Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feature: Darlene Martin of Bijouxbead

Darlene Martin is very talented and disciplined and it shows in her work, which is both unique and stunning. The necklace on the left here is titled, "Myrrh".

Darlene’s jewelry features materials such as handmade lampwork glass, handmade fine silver clasps, or semi precious stones. She gets a lot of press, including a full half hour feature on a television series about entrepreneurs. She was awarded a full scholarship at the Queen's University Executive Business School, and she was recently nominated for an Entrepreneur of the Year award in Canada.

Here is a link to Darlene’s Etsy store, Bijouxbead: http://www.bijouxbead.etsy.com/

"National Treasury Collection- Ontario"

I interviewed Darlene:

Aunt Jane: What inspirations do you have for your jewelry?

Darlene: My muse is Canada; its nature, its people, its inimitability, and the horizontal links between them. My work has a distinct aesthetic that draws from several different mediums -be it glass, metal or stone. To feel the warmth that transfers from your body to these natural elements is what first inspired me to urge people to "feel what you wear, wear what you feel". As my handmade collection of necklaces, bracelets and earrings develops, so too does my passion for incorporating Canadian-ness into my work.

Aunt Jane: Do you listen to music while you are creating, and if so what music?

Darlene: I prefer complete silence when I am working. That way, I can focus 100% on it. The tactile and visual stimulation is what brings about the titles of each piece; three hours with nothing but the piece on my mind and in my hands is what helps me come up with these titles and very good reasons for them. It reminds me of defending a thesis; I love it when customers ask me to elaborate.

Aunt Jane: What materials do you like to work with?

Darlene: I work exclusively with glass, metal and stone. I have always purchased my materials in person; and all of my suppliers are Canadian.

I asked Darlene to elaborate some more:

"Being a Canadian triple gold figure skating medalist, skating has always been big part of my life. It was a big change for me to hang up my skates after 34 years of identifying myself that way. I feel Bijouxbead has allowed me to keep the discipline and artistry pieces of my skating identity and move them forward in a new and challenging direction.

My Etsy shoppe was born of the necessity to have some kind of on line presence, although I have no expectations to sell a lot of my work there. I do enjoy the Etsy community, and have gained a wealth of knowledge from them in a very short period of time. But my work is tactile, and no matter how well I present it online, it just isn't the same as touching it. When Bijouxbead is spoken about in the media, the web activity skyrockets; and then the sales spike at the galleries, in that order. I don't think that will ever change."

"Window To My Heart"

"Have My Eyes On You"

To learn more visit Darlene’s main website: http://www.bijouxbead.com/

Next television appearance: The Slice Network, November 3, 2008 2:00pm ET.

Darlene's next exhibition will be running from November 13 through November 27 at a high end gallery in Toronto.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nora's Beautiful Medicine Bags

I have a dear dear friend , Nora. She is so very kind and wise. It shows in her work, too. She has an Etsy store called: Cardinal Designs. Within the store are beautiful handcrafted medicine bags and gourds that inspire me so very much. Nora's medicine bags and jewelry can also be found at Susun Weed's site in the gift shop section. Here is a link to more of Nora's work:

Look at this medicine bag: The Three Muses. To die for! This is the Cardinal Designs store link at Etsy: http://www.CardinalDesigns.etsy.com/

Here is Nora's description of this beautiful bag:

"~The Three Muses~

This handmade medicine bag has three of the nine muses on it depicted in a acrylic cameo set in the middle of the flap. It is framed with twisted sunset floss. The cameo is brown and gray and the muses are white. The bag body is made from rich blue deerskin and accented with milk chocolate deerskin for the fringe and neckstrap. The fringe is decorated with blue disc beads, white and clear tile beads. The fringe measures about 10” long. The neckstrap is 37” long and also decorated with the same type beads as the fringe. On the back of the bag is a natural opening that has been reinforced with the contrasting milk chocolate color deerskin. There is a piece of fox fur on the front of the body of the bag. The bag measures 4” long by 2 ½” wide.

What Wikipedia has to say about muses:
In Greek mythology, the Muses are a sisterhood of goddesses or spirits, their number set at nine by Classical times, who embody the arts and inspire the creation process with their graces through remembered and improvised song and stage, writing, traditional music, and dance. They were water nymphs, associated with the springs of Helicon and with Pieris, from which they are sometimes called the Pierides. Not only are the Muses explicitly used in modern English to refer to an inspiration, as when one cites his/her own artistic muse, but they are also implicit in the words "amuse" or "musing upon". Who are your muses……?"

Now, this White Moon Goddess bag! Nora's eloquent description:

"~Moon Goddess Diana ~

Goddess Diana is a well known moon goddess representing both the hunted and the hunter. She stands tall without constraints and is a free spirit. She is a virgin, extremely independent and self-sufficient. She is a major Goddess for women representing all phases of feminine life, from birth to death and everything in between. Diana represents our comfort level at being ourselves and living by our wild instincts. She is called Lucina by the Romans, Goddess of light. She oversees things of the wild and feels responsible for the young and most naive. She is comfortable in the wilderness and with solitude.

This feminine medicine bag is made from soft, white deerskin suede. It measures 1 ½” by 1 ½” with fringe that is approximately 6” long. The fringe is lavishly decorated with gold tone spacers and gun metal seed beads. On the front of the flap is a filigree charm with a pearl in its center to represent the full moon Diana likes to travel with. The neck strap is 30” long and decorated with larger gold tone spacers and gun metal seed beads.

I really like this size bag for wearing. It can house a small gemstone, pinch of herb, good luck charm, amulet or something near and dear to you."

I love this Deerskin Medicine Bag! Again, Nora's description:


This soft and supple medicine bag is made from rich deerskin that looks good enough to eat. There are natural striations on the bag that are subtle but earthy. The bag measures 4 ¼” long by 2 ¼” wide. The taupe strap measures 34” long. The taupe fringe is almost 6” long. It is hand sewn with sturdy sunset color floss. There is a natural cut flap that has a round full moon in dark brown deerskin framed with the same sunset color floss. On that moon is a polished piece of horn and two orange acrylic oak leaves. The moon is 1 ½” and the horn and leaves measure 2 ¾” long.

This bag is meant for somebody who is down to earth, earthy and grounded…or who would like to be that way. This is a no frills, salt of the earth bag. Random House: "The gathering of crops. The result of any act, process or event. To gather or reap". I see harvest as this but more. There is the harvesting of ideas, inner awareness, goals, accomplishments etc. Harvesting on all levels. Let us continue to harvest and reap the benefits of our harvests well and share them."

Take a look at this awesome medicine bag!~ White Shell Woman ~ Words of Nora:

"White Shell Woman strolls the seashores bringing blessings to all she gently touches. She drifts, she sways, she, ebbs and flows. She moves with the moon in its monthly phases. She’ll flow into your heart. White Shell Woman is earthy, flowing and in harmony with her surroundings.

This one-of-a-kind buckskin medicine bag is 3 3/4" long by 2 1/2" wide. It is hand sewn with gold seed beads along its seam. On the flap is a sliced shell with a small black and white striped shell (snail shell shape) inside. The black deerskin fringe measures 4-4 1/2" long and is decorated with white glass tile beads, red seed beads, and cowrie shells. The strap is 36" long and has two red tile and black & white oblong, etched beads on it.The cowrie shells represent the maiden, mother and crone aspects of the Goddess. Cowrie shells have always been symbols of the Goddess. These shells have been used as rebirth symbols as far back as 20,000 B.C. They have also been used as charms for healing, fertility, rebirth, magical powers, and good luck. "

More words from Nora:

"Everything in my shop has been handcrafted by yours truly. My bags are probably more accurately described as keepsake pouches for the wise woman, man, magical ecologist, naturalist, mother earth stewart ways. You know, tree huggers, earth lovers or just earthy folk in general. People who choose to stay connected and celebrate Earth's diversity.

The honoring medicine bags I make are for personal items that the caretaker wishes to keep safe and sound. They are used for housing sacred objects, fetishes, and intentions, as well as small gifts of kindness, and they may well help to empower their keeper’s goals and aspirations since everything is perception. But they have also found other uses. Some people have used them for housing sewing needles, gum, the visiting tooth fairy, their daughter's first moon time celebration, tucking jewelry into, gifts, as protection bags suspended from vehicle mirrors, tucked in glove compartments or suitcases when traveling, it seems they have varied uses."