Let me tell you about the Tangleweeds back story

Good morning and happy Monday! It’s almost fall, right?! I’m feeling myself gravitating towards sweaters and boots, and looking forward to the colors changing in the trees. . . even if we probably do have a lot more summery weather ahead of us in the SF bay area.

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With the changing of the seasons, I find myself thinking a lot about how things evolve - both practical and literal (like cleaning out my closets) and more metaphoric (like sweeping old and not-useful thought patterns out of my head.) From this thinking springs my thoughts about Tangleweeds and the direction I'm headed with my creative work..

When I started Tangleweeds ten years ago, I knew I wanted Tangleweeds to be my art - not just jewelry, but my way of communicating with people my way of seeing the world. I've always had a strong knowing that everything in this life is connected - both in ways we can see and understand and ways that are unknown and mysterious to us. When I dreamt up the name Tangleweeds it was as an embodiment of this idea - of the interconnectedness of all things. That's the more ephemeral part of the story behind Tangleweeds. 

Here's where it all relates (or connects) back to jewelry: The art of jewelry is as much about the connections you make between elements, be they metal, stone, ceramic, plastic, or any other material, as it is about the amazing design you dream up in your head. Because without the proper connections in jewelry your design is just going to fall apart. 

And without connections in life to people, animals, things, and places that we love life kind of doesn't feel right, or falls apart, if I'm to use the same language I just used to describe the art of making jewelry. Another way of putting it: life is an art-form just like making jewelry is an art-form. 

As I move forward with Tangleweeds this year and in the years to come I know that I want to explore this idea/metaphor/truth both in my current art (jewelry making) but also through my communication with you and others via my newsletter, social media, this blog, and in person at events. I also hope to explore other creative mediums. . . of which I’m not going to define in a concrete way. I’m interested in exploring new methods and developing new skills with jewelry making, but I am also interested in diving deeper into other creative interests as well. Because it's all connected, and one creative medium helps fuel the creativity that drives another form of expression. Additionally, I'm also taking a honest look at my business and really considering all the ways I can move towards a more green and sustainable business. (I almost wrote about this today - the siren call I'm currently hearing - that our planet desperately needs our love and what part I can play in all of it. I'll definitely explore these thoughts in future blog posts.) 

I hope some of  what I wrote about here resonated with you this Monday morning. And if you'd like to read a bit more about my Tangleweeds backstory, this archived newsletter is a great read about how I try to find the beauty in the everyday

Tips and Tricks for the Tucson Gem Show

How are all of the things? Life over here has been groovy and full and sometimes tricky and difficult but a whole heck of a lot of good stuff too. So, it’s been pretty normal, am I right?!

Lately I’ve been engaging MUCH MORE with Instagram. And if you follow me over there you probably already know this. I did a fun series in my IG stories where I shared my thoughts and reflections each day on my trip to the Tucson Gem show. That was what really got me started. I discovered I LOVE sharing what’s going on with Tangleweeds and me via this more organic venue.

But that brings me to the point of this blog post! I wanted to share some pics and thoughts about the Tucson Gem Show and overall how it went for me. I know there's many of you out there who are curious about checking it out for themselves, and I say if you want to go you should! And I’m here to help out with a few (hopefully) helpful pointers. 

Overall, it’s an amazing event where you can load up on supplies for all of your jewelry making needs. But there’s also loads of other stuff - lots of businesses and folks selling finished jewelry, whole shows dedicated to just selling rocks and minerals and even dinosaur bones (crazy!), and more. The Tucson Gem Show is actually a conglomeration of many, many smaller shows that are spread out all over the city that come together to create the big event. Some shows last a couple of weeks, some for only a few days, and some run for the entire month of the Tucson Gem Show. 

Without further ado, on to my tips and tricks for attending the Tucson Gem show! This will be a mix of practical suggestions paired with some more personal takes on things.

1. The first thing I’d recommend is to REGISTER ahead of time for the shows you want to attend. This will make for a much more seamless and quick entry to any shows that require registration. It would make for a blog post unto itself if I were to go into all of the details about the various shows, but you can find a list of the shows here

2. Book your lodging well in advance. Whether you’re going to stay at a hotel or Air BnB it, this shows draws many many people from all over the world and a lot of lodging gets booked up well in advance. I’m already considering booking my hotel for next year NOW.

3. There are some things to consider too, if you’re flying or driving in to Tucson. Gems and beads and all that good stuff can get pretty heavy. I know a lot of folks who fly to Tucson and then have the supplies they buy shipped back home. They find it easier and then there’s less worry about something getting stolen, etc. If you’re driving, obviously you don’t have to be as concerned with things like weight. I made a road trip out of it, but I was only coming form the SF bay area. 

4. With the above said, if you decide to fly, you’ll need to consider how you’ll get around the city, because the show is spread out ALL over Tucson. Many shows are grouped very close to each other, but unless all the shows you want to go to are walking distance from your hotel, you’ll probably want another mode of transport. Obviously, you can rent a car. Your other option: the city of Tucson provides a shuttle for gem show attendees. Since I drove I didn’t use the shuttle. I considered it, but given the heavy weight of what I was buying, and the fact I was getting over my back injury, I wanted to have somewhere to set my things down between shows.

5. The previous point naturally leads into this point of mine: If your goal when you go is to see as many shows as possible, and you’re there to buy for your business, you’ll probably be pretty exhausted by day’s end. I found it very helpful to sort of plan out my show schedule before I left for my trip, and then I made adjustments to that schedule as each day went on. Overall I ended up being able to see MORE than I thought I’d have time for. The point of this point: know what your goal is on the trip. Are you simply there to check things out and scout around? Are you seeking out new stones you’ve never seen before? Or are you there to try to buy most of your supplies for there entire year? Having a focus will pay off in dividends when you’re tired at the end of the day and not sure how much oomph you’ve got left in you!

6. Don’t compare your goals to the goals of others you may run into and have conversations with. There are many folks there who are buying for large companies, or for their own bead store. These folks are buying TONS compared to what I was buying. But I’m buying TONS compared to what a new-to-jewelry making hobbyist will probably buy. Know your goals and focus on that.

7. If you’re not too rushed, and you’re open to it, you’ll have many rad conversations with both vendors and fellow buyers alike. I think the tip in this tidbit is simply to engage with the experience and you’ll enjoy your time so much more.

8. And, lastly, relating back to #6: set a buying budget for your trip. This will help to keep you on track and keep you from buying things that aren’t really right for your work. I would add this though: have a back up plan for going over budget, whether that’s a low-interest credit card, or simply some money you can pull out of savings. I know this might sound like  the least sound money advice. . . and it may very well be =). But I offer this advice because if you find something that is so perfect for your work and it’s at a great price, but you weren’t planning on it so you don’t have room in your budget for it so you don’t get it, you’ll despair later. Think of it this way: you’re paying all of these other expenses to go on the trip: lodging, transportation, food, etc - the more you can stock up on supplies the more worth while the trip is!

That’s all for now. I could easily write a whole blog series on this trip and show. Overall I had so much fun. And I’m sure you’re wondering - did I go over budget? And I will say, hell yes I did! But I had a plan (low interest credit card that I’m paying back as quickly as I can) and just knew at the time that it was the right thing to do. The only thing I regretted, upon arriving back home and assessing my loot, were the items I decided not to get even though they were great for my designs.

But there’s always the San Mateo Gem Show to fill in the gaps throughout the year. . . 

P.S. If you want to hear more of my thoughts and see more images and videos from my Tucson Gem Show trip, then head on over to my Instagram and check out my stories highlights titled “Tucson.”

Full Circle ~ Self Care and Creative Windows

Getting back into the swing of things this week. Working on my next collection for spring and summer. Trying to focus more on self care. I often struggle with that last one. I'm so driven to work hard and create with Tangleweeds that sometimes it feels easier to, well, just do things the easy way, which for me tends to lead to long work hours and not a lot of time for taking care of myself. But I promised myself I'd truly make an effort to take better care of myself this year. I'm starting small: daily meditation (even if it's just in the car during my drives from Vallejo to Oakland and back), flossing (and making an appointment for a teeth cleaning), and stretching - all daily. 

Above, assorted photos from the Seattle tradeshow and work in progress. Also, I got a rolling mill last week and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's seriously helping to streamline a huge chunk of my production along with opening up some new creative doors. I'll post more about the mill once I really get crankin' with it!

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Below: Some pieces that shipped out to one of my new stockists in Seattle.

worktable explosion as I work on my next collection

Ahh, Thursday. My favorite day of the week. Seriously, for the longest time it's been my favorite. Two of my favorite radio shows are on on Thursdays (one about herbalism and one about astrology and activism), and in general there's just something in the air that makes me love this particular day of the week. Today I'm working from home, but I'm also going to take some time out to go see a movie all by myself, one of my absolute favorite things to do! I think I'm going to go see La La Land.

Enjoy your Thursday everyone!

P.S. Next Tuesday my first Creative Tenacity post will go up here. I'm touching on some of the most salient advice I was offered when I was first starting out, and why it took me a while to realize I needed to take the advice offered. I hope you'll join me here for a good read.

LWM ~ New Emmylou

Listening ~ The new album by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. So good and obviously a reflection on two lifetimes that have been full of all of the usual stuff of human existence: pain, joy, disappointment, sorrow, moments of peace, and more. 

Wearing ~ cozy sweaters. The way the weather's been in the bay area lately, my studio starts out chilly in the morning and fairly warm in the afternoon. Cozy cardigan sweaters are the perfect option. 

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Making ~ Lots of pieces from my Leaf-Petal collection. Sometimes when I design new pieces I know in my heart that I love them, but there is an uncertainty as to whether or not my customers/collectors will like them. Well, you guys have shown that you love these, especially the lariats! 

Tomorrow I leave for the Women's Herbal Symposium with my good friend (and Tangleweeds assistant) Alice. I'll be back on the blog next week, hopefully with a photo filled post from that event. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Full Circle ~ Pretty flowers, good books, orange tabbies

A little bit from this last week. I'm busy this week getting ready to go to the Women's Herbal Symposium on Friday. A four day weekend of herbalism classes awaits me; I couldn't be more excited! 

If anyone who reads this blog will be there, let me know in the comments. The event has a small marketplace on Sunday, where I will be selling Tangleweeds. Keep an eye out for me if you're looking to adorn yourself with some magical jewelry while you go on nature hikes, make baskets and learn about plants and all of the medicine they hold!

Here's to a wonderful Monday!

A Return to Handmade Love

This week I just got a bee in my bonnet and had to post about all of the great handmade jewelry that I've been drooling over on Etsy. Then, I decided to look back over my old Handmade Love posts and saw that it was nearly exactly a year ago that I posted ones of these round-ups. About time! I decided to simply focus on jewelry in general this time, because, well, I'm obsessed (naturally).

 Bones and Things ~ Real Lavender Bloom Necklace

Ahh, flowers captured in a necklace. Pretty much perfection when you're as obsessed with flowers as I am. I LOVE this lady's work and actually have two of her art prints. I had a difficult time choosing just one piece to feature, but lavender is a favorite of mine, so I went with this one. What I love about her floral and plant pieces is the organic, natural shape to the resin that she traps them in. 

 Vintajia Adornments ~ Trinity earrings 

I love how the overly oxidized metal plays against the brightness of the yellow enamel on these. They're very rustic-boho-chic. This lovely maker is out of Australia. 

LJB Jewelry ~ Mixed Metal Bangle

In my humble opinion this bangle is pretty much mixed-metal perfection. This artist is based on the east coast and participates in many arts and crafts fairs out there. I wish I lived closer, cause it would be lovely to see her creations in person!

Willow Studio Jewelry ~ Spirit Shield Earrings

The enamel on these! The rusty, old look to them! Grittiness perfected! I love jewelry that has an old, rustic feel to it, and these perfectly fit the bill. They're more colorful than I usually go in for, but I think the artist has done a good job of balancing out all of the color with plenty of "grit."

Fail Jewelry ~ Mica Earrings

And, last but not least, more mixed metal, this time in earrings. This lovely lady usually does the San Francisco Renegade too, so you local folk are in luck. What I've gotta say (and this is gonna sound a little jewelry-maker-geeky) is: way to rock the cold connections! (meaning no torch work). I'm seriously impressed by the ingenuity of the design, and how effortlessly it blends into such an elegant, wearable pair of earrings. 

I hope everyone enjoyed looking at some non-Tangleweeds jewelry for a minute! I'll be back with these posts, most likely on a monthly basis, as more lovely, handmade goodness pops up in my life. Also, if you or someone you know makes really awesome goods, and you'd like to be part of my Handmade Love series, send me a message at tangleweedsjewelry@gmail.com and we'll talk!

LWM ~ Old Stuff, New Stuff

Been listening to some older stuff this week, especially Lyle Lovett's album Pontiac. This song is from that album. . . (and, I just gotta say, I LOVE his hair!)

Wearing - The weather's been cooling off a bit again, so it's been back to boots (instead of sandals) and warmer skirts, like this thick, knit one I thrifted a couple of months ago.

The necklace is hand-painted lace from a fellow maker I met last month at the Apple Blossom Festival in Sebastopol. Her shop can be found here: Spee-Sheez. The woman who is the creatrix behind this brand is a truly lovely spirit, and one I hope to connect with again in the future. The earrings are an old Tangleweeds design.

Annnnd. . . Making! I've been scheming up some new designs, which aren't ready for sharing just yet, but I've been making dozens of my River Rock bangles and Curves rings. You guys have pretty much unanimously declared these designs as two of your favorites this year, which is probably why I'm constantly finding myself almost out of stock on these two designs. In preparation for fair season I'm busting out tons of these!

It's felt good to be back at my workbench this week. (Last week I was busily catching up on lots of admin. details.) I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! And don't forget about Mother's Day on Sunday if you have special moms in your life to honor. 

Full Circle ~ Flowers and Jewelry

Some photos from the last week. My week was full of pretty flowers and lots of jewelry (per the usual ;-) Craft fair season has officially gone into full swing and things are getting busy! See more at my Tangleweeds Instagram account. 

I hope everyone is having a lovely week! I can't wait to see lots of your smiling faces at Patchwork this Sunday. 

LWM ~ A Typical Week

In a typical week, I always listen to quite a bit of country/americana. . . Like the album Begonias by Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell. . . 

I usually wear at least one outfit that is a combo of floral print skirt/boots/sweater with Tangleweeds jewelry. . . (earrings are from a fellow maker)

And I make several of my lariat style necklaces (you guys have nearly unanimously decided that these are some of your favorite Tangleweeds pieces), especially theses River Rock ones. . . 

Just a short and sweet Listening-Wearing-Making post for all of you this Thursday. I won't be back in this space until next week, so I hope everyone has a great weekend! 

April Tangleweeds Giveaway

That's right folks! With a new month brings a new Tangleweeds Giveaway. For this month we're calling to mind the old adage "April showers bring May flowers. . . "

We're offering up one pair of our Rain Drops earrings for one lucky winner! Simply leave a comment on this blog post with a little anecdote or detail about what you love about the spring time. I've really grown to love the comments everyone leave on these giveaway posts. You guys obviously put some thought into what you share!

We'll announce the randomly chosen winner here and over on Instagram on April 27th. Feel free to share this with folks you think would love Tangleweeds!