Hi there. It’s been awhile! My plans to blog more got thwarted once again. BUT there are exciting things on the horizon: after a summer hiatus of making lots of goodies I’m updating my selling platform to Woo Commerce.
I’ve really loved using Prestashop and support the open source platform purely out of principle, but it is getting harder and harder to keep it up and running. Since I already had this under used WordPress blog, I thought I would give Woo Commerce a shot. I think stream lining my products here will make my life easier in the long run, and let’s face it, I’d rather be creating than spending all my free time doing web maintenance and upgrades #makersgonnamake…
I’ll post updates here as I go, and I’m hoping to delve into blogging more in 2020: maybe even vlogging…! You can still buy the full compliment of my items on bb3.ca. I also have a good chunk of my items on etsy and a few on ebay. I take offers on ebay, so if you are planning on buying more than one item don’t forget to make me an offer – happy to throw a discount your way.
I am my own worst enemy when it comes to self-promotion. I like to make things, and would rather spend my time making things, than promoting my work and getting it “out there” and known. Plus I just feel like what I make is not exactly critical to one’s survival: it is not a food staple or a cure for cancer. It’s just pretty, handmade stuff. Certainly money is not a motivating factor for me either: anyone who is in the handmade community knows what an uphill battle that is.
That said, I have no problem supporting and promoting others in the cottage/handmade industry. I totally see the merit in what they do, the quality in the goods they make. So when thinking of a topic to write about this month for the newsletter, I thought, why not get to know me a bit better? I offer to do artist spotlights on other people, so why not me?
So here are my answers to the questions posed for the artist spotlight.
Who I am & what I make
My name is Leilani, I am married and a mom from Nova Scotia. Currently my creative outlet of choice is jewelry making: particularly personalized keepsakes that I manually engrave an initial or monogram on, and producing fiber for spinning and felting. The name of my creative work is the bb3 project or studio bb3. I used to go by the name “heavenly flower” but now the name is an ode to my 3 gems: my 3 little girls, and based on the superstition that things (good or bad) come in 3’s. I call my work a project and not a business as it is impossible for me alone to really devote the time and money needed to make this what the mainstream world would consider a business.
How long have you been creating?
I have been making jewelry for over 15 years: I started in the late 90’s but didn’t seriously get into it until a few years later. My first creative outlet was writing, and my family always saw that as a career path for me as I was growing up. These days I still enjoy writing, but prefer creativity in a more tangible form: things I can create and feel with my hands and allow colors to blend and compliment each other.
What made you start creating?
I always found solace in working out my feelings in story or verse. I was encouraged in my early 20’s to find an outlet for my time as I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Writing is always cathartic but I needed something – shall we say – happier to bide my time with. So jewelry making helped me express myself and gave me something joyful and tangible to enjoy. I also appreciated the challenge & tediousness that goes along with learning a new skill. I think that is one reason why I love to spin yarn now, as well.
What inspires your designs?
In the beginning I started making the things that I couldn’t find in the stores. When I was younger I was more into fashion & accessorizing. I always liked to have something different to wear than everyone else. These days life in general inspires my work. I like my jewelry to be more classic, everyday wearable – as well as be a keepsake or daily reminder of what is good in one’s life, a milestone, or a loved one we hold dear or are missing…(although I am overdue to play around with statement pieces once again!). My yarn is definitely inspired by color play – it’s like painting but by mixing fiber. But mostly I just love to spin: to hear the whorl of the wheel, to see the transformation from fluffy fiber to twisted rope. The wheel spins and all my thoughts and wishes and desires and negativity and positivity – all spin around with it, meld together and melt away…
What are your favorite pieces to make/creations you have made?
Certainly “Wings” is the piece that means the most to me – I rarely leave the house without it on. It has my mother’s monogram, and she is my angel, my protector. Certainly the jewelry I made for my wedding is also very dear to me, especially the charm bracelet, that has evolved into a mother’s bracelet (coincidentally 2 of my girls’ birthstones is sapphire – which was my wedding color theme). Mostly I love to hear people’s stories regarding the personalized jewelry I make, and becoming a type of support mechanism for them. Everything from honoring the death of a loved one, to happier events & milestones from weddings to friendships honored, breastfeeding goals reached etc etc. I am humbled to be part of their lives in this capacity: It gives what I do purpose, and I spend a lot of time convincing the negative side of me that what I do *does* have purpose outside of my own emotional well being. Sometimes it feels rather futile & pointless.
I have a few skeins of yarn that I am coveting because I cannot bring myself to turn them into something, I just love to stare at them in skein form. They are curly and fluffy and soft and a whole lot of fun. I probably broke every rule about spinning when I made them, which only makes me love them more…
Where do you sell your work?
Currently my products are available online only. My family tends to spontaneously roam so I have never been one to commit to doing a market regularly or even a show. We have moved into the direction of permanent residency in Nova Scotia (where we are originally from) by selling one of our properties. Whether or not I will open my North Mountain studio up for shopping or classes remains to be unseen.
Sure, so long as the request is within the scope of the style I am currently offering. Custom work is tricky because it takes me hours to develop a new product. There are many factors to consider including wearability, color, flow…if the request is not an esthetic I can put my name on, or if I know it will take several hours in research and development I will politely turn it down. Time is definitely not on my side these days. I encourage everyone to ask though – I will always consider your requests and are honored you asked.
Steve Skafte of Bridgetown, and Wally Shishkov of Bear River, Nova Scotia, have combined their talents to simultaneously create a cohesive piece of artwork called Painting Poems. I was particularly intrigued at how poet & painter can work silently together yet have the end result manifest the perfect mood/emotion – with Wally painting upside down, no less! Learn more about the artists & their process in this interview with Steve Skafte.
How long have you been creating painting-poems?
The very first piece that we did was on May 20, 2013. We began on a blank sheet, with no preparation or fore-thought whatsoever.
What made you start creating painting-poems?
We both survive almost entirely off the income of what we create, so economical reasons are almost as pressing as creative ones. I (Steve Skafte) had been thinking a lot about busking and street performance, and it was just getting into the season where warmth makes that sort of thing possible (or at least comfortable) in Nova Scotia. I came across a TED talk by Amanda Palmer where she talked about the concept of allowing people to give in return for art, rather than the idea of constantly demanding payment. I was already planning to take to the street with the idea of writing poetry live when a conversation with Wally Shishkov turned me in the direction of collaborative creating. There was a real desire to be seen for both of us. Art is more invisible than ever before in rural Canada, shoved into dark corners and only drug out with the notion of group expression or with the drive of government funding. We were tired of waiting to be accidentally discovered, so we decided to put ourselves in the path of passing traffic. There was never any urge for performance, just a nervous and open-hearted sharing. What could we do but create? For all the people hawking their finished products, it seemed to mean so much more for them to see it coming alive.
What inspires your designs?
Dreams, nature, water. Water more than anything, that’s part of working with watercolours, I suppose. Wavelengths, lightwaves, electrical impulses, magnetism. Without waves, where would we be, what could we see? Nowhere and nothing. The images start swirling, and they eventually find their way or dry their way to completion. Geometric shapes, lines and crosses and circles. The patterns of frost, the growth of crystals. We begin every creation live and at the same time, so as Steve writes and Wally paints upside-down, there’s a rush to the end, or at least to discover where the end is. In the end, the inspiration is the word. We pick that word, the title of the painting-poem, and try as best we can to express the full and whole emotion of what that word means to us. The shape is almost always entirely unexpected. It’s hard to know where it comes from.
What are your favorite pieces to make/creations you have made?
There’s one called “Exodus” that was particularly hard to part with. A lot of the pieces hang on heavily from the meaning of the words. The images mean a lot to us, but the words are a story, a one-of-a-kind journey to a place we’ve never been and will never be again. The wide-eyed smiles and sometimes tears in the eyes and on the faces of friends and strangers when they see the painting-poem come alive, fully improvised in front of them, just for them, that’s worth a lot. I think of a few pieces where the joy and sorrow was beyond compare, and we were deeply humbled and honored to share it. “Heartbeat”, was one. “Gypsy” was another, for a woman we’ll never forget. One called “Solitude” carried a woman back to the death of her mother, and we didn’t mean it that way, but it was exact to the strangest detail. “Transformation”, done on the street for a friend named Stephanie, was the most personal of experiences. Between the two of us creating, with her and her boyfriend watching, it was almost religious in nature. Nothing has ever felt so right. There’s a line in a piece called “The Gift” that says: “The gift we have is the gift we’re giving,” and that’s the real depth of it, I think. The ones that mean the most to us are the ones that meant the most to others.
Where do you sell your work?
We sell on the street live when we create, or inside at what shows we can get when the weather is colder. A binder of our 8.5×11 work is available for view at Low Tide Gallery (4 Queen Street, Bridgetown, Nova Scotia) as well as a handful of our 16×20 pieces. Online, we sell all of our currently available work in our Etsy shop, but all sold and unsold works can be browsed on Facebook.
Do you accept custom work?
Absolutely! About 1/3rd of all our work is requested. Unlike most art, requests are more like conversational ideas than demands. We start with a word (or sometimes a two/three word title) and sometimes a little background of what it means to them, then create from there. If you’d like us to do a piece for you, go to our Etsy shop and click the “Request Custom Order” button.
I own 3 Painting Poems for my Bridgetown home, & look forward to possessing more.
Are you an artist inspired? I’m looking to share your story here and in my monthly newsletter. Inspire me; inspire others! E-mail me or leave a comment below to be considered. All you need is an online presence (blog, website, Etsy shop, etc.) so that the international audience the internet attracts can get to know you & your product better. This is my contribution to the handmade/artist community, & I am honored to do so! Look forward to hearing from you…
Have you been healed by creativity? I am looking for examples to be featured here on the creativity inspired blog of how art/creativity helped you overcome loss/hardship/illness. Did you paint a picture? Get a tattoo/had art created for you, much like the Painting Poems? Plant a garden in honor of a person or event? I want to hear every & all examples of how an outward expression aided you in your process. It is my hope that others will find comfort in these inspirational stories. Please contact me directly in order to be featured, or leave me a comment below. My only requirement is that you have one picture of the finished product to share with readers. Namaste!
When I joined the Starving (Jewelry) ArtistsEtsy Street Team last year, one artist that caught my attention right away was Dianne Karg Baron. Her wire work is absolutely perfect: the attention to detail & craftsmanship is second to none & the designs truly inspire me. I knew that I had to have an example of her work featured here for future reference. Although there are several other pieces that are far more intricate, I was totally drawn to this pendant entitled: Mother & Child.
I chalked up my intense interest in this pendant as the result of being a young mother, having given birth twice in an 18 month period. Then Dianne shared the background on this design, and it was then that I understood why this particular piece held such a powerful energy:
“…And sometimes, the inspiration for a piece comes from an episode in my own life. In the case of “Mother and Child”, it was a miscarriage. Back in May, I discovered I was pregnant. It was a surprise pregnancy – completely unexpected. On the Monday I took the test, had a positive result. On Wednesday I went to my family doctor to get the process of finding an OB started and to schedule an ultrasound. On Thursday I started bleeding… After a couple of hours of sitting in Emergency, I had some tests and was sent home with the advice to come back if it got heavier. On Saturday, I started cramping severely, went back to Emergency and miscarried while waiting for a second set of test results.
It all happened so fast that I barely had time to wrap my head around the idea. Originally, I had planned on delaying doing the pregnancy test until Thursday, and then got impatient. It occurred to me that if I had followed through on the original plan, I would have never known I was pregnant.
I knew the chances of going full term were slim: I have underlying health issues that would have made for a very difficult pregnancy. So, the miscarriage wasn’t a surprise, but I was still sad. More than anything, it made me wish I’d met my husband 10 years earlier.
I’m of the opinion that every pregnancy is a soul connection between the mother and the child. That connection continues regardless if the pregnancy is terminated, miscarried or goes full term. Part of my grieving process has been to think in terms of still being “Mommy” to an angel who didn’t quite make it to Earth.
The pendant is my expression of that soul connection: it clearly shows the baby growing safe and secure in its mother’s belly. The foetus is abstract, and to my view, also looks a little like an angel wing. So my hope is that it works on both levels: celebrating the ones who join us, and remembering the ones who are growing up on the other side.”
When I received this background on the pendant, I found myself welling up with tears. I wanted it to remain in Dianne’s words rather than edited as I am sure many women will be touched and even comforted by her story. This piece is a true testament of how we can use our creative abilities to heal & inspire others.
Dianne has been making and designing jewelry for almost 15 years. She finds her inspiration from art, from architecture, from nature, from history – and of course, from personal experience. See more of Dianne’s work, including tutorials, at her Etsy Shop & visit her website.