Mar 292011

When it comes to jewelry, Karen of Mystic Wynd is likely the queen of eclectic styles. This grandmother of seven, now retired from the health insurance industry, is a self-taught jewelry artisan. Like a “wynd” that changes direction, Karen designs with diversity in mind: the fun and trendy, the bold and powerful, the simple and understated, and the one-of-a-kind. You can also find her elegant wedding jewelry at MW Elegance.  “I guess it would be safe to say,” she says, “that my life has forever been about learning and evolving. I believe life is about balance and respect and—while it may sound corny, “being one with the universe.”

Karen’s work space reflects her wide-ranging interests and her love of natural stones, crystals, vintage-look metals, colorful beads and—in general—unique materials. She stores her materials in plastic boxes with divided compartments, and has one of the most organized work spaces I have ever seen. Some of her overflow supplies can be found at The Crafters’ Cabinet on Etsy.

Karen's Supplies and Work Space

Karen, who grew up on the south side of Chicago, now resides in Arizona, whose southwestern influence is evident in some of her designs, such as the one below.

Pewter Bear Claw Necklace with Wooden Beads

My favorite two items from her Mystic Wynd shop, however, are the necklace and bracelet shown below.

Pink Rose Floral Glass with Pearl Necklace

Gardener's Copper Charm Bracelet with Flowers

To learn more about Karen, visit her blog. You can also read about her in the excellent interview posted on the EtsyBloggers blog.

Mar 232010

Many of us have participated in online swaps and exchanges that culminate in sending off through the mail an item that has been created. Past swaps in which I have participated have included exchanging handmade holiday ornaments, posting photos online, and making a seasonal gift for a partner as part of the Boomers and Beyond Etsy Street Team. This time I signed up for a journal swap during the month of March, an activity in which a number of EtsyBloggers agreed to participate.

Each day we complete a page in our journal according to the assigned topic, and during the first week in April, everyone mails off her journal to a partner. In my case, my partner is a young lady from Thailand who is a mechanical engineer during the daytime, but a jewelry designer after hours. She calls herself Patch, and sells her handmade jewelery at Patch First Shop on Etsy.

Patch’s beautiful, timeless jewelry creations, which are perfect for bridal, prom and formal occasions, feature pearls and CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements. My favorite piece in her shop is a 53-inch pearl necklace, highlighted with a single silver vintage flower brooch. If classic, elegant jewelry is your style, you will definitely wish to visit Patch’s shop.

Handmade Jewelry – Simple Long Pearl Necklace
– 53 inches with Vintage Silver Flower Brooch,
© 2010 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artist and may not be used without permission.
Jan 012010

Diversity is one good way to describe two fellow members of the EtsyBloggers team to which I belong. Kathy and Carrie are stay-at-home mothers who share four  unique shops on Etsy, exploring their diverse interests. At CalKat the Jewelry Junkie, for example, you’ll find not only all kinds of beaded jewelry, but also beaded bookmarks. The women use only sterling silver components, gemstones, semi-precious gemstones and Swarovski crystals in their designs. I especially like the Koi Brass Bookmark shown below:

At Ametista Artistic Offerings, the two women feature collectible customized apothecary bottles, unique “monster boxes,” one-of-a-kind bookmarks with a personality, oddities and unusual gifts, and polymer clay creations dedicated to charitable causes.

You’ll love their delicious sense of humor reflected in Dorothy’s Revenge Monster Box, where only the feet of a witch peek out from beneath the box that landed on top of it.

“Monster boxes come from deep within the dark jungles of La Isla de Ametista…not to be found on any mortal map,” say Kathy and Carrie. “They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However all bear the distinction of wearing their fur on the inside. All are fascinating to look at and a rare treat to own.”

If you’re beginning to sense that Kathy and Carrie enjoy fantasy, then take a look at their polymer clay Witch’s Hat Bookmark:

Once a month, at Kathy’s Ametista Artistic Offerings blog, the two women offer a drawing of an artisan-crafted item and a gift certificate to one of their shops. A recent winner, for example, won a $25 gift certificate to the CalKat shop, along with the cute felt Santa bag shown below:

In The Clay Shoppe, you’ll find fantastic and fantastical handmade clay molds for polymer clay and PMC (Precious Metal Clay) unlike any others you’ve seen. The molds ship with how-to instructions, and are durable, washable and reusable.

Not to be outdone, the fourth shop featuring Kathy and Carrie’s unique handmade creations is Yoga Fairies, which features small polymer clay fairies for Zen enthusiasts. Each yoga fairy features a signature Svarovski crystal for its belly button, and no two fairies are alike. The fairies hold their hands together, prayer-like, in what is called a “Namaste” greeting. “Namaste is an Indian expression used as a greeting or upon parting, by putting the palms of the hands together in prayer position,” explain the women. “It means, ‘I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me.’ A recognition that we are all equal. When using this greeting, bring your hands together and place them near your heart while saying ‘Namaste.’”

Links to all of Kathy and Carrie’s shops, as well as beautiful photos of their products, may be found by visiting their blog, CalKat The Jewelry Junkie—a visual treat you won’t soon forget. Two women, one vision, four shops. Wonderful!

© 2010 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission.