Loading...

Follow Fireflyhandmade on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid
Firefly Handmade has a huge, soft, cuddly spot in our heart for dogs, so naturally we love our returning artisan Kathy Johns ofHound & Soul. Not only did Kathy build a business around her love of dogs and what they bring to the world, but she also makes sure her efforts bring something to dog rescue organizations.
Hound & Soul celebrates the canine/human connection by designing handmade dog jackets, collars, bandanas, and toys featuring the highest quality construction and materials (lasting through the Colorado snow, mud and sun), beautiful design and fit, and a spirit of fun and adventure. And if you need another reason to jump on the Hound & Soul bandwagon, 5% of their sales are donated to non-profit organizations that help dogs find health, homes, and love.
Bring your pup to try on and shop Hound & Soul’s products atFirefly HandmadeSpring Market on May 18th and 19th. Keep reading and you’ll also fall in love with Hound & Soul:
Tell us about your connection to dogs. What inspired you to build this business?
My connection to dogs is not easily explainable. It borders on obsessive compulsive but it’s given me so much joy and confidence in life, that I cherish the connection. I always had a dog growing up and my parents taught me how important it is to care for and love dogs, and never take them for granted. I’ve met some of my closest friends at the dog park. I will ALWAYS stop on the street for any dog. When I was having a bad day at my job in New York, I would walk down the street to the puppy store and play with the puppies for a half hour to get my head straight.
I started by dressing up my dogs, making them costumes for Halloween or coats for the winter. Then, I started making coats for friends’ dogs and realized that I could use my connection to dogs to help them connect too. Every piece I make is with the intention for the dog to look and feel great, which makes their humans happy, which makes the dog happy.
Tell us more about your mission.
During the process of writing my business plan I had all my numbers, research and plan set, but something wasn’t connecting. I needed to understand why I was doing this. Why did Hound & Soul need to happen? I set out on a run with Dash & Scully with that one question on my mind. I knew I wanted to make dogs look great/keep warm/have fun, but how was that different than any other dog apparel business? We stopped at the top of this big hill where we have stunning views of the mountains and I recognized my mission immediately. It wasn’t about the dogs looking cute or even staying warm. It was about the fact that moments in life are just better with dogs. My run was more entertaining, the views were more gorgeous, and I have more love in my heart because my dogs were with me. At the same time, I know my dogs live extraordinary lives and they are better because of the humans who know and love them, too.
There’s so much research on the health and wellness benefits of dogs, and they give us so many lessons in responsibility, accountability, and unconditional love. My father passed away recently. He was in a hospice facility for a few months and we were so lucky that they allowed dogs to visit. His dog Teddy came to see him every day. Some days he might not open his eyes or say a word but he always had a hand out to pet Ted and both were comforted by being together. The bonus was that everyone else in the facility loved to see Ted, give him a snuggle and a smile.
What are you most proud of in your handmade journey so far?
I’m most proud of two things. 1) My willingness to learn and improve my craftsmanship. I had never worked with leather until a little over a year ago. After several visits to my friends at Tandy, lots and lots of YouTube videos, and several experiments gone wrong, I was able to refine my process for collars and improve the quality along the way. 2) I’m most proud of the feedback from my customers. It’s one thing to make something that I think is beautiful and high-quality, but when your customers rave about your products and send pictures, it’s totally gratifying.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
This has been a journey filled with lessons, failures, and successes. The most surprising lessons are around scale and focus.I have a gazillion ideas for new products and new designs. Each product takes months to go from concept to prototype to finished product. It’s important for me to try everything but refine only the best things. I need to make sure I’m creating unique and quality goods but also editing along the way.
Could you tell us about any special projects you are working on for the upcoming market?
New for this market are some fun knotted rope toys and double-sided bandannas. I’m also working on a new dog mat/bed and hope to have a few ready for the Spring Market.
What has been the biggest challenge of starting your business? The biggest reward?
My biggest challenge of starting a business is time. I have another job so can only dedicate part of my time to Hound & Soul. It’s difficult to balance the two, but I’ve learned that scheduling time specifically for Hound & Soul with specific goals is the key.
The biggest reward are my customers. They share the same connection with dogs that I do and send photos and stories of their dogs wearing Hound & Soul jackets and collars. They also give me some great suggestions for future products.
What excites you for the future?
I’m really excited for growing my business and also the Hound & Soul community. As my customer base grows, I’d like to engage and grow a community with relevant, fun, and valuable communications and product feedback. As part of that, I’d also like to Identify and connect with organizations that align with Hound & Soul’s mission and provide comfort for dogs in need. Right now I donate 5% of sales to a few non-profit animal welfare organizations, but I want to partner more closely with one to make a bigger impact.
What do you like about being a Firefly Handmade artisan?
There’s a huge sense of pride in being a Firefly Handmade artisan. All the other artisans are incredibly talented and creative, and to be a part of that community is very rewarding. I’ve also enjoyed meeting the other artisans. They all have words of advice and encouragement and have been a resource for growing my business.
Any advice for makers and entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
Be true to your brand and vision. Always be ready to learn something new.Always do the right thing even if it’s the hardest thing.Have fun!
Meet Kathy and Hound & Soul at ourSpring Marketat Boulder’s 29th Street Shopping District and at https://houndandsoul.com/.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
If you want to get to know Firefly Handmade, a good place to start is with some of our veteran artisans. Alison Stern of Alison Blair Studio embodies the hard work, creativity, and fun that Firefly tries to capture with each unique market. After all this time, Alison keeps returning to Firefly, showcasing new jewelry styles and capturing new audiences.
A longtime Boulder local, Alison etches, saws, solders, and forms metal into unique jewelry designs and accessories. Mountain necklaces, whimsical dog-themed accessories, geometric earrings, and sometimes slightly-political statement pieces are just a sampling of what you’ll find in Alison’s collections. Alison’s goal is to capture a moment, a place, or a feeling – one that will emotionally connect with its wearer. What could be better than that?
Alison Blair Studio is part of our Firefly Handmade Spring Market lineup on May 18th and 19th. If you want to learn something about the beauty of simplicity and creative evolution from a true boss babe, read on!
You’ve recently started designing collections—tell us about how your design process has changed over time and what inspires your collections!
My designs change with the wind, which pretty much reflects my personality. My friends tell me I should be less eclectic in my designs and stick with one style, but it just isn't me. I get so inspired by new textures, materials, and compositions, that I need to express my enthusiasm for it.
Could you tell us more about your technique?
Right now I'm spending a lot of time on the oxidation process. I love dark vs. polished, with a stunning contrasting stone, like ruby or diamond, popping out. Oxidizing—or blackening—lends to such a stormy, dramatic effect and people are really responding to that.
Do you do any custom work?
I do a lot of custom work. Because I make each piece myself, really all of my work is custom. But I love getting input from customers and creating a piece that is exactly what they want. Often a customer will ask me for a custom ring or necklace, then ask me to actually design what I have in mind. This is such a compliment to me, that they trust my process to bring them a unique piece.
Are you self-taught? Did you go to art school? Continuing studies?
I'm mostly self taught. I took a handful of metalsmith classes with a teacher who ended up becoming a wonderful friend. But mostly I work in my studio, checking in on YouTube if there are techniques I don't know how to do. I intend to take some courses this summer, as I think there's so much to be said for being in a class with other people and learning from great artists.
What are you most proud of in your handmade journey so far?
My journey began a long time ago, in a completely different medium. I was so taken by metal smiths and so really intimidated by fire. I'm really proud of myself for "jumping into the fire" so to speak, and learning this medium. I have so, so much to learn, but everyday is truly a new revelation and I'm proud that I have taken this road.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
That I can actually create some cool stuff.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
My dad has always said, "Simplicity is the key to beauty." It really is true for me. I love small, delicate, minimalist pieces and I find that when I know when to stop, I create some of my favorites.
What designs are most popular lately?
Mountain motifs are pretty big right now. I have a collection of mountain rings and necklaces, where a nice thick gauge silver is overlaid with a mountain profile, then oxidized to give some sense of depth. These are really popular, yet I have to say, that my most loved pieces are my small matte-polished 14KT gold necklaces with just a small offset diamond. Again, simplicity.
Could you tell us about any special projects you are working on for the upcoming market?
Im continuing to expand my "Midnight Collection" of oxidized silver pieces with gemstone accents.
What has been the biggest challenge of starting and sustaining your business?
As a small business owner, maintaining all aspects of business is nearly impossible. Social media is so important these days, and keeping up with instagram, updating your website, maintaining your books, and creating new pieces is a lot of work. My biggest challenge though is getting my damned taxes done!
What excites you for the future?
New tools. I am building a new studio and already have in mind some extravagant tools I would like to furnish it with.
You keep returning! What do you like about being a Firefly Handmade artisan?
I love Firefly for a lot of reasons. Mostly, the promoters are so tuned into the artists. A lot of shows lose sight of the customer—the artist—and produce shows that don't serve the maker. Firefly hasn't lost sight of that. Firefly buyers are also really special. They return over and over because they also appreciate the quality of Firefly artisans and the hard work put into Firefly venues. That circles back to the artists because it keeps a really nice group of our customers coming back.
Meet Alison at our Spring Market at Boulder’s 29th Street Shopping District or at https://alisonblairstudio.com/.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
We're really excited to feature one of our returning artisans this spring - a shoe company that helps you look, feel, and do good. Fifty-Twenty Eight makes small batch, limited edition shoes, which are designed in Carbondale, CO and made by craftsmen in Spain and Portugal. Their product line includes upcycled shoes, for which they take leathers that would have otherwise gone to waste and repurpose them for new shoe designs. But they don’t stop at sustainability—for every pair of shoes sold, they also donate $5 to support mental health programs (a cause close to the founders’ hearts).
Did we mention that these artisan shoes are stylish and high-quality as well? 5028 is a model social enterprise from all angles and a company we’re proud to include in our Firefly Handmade community. Read on to learn more about from founders Mike and Angilina:
How did you begin your handmade journey?
The idea somewhat started in 2009 when Mike called Angilina and said let’s start a shoe company in honor of a friend who had passed. That idea never came to fruition, but years later when we reconnected and eventually married, we talked about starting our own thing, and with Angilina being a shoe designer for 15 years and Mike's love of shoes, the direction seemed clear. While traveling in Portugal, Angilina had the idea for 5028, a limited edition, artisan shoe company. She had grown tired of de-specing her designs to reach mainstream mass and was working with craftsman that were open to and interested in making smaller quantities of shoes. At the time the mass production of shoes was out of control and in some ways still is, the quality of mass produced shoes had gone down along with the price-point and the originality, everything was looking the same on store shelves. Thankfully, the artisan movement is changing that and challenging the way things are moving, so we are seeing a shift back to thoughtful, creative design in product. Anyway, it was a moment in a factory when Angilina looked around and saw the product the Portuguese makers were creating that she realized this product is not finding its way to the US and while it may not be mass, it is special, it is unique, and it is salable. She thought she could partner with them and together they could create beautiful shoes.
There must be a story behind your name...
Fifty-Twenty Eight is the numerical portion of Angilina's grandparents address. They have been influential in her life in many ways and also ran a successful "husband/wife" hardwood flooring business out of their house that still continues on. They got married on St. Patrick's day and so did we, so the zero in 5028 is a stylization between a shamrock and zero, we call this our “zero-rock.”
What inspires your designs?
So many things, I get inspired by materials and treatments that can be made to materials like embosses, perforations, painting, and burnishing. Prints on carpets and clothes, jewelry and bag treatments, for some reason beautiful bathrooms the world over get photographed and used for inspiration a lot. I think it is important to pay attention to what is going on in other industries and artistic mediums and have a sense of what the trends are. Travel also always opens up the mind and, in turn, the creative process.
Tell us more about your mission. Why is this an important cause for you?
We chose mental health for a few reasons. On the more extreme end, we both have family members with major mental health disorders and as we have been witness to and a part of their journey, we have seen the stigma associated with having a mental health issue, the challenges faced within the healthcare system, the quickness to medicate—to put a bandaid on the problem, and the challenges associated with finding the real help needed. On more of the prevention side of things, we believe if talking about mental health becomes a norm (like talking about physical health, dental health, etc.) we will be able to help prevent a small mental issue from becoming a big one. I recently heard this about association of mental health disorders and found it fascinating: if someone has cancer or has a heart condition we say “they have it”, meaning the disease is separate of them, it is something that they have and potentially could get rid of. If a person is bipolar or manic they are that thing, “she is bipolar, he is manic,” not “she has bipolar disorder or he struggles with mania.” When a person is told they are something it becomes a part of their identity and seems like it is something they can never rid themselves of, it defines them. Imagine if we flipped that narrative. Showing mental struggles in our society has been associated with weakness for far too long when it should be one of the more understandable aspects of the human condition, as we all experience it in some way shape or form.
What are you most proud of so far?
Our upcycled collection. We weren't sure our vendors would be open to it, as it complicates the crafting of the shoes a bit, but they have been very receptive. Upcycling by definition is also known as “creative reuse”, it is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products that are useful and often beautiful. Our waste comes from our vendors, they have warehouses full of materials that are left over from oversampling, canceled orders, and miscalculating consumption for large orders. The materials are still good, and high quality, but have no home, so we repurpose them and give them a home. If the materials can't get used they will often get tossed as the space in the warehouses needs to get freed up. We love that we are able to repurpose materials that would otherwise be going to waste. It makes the creative process more fun and challenging as well.
Sustainability is an important factor in your business. How do you stay mindful of this mission and in what ways?
We do our best. We are not perfect by any means, the fashion industry is tricky that way, there is waste and there is transportation, and in many ways that is unavoidable. We are committed to making our shoes in small batches with some of them having a home prior to being made. By making them this way, we are minimizing excess inventory and therefore waste. If we do have leftovers that are not sold we get them a home by donating or selling at second hand stores, which also makes us feel good about getting people who might not otherwise be able to have them quality shoes they will love. We eliminate waste by not packing our shoes in a shoe box, but rather a reusable dust bag, we say "we don't ship our shoes in a box inside a box." And then of course the upcycled shoes, which have uppers made of dead-stock materials and footbeds that are molded from post consumer recycled regrind.
Why did you choose to have your shoes made in Spain and Portugal?
We had relationships there for one. But when Angilina started working there with her previous company in 2011, she was quickly drawn to the artistry and knowledge of shoe making there. Working with the craftsmen in Portugal is where the light bulb idea came on to actually start 5028.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
OH MY! So many lessons! I guess you don't know what you don't know until you know that you don't know it! LOL! That you have to be nimble in your process and adapt to the way things are going. It seems like we are shifting within reason and making sure we stay true to our original vision, which is limited edition artisan shoes that stand out in a crowd and people can feel good about wearing. If the story or vision has to shift, we revisit the original vision and ask ourselves “does this align with our ethos?”
What is your top-selling design?
The Men's First Love has probably been our best selling men's shoe. And the Women's Days of Wild which we are almost out of stock of, but will be reprising in the fall. When we first started we had this idea that we would presell our inventory and overbuy just a little for events and promotions. This was in an effort to make what we sell and be sustainable, but the overwhelming response has been if the design is in demand we should continue to make it so we still make our shoes in small batches but will make up to 250 pairs. So, the shoes that were originally sold and we said we only made 35 pairs or 70 pairs of will only ever have that many at market. The original colors of the men's First Love (Denim & Olive) and the Women's Days of Wild (Winter White, and Brown which is sold out) fit into that story. All of our new upcycled shoes are really taking off, people love the story!
Could you tell us about any special projects you are working on for the upcoming market?
We have a bunch of dead-stock materials we brought back with us from Europe that we are adding to T-shirts, hats and jewelry. It has been slow going getting stuff made as we have a newborn, Duke Rivers, who is eight weeks old, but hopefully we will have a nice assortment at Firefly. =)
What do you like about being a Firefly Handmade artisan?
We love the Firefly markets, the events are curated with awesome artisans, and we always meet new interesting people making amazing things. They are marketed well and the clientele that come either really get what we are doing or are shocked that there is a brand selling and making shoes the way we do, so they are excited to get to know us.
Any advice for makers and entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
All shows are different, some are good and the sales are phenomenal, some aren't as good, but almost always there is a relationship built, a lifelong customer made, or a promising connection that comes with publicity or sales in the coming months.
Meet Mike, Angilina, and 5028 at our Spring Market at Boulder’s 29th Street Shopping District or at https://weare5028.com/.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
With sauce names like Black Magic, Chicken & Waffles, and Holy Hell, our new Firefly artisan isn't messing around. As our Firefly community grows, we’re particularly excited about the addition of new artisans who contribute to the entrepreneurial spirit, diversity, and personality of our markets. Blonde Beard’s Buffalo Sauce is one of them.
Adam and Cara “Mr. and Mrs. Blonde Beard” Nelson are on a mission to make the best buffalo sauce in the world, without sacrificing that homemade, irreplicable taste. Blonde Beard's is the first to bottle an all natural, real butter-based buffalo sauce that tastes homemade and can be used on everything. Self-described as a “Southern take on a New York classic,” the Southern, married buffalo sauce enthusiasts, founded the company in their Lakewood, CO kitchen in 2016 and now work with a team in Golden, CO.
It’s no surprise Blonde Beard's is becoming a Colorado household name, and judging by the popularity of artisanal foods at past Firefly Handmade markets, we think they’ll be a hit in our community. Get to know the “Blonde Beards” and prepare to visit Firefly Handmade on May 18th and 19th to snag a bottle of your own:
Why buffalo sauce? How did you turn it into a business?
We got into buffalo sauce a number of years ago when we started frying wings at home for parties. We love getting creative in the kitchen, so it was natural for us to set out to make a better wing sauce than what's available on the supermarket shelf. And that we did. We hosted “wing-off” parties where Adam would serve naked wings and all our guests would whip up their own sauce concoctions. That is where our first sauce, Black Magic, was born. As time went on, we kept making sauce and experimenting with new flavors, like maple syrup, scotch bonnet peppers, even IPA. Once we had several killer recipes, we realized that we were using the stuff on everything. It quickly replaced hot sauce in our house and we started sharing the love with our friends and family.
After talking about it for several years, we decided to make it a business because we loved doing it so much and our sauces were making people happy. We started at a very small scale, cooking under the Cottage Food Law out of our house and selling to customers at farmers markets and bazaars. We found a surprising amount of success at these markets, so we organically grew from there.
How did you come up with the name “Blonde Beard’s”?
Adam's old co-worker, Kyle, used to call him “Captain Blonde Beard.” The nickname kinda stuck, and it just sounded like a cool name for a buffalo sauce. We pride ourselves on tasting homemade (because we are), so from a branding stand point, it gives us a friendly persona and makes our sauce feel like it comes from a person, not a brand. It reminds us of products we grew up around that you’d find in an old country store in the South, like Dave’s BBQ Sauce or Mary’s Pickles.
What kinds of ingredients do you use? How do you find the right flavor mix?
We use all natural ingredients, stuff you can buy at the grocery store. Butter is a very important ingredient because that keeps us true to authentic buffalo sauce. Most big name brands use oils as a cheaper substitution, and you really can taste the difference. We found the right flavor combos by lots and lots of experimenting. Which meant hosting a lot of parties, and that was fine with us!
What makes Blonde Beard’s Buffalo Sauce unique?
We make a Southern style buffalo sauce. The ingredients that really define the sauce flavors are nods to our favorite cuisine, Southern food. Chicken & Waffles is inspired by the Southern breakfast favorite. Black Magic is inspired by cajun cooking and Holy Hell uses the scotch bonnet peppers, often found in Jamaican and Caribbean dishes. We also use butter, which honestly makes everything on earth taste better.
What is your most popular sauce?
For the first two years, Black Magic was our best seller. It has a very bright profile, black pepper and cajun forward. It is very flavorful and has the perfect level of heat. However, Chicken & Waffles has recently been selling slightly better than Black Magic. It is finished with maple syrup, so it’s smooth finish makes it really easy on the palette.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
Social media is more powerful than you realize. And hire a good tax guy.
Any advice for makers and entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
Don’t be afraid of hard work, it can make almost anything possible. Do a little bit everyday. Even if it’s just responding to one email, make progress everyday.
What are you looking forward to most as a new Firefly Handmade artisan?
We’ve never done a market in Boulder, so we are really excited to meet a new community of artisans and customers. We love when people try our sauce for the first time.
And finally, what excites you for the future?
Just continuing to grow. We’re growing our wholesale accounts and trying to get our sauce in front of more and more people. We want Blonde Beard’s to be a household name. We want you to see it on the table at a restaurant with the ketchup and mustard and think “oh yea, I love this stuff!"
Meet Cara, Adam, and Blonde Beard’s Buffalo Sauce at our Spring Marketat Boulder’s 29th Street Shopping District or at https://blondebeards.com/. Look out for their sauces in stores in 2019!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Rebecca's desire to connect and offer opportunities to others is driving - and, her art is forever evolving. What you see now won't be what you see in the future. What started as a business venture has become a spirited conquest to connect and create space for visualization, aspirations, and dreams to occur.
Let's start at the beginning. When did you discover a passion for creating your beautiful decks?
By 2014, I had spent the better part of a decade working in the healthcare industry as a registered nurse. In the beginning I worked in pediatrics and quickly began teaching nursing students. As the years progressed I began dabbling in administration. By 2012, I had started a complex care management company supporting patients and families with significant medical issues. And, just prior to becoming a full-time creative, I was the Director of Quality, Compliance & Education for a hospice agency.
After having worked in such diverse settings with numerous individuals and families, witnessing first-hand the ramifications of the unfortunate outcome of neglecting our life's work, I decided that I wanted to create something inspirational. I wanted to offer a simple way for individuals to find their truth, nourish their heart, and love themselves. As it happens, many of my patients shared that they found nature healing. As a way to connect and create a neutral platform to share the lessons I had been gifted over the past ten years, I decided to create a deck of inspirational cards using animals as metaphors to explore the many complicated facets of our humanness.
How did you come up with your name?
I am a nurse and a social worker. I have learned to believe, through study and real-life experiences, that there are any number of ways for us to find connection and meaning in our lives. Cognizant and sensitive to the spiritual traditions of our native communities, I chose to re-name this new deck, changing it from "Animal Spirits" to "Fauna Inspiration", as a way to differentiate my intentions. Having traveled with individuals and families as they managed sadness, trauma, and grief – I wanted my inspiration cards to offer a neutral platform for contemplation and illumination.
What is your process for creating each deck?
During the creation of the “Fauna Inspiration” deck I collaborated with a friend and colleague, Phoebe Hunt. She lives in Portland, Maine. After providing her my list of animals, she drew each animal using pen and ink on paper. She then scanned her drawings and emailed each one to me. Simultaneously I painted. I created over 70 watercolors. Using her art and my watercolors, I crafted each card. After creating each Fauna image, I re-visited each animal message. Drawing mainly from their taxonomy, I identify – what I considered to be their most unique characteristic. For example, I chose tenacity for the Chickadee. Based on their meaningful word, I wrote a message designed to inspire contemplation through metaphor hoping to help individuals arrive at illumination.
What is your animal spirit?
The Raven
What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
I love that I get to work from home. I have multiple work "stations" throughout my house that enable me to use different tools to create. I have a computer workstation, a writing nook, and an art space for painting, drawing, and mixed media art. In any given day I design on my computer or laptop, paint on canvas, draw on paper, craft 3-dimensional art, or write for inspiration.
What characteristic do you admire most in other makers?
Their passion, tenacity, and determination. I love working with visionaries, entrepreneurs, and creatives. They inspire me! People inspire me!
Meet Rebecca and see her beautifully inspiring decks at our Holiday Market, Nov. 17 +18! Her creations make for a unique and treasured gift.
Learn more about Avec La Vie here:
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Rebecca creates luminous, hand-painted bowls to add fun, beauty and drama to every meal you serve. The vibrant colors and top quality hardwood produces a bowl you will not want to put away! It will become a part of many meals in your home. In between, it serves as a lovely piece of eye-catching art.
Let's start at the beginning. When did you discover you wanted to make artisanal bowls out of wood?
In 2017, I had recently moved back to my home state of Colorado and was ready to finally make an attempt to do creative things full time. Serendipitously, I discovered this small, hand-painted bowl business was for sale, and looked into buying it. My degree was in sculpture, but I’ve always loved color and paint, and it seemed a perfect way for me to make a living doing something that I truly enjoy. Holding the wooden bowls in my hand while I paint is special. It’s a feast for the eye and for the hand.
How did you come up with your name?
The name Cobalt & Curry came from brainstorming with my daughter-in-law. I wanted a name that evoked vibrant color and also yummy food, and that was easy to spell and easy to pronounce. Cobalt came first, (one of my favorite shades of blue), and then Curry (one of my favorite spices) seemed to fit naturally.
How long does each bowl take you to make?
I get asked that question a lot. There are at least thirty steps in the process, most of which require drying time in between. So, basically it takes a week to make a bowl. How many hours of that week are spent on that one bowl, I have never taken the time to figure out.
Have you ever made a piece that you refused to part with?
There have been some beauties for sure, where the wood grain and the color and the finish all come together to make an extra special piece. But having just downsized at home, I am much happier passing those lovelies on to one of my great customers, so I can get busy and create another one. I live to make people happy, and I get excited when they come back and tell me how much they love their bowl.
What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
I have a wonderful studio with good natural light and plenty of space to work. I am also able to have a small area in the front to display the bowls for customers who sometime stop by to see them. I also love that it is within a bike ride of my home.
What characteristic do you admire most in other makers?
Creativity is a special gift from God, sort of an ever-growing tree that continues to branch out and take new directions. I especially admire those who are able to bring to fruition their creations without cutting corners, and who complete quality, lasting work that continues to inspire and delight as it lives.
Meet Rebecca and see her gorgeous bowls at our Holiday Market, Nov. 17 +18! Her creations make for a unique and treasured gift.
Learn more about Cobalt and Curry here:
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
That's My Jam was born from a passion for music and a love of homemade food. This mom and son team learned to can the old-fashioned way, the way their grandmother and great grandmother taught them. Their jam is made in micro batches and with the highest quality, organic ingredients. They work hard to develop relationships with and support local farms, non-profits, businesses, musicians and artists.
Let's start at the beginning. When did you and your son decide to get into the jam business?
That's My Jam was incorporated in 2016 after a community based business start-up boot camp with the Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute (RMMFI). I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit and drive and have owned a brick-and-mortar in a different field. Having my teenage son work beside me has taught him concepts like the value of hard work, cultivating dreams despite barriers and useful life skills, like marketing, finance, operations and management. He has been involved in every major decision we've made thus far and I'm very proud of his work.
You say that your love of music is part of the reason behind your name. What are your favorite albums to listen to while you're jammin'?
Absolutely! Every jam flavor is inspired by either a song, an artist or a song writer. Music has been a passion my entire life. I've worked in the music industry as a booking manager, among other roles, but wanted to incorporate something that felt like home, like the days my grandmother, Irene, would provide family feasts, can food and be resourceful. It made perfect sense to combine the two. Irene taught me to make canned preserves. There's a bit of her experience and love in every jar. We start each production day listening to Bob Marley's "Jammin" which was the very first flavor. It's Pineapple Jam infused with Coconut Rum and Ginger. It's a fantastic meat marinade, especially on pork or Cornish game hen!
We love that you are trying to inform folks that jam doesn't have to just be for breakfast. What are your favorite non breakfast recipes?
We live such harried lives, sometimes simple is best. A dollop on oatmeal in the morning, or drizzled on ice cream are always favorites. Our Raspberry Beret, Paint It Black Blackberry, and I Found My Thrill Blueberry are also fun dolloped into a chilled cocktail. Our Jams are also incredible additions to family gatherings and pair well with cheeses for parties. We have a playlist on Spotify that is often used at gatherings for a great conversation piece to pair with jam/cheese pairings.
What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
That it's BIG! A large kitchen is a necessity for proper jammin'. And my bamboo spoons. The way they drag in the jam as it's about to be ready to jar, is a lovely feeling. I love the way the water bubbles as the water bath canning does it's magic, it rattles and makes a special song of it's own. The way the kitchen smells with each jam flavor, is like a warm blanket on a cold day. Comforting. Jam life is Zen life for me.
What characteristic do you admire most in other makers?
Other makers are a big reason I started my business. I'm also an event professional and have produced, curated and managed almost 200 events. Having the Denver maker community as a part of my life and being exposed to so many dedicated, creative people was very inspiring. I love how supportive the maker community is. Helping each other out, supporting each other's business and taking home the most unique, wonderfully crafted items to fill my home and kitchen with is the best. To quote a song, since that's my thing: "These are my people. These are my friends." I wouldn't want it any other way.
Meet the creative minds behind That's My Jam at our Holiday Market, Nov. 17 +18! Their jams make the perfect gift.
Learn more about their jams here:
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
We are so excited to have Shari back at our Firefly Handmade Holiday Market this November 17th and 18th! She is a Boulder local and has made a name for herself in the local, regional and national art scene. Being a decorative painter for 25 years, her start was in NYC. We talked with her about about her journey from paintbrushes to thread.
Let's start at the beginning. When did you discover you wanted to work with thread and fabric?
Idle hands are the devil's workshop. Never could sit still, always making stuff. My mom was one of my biggest influencers. My birthday is the day before Halloween and my parties were always a creative affair. From making masks to painting pumpkins, it was always a party to make things.
My grandmothers, both, taught me to sew and crochet. Fiber and textiles were always of interest to me. In college I majored in Fiber Art and created HUGE paintings made from wet felting. I ended up with this process because I felt the need to make my paintings from the beginning instead of adding paint to an already existing canvas. I think this deep rooted beginning in college of drawing and painting with materials other than paint, pen, ink stayed with me.
Your work is unique and reflects your amazing talents as an artist. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I am inspired by nature, by humor, by imperfection. I love botanical illustrations and recreating them with thread in a very fluid way. Each piece is a one of a kind and I try and make sure that the joy I have in using thread as my "ink" is exhibited in them. The reason I like embroidering on household/useful items is twofold. I am in the process of creating framed pieces that will be available for the first time ever at...that's right, Firefly, but I love putting my images on tea towels, napkins and aprons is so they are used and enjoyed.
Have you ever made a piece that you refused to part with?
I have not made a piece that I refuse to part with. If I make something that I love so much I would hope someone else would, so why deny them that.
What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
There are a lot of things I love about my studio, I don't have a favorite. On the top of the list is the feeling I get when I walk into it, I love being here. Second, that I can hear my chickens and ducks when I work.
What characteristic do you admire most in other makers?
Characteristics I admire most in other makers is their drive to make things that others are not making, to take it further.
Meet Shari and see her beautiful creations at our Firefly Handmade Holiday Market, November 17 & 18!
To see more from her collections, visit:
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview