLACK FRIDAY / CYBER MONDAY SALE!!!
NOVEMBER 22ND - NOVEMBER 30TH
25% OFF MY ENTIRE SHOP AND FREE FIRST CLASS MAIL SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!!!
SAVINGS WILL BE REFUNDED TO YOUR PAYPAL ACCOUNT AFTER PAYMENT IS RECEIVED!!
http://www.wildlifer78.etsy.com
*Note: Purchases made from November 26 - December 3rd will ship December 4-5. I'll be out of town those dates. However, the Sale Promo still applies to purchases made from November 26-30.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
www.stitchesincotton.etsy.com
This weekend I'm offering 10% off all sales (including all custom order requests).

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http://2VirgosDesigns.etsy.com
I am offering 15% off orders of $15 or more, buyers make Note to Seller "Black Friday". November 27 - 30.

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www.mamaslittlemonkeys.etsy.com
Buy One Get one FREE!! Black Friday ONLY! Wait for revised invoice, or will refund via Paypal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
www.mamaslittlemonkeys.com
40% off all orders over $25 or more. Use Coupon Code "blackfriday"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
www.destashcity.artfire.com
40% off all orders over $25 or more. Use Coupon Code "blackfriday"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Debideaux Designs
www.debideaux.com
debideaux.artfire.com
I'm offering free shipping for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://shop.ladyfleurdesigns.com
I am offering 10% off your total order when you enter the code "10NO" at checkout.

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Hvnlydesigns
Buy 4 pendants and get the 5th for free. Please indicate your choices in notes to the seller. See Etsy listing: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=35087911

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gaudetsgems.etsy.com
I'll be giving away a pair of pearl earrings with every purchase over $25 made in my shop from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

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www.lisaraspino.etsy.com
10% off any item from my Etsy shop Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Enter "HLNOV" in 'note to seller' and I'll send a revised invoice.

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www.pachamamma.etsy.com
Offering free shipping and discounts on selected items for Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Please visit shop for details. For those who live in NE LA, I will also be selling at the 'Downtown Christmas Market' on Dec. 5th from 11-5pm.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Handmade Louisiana

Here is to a happy, healthy, and SAFE Thanksgiving!! May your turkey be fried just right, may your dressing be just plump enough and may your pants button not take out an eye.





Don't forget to enter our latest Giveaway, simply click the owl graphic to the left to go directly to the link and win a Who Dat second line umbrella! 


Everyone have a fabulous Thanksgiving and get ready for Black Friday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Liz Petro - New Orleans Umbrella Company

Meet Liz Petro, artist/owner of New Orleans Umbrella Company. Liz generously donated this month’s Giveaway prize: a black and gold inspired Second Line Umbrella (see the post below or click here for info on how you can enter the prize drawing -- deadline Dec. 1st).

As her shop name implies, Liz designs, sews, and decorates second line umbrellas, and has been doing so for about two years. She got her start when looking for a creative outlet to balance her analytical day job.

Liz draws her inspiration from events and lifestyles. “All have tons of material to work with,” she explains. “When people second line, it is often at often at important occasions...weddings, funerals, parades. I get to hear their stories and contribute to these events. I am always amazed and often entertained by the lives people live.”



When asked about her favorite project so far, Liz says, “I put together 15 umbrellas for a roaring 20’s wedding. It was so much fun to work on.” Her biggest challenge is the classic art-versus-business struggle: finding the time to work on projects, and still have time to sell the items.

Her favorite advice to share with other artists/sellers is persistence. “I can take a while to get going…but it is worth it.”



Liz’s connection to Louisiana runs deeply. She moved to New Orleans to attend graduate school in 2002 and never left. She explains, “I love living here. Rebuilding after Katrina took our home really cemented the bond. I have experienced more, lived more, found my love and a purpose in Louisiana.”

Liz’s creations can be found on the following sites:

http://www.lizmpetro.etsy.com/
www.artfire.com/users/NewOrleansUmbrellas

Monday, November 16, 2009

November Giveaway--Get Your Second Line On With...

A fantastic black and gold inspired Second Line Umbrella from Lizmpetro/New Orleans Umbrellas!




Liz has kindly shared one of her second line umbrellas for our November giveaway, just in time to celebrate our 9-0 Season thus far!! You can get your Who Dat on with this beautiful black and gold umbrella embellished with a fleur de lis--perfect for parades, holidays, BBQ's and of course, a second line!!

Liz works an "analytical day job" and uses the umbrellas as a way to help express her creativity, a lovely balance from her day job. Liz moved to New Orleans for grad school and in typical Louisiana fashion, we sucked her in and she can't leave!! :)


So now Liz shares her talents with you in our November giveaway!



How do you win? I thought you'd never ask!




1. Visit one of Liz's shops listed here. Come back and leave a comment on which item is your fave!






2. Visit one of these shops belonging to my fellow members. Come back and leave a comment on which of their items is your fave!






You must leave a link to the items and you must complete steps 1 AND 2 to be entered. You MUST leave a URL, email, or contact IN your comment for us to contact you when you win!


You have until December 1st to get your comments in!



Extra entries:

1. Send an email to merry@handmadelouisiana.com with your email address for our future mailing list.
2. Tweet, Facebook, or promote this contest. You MUST provide a URL where you promoted this so we can verify.
3. Join our Facebook Group. Please make sure your Facebook account is set so we can contact you, and include info about yourself (friend, buyer, seller, artist, etc) in your application.


If you would like to join Handmade Louisiana please email Merry at merry@handmadelouisiana.com and she'll send you what you need to know! There is never any cost to join HML!

Good luck!



Look for an Artisan Feature on Liz soon! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Black Dog Studio

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Black Dog Studio, I encourage you to do so. This shop features pen and ink, &/or colored pencil drawings, some painting, a little handmade polymer clay jewelry. Artist Leah has been drawing since early childhood and it’s in her blood. “My first memory is at three years old my Mom gave me a pen to draw on the paper on the exam table in the doctor's office to calm me down,” she explains. Her grandmother, mother and sister are all very creative. Art is “just what we did,” said Leah.

When asked about her favorite piece, she has a hard time choosing but prefers colored pencil drawings on black Stonehenge paper, featuring a metaphorical image. Leah’s biggest challenge is one to which we can all relate: not having enough time! And yet, it’s important for her to carve out the time necessary to tap into her creative energies. “If I don't do it, I start getting coo-coo, so it is kind of like having to eat or breathe for me,” she says.


She offers the following advice to other artists/sellers: “Focus on what you love to do, don't spend lots of time on something just to sell it (easier said than done if you are really trying to get some sales going to continue your craft). Another thing...don't feel like you need to do art in one particular category. Artsy minds are eclectic! Feel free to experiment with different media and not feel pinned in to one medium.”


Leah’s connection to Louisiana is strong: she was born and raised in Baton Rouge. “I love the natural environment,” she says, “we are so very lucky to have such a beautiful place to live.” In fact, she draws much of her inspiration from nature, as well as ancient art and “peeps like Matisse, Van Gogh, and my fave Walter Anderson.”

One skill she’d like to learn is “PATIENCE! And silk painting.”

Perfect for the holidays, be sure to check out Leah's line of ornaments.

To learn more about Leah’s art, visit the following sites:

http://blackdogstudio.etsy.com/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackdogstudio

Monday, November 9, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: 2 Virgos Designs

There’s a saying that when one door closes, another door opens, and Jackie, owner/creator of 2 Virgo Designs, embodies that. Looking for a creative outlet after discovering that damaged nerves prevented her from drawing like she used to, Jackie discovered soap making and fell passionately in love with it.

She’s been creating handmade soaps for two years. When asked what appeals to her about soap making, Jackie explains, “It is math, science, art, creativity, marketing, solitary and social all at once!”

Chocolate & Vanilla Soap

She draws much of inspiration from nature and life. Her favorite items are her hand milled soaps, offered in her Etsy shop. Her shop announcement states that, “2 Virgos Designs indulges my love for creativity, healthy living, and how wonderful lovely scented bath and beauty products and fragrances make us feel.”

Her biggest challenge as an artisan is hand painting her soaps, using a dry brush to paint accents. An example is pictured below in the adorable shar pei soap, part of her Primo’s Pawtourage dog themed soap line.

Shar Pei Handpainted Soap

A skill she’d like to learn is cold process soap making. Jackie says, “I value integrity and kindness above all!” This credo undoubtedly accounts for much of her success in art and business.

When asked to give one piece of advice to other sellers, Jackie offers this: “Do your research, make the best product you can, strive to excel at it!”

Oatmeal, Honey & Goat Milk Soap

Having relocated to Louisiana in 1992, Jackie calls the Bayou State home and her mother also lives here.

You can find Jackie’s scrumptious soaps here:
http://2VirgosDesigns.etsy.com
http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/tygerhart
http://2virgosdesigns.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/2VirgosDesigns
http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Shop&seller_id=33532

Friday, November 6, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Jodie Flowers

Meet Jodie Flowers, winner of the Handmade Louisiana’s second Craft-a-Long (theme: "Education, School and Learning"). She is the artist/proprietor of Jodie Flowers - Animal Flowers Art Studio. Jodie is a true Renaissance woman! Her creations include mixed media, sewing, ceramics, polymer clay, among others.

When asked how she got her creative start, Jodie replies, “My mom basically built the house I grew up in from scratch. She combined two old shacks and fixed them up with tons of salvage stuff from New Orleans. She taught me to sew and I used to make clothes for my dolls when I was little. I loved making things with paper and scotch tape too. Then I went on to school and thought I wanted to go into journalism (because I love to write too). Liked it [writing] in high school, but in college, things took a turn and all I wanted to do was to take every Art class available. I stayed in college for seven years just making stuff. I graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from SLU.”

Monster Patch

Jodie finds inspiration all over, including from her son, cartoons, nature, the sea, bugs, poems, Dr. Seuss, Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland, Shell Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Flickr, and “my mind's eye.” This explains the wonderfully eclectic nature of her body of work.

Her favorite pieces include her Crazy Leg Wall Vases and Screen Porch Spiders. Also popular are her monster patches. And let’s not forget her winning Craft-a-Long entry: Book Bugs.

Crazy Leg Vases

The best thing about being an artist, Jodie explains, is “doing what I love, when I want to and always having $$ in my pocket for myself, my husband and my son.”

When asked what she finds most challenging about being an artisan, Jodie says, “Juggling being a Mom, Wife, Daughter, Friend, and a full time Artist, when all I want to do is create all the time. If I had an island I could seclude myself on, I would!”

Jodie has this piece of advice to offer her fellow artists: “Promote, Promote, Promote! Tell everyone about your work, take chances and make something every day!!!”

What’s next for Jodie? One skill she’d like to learn is lampwork (glass bead making) and knitting. “I wish I could knit something more than a long scarf and learn to bind them all off properly. LOL!” she says.

Winning Craft-a-Long Entry: Book Bugs

Jodie explains her Louisiana connection: “I was not born here. I was born in Ismir Turkey, but my mom and dad are from here. My dad was a dentist in the Army, they returned to Louisiana when I was very young and I have lived here ever since.” She’s lived in Baton Rouge, Jackson, St. Francisville, Zachary, Hammond and now Abita Springs. “Louisiana is nice. I have traveled to some great places and this seems to be the place for me,” Jodie says. “You can make friends easily here. The weather could be cooler, but as long as there is AC, I am fine where I am.”

Visit Jodie online at:

http://www.jodieflowers.etsy.com/
http://www.jodieflowers.webs.com/
http://www.jodieflowers.synthasite.com/
http://www.waterstreetpottery.com/
http://www.lalunaarts.com/
http://www.twitter.com/jodieflowers
http://www.myspace.com/jodieflowers

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vote for the October Craft a Long Winner HERE!

This month's theme was "Happy Fall Ya'll!" And our fabulous artisans came up with some great work!! Please check these out and vote for your favorite in the poll on the sidebar.

Neon Orange SLS Free Soap in Cranberry Apple from Mama's Little Monkeys

















Crochet Scarf and Hat from BarbsMacrameandMore




















Autumn Spice Soap from HerbFriend
















Farmer 2 by BlackDogStudio






















Autumn Glory Handpainted Silk Scarf from Splendiferous Fiber




















Canaima Earrings from Etco












Thanksgiving Aline Dress With Pumpkin from Georgannaandcompany

















Nuts for Fall Handpainted FloorCloth by RueDesign












Autumn Leaves Flamework Glass Necklace by DebiDeaux














Graffiti Painted Canvas Placemats by CTStudios




Please get your votes in and pick your fave!! The winner will be announced in a few days and meanwhile our artisans are cooking up the next Craft a Long!!!
~~~Thanks~~~
Amy/Mama
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