Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's that time of year again!

This year We are helping out Children's Hospitals once again!  20% of any sales made from now until Dec 30th 2010 on Artful Unity, HippyBeads, Luck and Luster or in person with Hillary will be donated to Child's Play, a Charity that helps many Children's hospitals both in the US and internationally. 
Also: In celebration of Christmas and in the spirit of giving: If you mention this blog in your order comments, you can get free shipping on Domestic orders and half price shipping on Canadian and international orders!  Shipping will be refunded via paypal before order is shipped.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin: fruit, vegetable or just awesome art?

Happy Thanksgiving from Artful Unity! Hillary had some new thoughts on an age old question and wanted to share:

While eating my breakfast of turkey and pumpkin pie, I began to contemplate the age old question: is pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable?  I did a lot of research and came up with the answer:  It doesn't matter.  Pumpkin is tasty pie and delicious art!
Here are a few of the awesome and yummy arts and crafts that we found on etsy:

Pumpkin earrings

Pumpkin eye shimmer

Pumpkin vine card

Pumpkin souffle melting tarts

Pumpkin apple autter

Pumpkin laser cut box

We hope everyone enjoyed our tasty post and had an awesome thanksgiving!

Friday, August 27, 2010

How jewelry can make a statement

Hillary had some thoughts on jewelry and making statements with it.:
I constantly struggle with the conundrum of whether I should just make something pretty or really work on making a strong statement with my pieces. My journey with making pieces that are personal has come slowly and, despite my best efforts, the statements aren't always clear to the naked eye, which is why I was amazed when I saw this. Burcu Buyukunal, a turkish jewelry designer, has designed face distorting jewelry. I have never seen anything make a statement more strongly and, at the same time, more abstractly than this.
When asked about the jewelry, he said that there's nothing sexier than a woman who doesn't want to look sexy. I really feel like it also makes a statement about women who are willing to distort their face or themselves to follow fashion or society much like I intended my piece, Exactly, to be.  Everyone who has written an article about Burcu's new jewelry has either simply reported it, seemed to be confused by it or seemed to dislike it.  I love it.  I think it's bold and amazing and says so many things so clearly.  The fact is, jewelry designers always create to make some statement--be it "I'm sparkly", "green is a pretty color" or "my heart is broken and I feel things you couldn't even imagine"--and Burcu's design makes a statement like no other. Wow.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Using Beads to Promote Peace and Harmony

Hillary saw a great news article on a company an India that hires workers of all faiths to create beautiful beads and wanted to share it with all of you.

We think it's amazing that they are using artistry to come together and overcome discriminatory societal standards. We hope you enjoyed this piece. Check back soon for more news, projects and fun!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

sketch for arty party

As you may have seen in a previous post, Hillary has taken up sketching again.  She came up with an idea and wanted to submit it for Arty Party, a fundraiser for Birmingham AIDS Outreach.  The idea was to have a stylized, bare human form with an artery running through it's heart that was in the shape of an HIV ribbon.  It was not meant to carry a specific, concrete message, but rather just make an abstract visual statement and represent the individuals that BAO helps.  Here is the progression of sketches.

The above is the final sketch which was donated to arty party.  We hope you enjoyed it and look forward to showing you new artistry soon!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mother's Day Beauty

On our sister blog, Hillary recently posted about rings she created from steel, copper and brass.  Her mother fell in love with the blue one below. 

Sadly, it was not her size, and the material it was made from tarnishes and patinas which is no good unless you want an ugly ring and a green finger.  So, Hillary chose to re-make it in recycled argentium silver and here are the results:
We hope you like the ring. Look for a great post soon on argentium and why Hillary has ventured into using this metal instead of sterling on some of her pieces. Thanks for visiting and we'll see you next week!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

On art and perfectionism

Last year, Hillary picked up her pencil and paper again to start sketching out ideas for jewelry. Shortly thereafter, she started picking it up just to draw for the joy of drawing, and she wanted to share some thoughts on this with you:

Recently, I started drawing again, and the original goal was to be good. I worked meticulously to get things perfect and, of course, they never come out that way because no one's perfect, and I haven't drawn much of anything since I was 13. However, the more I worked, the more interesting and more recognizable things became. One day I was working on a face grunting and groaning because I couldn't get it to look quite right. Hearing the grumbling next to him, my husband looked at it and said "her eyes are too far apart" and I immediately put down the drawing pad and refused to pick it back up. He looked confused and said "you were frustrated with it, so I was trying to help." I said, almost crying, "you criticized the ONLY thing I was okay with."

You see I have a problem, I am a perfectionist. I am a Rank 1 supreme insane perfectionist with standards for my own work that no one could ever meet. While this is a good thing in that it means that I am always striving to be better, it can also be a very bad thing. When it is 3 in the morning and I refuse to go to bed because a necklace won't turn out the way I want it to, or I am in tears in my office at work because I missed something minor, or I put a huge X through a sketch that I have been working on for the last half hour because it isn't quite right, the perfectionism becomes destructive and harmful.

With sketching, I have learned to try to accept my imperfections for a few reasons. First, drawing and other forms of art are subjective--imperfections can actually give character to a piece or become a signature stylization. Second, I draw for fun and relaxation, not to become famous, make a living or even have sketches shown to anyone outside of my immediate family. Sketching is an outlet for me: it's meditative, it's calming if I let it be, it's creative, and it's a way to express my intense feelings and crazy ideas like no other. Sure, jewelry and dance are lovely, but there are certain things that are just easier to express through drawing.

After I drew whatever odd thing came to mind a few times, I started getting a standard reaction from my husband. Now instead of being good, my new goal is to get that same reaction from my husband every time: "that's disturbing." The new goal is fairly easy and makes the drawing almost secondary. My skills only have to be good enough to convey an idea that bothers my husband. I know it's an odd goal, but it has removed stress from my drawing time almost completely.

Sure, it's still frustrating when I don't have the skills to quite do what I want, but I know they will come in time and I can work on a specific idea later when they do. For right now, all I have to do is barely eek the idea out and I get the reward I'm looking for. Why "that's disturbing" and not "that's interesting" or "that's pretty" or "that's perfect"? Because, a dog doing tricks can be interesting, a thousand flowers in a thousand vases can be pretty, and a pebble can be perfect, but only a person with swirls for eyes, a tiefling under a christmas tree and a face with cracks through it--my ideas--can be disturbing. It's lovely: through silliness and self-expression, I have learned to start embracing who I am, imperfect, offbeat, and a little disturbing.

Oh, and that face with the eyes that were too far apart? I picked her back up a few weeks later and am proud to say that she is definitely disturbing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Interview with PoetessWug2 of Wuglyees

You provide a fairly thorough introduction of yourself in your etsy profile.
In there, you said you taught yourself to crochet because you wanted to learn but no one would take the time to teach you. Do you remember what it was about crochet that seemed so attractive?
I don't remember exactly what it was that drew me to crochet, other than seeing little doilies and lace-looking tablecloths all over my relative's houses. I asked a lot of questions about them and always saw people crocheting...and wallah! bit me like a bug! My reasons for wanting to become more creative with it came many years down the road, inspired by my becoming better at it!

Did it live up to your expectations?
Crochet absolutely lived up to my expectations...and then some! I find that there is nothing that I can't do with crocheting if I put my mind...and a little elbow it! With the right materials I could keep myself busy year round, even though crochet is considered more of a cold weather endeavor.

Are there other crafts you have tried?
The other crafts that I have endeavored to do are many. I knit ALMOST as well as I crochet, but I find knitting to be more tedious and less challenging to my creativity. I marvel at people who love both. (I marry the two in some projects though.)...I also latch hook, sew, cross stitch and write poetry. Poetry and crochet are the two things I find that I can do tirelessly, and I share the most of who I am with those who receive the finished products of.!

Are there other crafts or forms of art you would like to try and why?
The other crafts that I have endeavored to do are many. I knit ALMOST as well as I crochet, but I find knitting to be more tedious and less challenging to my creativity. I marvel at people who love both. (I marry the two in some projects though.)...I also latch hook, sew, cross stitch and write poetry. Poetry and crochet are the two things I find that I can do tirelessly, and I share the most of who I am with those who receive the finished products of.! I would love to try painting some day. It is among those things that I love to look at. I love to see how different artists express themselves. With my infinite love of color, I'd love to one day dabble in canvas brush strokes...maybe even to music! (Music is another love of mine!)

Your shop slogan is "Where nothing is wasted, even the ugly" and you feature items with leftover yarn; How did this idea come about?
I had so much yarn just building up in my house, yarn that had been given to me or was leftover from other projects that I'd bought too much yarn for. So I started making scarves with it. I didn't focus on making them to be perfect initially...I just wanted to use up the yarn so that it wouldn't be wasted! Then my friends and relatives started to say "Why are you making those ugly scarves?!" LOL I didn't pay one bit of attention to them because I thought they were beautiful!...Then I remembered that they had said the same thing about the bear that I had made, my "Wuglyee"! That's where my slogan came from for my shop! "Where nothing is wasted, not even the ugly". And since I had grown to love my ugly little bear, I figured someone would grow to love my crocheted scarves...and other items now! The name of my shop, "Wuglyees" stands for 'WARM, BUT UGLY', which is how I came to feel about my bear who came out soooo ugly, but who warms my heart when I look at him and remember how much work I put into him. That's why I named him "Wuglyee". He's "W" for warm, "ugly" in the middle, and "ee" (or eezy) to love!

What is your favorite thing you've ever made and why?
Naming one favorite thing I've ever made is hard. My Wuglyee bear is a definite favorite, although he's a one of a kind and I am no longer in the crocheted animal business. One of him was enough for me to know that there IS a limit to what I like to do!...This shawl is a favorite and themed blankets (Cats, wedding, Mickey Mouse cross-stitched over a crochet pattern, etc) that I have specifically made or created for friends and family have been favorites. I guess anything I've made where my creative juices were flowing could be considered a favorite! :-))

I've noticed a theme in many forms of art and creation of wanting to be in another world. What is your ideal world and how does you art interact with that?
There are many things about this world that can be frustrating and discouraging, but while I await a world filled with people who only want the best for each other, and who spend their life in service to each other, I will enjoy this one! I work on my own self daily and crocheting helps me to be more patient, open and loving...there is love in every stitch!

What would you say to people trying to find their world?
To all those trying to find out what they are good at, or what they can make money at, I say find out what you love to do! If you do that you'll never be disappointed with your choice, and you'll be happy with yourself no matter what! That's what I have done!

What about others who wish to create? Anything to tell us?
Intellectually, I know that my shop is a business, but I also know that If you focus all your energy on profit it'll be a long, slow journey! So every day I find try to think about something else I'd like to create, or someone else I'd like to share what I've created with! It's making the journey a very happy one for me!

And, Last but not least, where can we find you and your work?
You can find my shop at . Come by and check out all of my "Ugly" creations! LOL And if you like, leave me a message in the "Contact Wuglyee" section of my home page to let me know what you think! I'd love the feedback, even if you're not buying anything this time around...Also, come and tweet with me on Twitter.

A big thank you goes out to PoetessWug2 for sharing her time and thoughts with us.
If you would like to be interviewed as well, post it in comments, find Hillary on twitter or facebook, or convo us on etsy.
I'd love to see what you're crocheting, knitting,...creating!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Our Piece for Arty Pary 2010

Last year, Artful Unity and our sister site, Happy Hippy Jewelry both Donated a piece to Arty Party, a fundraiser for Birmingham AIDS Outreach.
This year, We did the same thing and wanted to share our piece with you. The Hippybeads piece can be found here.

This piece was made to be eyecatching and intruiging, plain and simple (hence the name). Sometimes I seek out deeper meaning and personal expression through the pieces I make, and sometimes I just want to make something beautiful. This piece is the latter.

This piece is made from green czech glass, green crystals, and brass colored beads and findings. Throughout the necklace, I used patterns that were very similar but not the same. This is a trick I often use to make something a little more interesting. Even though you may not notice it, your eye tends to linger longer on a piece that is balanced and similar than one that is completely asymmetrical and repetitious.

We hope that you will come to Arty Party 2010 on 5-16-2010 to see our necklace and enjoy the fun!
If you are an artist or volunteer who would like to get involved with Arty Party, Please contact Jamie at 322-4197 ext 20.

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Interview with Agonistes of Lincoln Ink

1. First, Please tell us a little about who you are and your art.
my background is in technical theater. i've been a professional tattooist for almost 20 years, though, and i've done some book covers and magazine pages and some cartooning also.

2. How did art first become a part of your life?
i really don't know, i just always drew or put things together to make other things (or took things apart). i was always getting into trouble for drawing in class. particularly my choices of subject matter.

3. What forms of art do you enjoy the most and why did you choose them?
visually it is easier to say the kinds of art i don't enjoy rather than to try to name them all, i think. as far as what i prefer to do, pen and ink. i've always loved comic books, especially the pen and ink ones without color, and it's what i always tried to imitate.

4. We were struck by the themes in some of your drawings, particularly the one above. Where does your inspiration for your art come from?
i honestly don't know. i doodle when i am watching movies or tv because i can't just sit there idle, and it's usually just a mess of whatever comes out, sometimes a phrase will strike me and i write it down, but usually, it's hard to explain except individually by drawing, if that makes sense. unless i am given a theme, i have no idea what's coming out of me until it's half done or so.

5. How does the process of creating a tatoo from beginning to end differ from the process to create other art?
to begin with, many tattoos are traced from something else, or else they are an image that already exists outside of skin. also, tattoos sort of have to be come up with right on the spot, more often than not, you don't get a lot of planning time because the customers are so often walk-ins.

6. What are the good and bad things about being a tattoo artist?
how much space do we have, lol? the good things are; cash in hand, and you don't have to wear uniforms or act the same way you have to for most jobs. also, praise is forthcoming as soon as a job is complete, if a customer is happy with it or people around like it. in that respect, tattooing is an easy job, especially for a lazy person (but in the end, being lazy affects any job). the hardest part for me is dealing with the general public; a lot of people don't understand there is a difference between going into a shop and asking for a product or going into a tattoo shop and asking for work, mainly because a tattooist considers themselves something of an artisan, and expects to be treated at least as an equal, if not a little better than one would most people, haha. part of that is plain old artist ego, but part is also just the 'cool' side of tattoos; no one really NEEDS a tattoo; it is purely an image and posturing thing, so there is a lot of unspoken drama that floats around a shop, fairly often, from the nature of image and posturing.

7. In all forms of creation and art, I have noticed the theme of being or wanting to be in another world, and have talked about it on my blogs. So, tell me about your ideal world. What is it like?
i've always wished i had the chance to observe the entirety of human history, honestly. i've no idea if i could handle being remote from people altogether (while observing, but pretty much being unable to interact), because i am pretty gregarious, so i try to create that world around me. without stepping out of the bounds of reality completely, i want basically the chance for making awesome art, while also being able to make money at it. with tattoos, that happens to work out, which is awesome.

8. What advice would you give to others starting their journey in creativity and finding their world?
honestly? don't give away much of yourself for free. it's one thing to advertise and to create for the sake of creating, also, but if you find that people are willing to pay for your art as a product, by all means let them. artists above all other types of people are the sort of people other people draw energy and reason from, and it can be exhausting. it can also turn an artist's necessary ego into a frightening thing, the attention, and that's something important to guard against as well.

9. Lastly, where can we connect with you and your various forms of art?
i generally post tattoos to my facebook page, especially the big awesome ones, so customers can get copies of them that way and so i can show them off, and so on. my email is, and i have a blog but don't post to it much. at any rate, that link is if anyone has any questions, i also have a Formspring page:

We would like to say a big thank you to Agonistes for taking time out of her busy life to talk to us. We love talking to artists and are always glad to get to connect with such talented individuals!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

what's that? (part 2)

In our last post we posted a lovely picture and a bunch of mysterious questions promising the answers in a couple of weeks.
The dress and jewelry were for the Mystic Krewe of Apollo Birmingham Chapter's Bal Masque for this year. Hillary was going to post pictures of herself at the ball as well as pictures of the chicanery and tomfoolery at the ball itself. Unfortunately, the digital camera is dead, the phone pictures did not turn out well enough to post and, between the excitement of men in speedos and almost passing out due to overheating and not eating enough, Hillary did not get anyone to take pictures of her at the ball.

However, Hillary wanted to tell you about the talented artisans that helped make her lovely ball outfit possible:

The Dress was made by the talented and quick, BetZabe. She custom made a maxi dress for me in a lovely burgundy stretch silk fabric. She was very quick to respond, the measuring process was easy (she sent pictures of how to take each measurement!), I had my dress in hand within 2 weeks of when I first contacted her, it fits perfectly and, as you can see, it's gorgeous.

I made the necklace, but I had help. StarzSelection, who is also quite quick and quite skilled, made me some shoe clips to match my dress and then made the lovely flower pendant at the middle of my necklace to match them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

whats that?

Why is Hillary in a dress?
Where did that dress come from?
Is that a new necklace? Did Hillary make it?
If she did, what's with that pendant?

Look for the answers to these questions and more in about 2 weeks :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Keeping Warm from the inside out

It is freezing here in Alabama and we have just been wanting to stay inside and do anything we can to keep warm. So we thought we would share some great ways from etsy to keep warm from the inside out.

Fabulous coffee made by small roasters from Park Hill Coffee.
If you want to get even a little warmer, here's a "spirited" coffee drink you could make.

If chocolate is more your style, this hot chocolate and marshmallow set by the food snob would be great by itself or in some Moscow Hot Chocolate.

If you like strong tea, this Earl Grey Double Shot from Bhak Tea seems lovely.
Or, if you prefer herbal tea, this Hand Blended Morrocan Mint Tea from Teaman.
Surprisingly, I have a great recipe from Giada Lawrence for a tea bar that involves mint tea and earl grey tea!

All These Great drinks could use something great to hold them like this beautiful Celtic Vine Mug from Dancing PigPots.
And, if you have to be out and about in this cold weather, you could use this unique Walnut wood travel mug by Circular Art.

We hope you enjoyed the drinks and recipes and we hope you keep warm and safe during this freezing cold winter! Well see you back here soon!