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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Joy St. Claire



The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our fine art photography members, Joy St. Claire!

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Oh, Joy Photography


We caught up with Joy and asked her a few questions about her fine art photography portfolio, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:


  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  My shops in Etsy and Society 6 feature my fine art photography. My Etsy shop also features my work on fine art note cards and on upcycled/recycled locket sets in collaboration with Cat Ivans of Polarity. The most common feedback I receive from those viewing my shop is that my work feels happy! Much of my art features natural landscapes and garden scenes processed to emote what I feel when I am out in nature or among the flowers – calm, serene, a little part of a bigger whole, and happy! 
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  My favorite items feature my dog and muse Maggie May! Maggie came to me at a difficult time in my life, & I for her. I really feel that we rescued each other. She is the perfect willing model working only for hotdogs or cheese!

  • When you're not taking gorgeous photographs, what are your hobbies?  When not taking photographs and working my magic on them, I can be found hunting through thrift stores for vintage cameras or other vintage goodies. I also enjoy knitting, hiking wild trails with Maggie May, reading a good book and spending time in my flower and vegetable gardens. And, of course I love wandering along the beaches of Lake Michigan!
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?   I joined The Artisan Group for the amazing opportunities to gift celebrities. But, I have been pleasantly surprised by the creative & very supportive community the group offers! It is part cheerleading squad, part business boot camp and part creative inspiration. I feel blessed to be a part of this amazing team!
Joy recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Judit Blumenfrucht


The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our talented jewelry members, Judit Blumenfrucht!

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Judit B Jewelry
{website} www.juditb.com


We caught up with Judit and asked her a few questions about her unique jewelry line, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:



  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  It is difficult to describe my shoppe as it began as a dream in a suitcase and has somehow grown and grown into a multifaceted business. I designed a range of jewelry twenty years ago and two years ago revisited my dream and brought them for judging to a major Arts and Crafts show in Jerusalem and then to a major London Jewelry Exhibition IJL. To my amazement they were accepted to both and I have not looked back since! I just don't seem to be able to stop designing new pieces so only a few are available on Etsy, Facebook, etc.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?   As far as my favourite product is concerned this is a difficult one. My trademark is my square ring but my favourite of all is two rings which, when worn together, look like a flower. I really love the whole "flower" range which also comprises two pendants and a pair of earrings. Somehow the element of surprise when people put the two pieces together and they make up a flower is what makes them so special to me. They are fun jewelry, aesthetic, and a conversation piece too!
  • When you're not handcrafting your unique jewelry line, what are your hobbies?    Since I started this business, I rarely have time to stop but when I do I love to entertain friends and family, preparing artistic gourmet food feasts and having the company to enjoy them with. I will hopefully share this and other tips on how to get housework and cooking done fast so we can all have time to enjoy life more (learned through several episodes of being paralyzed when younger through back trauma)... in the form of a book I started as a wedding gift to my daughter just before my jewelry business took off.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?   It is impossible to say what I like best about The Artisan Group. It is an amazing group of wonderful individuals who constantly astound me with their talent and caring. It is led with efficiency and initiative and I am constantly amazed that, despite the immense growth of the group, each person is an individual and gets the personal touch. For me personally, I am learning two important lessons: 1) It's OK to shout about what I do and report on newspaper articles and websites that feature me and my brand and, 2) with The Artisan Group I am never alone. Not only amazing opportunities like the Emmys, the Golden Globes and the Oscars and more, but also the support of a community of like-minded people. Unbelievable!
Judit recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

GUEST BLOGGER: Kathy Messick of Kath's Elegant Accessories

(And the Golden Globe goes to...) My Golden Globes Acceptance Speech
By Kathy Messick of Kath's Elegant Accessories
Shoppe | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

I love award shows, the red carpet, the fashion, the interviews, the (hopefully) witty dialog by the host of the event and the acceptance speeches. When the presenters make the announcement of the winner, or to be more politically correct, "... and, the Golden Globe goes to...", I am always curious about what the winner will say. 

My personal preference is for it to be heartfelt, short and sweet, or as some of the celebrities stated during the 2012 Golden Globes, thank your manager, thank God and your family (not necessarily in that order), then make a graceful exit. 

So I started thinking about what I would say about my gifting experience for the 2012 Golden Globes

Here goes my Golden Globes Acceptance Speech.

I’d thank God for the many blessings and challenges that have come my way. Thank you to The Artisan Group, especially the Founder, Valerie Gurrero, and Managing Partner, Nikki Cutro, for the opportunity of participating in the 2012 GBK Golden Globes Gift Lounge. Your amazing talents and tireless efforts on behalf of the group have made so many of my dreams come true. Next, would be Tina of TinaDeanDesigns, without her encouragement, I would never applied to The Artisan Group and would have missed out on making so many wonderful friends and becoming a part of a vibrant and creative group of artisans in the handmade community. 

I would also like to thank Golden Globe nominee, Shailene Woodley and the amazing and talented Natasha Henstridge for posing with my display statement necklace “Flower Fantasy – Denise”. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Then next it would be my husband and family, friends, mentors, everyone in my life, past and present that have inspired, encouraged, challenged and supported me.

At this point, before I could start naming names, the music would play and I would be gently urged to leave the stage. So I would have to end my acceptance speech on that note. Thank you, thank you all!


Kathy Messick of Kath's Elegant Accessories

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Kelly Mitchell


The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our multi-talented members, Kelly Mitchell!

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The Write Stuff Design


We caught up with Kelly and asked her a few questions about her unique Book Purse line, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:



  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  The Write Stuff Design began in 2009 as a gift boutique consisting mostly of gift cards, calendars and other fun paper products. As the boutique grew I began to add products based on my personal favorite things such as books and travel. It was here that I came up with the idea for our signature Book Purse.

    In a desire to design a product based on my love of travel, I came up with our popular Map Coasters. To recycle the interiors of our books used for the purses, I developed our Origami Paper Flowers and Book Sculptures. All of our designs incorporate the ever important idea of re-purposing everyday objects into fashionable accessories for the home and for the intellectual chic woman.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  My favorite piece would have to be my Jane Austen Book Purse. This piece shows off my favorite author in a fashionable manner that encourages discussion about my love of literature while making a fashion statement. In our house we have always collected beautiful editions of our favorite books. However, they sit on shelf in our office and are never seen by anyone. I wanted to come up with a way to show off my love of literature with the world. Thus, the Book Purse was born.  The exterior cover of my favorite titles are re-purposed and designed into a stylish purse with coordinating fabrics and fun beaded handles. Every part of the book is then recycled as the interior pages are molded into individual paper flowers 
  • When you're not handcrafting your fabulous Book Purses and designer stationery, what are your hobbies?   Reading of course! I love to read and share my love of literature with my young children in reading them lots and lots of books! Travel and mapping out all the places I would love to visit is also another hobby that manifests itself in my work. And of course shopping local arts and farmers markets for fun handmade finds for myself and gifts for friends and family.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  I was so honored to be invited into The Artisan Group. It has afforded me opportunities to get my products in the hands of celebrities and get my name out there! Not only that but the wealth of knowledge and resources made available by Valerie and Nikki and all the other talented members is invaluable. There are so many people who are there to help with any question you may have regarding growing your business, motivating you and sharing in your successes. It is truly an honor to be called a member of The Artisan Group!
Kelly recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Melissa Arnold


The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our talented artisan jewelry members, Melissa Arnold!

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Sahetah's Jewelry


We caught up with Melissa and asked her a few questions about her unique Steampunk vintage-style jewelry line, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:



  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  Sahetah’s Jewelry was in the womb of creation as I visited Nova Scotia in 2009. I found that I was inspired by all the Artists showcasing their work in shops, and along harbours. Nova Scotia was so rich with talent; I have never seen so much handmade art in one place. Over three weeks my family and I visited each town along the coast line. It was like exploring for treasure. I bought beautiful photography of some of the gorgeous landscapes from the local photographers, and a glass prism of sand, beach pebbles and pearls. Suddenly I asked myself, “Why have I not put my artistic talent to use?” I was a full time caregiver struggling with low income and high debt, and so I then realized if I can’t work outside the home, I can work inside the home.  I was just craving to do something with my time that was worthwhile.

    With a history of horticulture courses in school and working at a flower shop, it was not surprising my work turned into more whimsical jewelry incorporating flowers and nature. By the spring of 2012, my designs begun to revolve around vintage styles with hand-dyed and airbrushed Lucite flowers that I sometimes call 'fairy jewelry'. The sci-fi girl in me wanted to explore even further into fantasy, and I begun designing what I call ‘feminine Steampunk’ necklaces.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?   Currently, my favourite has to be the Andromeda Necklace I recently designed. Out of my entire collection of Feminine Steampunk necklaces, I have found this necklace to be the most enchanting. It reminds me of the Amazon women of many years ago. Currently it is displayed above my work desk, beside Squirrely (a raccoon stuffed toy I bought from the Toronto Zoo who occasionally sits on my laptop to do my work for me when I need a break).
  • When you're not handcrafting your Steampunk jewelry line, what are your hobbies?  Most of the day is revolved around work in some way. If I’m not working, I’m probably with my grandfather. I joke with him and take him out often. My goal is to make him laugh often, so everything I do with him I try to do in some sort of amusing way to break his cycle of depression. When I take a break I feel like I need to be working or I’m being lazy. Having an awesome German Shepherd as a companion means I’m forced to set time aside for her. She is ever so patient and loving, willing to wait for me to finish work before I go outside and play with her. Once a month I’ll visit my aunt who I once lived with, but I’ll often bring work with me and help my cousin with her confidence and jewelry business of her own. Once a year I participate in National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) where thousands of people in November try to write a 50,000 word (or longer) novel within 30 days. Every other day I’m heading into Toronto to attend writing sessions inside coffee shops. This past November in 2011 proved to be a very busy month as I was also preparing 100 gifts for the celebrity swag bags for GBK’s Golden Globes Gift Lounge with The Artisan Group.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group? The group’s members are a collection of wonderful people. The members are eager to help each other, regardless if you are a new or seasoned business owner. The group’s goal is to help grow your business and share each other’s knowledge to help you get your business out there. I love that the group is so friendly, close-knit and eagerly welcomes new members. That’s what I truly love most about the group – the people. I truly admire them. When a tragedy hits a member of the group, I’ve never witnessed a group rally together with such strength and determination to give them aid and support. It was truly touching to see and be a part of.

    The Artisan Group is truly the most wonderful group I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m always proud to say “I’m a member of The Artisan Group!”
Melissa recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

GUEST BLOGGER: Kellie Medivitz of Printable Girl

From the Heart
By Kellie Medivitz of Printable Girl
Shoppe | Blog | Facebook | Twitter  Pinterest  

Hello all Artisan Group readers, I'm so excited to be here today as your Guest Blogger.

Since the topic of my post is "From the Heart" it comes from my heart to say how happy I am to be a part of such a wonderful group. I've been a "TAGer" for almost a year now. When I first was accepted I must admit I did get a little giddy with the thoughts of my products one day landing in the hand of a celebrity at one our gift lounge events. As time went on I quickly realized that is just one part of this group. The support, collaboration, advice, and help this group gives to one another is just amazing and makes this organization so much more. The talent that explodes out this group, whether in their own personal shops or at one of our events is incredible. I'm an owner and gift-giver of many items from our TAGers and every item I've received is nothing less then top-notch and made from their heart!

With that said, I want to share with you a little something I created just for YOU! Nothing really sends home the message of "I love, like, care about you" quite like something handmade from the heart, am I right?

Ever since my daughter started nursery school, and every year since we’ve either designed or crafted Valentine's for her friends because she always wanted it to come from her heart, letting them know she cared. At times I think she has craft overload with me, I sometimes hear "Really mommy, it doesn't need more glitter, they look fine", which is followed by a bellowing from downstairs by my husband, "Yeah, honey I really don't want to run the vacuum again!" They since have come to realize designing cute, fun paper products or grabbing a glue gun, glitter, coffee filters and pipe insulation to create a kick a** wreath for the holidays is my way of decompressing from the 9-to-5 corporate life of "white space, style guidelines and the gothic 720 font family".

Anyway, as I kick my glitter and glue gun aside, please enjoy this fun and free DIY printable for you! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating for you.
If you love this project and are looking for more fun free printables please check out http://pinterest.com/printablegirl/free-printables-from-me-to-you/. This is a listing of all my free goodies from my blogs.

With many XOXOs from the Heart,
Kellie a.k.a PrintableGirl


ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Andie Dietz

The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our very talented fine art photography members, Andie Dietz!

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Java Jane Designs



We caught up with Andie and asked her a few questions about her unique photography and alphabet photography artwork and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:




  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  Java Jane Designs began in 2004 as a gift boutique for art, custom accessories, and personalized gifts. The Alphabet Photo Art™ collection was created in 2008 as a line of elegant handcrafted alphabet photography artwork, featuring stunning black and white letters of the alphabet, artfully arranged to spell names and words to create personalized gifts to celebrate life’s biggest moments.

    My signature photography style has developed through a love of travel and exploration, highlighting elements of forgotten architecture that are often rusty and weathered, but delicate and ornate. Combined with a longtime interest in fonts and typography, I’ve created my own 'architecture font' through photographs. I take a lot of pride in my work and love to create beautiful pieces that are both personal and memorable!
Andie created this alphabet photography artwork for The Artisan Group's Founder
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  Oh, I fall in love with every name and piece that I design! When I'm creating a name I normally work with letters from my alphabet photo collection created over the past 4 years. On occasion, however, I've photographed completely new alphabets by request. One that comes to mind is a very abstract name collage commissioned for "McCOY", spelled completely from elements of a Harley Davidson motorcycle! But, I would have to say my favorite piece so far has been my LOVE print which was designed for the 2012 Golden Globes (Gift Lounge). I love how the whimsical letters are contrasted by the frame's clean lines and the simplicity of black and white. After all, true love should be both simple and carefree!
  • When you're not creating pieces of art with your photography, what are your hobbies?   When I'm not in my studio, I love cooking and shopping at our local farmer's market on the weekends. My husband and I spend a lot of time renovating our 1950s home, searching for fun vintage finds, and most importantly traveling. As an artist, I’m lucky to have the time to travel with my husband almost every month, capturing new images and inspirational elements to bring back to my art studio. I love discovering architectural details in unlikely places. Some of my photography from our travels can be found in my other shop, www.MidnightFarm.etsy.com.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  I was thrilled to be invited into The Artisan Group, but I honestly had no idea how impactful it would be. I've had such a great experience so far and am constantly amazed at the effort that Valerie and Nikki put into The Artisan Group. My newbie questions are answered quickly and there are so many resources and opportunities available. Being able to be involved with the Emmys, the Golden Globes, and the Oscars has been so exciting for me! I am really just so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful and collaborative group and look forward to becoming more involved!
Andie participated as a display participant in the recent luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

Nia Peeples Wears Gifted Jewelry on Pretty Little Liars

One of our members, Deb Soromenho of A.W.E. Jewelry recently gifted actress Nia Peeples a pair of her handcrafted Copper Teardop Earrings at the Primetime Emmys Gift Lounge, and we were thrilled to hear that Nia planned on wearing them in an episode of ABC's hit show Pretty Little Liars!


We recently spotted Nia proudly wearing Deb's earrings in episode 18 of the show! Take a peek!

Nia Peeples of "Pretty Little Liars" seen with AWE Jewelry's gifted earrings.

GUEST BLOGGER: Jenifer Gallagher of The Scarlet Robin

Balance
By Jenifer Gallagher of The Scarlet Robin
Shoppe | Blog | Facebook | Twitter


If there's one universal truth about artisans, it is that we love tools.  I've never met a fellow maker who doesn't feel a deep emotional attachment to their tools.  While quite generous by nature, in elementary school it was hard for me to lend a favorite pair of scissors.  Even now, I admit to a pang of possessiveness when I see another Scarlet Robin artisan using “my” Lindstrom pliers.

So in the never-ending quest for balance (whatever that is) that defines the life of a single-mom entrepreneur, of course I have a toolbox!





First and foremost are my running shoes.  They propel me on my daily assault against the common enemies: stress, anxiety and exhaustion.

My other favorite tools are virtual.  Without the Reminders feature on my iPhone, phone calls would be forgotten, sales tax not filed and perhaps even blog posts unfinished. Similarly, I am kept on track all day long by Google Calendar and the timer.  I set a timer when putting a piece of metal in the pickle and more importantly, to remind me to pick up my children!




As a compulsive list-maker,  ZipList  and the app are a dream.  This tool lets me add to my grocery list all day long from either my laptop or phone. At the store, I can check things off the list on my phone as I go through the aisles.

The website allows me to arrange the sections according to  my grocery store's layout, and to assign items to specific stores.













Another favorite organizer is MindMeister, and the app.  With this, either from my computer or on the go, I corral my disorganized thoughts into webs, which can then be used in a million ways.

















My business partner lives 2,641 miles away, but we share everything (did I mention I'm single? Just kidding, Jill!)  and are in virtual constant contact.  With a little help from Adobe, we can store and share every type of document, among 953 other uses.  I use it to plan a month's worth of menus and chores at a time!

Finally, in just the three years since we started our bi-coastal business, video chat capabilities have improved so dramatically, that our East-coast and West-coast teams feel that they know each other, even though most have never met.  With FaceTime (iPhone) and Google video chat, Jill and I basically sit across from each other most days and our productivity has soared as a result.










Did I mention that all these tools have free versions?  I want easy from my tech tools, and I need efficiency.  Doing more with less stress is what balance is about, yes?

I'm currently considering Amazon Prime... any input?
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The Artisan Group® is an exclusive premiere entertainment marketing organization on a mission to introduce Hollywood to the best-of-the-best in handcrafted products!

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