I LOVE upcycled clothing. Not only does the practice help the environment, but there is something undeniably intruiging about taking something and transforming it entirely. You know when Scarlett O'Hara turned her green velour curtains into a gown complete with gold tassles?
I know the whole point of that was to say that she was poor and had to make do, but I always wanted that dress.
Nectarline has invoked the same spirit with her pillowcase dress, which is chic in a way that I never thought bedlinens could be. The sleeves and the gathered bodice are great touches, and make the entire form really work!
These earrings, made from wooden beads are also gorgeous!
And Nectarline doesn't stop with jewelry and clothing - check out this fabulous lampshade!
I like to shake my tail feather, and for me an important part of getting ready to go dancing is a good skirt. Molly, of A + Pottery, said that when she was little the true test of a good skirt had to do with its "twirl factor." If it didn't have good twirl, five year old Molly wouldn't wear a skirt. Looking around Laverie's shop on Etsy, I was reminded of the twirl factor and found my feet tapping.
I love these skirts because they are form fitting and slightly longer in the back, giving them that steampunk bustle look that is so hot right now. Add some big boots, a fascinator and googles and you're ready to hit the town.
Or how about these lovely copper velour fingerless gloves? The lace edging has just the right amount of girly and they look so soft!
If you want to try on some of Laverie's goodies, come to Howard Street Handmade. She also sells at Hip Replacements, and don't forget about Etsy!
So now for some shameless self-promotion. Howdy. I am Katie Elkins, a gnarly nanny by day and ceramic artist nights and weekends. I don't have a cape or super powers, but sometimes I do feel like I have an alter ego. A really muddy one. Most of my work is handbuilt mid range stoneware. I try to use earth friendly glazes, and almost everything is food safe, microwave, dishwasher and even oven friendly. I spend a lot of time with kids - most importantly my own son who is six and likes to help me out with my pottery design. Right now he is working on a three-spouted teapot. I studied ceramics in Japan and finished my BFA at Guilford College, where I learned how very funny and heartwarming Quakers can be. I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and I feel like all that iron seeped into my bones in my formative years. I went to work with my mom until I was in kindergarten - spending most of my hours in a ballet studio, under a piano with lots and lots of ankles to look at and draw on the backs of my mom's discarded sheet music. Now I live here in Asheville, and hope to soon start a craft lounge with some awesome laddies I met through Etsy and Isaac Dickson Elementary School. Things are rockin' - and if I can stop falling into manholes they will be even better. See you Saturday!
Naydeehn, aka Aphotic Rosary, is a woman after my own heart. She finds the components of her jewelry on the sides of interstate ramps, the road, and everywhere she goes. Rusty metal and delicate cameos, beadwork and chain combine in her work for fantastic contrast. Can you say steampunk genius?
She also uses skeleton keys from the church she grew up in (one wonders how they are unlocking their doors these days), and my personal favorite is her necklace incorporating typewriter keys. It would be the perfect accessory to wear to a showing of the Vagina Monologues.
With this much style, you can't go wrong! Kudos to Aphotic Rosary, and see you at Howard Street Handmade!
Coffee, genetics, and chocolate - thats what this jewelry is made of! Wired Women is the product of three southern sisters Babra, Brenda, and Debbie - who just happen to spend their summers in Homer, Alaska. Wow, talk about extremes!
Their lovely jewelry is hand forged from copper and silver, with a bit of color from a wide range of gemstones.
Everything in the sisters' shop on Etsy looks extremely comfortable to wear, and the good news is that they can adjust everything for a custom fit!
I especially love their use of spirals and the soft blues of some of the stones. The copper pieces look like potential mother's day gifts to me!
If you want to see their work in person (I always like to try on jewelry in person), come by Howard Street, and at other times they sell at the Grove arcade and Willow's Dream in Asheville.
Sometimes I run across something so awesome that I want to simultaneously shout out loud about it to everyone I know and keep it really quiet hush-hush so someone else doesn't hog it all. Ever have that dilemma? You might if you visit overlap's shop in Etsy.
Overlap is full to the brim with handsewn and upcycled goodness, and its a good thing for you, gentle reader, I promised to blog about this spectacular shop, because otherwise the desire to keep this little secret all to myself might have won out. I am not including the picture of my favorite item however in hopes that I will get it all for my own, and only a large amount of bribery would pry it out of my handmade-loving arms! So there.... Anyway, about this lovely shop:
Leigh Anne Hilbert is a one woman sewing studio, here in Ashvegas. She taught herself to sew at an early age and has traveled around studying leatherwork and costume design, which is I guess how she came to create such awesome and snug hats. I have always noticed that costume designers have a flair for the headgear. Maybe they have to take haberdashery classes in costume school, I just don't know.
Leigh Anne's baby and toddler bomber helmets make me want to search out friends who have recently had kids just as an excuse to buy one. Really, they are that cute. Since they were inspired by Leigh Anne's son's bare head, one can assume that they are very comfortable, and that Elias is a very lucky boy with lots of style opportunities in his future. I was also thrilled to read that Leigh Anne loves using upcycled fabrics and wools, along with vintage print, "materials with depth."
I love her use of colors too - the green scarflette is my very favorite color and perfect for the spring that is popping up all around us here in Asheville.
Speaking of springg, did you know that Howard Street is on the spring equinox? Eggs all around.
Meet Jodie, an average vegan cake baking woman entrepeneur of sweet tooth fame. Well, I guess when put that way, one has to admit that Jodi is superlative, and her cakes doubly so.
Besides, I think most people in Asheville must have met Jodi at this point. Short Street Cakes just opened their new location at 225 Haywood Road last month, but Jodi has been rockin' the baking scene in Asheville for the last three years from her home base, with the worlds most awesome Fridgedaire oven, The Flair. If Jodi had a sidekick, I think it would be the Flair.
Several magazines have also featured Short Street lately, and it seems like everyone I mention the cake shop to says "Oh, I know Jodi!"
Why, with all of the fuss? Check out her new menu, it might lend a clue. I personally and eagerly await my first bite of classic coconut cake, and just the thought of a mexican chocolate cake makes me think I need more fiestas in my life.
Not only does Jodi have the knack for making delectable treats appear within walking distance of my house in West Asheville, she also has a real passion for community.
Walk into Short Street Cakes, you smell the cake, you see the cake, and you also see local handcrafted goodnes. Art by local painters hangs on the wall, funky napkins, potholders and aprons by local seamstresses are displayed in a vintage hutch next to the counter, and gorgeous hand bound books by Becca Lane are there too.
And the people! I have only ever once been Jodi's sole visitor - and that was long before the shop was even open. Short Street Cakes has turned what was a gray little empty building into a new vibrant facet of Asheville culture and culinary arts. Brava!
So, Howard Street Handmade? Jodi's brainchild. Not like when Artemis jumped out of Zeus skull, because we wouldn't wish anything crazy like that upon the lovely lady baker, but the good kind of brainchild that makes her mama proud. When we first started talking about ideas for the space next to the bakery, Jodi kept coming back to a dream of hers to display local arts and crafts and create a space that the neighborhood needed and would use. I am excited to see who HSH will be when she grows up!
A good banana is hard to find. This morning I was checking out the bananas in the local cafe - they didn't meet my rigorous standards - when I noticed the bowl holding them.
In short, the bowl made up for the bananas, and I knew that it was Courtney Murphy's work. There is no shortage of potters and ceramic artists in the Asheville area, and even though I am one myself and have an eye for work of the clay persuasion, it speaks to Courtney's strength that her work is so instantly recognizable. It is hers and hers alone.
After the banana incident, I decided to check out her website. Choc full of gorgeous photos and information about her work, I found out that Courtney studied in Denmark, and she draws a lot of inspiration from children's art. "Aha!" I thought. Picasso once said "it took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child," and I am reminded of this by Courtney's work, which has a simplicity and grace that I suspect to be the product of much discipline.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing Courtney's work at Howard Street Handmade!
Melanie (aka mellowknee) is rad. Rad to the R-A-D. She also owns a really cute pet rat, to the R -A - T, but that is another story.
In her shop on Etsy one can find hats, scarves, wristbands and awesome knitted bows, which are the perfect accessories for chasing white rabbits down holes.
I met Melanie through the Asheville Etsy Group. She works at the Asheville Free Book Exchange, where I volunteer at times and organized a craft show there last holiday season. She also has offered to share her knowledge and skills involved in making plarn - yarn from plastic grocery bags! Did I mention she is rad? Melanie has done a fair amount of chasing herself. She traveled up and down the east coast in kayaks, trains and cars, relying on the kindness of not-so strangers. She stayed in NC, because it is "the most beautiful place" she has ever seen.
We surely are glad to have this gal, and her beautiful work!
above -Russian Rhapsody Moda Quilt - All Flowered Up
Ellen of FishyFishyQuilts sat across from me, talking about her work at Short Street Cakes the other day with a familiar gleam in her eye. Not that it was familiar in her eyes in particular - we only met a few weeks ago when planning for Howard Street began. I knew that gleam because I have seen it everywhere I have ever traveled and encountered creative people. Ellen and Michie of FishyFishyQuilts definitely qualify for their fair share of gleaming. If you don't believe me, which you should, check out their website!
One of the niftiest things about Howard Street Handmade for me is that I get to meet 0ther crafty folk in my neck of the proverbial woods.
below - Hip To Be Square Quilt
So, I was excited when I got home to look up Ellen and Michie's work and see what it was that Ellen couldn't wait to start working on. Excitement is infectious, and after visitng their shop on Etsy, I agree with Ellen - their quilts are gorgeous and something to look forward to seeing in person!
My personal favorites are featured here. Their Russian Rhapsody quilt is pure genius - reversible! It's like two quilts for the price of one, which is great if one moves around the furniture and changes things up often to prevent boredom, like I do.
I also really dig the fact that they use all natural fabrics, such as cotton and bamboo. They also use upcycled fabric at times, and their quilts are washable. Especially important if you're looking for a baby quilt, which they make as well. Here is my favorite quilt of the wee people variety:
Ellen also takes credit for what promises to be the best Howard Street Handmade idea as of yet at the show we will be giving a group demo throughout the day on crazy quilts. Everyone who comes to the show will be able to add a piece to the quilt, and at the end we will applique our logo to the finished quilto loco, et voila! Our very own banner, created by everyone present. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me.
See you at Howard Street! Tell your friends, families and neighbors!