Monday, July 21, 2014

The CraftStar Featured Artist: Island Girl Expressions

Welcome to Island Girl Expressions where you will find beautiful handmade jewelry in silver, bronze, copper and steel. Take a look at my personalized keepsake collection called Everlasting Prints. These precious pieces can be fingerprints or footprints of your children, husband and wife, grandparents or any loved one.  I welcome custom orders!

My name is Cheryl Frazee, I'm married to James and we live in Brighton, Colorado.  We have two grown daughters: Tara and Brooke, 4 grandchildren: Brandon, Hunter, Taylan & Ashlyn, and Ashley the Sassy Cat and Wilbur the Pug

How did you get started in your handmade business? 

I began beading with a friend about 8 years ago and really enjoyed it.  When another friend decided to hold a home show for her jewelry, she invited me to show a few pieces.  When I got my first sale, I was so excited!  Shortly after that, I was introduced to metal clay and fell so in love with the medium that I couldn't get enough time making jewelry.  I started having home shows, then moved on to local craft and art shows.  Today, my sales are primarily web-based and past clients. 

What inspires you?  

My inspiration for my Island Girl Expressions shop comes mostly from the Caribbean Islands and Mother Nature. 

Palm Tree and Ocean Necklace Handmade Pendant 

My inspiration for my A Timeless Impression shop comes directly from my clients ... everything I make in this shop is completely personalized using their fingerprints, footprints, handwriting and more.

Handwriting Jewelry Silver Oval 1" x 1/2" with YOUR Handwriting Custom Personalized Keepsake Unique Gift

Where do you see your handmade business in 5 years?  

In 5 years I will be working my jewelry business full time.  Eventually, I would love to have a studio with a storefront and have the ability to teach metal clay jewelry design.

Have you experienced any major accomplishments or recognition?  

I had one of my pieces published in a book written Hadar Jacobson, who is a very well known metal clay manufacturer of base metal clays, a designer and teacher.

Silver and Steel - Precious Metal Petals Earrings

What are three tools in your work space that you could not live without?  

My kiln, my dremel and my xacto knife!

Have you ever experienced a craft disaster?  

I've had many! Metal clay can sometimes be unpredictable when firing, especially the base metal clays.  I have had numerous pieces not sinter (or fuse) and had them crumble as I pull them from the kiln. 

What other interests or hobbies do you have?  

Just about anything crafty:  I love to scrapbook, make handmade cards, knit, floral design, etc.  I would love to learn lampwork, glass fusing, pottery and soooooo much more! 

Sideways Flower Necklace with Citrine Cubic Zirconia

How much do you social network? 

Not as much as I would like!  I try to post something on FB at least once a week, but I would like to get to the point of daily posts on FB, Google+ and Pinterest.  I have a twitter account, but don't tweet and I seldom use Instagram.   

Floating Crystals Bracelet

What has been your most effective marketing tool?  

I send extra business cards with every order and wrap a sticky note around them that says "Please share. Thanks"  I am getting a lot of referral business from this.

Silver Sun with Yellow and Blue Resin Necklace

What item in your shop is your top seller or is your favorite design?  

My Island Girl Expression Shop sells more mixed metal designs than other designs, but all of my pieces are one of a kind, so I don't really have any one item that is a top seller.  A Timeless Impression's #1 seller is either the 1/2" circle fingerprint charm or the 7/8" heart with handwriting.

A Timeless Impression

What are your  favorite items from other shops on The CraftStar?

I love glasswork and I love bright colors!  And honestly, I love EVERYTHING in this shop.

Retro Bowl DLC Glass Studio LLC

I have done a little knitting, so I have an appreciation for how much time and work goes into a piece like this.  The items in this shop are absolutely stunning!

Knit Afghan in ZigZag Pattern by The Needle House in Soft White

Follow Cheryl!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The CraftStar Featured Artist: EclecticConcrete

Welcome to Eclectic Concrete, items created by Kasey Dutton, where you will find an eclectic collection of stained concrete planters and more, That you can add to your home or garden. I love all sorts of cultural art work and I love to work with concrete as a forum. So please check back soon and see what's next, Thank you for shopping with us, hope you find a treasure!

My name is Kasey Dutton and my wife’s name believe it or not is Charlie.  I have four beautiful children. 

My oldest is Joshua (24), second oldest is my Daughter Chelsie (20) Dustin (19) and then my baby is Wyatt (14).

We live in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. We have a dog named Diego and a cat named Milo.

I fell in love with concrete as a medium when my older brother and I made concrete countertops in every room of his house that he was building; all in one night. He needed to have something on the cabinets by morning or he wouldn't be able to collect on his draw from the bank. The inspector showed up around 8:00 am and we just finished around 6:00am.  My brother received his draw and the countertops didn't look half bad. So I've been trying to make any thing I could think of out of concrete ever since. Ranging from carved patio walk ways, showers, planters to tiki torches.

Southwestern lizard torch, tiki torch, outdoor lighting

I was reading up on sites that are a good alternative to that other more conglomerate craft site. When I read about The CraftStar I felt a real sense of community and I found a wealth of education on the subject of making an online craft business successful.  On top of all of that something in my heart told me that this is the place.    

Kokopelli wall sconce

I feel that hand crafted things have within them a little bit of the craftsperson’s soul in whatever they create. Which is what is missing in today’s mass produced world; I think.  I guess what inspired me about concrete is that it can have an earthy element if done correctly.  So I figured if I could couple those two things together along with something that would a t least evoke a smile. Then maybe I would have a winning combination.  So I guess to answer the question as to what inspires me I would have to say inventing and creating things that make people smile.

Concrete tiki torch, outdoor lighting, backyard lighting

In five years I would like to be able to Have the freedom to drive around the Western region of America doing craft shows and things of that nature with my beautiful wife.  By building my online business up enough to supplement my income.

What are three tools in your work space that you could not live without? 

Dremel , Cement Mixer, Utility knife

Have you ever experienced a craft disaster? What happened? 

You know if anybody says education is expensive; they should try ignorance. I spent more money on wasted material than I ever want to think about.  But nothing replaces the sense of accomplishment you get when you do figure it out on your own.

Bowl / Ash tray

What other interests or hobbies do you have? 

I have two boys that are very into collegiate wrestling. One is just getting started; the other one has already finished high school so the older brother and I do what we can to help the youngest. Because he has dreams of becoming an Olympic wrestler.  And when I'm doing that there is no place I’d rather be.

How much do you social network? Can you link us to your personal social media pages so we can follow you? 

I am currently trying to work my way through The CraftStar Social Media Boot Camp. And I feel that up until now I have just been shooting in the dark with social networking. Right now I am trying to take a step back and devise a strategy. Taking into account what I've  learned thus far. Pinterest and Instagram is where I think I will focus most of my attention.

Concrete saguaro rib tiki torch, backyard lighting, party torch, citronella torch

What item in your shop is your top seller or is your favorite design? 

My kokopelli Sun and Moon vessel.  This one really took me some time and I think I got very close to what I had in mind. I wanted it to tell a story and maybe take the viewer back in time. Its meant to symbolize prosperity and fertility through the masculine and the feminine, night and day, Yin and Yang, if you will.