Inspiration is Everywhere…

If you follow my Facebook page, you may have noticed my recent obsession  with black and gold…

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Sometimes we can find inspiration in the most unexpected places.  A few months ago I stumbled across a set of silver candlesticks with gold accents that my husband and I had received for a wedding gift 13 years ago.  By the appearance of the candlesticks, that is probably how long it had been since they had been used.  I set out to polish them, but was suddenly struck by the beauty of the shiny gold in contrast to the dull, blackened silver.

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One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Confucius, “Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”  This is so true and the best kind of inspiration there is.  And from my unexpected inspiration….

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I never did polish the candlesticks.  They are now proudly displayed on my mantle, tarnish and all.

What inspires you when you are least expecting it?

For more of my work, visit my shop, HeidiLee Design.

HeidiLee Design on The Vampire Diaries

Earlier this year, I had another opportunity via The Artisan Group to send a piece of my work to the wardrobe stylist of The Vampire Diares on CW.  My blackened silver marquise necklace with 14K gold filled accents appeared on Nina Dobrev, who plays Elena Gilbert in episode 2 of the shows 5th season on October 11, 2013.

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Here is a close up of the necklace…

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The necklace features a hand forged, textured sterling silver marquise pendant which has been deeply oxidized to a nearly black color and accented with 14K gold filled wire.  It hangs on an 18 inch coordinating sterling silver satellite chain with a 14K gold filled clasp.

You can find this necklace here.

***This necklace was worn by Elena in Season 5, episode 2 of The Vampire Diaries. The actual necklace Nina Dobrev wore was exclusively designed and handcrafted by myself in response to an invitation by the shows stylist in collaboration with The Artisan Group. This is not an imitation and is protected by copyright.

My Five seconds of Fame…

Good morning, friends!

Last Fall, I was given the opportunity via The Artisan Group to send a piece of Jewelry to Leigh Leverett, the wardrobe stylist for CW’s The Vampire Diaries, for consideration to be worn on the show.  This was new territory for me.  I had watched the show before but was not overly familiar with the characters and their current style, so I had to watch a few episodes to get a feel for the type of jewelry they wore.  Of course this resulted in a new addiction to the show!

I decided on a very simple, yet edgy, pair of sterling silver hoop earrings that resemble blades.  I decided to keep them plain and shiny so that they would show up on screen were they chosen to be used.

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Let me tell you, it KILLED me not hammer or oxidize these earrings!  It wasn’t long after the bag of artisan jewelry and accessories was delivered to the set that I got an e-mail from Leigh Leverett herself letting me know that they were going to be using my earrings in an upcoming episode.

After months of feverishly watching the show and paying extra attention to  ears (and Ian Somerhalder), I received another e-mail letting me know that my earrings would be worn by Claire Holt’s character, Rebekah in episode 4.17, “Because of the Night.” (photo by: Jasmine Vylot)

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Rebekah is probably my favorite character.  I love her accent!  She is the bad girl vampire who everyone loves to hate, but lately she’s shown a tender side as she’s determined to find the cure so that she can be human again and someday have a family.  The episode aired Thursday, March 21.  Rebekah’s hair was down during the episode, but I was able to get plenty of glimpses of my earrings.

So here it is, drumroll…………

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My five seconds of fame!  It may not seem like much to some, but as a designer this is what you wait for your entire career – to be watching TV and see your work, knowing that millions are watching.

And this is only the beginning for me.  In December I had another amazing opportunity through The Artisan Group to send a piece to Audrey Fisher, the costume designer for HBO’s hit series True Blood.  Earlier this year I was notified that my piece had been selected by Audrey Fisher to be used on Season 6, which will premier in June, 2013.  Stay tuned….

My Journey to The Oscars

Hello, friends!  Last fall, I committed to doing a display piece, along with 100 smaller pieces that would go into the celebrity SWAG bags and an additional 10 for members of the press, for GBK’s Luxury Gift Lounge honoring the 2013 Oscars.  This opportunity was presented to me through The Artisan Group, a collective of artisans that has become an amazing source of support and encouragement to me as an artist.

My first goal along this journey was to decide what was going to go into those SWAG bags.  I wanted it to be something that reflected my work well and that I could finish by the February 1 deadline.  I decided to make 110 pairs of my Morrocan Lace Chandelier Earrings.  This design is fabricated using my own technique that I had published in Wire Art Magazine in Summer 2011, so I felt that it represented me well.  These earring are made by hand forging hoops out of copper and bronze and adding my signature lace technique along the bottom edge.  They are then adorned with a variety of Czech glass beads in rich, earthy colors.

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My next goal of course, was to actually begin the process of making 110 pairs of earrings!

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This process took me several months, but I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of along the way.  A year ago I would not have had the confidence to even attempt a task such as this.  In the end I had 110 pairs of earring on folding earring cards that I made myself, lovingly packaged in chocolate brown organza bags.

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Take a look at the SWAG the celebrities received!

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Among the celebrities who passed through the gift lounge were Ashley Williams of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, Camilla Luddington of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Dilshad Vadsaria of ABC’s Revenge, director/producer Penny Marshall, and many more notable talents.

My display piece for the gift lounge was a collection of unisex mixed metal cuffs and a copper money clip.  Among the male talent that visited The Artisan Group’s display were Wayne Knight of TV Land’s The Exes, aka Newman from the ever loved 1990′s sitcom Seinfeld.  He was impressed with my Copper Studded Money Clip.  I just love this guy!

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Dennis Christopher from Django Unchained, one of the movies nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, stopped by and tried on my Unisex Studded Copper Cuff.  I think it went beautifully with his brown sweater!

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Among the press that stopped by was Robin Bronk, the CEO of The Creative Coalition.  She fell in love with The Artisan Group’s display and asked to wear some of our pieces in celebrity interviews she was doing during the gift lounge.  Among the pieces she wore was my Copper Chevron Cuff.

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I ended up gifting this cuff to Robin in the end.  The Creative Coalition does such amazing charity work!

In the end this was quite an experience.  I got my name out to some important names in the entertainment industry, but more importantly I gained a confidence in myself and my work that I did not possess before.  I look forward to future events with The Artisan Group as I grow my business and myself as an artist.

Have a wonderful day!

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The Path Meant to be Traveled

Hello, friends!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve updated this blog.  I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go with it for a while.  I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go with myself for a while to be honest.  As you may or may not remember, last fall I plunged into the amazing journey of yoga teacher training.  Along the path I have had the opportunity to experience the teachings of master yogis, such as Tias Little and Gabriel Halpern.  I have created new friendships and looked so deep into myself that I have been brought to tears on several occasions.  It is as if everything I thought to be true about myself was not.  It has been an incredible journey for sure and I’m not certain I can describe it all in words.  I hope that you will see a reflection of my journey in my work and in my writings though.

On the business front, things took a major turn mid year in 2012.  I am receiving orders on a regular basis now and actually running a business.  My association with The Artisan Group has opened up so many opportunities for me and given me a confidence that I did not have before.  Actress/comedian, Amy Poehler, has been photographed wearing my jewelry.  My jewelry will also be making its television debut on CW’s The Vampire and Diaries and HBO’s hit series True Blood this year.  It’s as if someone whispered in my ear, “Its your time, Heidi.”  My recent work definitely reflects my love of yoga.  I am incorporating some simple yoga symbols with eco friendly materials and natural gemstones.

I have recently started to teach  a couple of yoga classes a week.  It amazes me how different what I thought teaching yoga would be when I registered for teacher training compared to what it really is like.  Again, I am at a loss for word to describe the love and gratitude that pours out of me when I am teaching.  One thing I am certain of is that I am on the path I was meant to travel.

Namaste

Color Drenched Metal

I had some fun last week with some patinas I purchased a while ago from Missficklemedia.  I hand-forged some hammered copper bangles from nice, heavy 8 gauge wire and gave them a variety of patinas.

I used a traditional verdigris patina, liver of sulfur, a dye-oxide patina in red and violet, and a universal patina in saffron yellow.  You can purchase a tutorial on applying the various patinas from Missficklemedia’s shop here.  After the patinas were applied, I gave them a light sanding for a distressed look and sealed the patinas with renaissance wax.

I have very special plans for these bangles that I’ll post about very soon!

Bead Woven Medallion Earrings

I have just finished writing my 5th jewelry making tutorial.  This one was a little tricky for me, as it was my first with bead weaving and since I have been self taught all of the techniques I use, I found that I didn’t know some of the technical names for certain things, other than the brick stitch.  The use of arrows in photos really helped in describing which way to weave your needle at certain points.

This tutorial definitely took me longer to write than any of my wire wrapping tutorials for sure!  It is now available for sale here in my Etsy shop.

Sippin’ on Summertime and a Meditation Challenge

Good morning!  It sure has been a toasty week here in West Michigan.  One of the habits I fall out of during the winter is drinking a green smoothie every day.  I guess the chill in the air doesn’t make me crave a cold smoothie like I do in the warmer months.  But now it’s time to put that blender to use and get back to sippin’ on summertime!  This morning’s smoothie was delicious!

It consisted of coconut milk, avocado, spinach, banana, frozen strawberries, pineapple, and chia seeds.  The avocado and banana made it extra creamy!

I am really excited to be taking on a new challenge in July through the Yoga Journal called The Meditation Revolution.  Meditaion is something that I try to incorporate into my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever really fully understood it and made a solid practice out of it.  The Mediation Revolution is 28 days of daily meditations with renown teacher, Sally Kemptom.

Throughout the program, you will do simple asana sequences to to warm up and prepare your body for meditation, learn techniques for sitting and breathing to stay alert and comfortable during your practice, and pick up tips to help navigate the wondrous journey inward. 

You will receive daily newsletters that will provide links to each day’s audio meditations and video demonstrations via e-mail.  I’m looking forward to this challenge and hope that this will begin to install a regular mediation practice in my life.

Are you up for the challenge?

Sign up here!  The challenge starts on July 9th.

Something for Him

Last week, I had a customer ask me if I could make a copper money clip for a 7th anniversary gift for her husband.  I told her I would give it  a try.  After playing around a bit with the shape and size, I finally came up with a design that I was happy with.

I took 18 gauge copper sheet that I had cut into 1″ strips and sawed it down to a 1″ X 4″ piece.  I smoothed the edges and gave them a rustic, hammered texture.  I added the custom initials and gave the piece an earthy, antiqued look with liver of sulfur.  My customer was very happy with the end result, and I now have the personalized copper money clip for sale here in my Etsy shop.

Have you ever had a custom request turn into an item that you decided to sell regularly?

So, I Ran My First Half Marathon…

Not only was it my first half marathon, it was also my first trail race.  Okay, it was my first race EVER!  I really had no idea what I was in for.  Running trails is probably ten times harder than running on the side of the road.  During my training I thought the only difference would be dirt instead of pavement.  Boy, was I wrong!  There were roots and rocks and sand.  I even had to hurdle over a fallen tree three times!  I must have rolled my ankle at least a half dozen times and came close to face planting twice.  By the time I crossed that finish line I was a sweaty mess, covered in dirt.  But you know what?  I loved every  minute of it!  I even took a wrong turn that took me about a 1/4 mile off the course, but I just turned around until I was back on the trail.  It was this race’s first year and they even admitted that their signage could have been better.  I was still one of the top finishers, coming in 3rd for my my age group.  I will definitely be back next year.  Crossing that finish line was such a great feeling!

Even the medal was rough and rugged.

This was such an amazing experience for me.  I did something that I never thought I could do.  An even though I felt like throwing in the towel halfway through my training, I think I caught the competitive running bug and am now looking for the next race…