Loudon County, Virginia has an amazing group of artists who open their studio doors to the public each June. This weekend is the sixth annual Western Loudon Art Studio Tour with over fifty different studio artists who do all sorts of things like ceramics, photography, jewelry, painting, and the coolest embroidery I’ve ever seen, by Kara Laughlin of Crewel Whorled. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, and Great Country Farms is overrun by strawberry pickers, check out this Studio Tour!
I never quite know what to tell people who ask how my jewelry business is going. Actually, more frequently it’s something like, “Are you still doing that beading thing?” I usually end up saying something like, “It’s going really well, thanks!” and leave out the fact that I managed to nap every afternoon during my first trimester and still managed to crank out a successful spring line (which is now mostly gone, sorry!). I am so thankful for the gals at Simply Charming Boutique in downtown Winchester for doing such a great job of selling my pieces.
You may remember in the fall I switched gears to focus on two new lines, Facets and Elements. They both did really well over Christmas. I expected there to be the typical lull during the winter before working on spring, and considering the crazy metals market (silver doubled in the past year) I figured sales would taper off. But every month (instead of every quarter) I’ve had to restock my collection and I’m finally starting to realize that I don’t get to be the Lazy Jewelry Gal any more. I still get to dabble a little in new techniques (like resin and polymer clay) but gone are the days when I get to chronicle every activity on my blog or upload pictures of my inventory. To my out-of-town readers, I apologize for keeping all my jewelry captive in the Shenandoah Valley, but I guarantee if you come visit you will have a beautiful trip. This summer I am going to try to work ahead a little and build a collection for fall & Christmas, and once that’s underway I will try to post some pictures, but come October I may be off the grid for a while because we’re expecting another baby. !!!
So… I may not get around to posting anything new from my studio, but AnneMade Jewelry doing well and I’m still having fun!
I like to share when I have a project that touches my heart. This time it was for a woman named Debbie who, with her husband, started an orphanage in Haiti that has helped save the lives of countless children since it opened in 2008. Watching this informational video absolutely brought me to tears, and I am so proud of the work they are doing.
Debbie commissioned me to make special thank-you gifts for the volunteers who have traveled multiple times to Haiti to help out with the orphanage. Together we designed these pendants (with angel wing charms) for the ladies and keychains for the guys that read the name of the orphanage, Helping Hatian Angels.
If you’re like me, the term “handmade” or “craft show” can conjure up images of NFL quillows and needlepoint Kleenex covers…
|Birdseye cherry Shaker sewing box by Suffolk Shaker Shop|
However, Steve and I love going to *juried* festivals where the artisans produce all sorts of beautiful and high-quality wares. The Sugarloaf Craft Festival is coming to Chantilly, Virginia December 10-12 and boasts 250 craftspeople exihibiting everything from handweaving to metal forging, soup mixes to wheel-thrown pottery. If you’re looking for something more creative than a gift card for a loved one on your Christmas list, this is the place to be. Or, if you’re like me you’ll be shopping for yourself because these handworks are so cool. In addition to being able to buy directly from the artisans, the show also features live demonstrations, music, and theatre performances for the kids. To preview the work of the more than 250 artists participating in the show and see the full schedule of entertainment, visit http://www.sugarloafcrafts.com/ or www.facebook.com/sugarloafcrafts.
Email me if you’re interested in FREE TICKETS! firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark your calendars because there’s another Sugarloaf Chantilly right around the corner, January 28-30, 2011!
This Saturday, November 27, is Small Business Saturday. Instead of making plans to fight the crowds at the big-box stores at 6am on Black Friday, perhaps you could go hiking or spend time with your family instead. And on Saturday check out your local art co-op, get your nails done, and eat at an independent restaurant. Show these small business owners that you support your community.
Even if you don’t do your Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, I encourage you to buy local and handcrafted as much as you can. And if hand-knit and wheel-thrown are your thing, make an Etsy wish list so your loved ones can find something more creative than a gift card.
Spread the word!
(Pinked Pins by MollyauContraire on Etsy)
I get requests for custom orders all the time, but every once in a while I get an assignment that is really neat and I like to share it with you. This time it was from a fellow named Hereward (Hez) “across the pond.” He wanted a christening present for his great nephew whose Dad is in the Royal Marines, so he asked me to recreate a set of British military issue ID tags (the round kind with a smaller chain for the second tag), but in sterling silver with the father’s service number and name and the baby’s birthdate and name. Hez sent me all the measurements right down to the diameter of the ball chain and the size of the hole in the tag through which the chain goes. I sent him a picture before I set off for the post office and he was very pleased, couldn’t wait to give the guys their gifts. Isaac is a month older than Olivia, so I bet he’ll be excited for a new shiny object.
One of my favorite things to do is walk around a craft fair. They’re usually outdoors in the summer, and I love to talk to other craftsmen about what they do. Right now it’s the dead of winter, but I just wanted to put the word out about Sugarloaf Craft Festivals, which are some of the best craft shows I’ve been to AND they’re indoors so there’s no mud. They have artists demonstrating their trades, activities for children, high-quality artisans selling everything from quilted items to homemade food mixes to really great jewelry. I’m particularly fond of Eugene B. Smith, a local watercolor artist who paints everything from the Shenandoah Valley to coastal regions to Japanese irises.
The weekend of January 29-31 the Sugarloaf show will be at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA. Steve and I went last year and were impressed by the quality and variety of artists, and even met a relative we’d never known. (I thought, “What are the odds I’m related to a band box maker named Richardson from Suffolk, VA? So I walked right up and started comparing family trees with him.) For more info about vendors and hours, you can check out the Sugarloaf Chantilly website. And if you don’t live in the DC area, check out the schedule for a show closer to you.