Meet Zulay and Stephanie Smith, the immensely talented artists of zassdesigns! The Raleigh, NC mother-daughter team transform found and recycled materials into beautiful, unique, and contemporary jewelry pieces. All their creations are hand sculpted and hand cut. zassdesigns’ philosophy is grounded in the every creation is to respect our environment.
Are you a full-time artist? If not, what is your day job? If you weren’t an artist, what would you do? Yep! We split up our time doing graphic and web design and running zass!
How do you make your studio workspace a happy, productive place to create? We keep on the bright lights and music to keep us going, especially during holiday season!
Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped guide you and your craft. There are many creators that have inspired us along the way, from all different industries. One individual right off the top of our heads is Jody from FlyTrap. We met her when we were just starting out, and she could not have been a better role model when it comes to running an effective business. She’s a smart cookie! We also believe that the gals from Redress Raleigh do a great job of offering artists like ourselves amazing opportunities! We would also like to include our move from our studio into the Carter Building – we have met some great people in this move and creativity continues to flow!
What are some of your favorite art/craft/design trends right now? We are really digging some geometric shapes up in the studio lately! Playing with the different shapes we can make with laminate samples and rescued aluminum.
Which social media site do you use most often for your business — Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — and why? Follow us on Instagram and Twitter — nothing says it better then a photo! Check out our Facebook page, too. We’ll keep you up on what we’re creating in the studio.
We hope to see you at The Handmade Market on Saturday, November 9 — you’ll love what these talented ladies have created for you.
Meet artist Liz Esser, designer and maker of Haden Designs! Liz creates beautiful jewelry from re-purposed leather combined with chain and semi precious stones. She also makes pieces from unique stones, different textures, metals, and chain. Although Liz’s chalkboard necklaces are still around, she is exploring new avenues. Her newest line addition is dyed brass cuffs and earrings.Are you a full-time artist? If not, what is your day job? If you weren’t an artist, what would you do? I am a “try to cram it in whenever I have a moment” kinda artist. I am a mom first and foremost, to a two year old and a five year old — they are my full time, which is a pretty great gig … mom/jewelry designer. Now they just need to get old enough to start helping in the studio!
How do you make your studio workspace a happy, productive place to create? I share a room with the kids — half playroom, half jewelry studio. Maybe not so productive, but certainly happy. It’s an anything goes room which creates a very creative environment.
Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped guide you and your craft. My Grandmother is my role model go-to lady. She could do anything creative and did it with such ease and grace. She had me convinced growing up that everyone was like this. It wasn’t until college that I realized I had a whole set of talents and creative skills that I learned from her that others hadn’t been exposed to.
Do you use the Pantone seasonal color guides? Have a favorite for Fall 2013? I have never used this guide. This falls under the favorite trend category and is too much like work — which is probably why when you look at my jewelry and the color palate it is pretty predictable. I am always drawn to the same earthy colors and warm tones.
What’s cooking right now — care to share a favorite recipe? I just came across this recipe, and I’m addicted. If you love sweet potatoes, this is a fantastic twist to these nummie tubers. Plus they are an all-in-one meal, which I love.
E. A. S. Y. Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed then pierced several times with a fork
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and broth to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until fluffy.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes, adding in garlic during last 30 seconds of sauting. Add onion mixture to cooked quinoa, along with black beans, corn, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne, lime juice and honey, 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro and toss mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut cooked sweet potatoes in half and scoop out some of the sweet potato flesh to create a bowl shape, while leaving about 1/3 to 1/2-inch of sweet potato intact (reserve scooped out potato in refrigerator for another use). Fill sweet potatoes with quinoa mixture, then sprinkle tops evenly with cheese. Transfer to oven and broil until cheese has melted. Serve warm garnished with cilantro and sour cream if desired.
Yum! Come on down to The Handmade Market on Saturday (this Saturday!) to see Liz and her cool new brass cuffs!
Today’s Artist Spotlight features Kelly Smith of tiny peepers printed fabrics. Kelly makes all of her screen prints in her home and puts her clean, modern designs on kitchen towels, napkins, pillow cases, t-shirts, and other fabrics. Everything is created with non-toxic, water-based inks and heat set so it can be washed again and again. She’s recently expanded into printing posters, much to our delight!
Are you a full-time artist? If not, what is your day job? If you weren’t an artist, what would you do? I’m not a full-timer. I work for Wake Tech in the English as a Second Language department, as well as at the lovely Epona & Oak downtown at Moore Square. I’m not sure what I’d be doing if I weren’t doing this. Life sort of evolves into whatever is next, fortunately.
How do you make your studio workspace a happy, productive place to create? I work in my kitchen, which is painted the most beautiful shade of orange. It’s called Aurora. Gorgeous. I also like to eat chocolate chips and listen to other people’s playlists on Spotify when I’m printing.
Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped guide you and your craft. Fellow Handmade Market artist, Oami Powers of Judah Ross. I met Oami when I was just getting my business together, and she has listened to countless hours of me talking about tea towels and how to grow a business. She’s a great friend and mentor. She’s also my go-to when I can’t figure out how to mix the right shade of ink.
What are some of your favorite art/craft/design trends right now? I don’t know if it’s trendy, but simple, hand drawn illustrations are always tops with me.
Which social media site do you use most often for your business — Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? I used to use Facebook, but Instagram has quickly become more effective for me. Twitter is too tedious and Facebook’s policy changes for businesses leave me cold. Instagram is fun and easy, and that’s what a useful media site is all about.
Don’t miss Kelly’s table at The Handmade Market on Saturday, November 9 — you’re gonna love her new posters!
Today’s Artist Spotlight shines on Asheville, NC’s Becca Loomer, owner, maker, designer, and muscle of Etchville. Becca’s desire to begin utilizing a truly environmentally friendly water bottle was the inspiration for her company. Moving away from plastic and aluminum, she began toting around a plain glass bottle. Using a Dremel tool, Becca personalized a whale image on her bottle. This lead to etching other images on various household items and creating unique Christmas gifts. From this fun hobby Etchville was born.
Are you a full-time artist? If not, what is your day job? If you weren’t an artist, what would you do? Yes! I am and also a full time mom to lively 9 month old, so, between the etching and the ‘moming,’ I stay pretty busy. What would I do if I wasn’t an artist? I would win the megabucks, travel all over the world with my family and au pair, take in as many senses as I could, come back home, work on my house and garden, and continue to dibble and dabble in different mediums.
How do you make your studio workspace a happy, productive place to create? These days, you can find me on my living room floor making silly faces at my daughter and trying to get her to giggle as I tape off the stencils and get items ready for etching. It has created a different meaning to the word “multi-task” and I am embracing my studio space trickling into my house and creating a blissful chaos. I am eternally grateful to be able to stay at home with my daughter and create a living through art.
Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped guide you and your craft. My mother is a potter who makes gorgeous pieces, and I can remember going to craft fairs with her as a little girl and sitting in the back of her booth drinking natural black cherry soda. Every summer she would do week long shows in New Hampshire, and my sister and I would roam around the different tents looking at all the art and playing in nearby streams. My style is very different from my mom’s, but from her I have learned the importance of determination, detail, vulnerability, and humor. She is my role model and my biggest cheerleader.
What are some of your favorite art/craft/design trends right now? I am a sucker for the current trends like arrows, geometric shapes, antlers, and feathers. I still find myself drawn to foxes and deer prints and letterpress items.
Which social media site do you use most often for your business — Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? I have just started using my Instagram again, and I imagine I will use it more than Facebook because it is easier to tag items and link to Twitter and Facebook. I have also started Vine and cannot wait to make stop motion shorts when everything settles a bit in January.
Do you use the Pantone seasonal color guides? Have a favorite color for fall 2013? I haven’t used the Pantone color guide … I just started moving away from strictly glass so I am excited for anything color!
What’s cooking right now–care to share a favorite fall recipe? Pumpkin bread, hot toddies, and the first fire of the season: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spiced-Pumpkin-Bread-840#http://cocktails.about.com/od/cocktailrecipes/r/httdy_ht.htm
Don’t miss Becca’s table at The Handmade Market on Saturday, November 9 — you’re gonna love her etched mugs!
ZEN Succulent started as a passion for crafting between Megan George and her mother and a way to express their love for beautiful succulents. They enjoy having the opportunity to display they terrariums and for others to enjoy them as well.
Are you a full-time artist? If not, what is your day job? If you were not an artist, what would you do? No — but if all my dreams would come true, I would be a full time artesan. My day job is working for the state of North Carolina — I cannot give specifics but I can say that my job entails raising a lot of cash with fun and exciting lotto games for North Carolina Education. The other half of ZEN Succulent, my mother Margaret, works as a scientist by day with the federal government. She uses those same skills of mixing and imagination when creating new pieces together.
How do you make your studio workspace a happy, productive place to create? We tailored our home studio workspace to be an open environment, naturally having an abundance of sunlight, full succulent plants covering our walls, and an aquatic tank with the gentle sound of a stream for tranquility. Our study is our very own indoor garden, and our love for urban planting makes it even more special.
All of these items are an integral part of our business, all being used not only as imagination, but as the physical components sold in all our terrarium pieces. Since our plants are constantly being used in our terrarium pieces, they are routinely replaced with another variety of succulent, creating a fresh perspective. Our home studio provides a level of comfort and accessibility — even in the early hours of the morning, when an new terrarium idea strikes, I can rush steps away to our studio and freely create without hesitation and obstacles.
Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped guide you and your craft.
What are some of your favorite art/craft/design trends right now? My favorite design trends for home decor are “living and breathing pieces” — pieces that are alive and not only a plant but a functional form of art. Also, I am really gravitating to the uses of simple whites and grays accenting otherwise stark rooms. This is very refreshing to see and to really examine.
Which social media site do you use most often for your business — Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — and why? Facebook — it’s so easy to not only post on your company’s business page but also makes it very assemble to share all your images and findings with open click of a button. With the tagging feature, it also makes an instant connection for your views to further explore events and websites without having tons of links in one posting, simple and sweet.
We are very excited to welcome ZEN Succulent to their debut Handmade Market appearance. Be sure to swing by and welcome these two lovely ladies!