Westervin Shop

Shop Update: Beaded Necklaces

Palmdale Necklace /// Westervin

Palmdale Necklace 

I like to visit bead shops when we travel. On our latest vacation, we spent a few nights at a great AirBnB in Nashville, and I made Brian go with me to a snazzy little bead shop in town. With his help, I was able to exercise restraint and only brought home a small bag of pretty beads. But even those few additions to be bead collection made me realize I had more than I needed. So on a bit of a whim, I woke up yesterday and, with coffee in hand, set about whipping up some one-of-a-kind necklaces while the morning sun lit my work table. 

Coeur D'Alene Necklace /// Westervin

Coeur D’Alene Necklace

It felt wonderful to finally make something again after a long creative-draught. Before I knew it, the afternoon rolled by and I’d created 8 necklaces, using some copper wire and leather cord I had. Piecing together the beads for each piece — from hand-painted glass beads to glazed ceramic ones to carved pieces of coral and marble — felt like a puzzle. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out; I ended up with 8 pieces, each one a special statement necklace.

Petaluma Necklace /// Westervin

Petaluma Necklace 

But! I couldn’t just add 8 new necklaces to my jewelry box. I just Kondoed it, remember? So, thinking of my poor little Etsy shop, alone and all but ignored these past few months, I spent the rest of the afternoon photographing the necklaces and listing them in the Westervin Shop. I shocked myself at how quickly it all came together. It’s as if each little bead was meant to find its way to me, be paired with other little bead friends and transformed into a special adornment, and eventually wind up in my shop, awaiting a new home. Will yours be the forever home of one of these necklaces? See them all here.

Hindsdale Necklace /// Westervin

Hindsdale Necklace 

Honey Hills Necklace /// Westervin

Honey Hills Necklace 

Mendota Necklace /// Westervin

Mendota Necklace 

Faire Play

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013

You’re not going to believe this. I just realized that I never shared my pictures from last year’s Renegade Craft Fair! For shame! As per usual, Brian and I had a great time perusing the impressive wares this past September at Chicago’s premier craft fair, and the booths certainly weren’t short on creative inspiration for me. I made sure to check out nearly every booth (a feat, let me tell you), and I snapped some pics of my favorites. After editing the pictures and putting this blog post together the following week, I promptly forgot to publish it. Gimme a break, though—it was a really busy time for me. But better late than never, right? I still wanna share all this great handmade work!

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Elizabeth Suzann dyed shirts

{ beautifully hand-painted silk shirts from Elizabeth Suzann }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Elizabeth Suzann dyed scraves

{ Elizabeth Suzann }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Dolan Geiman portraits

{ impressively large-scale, collage portraits and mixed media sculptures by Dolan Geiman }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Dolan Geiman art

{ Dolan Geiman }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Humperdinck Haberdashery hats

{ hats, hats, hats! from Humperdinck Haberdashery }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Naked Goat Farm jams

{ We got some DELISH bourbon peach jam from Naked Goat Farm after enjoying their free samples. }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Manymade wall art

 { I liked this cool booth filled with geometric animal portraits on wood. The business card I got said manymade.com, but sadly, the site doesn’t seem to exist anymore… }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Manymade art

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Adrienne Vita illustrated cards

{ colorful animal illustrations and printed gifts by Adrienne Vita }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Adrienne Vita pillows and prints

Adrienne Vita }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Caroline Borucki clothing

{ darling dresses made from unique fabrics by Caroline Borucki }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Susan Eastman textiles

{ Susan Eastman‘s display of hand-dyed scarves was perfect! }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Lisa Swerling glass cathedrals

{ Lisa Swerling’s Glass Cathedrals, delightful shadowbox sculptures }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Milled Home Goods Co

{ beautifully simple (and simply beautiful) wooden housewares and furniture from Milled }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Milled handmade furniture

{ Milled }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Urban Revisions glass vases

{ The highlight? Finally meeting the charming, talented Arlie Trowbridge of Urban Revisions and seeing her gorgeous glass jewelry and vases in person. Joyous! }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Urban Revisions glass jewelry

{ Urban Revisions }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Urban Revisions handmade clothing

{ Urban Revisions }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Moss for Meditation

{ serene moss sculptures from Moss for Meditation }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Moss for Meditation

{ Moss for Meditation }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Peg and Awl

{ special rustic treasures from Peg and Awl }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Michelle Starbuck tent decorations

{ Of course we stopped by Michelle Starbuck’s festive booth and admired her classy jewels! }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Michelle Starbuck Designs

{ Michelle Starbuck }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Janelle Gramling necklaces

{ And I got a crazy/cool necklace from Janelle Gramling. }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Janelle Gramling

{ Janelle Gramling }

Craft Contexts

Statement Jewelry, Then and Now

Arts and Crafts hair comb by Archibald Knox

comb by Archibald Knox }

If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve been eyeballs-deep in the Arts and Crafts movement, reading about the historical origins of today’s crafts styles and philosophies in Makers: A History of American Studio Craft. Most recently, I learned something truly fascinating (though not too surprising) about Arts and Crafts jewelers in the early 20th century. Their jewelry, crafted rather laboriously by hand using more inexpensive and easily attainable materials, was associated with progressive culture and politics. Handmade jewelry made a social statement.

Arts and Crafts necklace by Murrle Bennett

{ necklace by Murrle Bennett }

These jewelers “rejected both costume jewelry and social jewelry, the two professional types of their day.” Costume jewelry is made from inexpensive substitute materials, such as tin alloys and fake stones, rather than gold and precious stones, and is “produced in the least labor-intensive, most mechanized way possible.” Like the cheap jewelry you find at Forever 21 and Target, and even more expensive pieces you can find in more “high end” retail outlets that are still made in bulk from cheap materials in factories overseas. Costume jewelry is imitation social jewelry, pieces made from the real materials–gold, platinum, diamonds, emeralds, etc. Social jewelry is a sign of wealth and status. Beyonce’s 18-carat diamond engagement ring, anyone?

Arts and Crafts necklace by Brainerd Bliss Thresher

{ necklace by Brainerd Bliss Thresher }

“Arts and Crafts jewelers,” on the other hand, “proposed a hierarchy of taste instead of a hierarchy of wealth,” and their works were associated with “reform clothing,” which advocated for more casual, practical clothing, especially for women of the time. Their pieces were commonly made from sterling silver or copper and included glass beads, carved bone, enameling, and semi-precious stones. Their works also featured nature-inspired motifs, including a variety of flora and fauna. This was a common feature of Arts and Crafts works, as the movement often praised more rural ways of life.

Arts and Crafts necklace by Maurice Daurat

{ pendant by Maurice Daurat }

Arts and Crafts brooch by George Pierre

{ brooch by George Pierre }

Arts and Crafts necklace by Arthur and George Gaskin

{ necklace by Arthur & Georgie Gaskin }

While reading about this, I immediately thought of the “statement necklaces” that were everywhere a couple years ago or so (and are still pretty popular?). Sadly, the only statement most of these necklaces were making was just a “fashion statement,” as they were only large pieces of costume jewelry. However, there were and still are quite a few craftspeople and artisans creating jewelry that make both a fashion statement and a social statement—bold, colorful, original pieces of art that are handcrafted, often from affordable materials, like embroidery thread and wooden beads, as well as recycled metals and stones.

handmade necklace by Edith Robertson

{ necklace by Edith Robertson }

 handmade necklace by Tamara Bavdek

{ necklace by Tamara Bavdek }

handmade earrings by Heejin Hwang

{ earrings by Heejin Hwang }

handmade bracelet by Karen Konzuk

{ bracelet by Karen Konzuk }

handmade necklace by Arlie Trowbridge

{ necklace by Arlie Trowbridge }

handmade rings by Polly van der Glas

{ rings by Polly van der Glas }

necklace by Orly Genger

{ necklace by Orly Genger }

handmade ring by Elke Kramer

ring by Elke Kramer }

handmade necklace by Pauli Ochi

necklace by Pauli Ochi }

handmade necklace by Viktoria Luftensteiner

necklace by Viktoria Luftensteiner }

The next time I purchase a piece of jewelry, I’ll try to be more conscious of the statement I’m making….

A Westervin Wedding, Shopping Sherpa

New Wedding Bands for Our First Anniversary

handmade geometric gold and silver wedding bands

{ 1. Stardust Wedding Band } { 2. Gold Bubbles Ring }  { 3. Metropolitan Wedding Band }

{ 4. Gold Branch Ring }  { 5. Banner Ring }  { 6. Grid Ring }

{ 7. Starlight Wedding Band }  { 8. Gold Slant Ring }  { 9. Titanium & Yellow Gold Ring }

Brian and I are getting new wedding bands for our 1-year anniversary next month. Why, you ask? Well, we’ve come up with a few reasons to get a new set:

1. It’s fun! Finding new rings together to reflect our personal styles has been pretty enjoyable.

2. It takes the stress out of finding the perfect anniversary gift and trying to keep it a secret. (I’m very skilled in ruing surprises.)

3. We LOVE our current wedding rings, but I’d like to have the option of having a different style and color to wear.

4. I get that a wedding band is a symbol of your union to one person, so it makes sense for that ring to stay constant. But a marriage doesn’t stay the same from year to year. You grow and change together. Therefore, I want a new set of rings to reflect on and celebrate that we’ve made it, happily, through a full year of marriage together.

5. We’re keeping it affordable by purchasing handmade rings and avoiding solid gold or other high-priced metals. And I love supporting individual craftspeople and jewelry-makers!

6. It’s non-traditional. This might be a reason against getting new wedding bands, but we’re counting this in the “for” column.

The only problem? With so many awesome options out there, it’s been hard choosing the right one for each of us! Of the nine rings above, I think we’ve narrowed it down to the two we want. (The options for Brian are in the four corners.) But I kinda want your opinion! Which rings do you like best? What do you think about getting a new set of affordable, handmade wedding bands each year? Don’t hold back.

Westervin Wishlist

26 Years

Pie from Bang Bang

It’s my birthday, y’all! Well, it will be tomorrow, and I’m gettin’ pumped. I have what I think is the perfect weekend-long birthday celebration ahead: Friday off from work (did someone say shopping); a trip with some frands to Six Flags on Saturday; and a joint-birthday potluck brunch in our backyard on Sunday (our pal LB is turning 24 that day). It will make for the most perfectest combination of relaxation, excitement, socializing, sunshine, and a little alcohol (Brian will be making fresh OJ for mimosas and tomato juice for bloody marys at the brunch)! Do I have it made or what?!

Because the anticipation is killing me, I thought I’d kill some time with a birthday wishlist, which includes some of these things I’m looking forward to and some things I’m still pining for.

The first is an entire pie from Bang Bang (see above). Preferably a chilled pie, like key lime or banana cream. Mmmmmm……. We’ll be picking up my pie order on Sunday for the brunch!

Six Flags roller coaster

Roller coasters via Six Flags. I need the thrill, baby!

edible arrangement

{ image from The Beautiful Thrifty Life }

An edible arrangement. Not kidding. I really want this. I’m literally so excited about one of these bad boys being delivered to my office tomorrow that I’ve probably spent 6 hours on their website looking at all the different fruit combinations and arrangements and asking Brian 50 times what time it’s gonna arrive!

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me

More reading material! These are just two of the titles on my list of books to read before classes start again in September.  Here’s hoping I can keep it up through the fall semester! (Who am I kidding?)

handmade bracelets

Bracelets! All the bracelets!

Clockwise: Ice Blue, River, Two-Toned, Amazonite, Maidenhair Fern, Coral & Cobalt

gray and white cat

A companion for Fitzgerald. This kitteh’s name is Prince, and he wants me to give him a forever home. I can tell by the look in his eyes.

cat temporary tattoos

Or at least temporary cat tattoos. But preferably both.

Do It Yo'self

Behind the scenes of Lillstreet’s DIY video series

Lillstreet jewelry making studio

I mentioned that I’m producing a series of DYI videos for Lillstreet, which is, quite possibly, the coolest project I’ve gotten my crafty little hands on to date. And it’s been so much fun! We hope to release the videos next month, but I wanted to give you a sneak peek of our first shoot.

We just shot our second video last night with fiber artist Camille Canales. She showed us the professional technique of immersion dyeing for creating a hand dyed silk scarf. I didn’t get any shots of that fun project (you’ll just have to trust me that it was awesome), but I did manage to take a few from our first video (seen here).

For the first video, Katie Mills of Lady Faye Jewelry (I’m buying this ring, BTDubs) taught us how to make simple brass bracelets, which could be customized with one’s initials using a letter stamp.

See those pretty brass bands above!

Joe Tighe and Katie Mills of Lillstreet's DIY Video Series

Photographer & videographer, Joe Tighe of A Couple of Dudes, was our skilled director & cameraman. He’s also finishing up the editing now, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. I’ll be sure to share it with you, of course, next month!

Maker's Remarks

Arlie Trowbridge of Urban Revisions

Oh man. I’m excited. Why? Because I’m about to share my mini interview with Arlie Trowbridge, the stupidly talented woman behind Urban Revisions. I’ve loved her work for ages now! Arlie was sweet enough to answer a few questions — some silly, some serious — for the latest installment of my Maker’s Remarks series. And the timing couldn’t be better, because she’s just released her Spring/Summer 2012 collection. Oh how these sherbet colored pieces make me wanna run outside and chase an ice cream truck!

handmade glass and leather purses by Urban Revisions

How did Urban Revisions start? Did you have a “quit your day job to start an Etsy shop” sort of moment?

Urban Revisions started in early 2009 by accident. I had just started getting into reading fashion blogs and the DIY shredded t-shirt craze was in full effect. I gave it a try and was immediately addicted to the process of “revising” the most basic article of clothing – a tee. My friend started modeling them in “urban” settings around Richmond, and the Etsy shop was born. Shortly after my first couple of sales, I was awarded a fellowship by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Couldn’t have been better timing. This allowed me to “quit my day job” and really pursue selling my work.

Arlie Trowbridge of Urban Revisions

Your shredded T-shirts are so unique, and it seems like your beautiful glass jewelry requires a lot of skill to create. What’s the inspiration for your pieces and the process for making them?

There’s no doubt that I love things with an organic feel to them. Almost anything that I’ve ever created and really loved came about by accident… there’s something really special about working with glass and distressed fiber. You can melt and shred forever until something amazing comes about. In the end, everything always has this delicate look but in actuality, cotton and glass have really strong qualities.

shredded cotton scarf in orange sherbet

Would you say you’re more of an urbanite or a nature-lover? Or a perfect mixture of both?

Both! I’ve lived in or very close to a city the majority of my life. I need to be near the sound of people’s hustle and bustle but I also need our long camping trips in the middle of no where and our afternoons hanging down by the James River.

shredded cotton t-shirt from Urban Revisions

What’s a typical day in the life of Arlie Trowbridge? Take us through a brief snapshot of your day, from morning to night?

Wake up, stumble to the coffee pot, fill the largest mug available, stumble to the studio and slowly open my eyes over emails and blogs.
Thats the first step, and then it’s either …

a. start shredding
b. start torch working
c. start dyeing
< or >
d. start day dreaming

I’m really all over the place, and it feels awesome.

handmade glass cluster rings from Urban Revisions

Would you rather have the ability to breathe underwater or the ability to fly? Explain.

Breathe underwater!!! In fact, this is something I’ve dreamt about many times. I spent many days at our local pool pretending to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid when I was little. Some people have commented on my cluster rings and leaf earrings, saying they remind them of coral. I love that. Marine life is fascinating.

handmade shredded t-shirt from Urban Revisions

What’s your favorite part of creating & selling your handicrafts?

The people I have had the pleasure to “meet”! The internet is such a powerful tool. Knowing that there are ladies all over the world wearing Urban Revisions is incredible to me.

handmade glass cluster ring from Urban Revisions

BTDubs, if you’ve read through this interview, you’ve got a special treat coming. You can enter Arlie’s giveaway on Facebook to win the spectacular glass cluster ring pictured above. Get on over there and enter!

Shopping Sherpa

Tropical Tango

tangerine tango fashion, art, and accessories

{ 1. Vintage Owls }  { 2. Neon Vegan Leather Handbag }  { 3. Vintage Glass Beaded Necklace }  { 4. Girl Painting by Jennifer Davis }  { 5. Leia Floral Blouse }

Shopping Sherpa

The Shopping Sherpa: Black as Night

black handmade accessories and vintage clothing

Clockwise from top left: { Swan Song Noir Ring from Blood Milk }  { Cannon Earrings from Stone & Honey }  { Vintage Beaded Blouse from The Greedy Seagull, Inc. }  { Thunder In Our Hearts Tote from Field Guided }  { REVOLUTION / PLANETS Print from Beauchamping (found via Where The Lovely Things Are) }

Westervin Wishlist

Westervin Wishlist: To Sarah, From Santa

christmas illustration by Heidi Burton

 

{ May I Lick the Spoon? by Heidi Burton }

My turn! Time to reveal all the goodies I’ve been pining for this Christmas. From dreamcats and lunar landscapes to mirror shards and rusty nails, I think I’ve put together a pretty interesting and comprehensive wishlist this year. See for yourself below!

Continue reading