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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Nancy Anderson


The Artisan Group
 is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is Nancy Anderson of Nan Gate Designs!

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NAN GATES DESIGNS


We caught up with Nancy and asked her a few questions about her exquisite line of sewn totes and wristlets, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:




Tell us a little bit about your shoppe. 
Nan Gates Designs began in 2004 out of my love for sewing for the past 35 years and the desire to create fun and unique women's handbags and accessories where classic and sophisticated styling meet up with contemporary fabrics for looks that will stick around for a long while. I spend hours and hours searching for beautiful decorator and designer fabrics that I personally love, finding the right color combinations, designing styles that I believe both younger girls and older women alike will love and be able to use on a daily basis, and then creating the final products one by one in my studio. I take pride in my attention to the finer details for an end-product that will not only look good but will last for many years.

Before I started venturing online with my website and Etsy and later selling wholesale to shops, for many years I sold my handbags primarily at fairs and home shows. I loved this, and still do when I am able to, because it gives me the opportunity to hear customers' comments about the different pieces as well as their thoughts about different fabric combinations that I might never have thought of. I always take fabric swatches to these events and let customers design their own bags if they so choose which is always fun. At home shows, it is a blast to watch guests spread out swatches all over the floor and tables to see what they can come up with and to assist each other with their selections. Without a doubt, some of my best designs have come from the inspiration of my customers! Creativity is non-stop and the ideas are limitless - this is the main reason I love doing what I do.

What is your favorite product from your shoppe and why? 
This is difficult for me but, since it is nearing summer time, I will have to say one of my favorite products is my new Extra Large Floral Beach Bag which I specially created for a friend who recently re-located to a coastal community down south. I love the colors in this bag and because it is a little bigger than most totes and lined with canvas, it is very durable and has so many uses besides just being a beach bag. It's also perfect for the gym, traveling, shopping - you name it!


When you're not handcrafting such gorgeous totes and accessories, what are your hobbies? 
My primary extra-curricular activity is tennis which I do several days a week. I learned to play when I was ten, played on the the high school team and then didn't touch a racquet for almost twenty years. One day about ten years ago I was sitting watching people on the tennis courts while my son was playing on the nearby playground. Their coach came and sat down next to me, we started talking and when we were done he asked if I wanted to play for the team! Having not played in so long I was reluctant but I went ahead and did it and have played competitively year-around ever since. It has not only been a wonderful social outlet but great exercise and a whole lot of fun.

Besides tennis, I love to read, walk my two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, occasionally play the piano, walk on the beach, and spend time with my husband of 28 years, my daughter, 24, and son, 20.

What do you like best about The Artisan Group? 
I can honestly say that the decision to join The Artisan Group has boosted my business to new heights and I am incredibly honored and fortunate to be associated with such a respected, supportive and inspiring group of talented artists. My little shop has suddenly jumped into the big leagues and has grown exponentially as a result of the huge exposure it has received not only from the celebrity gifting and participating in the GBK Golden Globe and Oscars events but also from the business knowledge and resources that the members freely share with one another.

Valerie is an awesome leader who works tirelessly to make sure we all shine and grow both as individual business owners as well as a group. I love the unsurpassed integrity, organization and professionalism of The Artisan Group and the marketing opportunities are nothing short of amazing. Without a doubt, this group rocks!

    Nancy recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

    ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Wendy Emerson



    The Artisan Group
     is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is Wendy Emerson of Willow Creek Jewelry!

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    WILLOW CREEK JEWELRY


    We caught up with Wendy and asked her a few questions about her gorgeous line of handcrafted copper jewelry, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:




    Tell us a little bit about your shoppe. 
    I opened my shop, Willow Creek Jewelry on Etsy in 2009. I love creating distinctive original pieces using sterling silver, copper, brass and gemstones. My design style doesn’t really fit into one category because I’m drawn to many different styles and I think that’s reflected in my jewelry. I enjoy adding my own spin on a style so you may find anything from a little Boho to a little Traditional to everything in between.

    You can really look back through my designs and see how I’ve changed as a designer. My current passion is metalwork and metalsmithing. I absolutely love manipulating metal with fire, a hammer and my hands. It’s fascinating what you can actually make metal do. Taking a sheet of plain hard metal and forming it into a wearable design accented with complementary gemstones is so satisfying. There’s no doubt about it, I’ve found my bliss!

    What is your favorite product from your shoppe and why? 

    My current favorite is a hammered copper cuff accented with copper chain and tiger iron gemstones. I loved creating this piece because along the way I never knew what was coming next. I hardly ever sketch a design but I usually have an end result in my head. With this piece I just grabbed some copper one day and started with no goal in mind. Each stage was exciting and a little like an “Ah-Ha” moment. I was very pleased with how the piece turned out.


    When you're not creating such lovely artisan jewelry, what are your hobbies? 
    This question was a little difficult because I’m always designing in my head, even while driving and sleeping. However, there are a few things I enjoy outside of jewelry. I enjoy spending time with my husband of thirty years, our sons and our 5 year-old granddaughter, who is an absolute joy! I also enjoy gardening, being outdoors, reading and traveling.

    What do you like best about The Artisan Group? 
    I was actually a member of The Artisan Group for almost a year before I started getting involved and now I could kick myself for waiting so long. Valerie has been there with a reassuring and supportive voice to answer my sometimes crazy questions, and really holding my cyber hand through everything. I was lucky enough to participate in the (GBK) 2012 Oscar Swag Bag and two celebrity gift bags. All three experiences were rewarding with Valerie right there every step of the way.

    The group as a whole is amazingly supportive, with members offering valuable advice and wonderful words of encouragement. I have found TAG to be the perfect fit for an artist that wants to grow their business because in order to do so you must surround yourself with like-minded artisans that can provide you with a positive outlook, honest feedback and inspiration.

      Wendy recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

      ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Betty Miller



      The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is Betty Miller of Magic Senses!

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      MAGIC SENSES®


      We caught up with Betty and asked her a few questions about her lovely line of artisan soaps, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:




      Tell us a little bit about your shoppe. 
      Magic Senses® is a soap company my husband, Mike, and I founded in 2005, after I relocated to California. We specialize in designer vegetable glycerin soap but also carry a Shea Body Butter collection. We take pride in the quality and craftsmanship of our products and in serving our customers.

      Our soap is hand made in small batches continuing the tradition of uniqueness we have embraced for so many years. We love creating fabulous designer soap that will give our customers (or their loved ones) a little bit of luxury and fun while moisturizing their skin. And with over 45 – 50 fragrances to choose from, the hardest part is always deciding which products they like!

      Our main Collections include:
      We created the Dance Soap Collection to help raise funds for Dizzy Feet Foundation – 20% of every bar sold from this collection goes to help talented but underprivileged young dancers.

      We also offer Monthly Soap Subscriptions and soap gifts so our customers can share the love! Magic Senses® has changed our lives and our customers’ lives… our soap has made thousands of people smile and we won’t stop here. The best part is yet to come!

      What is your favorite product from your shoppe and why? 
      This is a tricky one. May I answer with “they are all my favorites”? It is really hard to choose… I’d probably go with Plumeria Handcrafted Glycerin Soap – I love the subtle Hawaiian Plumeria scent! A fresh clear base packed with white, yellow and red-pink swirls embracing each other.


      When you're not handcrafting your beautiful soap line, what are your hobbies? 
      When I’m not designing soap, I am most likely taking care of my other business, Simo Media (a network of niche blogs which includes Craftsyble, 100CafeStreet and others). I also like to build websites, travel or go on day trips with my husband and dog.

      What do you like best about The Artisan Group? 
      A LOT! I love the fantastic gifting opportunities, the unbelievable exposure, and the amazing community with brilliant artisans who double as knowledgeable business owners! I love reading about everyone’s success and creative process. I made a lot of good friends and met so many talented people! I am very proud to be a member!

      Betty recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

      ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Rachel Leathers



      The Artisan Group
       is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone Jewelry!

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      HEARTS OF STONE JEWELRY









      We caught up with Rachel and asked her a few questions about her gorgeous line of stone jewelry, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
      • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe. My shop is Hearts of Stone Jewelry, which features heart-carved gemstone earrings, necklaces, sets and chokers. I grew up as a rockhound, so when I started tinkering with making jewelry, gemstones was a natural medium. I started playing with several shapes, but the heart carved ones were more aesthetically appealing to me, so I went with those exclusively. I made a joke about selling hearts of stone, so the name stuck! Initially this was just a hobby and I made only earrings, but I have since taken the venture more seriously and now have a more defined line of jewelry. I’m a self-taught designer, and while I am considered an assemblage artist, this is the most creatively satisfying thing I’ve ever done and am enjoying myself immensely!
      • What is your favorite product from your shoppe and why?  My favorite product? Oh boy, that’s hard to pin down! I have a few, actually. I took one necklace and made it my ‘signature’ piece that has become my branded visual avatar and no longer have it for sale. I wear it at shows and other events. But, one that I still have in the shop that I really do love is ‘The Lucky Buddha’ set. I love it for the layered chandelier look, the Asian accents and the focal heart is stunning! Simple elements that create a piece with impact!
      • When you're not hand-carving jewelry from stone, what are your hobbies?  I’ve been a professional seamstress for over 22 years, and the jewelry is a wonderful distraction. Recently I’ve designed a line of men’s shirts which I’m launching soon, and making something for me has rejuvenated the want to sew again. I haven’t had much time for other hobbies of late, but I grew-up in a boating family and I love being near the water. The infrequent chances to go out are so special and cherished! Nothing is more relaxing and replenishing than being on the water.
      • What do you like best about The Artisan Group? What I enjoy the most about The Artisan Group was the most unexpected; the chance to meet like-minded people and learn from them. Everyone has an experience to share, advice to give, a shoulder to lean on and an ear to bend. It’s very uplifting to get feedback from other artisans. I knew the group was about celebrity gifting, but the gift to me has been the camaraderie, the new friendships and amazing networking. I enjoy the open forum to exchange information and ideas! The exposure my business receives by being a member has been invaluable, absolutely. You know what I really love, too? As this group grows, Valerie gives members a chance to get more involved, and I have enjoyed being a gifting coordinator and helping assemble the table at events. I love being able to see in person other member’s wares; there are amazing artists in this group who create such fabulous things, so I feel I can attest to the talent without being disingenuous. And to be in their company? Priceless!
      Rachel recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

      ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: S. Michelle Babcock



      The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is S. Michelle Babcock of Michelle's Enamel!

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      MICHELLE'S ENAMEL







      We caught up with S. Michelle and asked her a few questions about her modern jewelry line, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
      • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe. I first opened my etsy shop last year, but after careful consideration I decided to make my own website. I have been doing art shows for a little over ten years and the big question from customers always was, "Do you have a website?" I now know that a website lets my admirers go home and see more of my work; it also allows them learn a little bit more about who I am. I enjoy their feedback. When someone orders a custom piece I enjoy the challenge of making something they will cherish, and also of making a new piece that may require me to try new techniques. I love being on the internet because it allows me to have so much more interaction with both professional colleagues and art enthusiasts.
      • What is your favorite piece from your shoppe and why? My favorite piece in my shop is Gift of the Magi. It is a piece I did to represent my spiritual journey and it marks a period of time in which I attained a new level in my enameling. My next favorite piece is always the one I am working on at present!
      • When you're not creating such interesting jewelry pieces, what are your hobbies?  When I am not in my studio I can usually be found at my pond in the backyard with my husband and our two dogs. I enjoy water gardening and just relaxing, meditating, and watching nature taking its course in my own backyard.

        After a weekend spent working at an art show, my husband and I always make time for roadside attractions, whether it is about the history of our country or the wonderful collection of a local collector or folk artist.
      • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  I like that so many creative people in one collective that are willing to share their ideas and give their support -- plus the great opportunities that are offered to us to promote our work. Even if one is not in a certain event we all learn from those that are participating.
      S. Michelle recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

      ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Fiona Rohde



      The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is Fiona Rohde of Fiona Designs!

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      FIONA DESIGNS








      We caught up with Fiona and asked her a few questions about her designer stationery, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
      • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe. It all began with my desire to create greeting cards and has since expanded to include a wide array of stationery. Fiona Designs® now has a unique selection of greeting cards, note cards and personalized stationery sets. The stationery sets predominately feature original silhouettes illustrated and designed by me. These silhouettes range from various objects such as shoes, helicopters, musical instruments, watering cans and tricycles to animals, birds, bees, dogs and even dinosaurs! They have been very popular and I am constantly creating new designs, many are custom requests from clients.
      • What is your favorite piece from your shoppe and why? I really love designing personalized stationery for clients and I am constantly inspired to try new ideas. It's really hard to choose a favorite. If I had to pick one set of stationery it would be the black lab note set. I designed it shortly after adopting our two labs and was the starting point for my ever expanding stationery collection.
      • When you're not designing cool paper goods, what are your hobbies?  I really have fun taking photographs and dabbling with acrylics. Spending time with my family is precious to me and I adore being a new mom!
      • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  In short The Artisan Group rocks! It is an amazing experience being a part of The Artisan Group. I am truly inspired everyday by the fantastic and talented group of fellow members. The creativity and camaraderie is outstanding and it has opened up a whole new world of opportunities to help grow my business that I never would have had access to on my own. Valerie is a dedicated leader who strives for excellence and stops at nothing to find amazing opportunities to participate in. Being able to design and gift stationery to celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Ginnifer Goodwin and Jenny McCarthy among others is phenomenal.
      Fiona recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

      ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Kathryn Doll




      The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is Kathryn Doll of Kathryn Designs!

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      KATHRYN DESIGNS







      We caught up with Kathryn and asked her a few questions about her polymer clay jewelry line, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
      • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  I was searching for a creative outlet several years ago when I discovered polymer clay. I was browsing in the bookstore and came upon a book that featured amazing polymer clay creations and I was immediately hooked! I have a background as an Art Therapist and Social Worker, and I always found that having a form of creative expression was vital to my sense of well being. With polymer clay, I was able to combine my favorite art forms of painting, ceramics, and collage into wearable polymer jewelry creations. My shop grew out of my passion to create, and a desire to share my art with others.

        I opened my Artfire shop last year, and it is full of colorful, one of a kind, mixed media creations. I am especially excited about my new line, The Sparkle Collection, which features semi-precious gemstones. Many of my pieces are vintage inspired with a modern flair. I keep a journal of ideas, and I hope to find time to add all my ideas to my shoppe. In the near future, I will be adding items that incorporate metal clay and polymer clay.
      • What is your favorite piece from your shoppe and why? My current favorite is my Mosaic Bangle Bracelet, because it was inspired by all the tiny scraps of polymer clay veneers I have left over from other projects. I can never bear to part with the scraps I accumulate. In the case of this particular bracelet, I decided to use all the colors available, and I was really pleased with the outcome. Somehow, the wild colors work together, like a crazy quilt of clay. It was a spontaneous and fun piece to create. It is always a great feeling when something comes together without too much planning!
      • When you're not handcrafting your gorgeous jewelry line, what are your hobbies?   I love to spend time with my family and my two dogs. We have a Sheltie named Eddie that we rescued when he was abandoned, and a Papillion named Allie, who is a complete diva. She is the true boss of the house! I enjoy reading, attending concerts, shopping, and traveling. I am also addicted to a few television shows, including Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Justified, and The Walking Dead.
      • What do you like best about The Artisan Group? There is much to love about The Artisan Group! Beyond the amazing celebrity gifting opportunities, I am so grateful for the support of the group. I have learned so much about marketing and growing my business, and I am always awed by the varied talents that are represented in the group. The Artisan Group has really been the single most important factor for my business since I opened my Artfire shoppe about one year ago.
      Kathryn recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.
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