Favorite Tea Accessories: Atelier Oker

April 13, 2011

Atelier Oker is a stunning Etsy shop by talented Belgian ceramicist and teacher, Jeannine Vrin. Each piece in her shop is a beautifully designed work of art that is meant to be used functionally. They all seem to fulfill the mission of this studio, in finding the “poetry of ordinary things.” Her exquisite ceramic tea strainer is no exception. It’s a gorgeous piece that would truly turn every cup of tea into a special tea ceremony. I am a great proponent of the need for such rituals in every day life. Be forewarned: Jeannine tells me that these tea strainers sell almost as soon as they are posted, so if you see one and like it, snap it up quickly! If not, contact her directly to pre-order if possible. Dank u, Jeannine!


Featured Seller: Organic Quilt Company

December 1, 2010
organic cotton burp cloths

organic cotton burp cloths

Wow! It’s been ages since I last featured a seller from the handmade community. In fact, it was nearly a year ago. I guess it is around the holiday that we hone in on the best and brightest artisans out there.

Becky Stone of Organic Quilt Company

Becky Stone of Organic Quilt Company

I probably first saw the fine work of Becky Stone on Etsy‘s front page, as in May of 2009, she was a featured Etsy seller. Her beautifully photographed works consist of organic cotton baby blankets, burp cloths, hand crafted quilts, infant hats, and bibs, all found in her etsy store, Organic Quilt Company. The fabrics are absolutely beautiful and certainly drew me to her shop instantly to peruse for gifts. My brother’s baby Maya and a  friend’s baby Samantha are two recent recipients of her gorgeous creations. Just look at this beautiful Woodland Friends blanket below (Samantha snagged that):

Woodland Friends Baby Blanket

Woodland Friends baby blanket

Passionate about her quilting addiction, Becky lives with her husband, three kids, and two fat cats in Hudson, an idyllic small town just outside of Montreal, Canada. Color and fabric, “in all its tactile glory”, have always been the main sources of inspiration for her projects. Becky tells me that she began quilting fifteen years ago because she really wanted to own a quilt and couldn’t afford to buy one. Her first attempt was a huge, very difficult quilt that she did finish, but she claims that “‘primitive’ would be a very grand compliment for it.” Fortunately, Becky stuck with it to create the beautiful pieces she designs today.

organic cotton blankets

organic cotton blankets

When I asked Becky about why she chose to work with organic materials, she said she had become concerned with the “chemicals devoured by the textile industry, and the quilting industry in particular.” Wrapping her three wee bairns in chemically-coated textiles at bed time was simply not appealing!  Becky chose to focus on baby quilts because, as I well know (!), everyone loves to buy beautiful things for babies. Here, here! It was a marriage made in heaven: organic fabrics and baby quilts. In addition, a baby quilt would provide a more affordable price point than larger, full-sized quilts, as they are already such labor intensive products.

handmade organic cotton quilt

organic cotton quilt

Shipping times from Canada are around two weeks, so you are *just* in time to order for the holidays. Pop on over to Organic Quilt Company and buy something beautiful for a baby you love.  You can mix and match lots of options to create the perfect bundle of organic goodness.

organic infant knot hat

infant knotty hat

Other posts you might enjoy:
Looking for something unique? One of a Kind Art
Featured Seller: Motley Mutton
Eco Head ware for the Wee Ones


Looking for something unique? One of a kind art

December 5, 2009

Lilith, by Clayrew

One of a kind fiber arts are not something I set out to find, but somehow (and I’m not sure exactly how), I came upon this amazing artisan, Robin E. Whiteman of Clayrew (etsy), who makes unique, one of a kind fiber art pieces, such as this lovely rendition of Lilith with her animal familiar, the owl. Lilith, the inspiration for my business, has a magical aura about her, just as Robin’s artworks do. I wanted to share her work with my readers, as this time of year I tend to blog a bit more about amazing material finds and one of a kind wonders. Robin’s pieces include fiber and ceramic sculptures seemingly drawn from Jungian psychology, the archaeology of Marija Gambutas, who pioneered the concept of goddess religions pre-dating patriarchal religions and culture in human history, bits of human artifact (such as leather from crete) and her own intuitively creative inspiration and sculptural musings.

Fetish art piece

Fetish 1

For instance, the Fetish 1 piece, pictured here, is at first glace a representation of fetishes favored by paleolithic and early neolithic cultures, but a closer examination reveals a face emerging from the belly of the female form, a surprising revelation that lends further mystery to the piece.

Dark Goddess ceramic art piece

Dark Goddess

I also love her ceramic Dark Goddess, a piece that I would love to have in my fantasy home, one with hallways with quiet niches where such pieces could be properly and reverantly placed. The Dark Goddess is coated in bronze encaustic wax, a material favored by Jasper Johns that has always fascinated me as a material I would love to work with. Encaustic provides a textural effect that adds another dimension to two-dimensional art, such as many of Johns’ paintings. In this piece, the bronze encaustic on ceramic provides a sense of ‘the ancient’ (that ellusive, undefinable ‘ancient’ that we can’t even really pinpoint except in the minds of Jung and in the texts of myth) that gives it the not-quite-tangible aura of an artifact of an ancient goddess religion. Just the kind of chills I love to get from a material object. Maybe this is why I married an archaeologist. Hmmmm


Winter Spirit…The Gift Guide

November 13, 2009
GrassHopper from Grazim's Shop on etsy

"Grasshopper" by Grazim

 

The autumn already seems to be ebbing away, though there are still a few wee tomatoes on my urban-dwelling vines. Still, many of autumn’s bright and colored leaves have fallen. Though I don’t usually create a treasury of beloved handcrafteds for this most herby of blogs, I was perusing through etsy favorites and felt inspired to share these lovelies with my dear readers. You may not want to spend that much on a chandelier, but you must admit….it is amazing! And if that is out of your price range, you might invest in a wee felted grasshopper, such as this one created by Grazim, and etsy shop located somewhere in Europe, and also the home of the sweetest felted slippers you’ve ever seen. 

Peaceful afternoon dress by SarahSeven on etsy

"Peaceful Afternoon" by SarahSeven

 

The Peaceful Afternoon dress, and other poetic creations, can be found in sarahseven‘s etsy shop. One must pay for luminous handmade creations, but would we artisans have it any other way? 

"Safe Keeping" by The Haunted Hollow Tree on etsy

"Safe Keeping" by The Haunted Hollow Tree

 

There are many beguiling images by The Haunted Hollow Tree etsy endeavor, but this one demands a frame and prized wall space at my humble abode. 

"mutant bunny" mask by Alma Pottery

"Mutant Bunny" by Alma Pottery

 

Alma Pottery claims to have art + attitude in the shop’s clever creations. I think this absolutely bizarre-fairytale-meets-the-surreal Mutant Bunny mask certainly fulfills the claim. I love it! 

"Cherry Root Chandelier" by Fiko Arts

"Cherry Root Chandelier" by Fiko Arts

 

Well, this is that (albeit *slightly pricy*) chandelier by Fiko Art I was talking about. I wish I lived in a house that could handle it! Maybe a converted one-room schoolhouse? Well, you’d need some lofty ceilings for this magical centerpiece. Take note of the absolutely amazing details, including the carving. This is an absolute work of art, and probably museum quality as well. 

Raven Terrarium by Doodlebirdie on etsy

"Raven Terrarium" by Doodlebirdie

 

I find terrariums absolutely enchanting, I have to say. I recently made a few without reading any directions as to the actual process (duh) and needless to say they didn’t work out that well. The keys are 1) not letting the moss touch the glass (fog), and 2) using charcoal to absorb moisture and also making sure there is some rocks at the bottom for a bit better ‘drainage’. Next time I’ll get it right! But in the meantime, check out Doodle Birdie for some lovely creations. 

Branch necklace by After Winter on etsy

"Branch" by After Winter

 

Ok, so let me send a subtle message into the ether. *I want this necklace for Christmas* Too bad my husband doesn’t read my blog! Alas. But still, this has been a favorite since it first appeared on the scene, at least a year ago. After Winter’s proprietress makes these absolutely amazing molded pieces using nature + pure sterling silver to create the most gorgeous pieces of adornment. These are heirlooms. 

"Tire Swings" baby booties by Wooly Baby on etsy

"Tire Swings" by Wooly Baby

 

I absolutely adore the vintage look to these handmade wool baby boots, complete with leather sole for those new walkers. I mean, I either have to buy these for some random baby I come across, or I need to have a new baby so I can shod its feet in these grey woolies. Either way – these booties must be worn by a baby that I know. Thank you Wooly Baby. Thank you for subtley pressuring me to have another baby so I can pay another $12,000 a year in child care costs. 

"Tree Sisters" by Sarah Ogren on etsy

"Tree Sisters" by Sarah Ogren

 

Is this a save the best for last moment? I’m not sure, but I can say, from one Sarah to another, Sarah Ogren is one of my absolute favorite etsy sellers. I do often wear a necklace creation, not unlike this amazing image, but I adore all of her animal headed Victorian creations equally, and someday soon, I want one for my walls (or at least my three year old daughter’s bedroom, where it would be most precious). Hint, Hint. 

You know, most etsy officianados like the lovely Scoutie Girl blog (thank you, Tara Gentile) create things called ‘Gift Guides’. Even etsy has its own Gift Guides to help overwhelmed and confused shoppers. I create Give-me-this Guides, apparently. I’m laughing out loud here because I’m not serious (but kinda am). I will say this. Nobody needs to buy me the Chandelier or the $500 frock, but…my three year old, Maeve, could try her hand at making a terrarium perhaps? Daddy? What’dya say?


Featured Seller – Motley Mutton

March 12, 2009

il_430xn_51570827 This is a blog about the world of herbs, botanical medicine, natural skin care, and related ingredients, is it not? Well, it’s also about green living. What does that mean, though? When I think about “green living” i am usually thinking about it from the urban standpoint of making eco-friendly choices, recycling, upcylcing, choosing sustainable practices, but just wait until you read about the etsy artisan below and the truly Green (note, capital G) life that she lives. Not only is she giving back to the earth and providing for her community by having a market garden and participating in community 4H via her children, but she is giving back to humanity by caring for so many children and by fostering new little lives at her wonderful homestead in West Virginia.

I was immediately drawn to the amazing felt craft of etsy artisan Nancy Bevins, proprietor of Motley Mutton fom the first moment I saw one of her creations. In fact, I sometimes go to her shop just for a bit of respite when I want to see some exquisitely crafted little felty animals, swinging on swings. How does she do it? I wondered. They are so skillfully created. I love to create and learn how to do new things, but sometimes I feel that it’s nice to just see what people can do with a material that is still a total mystery to me.

il_155x125_47203414 Nancy Bevins lives on a farm in West Virginia. She moved from California and with her family and built a house on an old abandoned farm. With four grown children, four more adopted from foster care and two additioanl foster children, needless to say, things have to be pretty busy in the Bevins household!  The family homeschools, raises sheep, chickens, and has large garden which enables them to sell at the local farmer’s market. The whole family pitches in and shares in the profits.

In respect to her craft, Nancy tells me, “After first moving here, we tried raising a few different animals, but then my children began raising sheep for 4H. We began using the wool for various things, but then discovered felting. Our wool isn’t the greatest, not the best for spinning, not really soft and silky, so this has been a good fit for our farm. It definately helps pay the bills, and justifies having so many “pets” around the place!

“I began selling on Ebay, but then discovered Etsy and started a regular shop there. I still sell on Ebay once in a while, and once a month I offer larger pieces at the PFATT Marketplace (Pfattmarketplace.com). I’m not crazy about custom pieces because I have so many ideas for things I’d like to make, and every time I accept custom orders I have to neglect my Etsy shop. There’s just never enough time for everything!”

il_430xn_52781977 You really ought to check out Motley Mutton …be inspired!


Featured Blog & Featured Etsy Seller

January 26, 2009

I think its time to feature some other bloggers and artisans out there with amazing blogs and etsy shops and/or products. For instance, check out The Alchemist’s Garden for early 20th century herbal pharmacopeia & wisdom, such as the Cocoa Essence: http://herbalwitchcraft.com/blog/I could spend ages checking out this blog, full of all kinds of interesting notes, gardening experiences, tidbits, and lore

As for etsy sellers, I would love to highlight an old favorite: Fairy Tale Fibers, based in the US’ Northwest
http://www.fairytalefibers.etsy.com

Wee Fairy Hood from www.fairytalefibers.etsy.com

Wee Fairy Hood


I have one of these magical fairy hoods and love it! I have gotten many comments on it, of course, and living in urban Philadelphia, it gives me a bit of deep, dark forest feeling (much needed).


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