Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yarn Dyed Naturally

Updated on December 5th, 2008.
In the beautiful words of her children, "Kathryn Kay Drescher Rowe has completed her work in this life and now begins her next journey."
I will leave this post intact (save for the removal of the link to her shop) in her honor.
To her family, her partner and a legion of fellow friends I offered my shared sorrow at her passing and my shared joy at having her in my life. Baamaapii, neejee.
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Few things in life are as soothing to the touch as soft yarn or as pleasing to the eye as vivid colors. When you put them together and throw in the appeal of natural derivation, you have a true winner!


I am pleased to introduce you to my friends Kathy and Kathy. (When the three of us are together we comprise a virtual triumvirate of Kathys!! )

Kathy Rowe Drescher and Kathy Kolenda do amazing things with flowers, roots, bark and bugs; they turn these natural sources into the most wonderful colors for yarn! Have you ever seen a nicer purple than the yarn pictured here? Many colors, from the greens and browns you might expect from such earthy beginnings to blues and coral colors that excite the senses and boggle my mind!

Every good story has a beginning, of course, and this story is no different.

Kathy Rowe Drescher has been a weaver and textile artist for decades. Some years back she was faced with an onslaught of health issues. As doctors will do, they attempted to isolate the cause of her illness; prime suspect was the dyes she had been using in her work.
Not one to be daunted by such challenges, she soldiered on. Fighting the good fight against the ailments, she never lost the love of what she did, but she knew she had to change her way of doing things. Through research, trial and error and new friendships, she found her way to a more natural and less toxic way of staying true to her craft.

I admire this tenacity, and I love the result!










These wonderful yarns are being offered online at their shop on Etsy, as well as some delightful cards printed from their original artwork and other whimsies like this fiber angel. They also offer workshops and classes for anyone who can attend in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan.

I will miss my friend.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Slogan on Your Wrist

It seems that expressing one's self on a wrist-bound statement is an eternally popular notion. Whether it's a simple name band, the recent WWJD rage, or something more individualized, the notion of wearing one's heart on the sleeve (so to speak) is here to stay!

For years I have been making name bands. As a mom who gave her daughters names they will never find in the mass-produced offerings, I realized a long time ago that there was a need out there for people to have the name and spelling of their choice available.

Recently the demand for other options has grown. To answer the need, I have begun offering these. I call them Word Bands. Want your name? No problem, even if your name is something unusual like Barack! Want to tell people how much you love your furry friends or how much you don't love being told what to do? I can handle that! Do you have a message that is so important you want folks you shake hands with throughout the day to catch a glimpse? Can do!!

The only limitations are your imagination or my sensitivities. These are made of full-grain cowhide to last for years and come in almost any color you can think of. They snap with a secure but not-too-burly snap and can be made in any size. Check out my Etsy shop (linked at the top of the left sidebar) for more info or to purchase! ~I welcome wholesale inquiries on these~

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Earth Medallions - Stones Set in Leather


I really like wearing stones, and leather compliments the feel of the stone nicely. So I've created these. I call them Earth Medallions; an homage to the gifts of our planet. The leather setting frames the treasure inside perfectly without overpowering it, allowing the stone to remain the star.
They've been very popular for me -- perhaps the first "it" item I've ever created. Frankly, I can understand why and I'm not sure I can grab much of the credit. When you start with something as beautiful as a natural bit of rock, it's difficult to go wrong!

There are varieties of agate, bits of fossil, chunks of semi-precious gemstones... the appeal is universal. They have found homes around the necks of men and women throughout the world, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and the associated ease of selling internationally. The furthest-flung order I've filled was from Slovakia, which is real thrill for a small-town crafter!
I'd love to show you all of my favorites, but the problem with that is that they are all my favorite!! Every time I get to the part of the process where I cut the window to reveal the beauty within, I get a thrill of satisfaction that is tough to quantify!
For a look at my current inventory, visit my shop on Etsy at http://www.aosleather.etsy.com/
Check back often, as I am always making more! My only regret? So many rocks, so little time!

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Sister's Sparklies

Arts and crafts were encouraged and supported in our household growing up. Mom could sew and knit like nobody's business! She had me sewing since age five. Dad was a home workshop carpenter; he built or faced most of the shelves and cabinets in the house. We had a downstairs rec-room full of any type of creative supply a kid could want, from scrap lumber with hammers and nails, through all types of paints, crayons, pens, pencils, pastels and reams and reams of paper to express ourselves on. Beads and looms. Clay by the bucketful -- that plasticene colored type that stayed moist so you could use it over and over until the colors blended into a muddy gray, and scissors and construction paper in a rainbow of hues and more, so much more -- you get the picture. I grew up in a crafty household. Not surprisingly those early inspirations have had staying power in several of my parent's children.

My youngest sister, Patricia Marie, has turned a love of beadwork into a sideline. (That's her on the left, with her son and her grandson.) We called her Tricia when she was little, but she changed it to Patti in her teens and she's currently offering some of her sparklies at http://www.jewelrybypatti.etsy.com/


In prepping for this post, I asked her some questions:
Explain your creative process.
I will look at a stone, crystal or charm and think of all the different things it can become. I then pick the one I think will show off its beauty the most. You never know what I might make with special pieces of stones, crystals, or charms. I use several different kinds of materials and I enjoy trying new techniques.
Okay. Cool. Is this process difficult for you?
No, not really. I have always had an eye for that kind of thing, whether I'm out photographing nature, working in my garden, or making jewelry.
Anything you'd like to say about your materials?
I enjoy taking nothing and creating something beautiful with it. Some of the items I use are recycled. Like crystals from an old chandelier will become a crystal in a sun catcher or the end of a keychain, depending on its size of course.
You have a full-time job, a social life and grandkids. How do you manage to work the jewelry into your busy schedule?
Sometimes it’s hard for me to find the time. I try to do it in the evening while watching TV or listening to my CDs. I also do it during the weekends, when I’m not out shopping for new items to make into jewelry, or gardening. Once I get working on something special I will lose track of time, that is until either my dog or cat remind me it’s time for them to eat.
As you can tell, no doubt, I'm pretty proud of my sister... Christmas is coming, so if you have anyone on your list that likes pretty things that sparkle with creativity, use the link above and check out her wares!