Month: May 2014

T.H.A.T. Craft Fair Ottawa

I’m excited to announce that Drakestail Jewellery will be at the Totally Handmade Artisan Trinkets (T.H.A.T.) Craft Fair on June 14th!  This is a brand new show in Ottawa, and will be taking place at 429 Parkdale Avenue, Ottawa, at the Parkdale United Church.

Since this is a brand new fair, I thought it would be fun to ask a few questions of the organizers, Breanne & Kate.

What was your inspiration to create T.H.A.T. Craft Fair?

K. Personally, I wanted to help create a vendor show that focused on handmade art–work that represents what our local community members are passionate about.
B. I started attending craft fairs in October and found that I kept meeting so many awesome local vendors making products that I would much rather buy from someone local vs. a large company. I have always had a passion for organizing events so it just seemed natural to me that I combine my new found passion for supporting these awesome local vendors and my love for organizing events.

Are you crafters yourselves? If so, how long have you been doing it?

K. Yes we are! I started BabyMakes Products last summer when I needed to supplement our household income when both my husband and I lost our jobs shortly after my third child was born. I have always made all-natural and gluten-free body care products for my own family but bringing it to the Cumberland Farmers Market opened up a new world to me.
B. Yes! I have been making dog collars for over 2 years now when I found it difficult to find affordable and cute dog collars. I did some research and started making my own and then launched Scruff Collars. I used to do crafts every Saturday as a kid so now I call this my adult arts and crafts.

How did you choose the two charities that the show is supporting?

K. I have been a theatre professional for 20 years and recently started working with Orleans-based Tale Wagging Theatre. This is a vital time for TWT as we prepare for our debut production in September at the Shenkman Arts Centre.
B. We decided because there were two of us that we would each pick one charity so we each picked one that is near and dear to our hearts. I picked New Beginnings Pet Rescue because it is the rescue that I got my dog, Denver, from and that is really where this all started. They are a small rescue that gets no funding so I try and give back to them whenever I can.

What are your goals for this Fair?

K. Given that we have chosen a date that coincides with WestFest and the weekly Parkdale Market, I expect a great deal of foot traffic through our venue at Parkdale United Church. The visibility and exposure that our vendors will receive will be very impressive.
B. To help try and support local people just like me. I hope that through this fair we can help promote some amazing local people that work very hard and are very passionate about what they do. Also, to try and help us all grow our audiences and our businesses in the local community.

Do you have any further plans for handmade/artisan events? Do you want this to be a recurring fair?

K. I think I speak for both Breanne and myself when I forecast that yes, you can expect to see more of THAT Craft Fair in the future. Not to let the cat out of the bag, but we are already talking about a November date for our next event.
B. Personally, I hope that this is just the beginning. We are already hoping to run fairs in the future.

Is there anything else that you think that vendors, or attendees, would like to know?

K. If you are someone who feels the need to create, I would like to say FOLLOW THAT INSTINCT! Create, work, live in art–our community is drawn together by artists. Follow your passion.
B. That we are two local artisans trying to grow the idea of supporting local. For people attending I would say don’t be afraid to ask questions, often vendors love to share stories about where the ideas for their work came from. Buy handmade, support the local community.

Check out the latest news on T.H.A.T. Craft fair on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

-Robyn

Totally Handmade Artisan Trinkets Craft Fair
Totally Handmade Artisan Trinkets Craft Fair, June 14, 2014. Click on photo for all the details!

Ravenswing and the 100 Day Challenge

Sunday was a big day for two reasons: Ravenswing, and the 100th day of my 100 Day Challenge.

Ravenswing

Sunday morning started off bright and sunny, a perfect day for an outdoor show.  I got downtown a bit early so I grabbed a coffee and watched all the runners start their races. The last weekend in May is “race weekend” in Ottawa, and lots of streets are blocked to traffic while the runners are going.

Once it was time to set up, I found my spot and got my new tent up. I made another trip to my car and by the time I came back, John and Maryam, of Sing for Icing, were there. We set up our tables, chatted, and waited the fair to start.  I think my jewellery went smashingly with the cupcakes and dessert loaves, and we had a lot of great visitors through the day. I got to try some of John and Maryam’s cupcakes and cookies, and they were delicious!

Drakestail Jewellery and Sing for Icing, all set up at Ravenswing!
The new tent partially set up, Drakestail Jewellery and Sing for Icing, and Drakestail all set up at Ravenswing!

It really was a perfect show. The weather stayed nice, and we got a warm breeze later in the day. The music was fantastic and there was a performer doing spoken word poetry. In the afternoon I got the opportunity to walk around and see the eclectic mix of artists, artisans, and vendors. There was everything from art to puppets to seedlings to notebooks and paper crafts. The organizers also had several workshops through the day, meaning that people coming for a visit got to be crafty as well.  Once again, Ravenswing also gave voice to The Clothesline Project, a beautiful and haunting installation of t-shirts decorated by survivors (and their supporters) of domestic abuse.  The t-shirts tell the stories and experiences of those who have faced domestic violence, and they are a testament to the strength and resilience of the women who have survived their experiences.

Ravenswing was a huge success yet again, and I want to give a big thank-you to the organizers for putting together yet another seamless and fun fair.

Views of the crowd at Ravenswing 2014
Views of the crowd at Ravenswing 2014

100 Day Challenge

The other big deal on Sunday was that it was Day 100 of my 100 Day Challenge. I certainly didn’t plan for it to fall at Ravenswing but it was a neat coincidence. I made a ton of jewellery over the past few months, and finished it off with a gorgeous Tree of Life pendant.  To take a look at all the sparkly glory, why not go back to Day 1?

The challenge has given me a great opportunity to reflect on my craft. The rules were to post a new piece every day, and to use only materials that I had on hand. My plan was to use up some of the beads that I have bought and hoarded. I’m terrible for buying beads because I like the colour or style or shape, without having a plan in mind for how I want to use them. Having to come up with a new design each day forced me to take a good look at the materials I had on hand, and put things together that I might not have otherwise.  It also pushed me to be a bit more adventurous with my designs – I couldn’t just lay out some beads and stare at them for a few days.  I had to make something NOW.  The time pressure meant I had to go with my first instinct and really try to make it work.  I have some pieces that I like more than others, but overall I am happy with this “go with my gut” method.  I feel, too, that this has honed my personal style and made my work more recognizable.

While I still have lots of beads left, I did manage to use a lot that had been in my stash for a long time, and have made a considerable dent in the collection.  I have also made a list of things that I *do* need, mainly a variety of spacers and some different gauges of wire.  I think I will celebrate my accomplishment with a little shopping trip.

-Robyn

100 Day Challenge by Drakestail Jewellery, www.drakestail.com
A sampling of some items made during the 100 Day Challenge.  What was your favourite piece?

100 Day Challenge, Day 100! Tree of Life pendant with malachite.

I’m finally here: Day 100!  I can’t believe it.  I feel like this is a huge accomplishment, and I’m very proud of myself for making it all the way without a hitch (mostly).  I’ll write a blog post about the experience in the next few days, but for now, here’s the 100th item!

Today’s item is one of our best-known designs – a Tree of Life pendant.  I love this necklace, and it’s a load of fun to come up with interesting metal and gemstone combinations.  We’ve both made malachite trees with copper before, but for today, I decided to make one in silver.  I love it, and I’m especially pleased with how the roots turned out.  The branches are nice and full, and I have a feeling this one will get picked up fairly quickly.  

100 Day Challenge, Day 100! Tree of Life pendant with malachite by Drakestail Jewellery. www.drakestail.com
100 Day Challenge, Day 100! Tree of Life pendant with malachite by Drakestail Jewellery. www.drakestail.com

100 Day Challenge: Day 99. Amethyst nugget bracelet.

For today’s project, I dug out some amethyst nugget beads that I’ve had for several years.  I’ve used some in a variety of projects, but just a couple here and there.  I thought they deserved to be shown off on their own, so here they are in a simple bracelet with a silver filled toggle clasp and some silver-coloured glass seed beads.

100 Day Challenge: Day 99. Amethyst nugget bracelet, by Drakestail Jewellery. www.drakestail.com
100 Day Challenge: Day 99. Amethyst nugget bracelet, by Drakestail Jewellery. www.drakestail.com

100 Day Challenge: Day 98. Shell flower pendant and feminine pearls

Having found all of my carved flower shell pendants, I wanted to use some more of them.  I picked this one out of the package, which is a peachy pink with a slightly darker half that adds a bit of a taupe cast.  This seemed perfectly feminine to me, so I matched it with some peach and white freshwater pearls.  Since pearls are June’s birthstone, this would make a great gift!

100 Day Challenge: Day 98. Shell flower pendant and feminine pearls by Drakestail Jewellery.  www.drakestail.com
100 Day Challenge: Day 98. Shell flower pendant and feminine pearls by Drakestail Jewellery. www.drakestail.com
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