Tag Archives: handmade jewelry

Festival Focus: Meet Lianna

16 Mar
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Pictured here in her own designs, Lianna’s natural warmth of personality is reflected in each piece.

I’ve fallen in love with new artists at each and every Festival Fete show over the past year but I have a particular thing for jewelers. New to us is Lianna Slater of Lianna Michelle Designs. She’s one of those artists whose work, both artistically and professionally, is the essence of what Festival Fete strives to deliver to it’s guests. Culled mainly from Rhode Island shores but also collected from Utah and Florida as well as Mexico, Brazil and Russia, the stones she uses in her necklaces, bracelets and earrings remain unadulterated. Whether semi-precious or simply a unique pick from a beach walk, Lianna wraps them in various treatments of copper wire, with a subtle hand, letting the natural curves and original shape of her finds stand out and define the overall piece. The results remain earthen and chunky but still so delicate and fluid. 

Both in and out of her studio, Lianna is busy. She divides her tireless commitment to her own creativity with a demanding job at Looking Upwards, a Middletown, RI-based non profit which provides a wide array of services to adults and children with developmental challenges striving to live to their fullest potential. Through their vocational day program, Lianna supports four young artisans in their aspiring business, Downtown Designs, a gallery in Newport where their work is proudly displayed. There she teaches and together they “sell and share art, share space, and share community.” She was so gracious to take time to answer my questions. Her work is best spoken through her own words:

Festival Fete: What have you been up to over this particularly long winter?

Lianna Slater: Cold winter days made it easy for me to stay cozied up in my studio, enhancing my brand and business and keeping my creations flowing. It was the perfect time for me to be highly productive. As an artist, it’s easy to get lost in the creative process and lose sight of the branding, so it was especially important to me to set the intention of, and to put attention into, revamping my website, which will relaunch this Spring.  I’ve also been building my inventory for the 9+ shows I have lined up for 2014.

FF: What has inspired your most recent work?

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Slightly smaller in scale, Lianna’s most recent work is at once graceful and striking.

LS: Scale. My designs have tended to be larger, and I will always carry these signature pieces; however it’s important to me to be more accessible to my customers. Over the years, I’ve paid closer attention to what the majority are looking for. More often, it’s ornate, smaller scale pieces. I’m a self-taught jewelry artist with a B.A. in Fine Art. Painting, actually. Some customers have compared my pieces to wearable works of art, which is the ultimate compliment. In playing with the scale of my most recent collection, I have realized I’m still able to create aesthetic statements that are now even more affordable! So, this year it’s all about dialing down the scale and proportions of my work. It’s been a challenge, but the end results surpassed even my own expectations.

FF: Your beautiful stones and gemstones are set in copper, mostly?

Lianna: Yes, that’s right! They all start off in copper foil. The process I’ve implemented is similar to that of stained-glass making. I begin by wrapping each stone in copper foil and solder each piece individually. Laying the stones into artful, organic, and balanced composition is my forté. Once I fabricate an assortment of pieces, I send them out to be plated in .925% sterling silver or copper. At this point, it becomes a fairly repetitive, but quite therapeutic, process. This year I’ve been experimenting and created a new, diamond-like texture that I’m really excited about.

FF: Have you collected stones on your travels outside of Rhode Island?

LS: Oh, of course! Just like a photographer doesn’t go anywhere without their camera, I don’t go anywhere without my eyes wide open for inspiration for a new piece or collection. I’ve traveled to bead expos and antique shows over the years for supplies. My favorite is the International Bead Expo in Tucson, Arizona. It’s exciting to meet the rock hounders and miners themselves – the folks that really unleash these historic gems. It’s a dream of mine to travel to Russia or Brazil to discover their natural origins for myself.

“Just like a photographer doesn’t go anywhere without their camera, I don’t go anywhere without my eyes wide open for inspiration for a new piece or collection.”

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Give meaning to an ordinary outfit with these bold, yet somehow understated, pieces. I plan to wear mine with a t-shirt and jeans or simple dress. Lianna’s prolific use of various crystals, agate, freshwater pearls, jade, carnelian and ‘ordinary’ beach stones made choosing just a few examples here difficult. Visit her site to view more of her natural creations for sale and some past commissions, too.

FF: Where do you find the most inspiration?

LS: Nature has always been my blank canvas and such a source of inspiration. I’m often left in awe and wonderment at the science and origin behind each selection I make — whether it be from geodes and crystals from ancient volcanoes dating back millions of years, or to local rocks and shells found combing the shorelines of New England and Florida. I feel honored to bring these selections to life, as though I’m a conduit merging unique and vast materials of yesteryear together.  Europe meets Newport, or East meets West — not sure the best way to describe it — but it all works for me, and my customers seem to agree.

Yes, Lianna, we do!

You’ll find Lianna at every Festival Fete show this upcoming season as well as a few other great events. Find her schedule on her website, liannamichelledesigns.com or follow her on Facebook for regular updates.

 

Love is in the Air

13 Feb

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As I sit by the wood stove crafting valentines under deadline with my kids, I can’t help but feel the warmth and joy this whole month brings still in the midst of frost and snowstorms. It is a time to share our feelings and to show them off, really. And in that spirit of giving (and receiving!) I’m reminded of the endless beauty in the handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces I’ve found at the artisans’ booths at our shows. Crafted with care, gifts like the kind you happen upon at Festival Fete are a unique way to express your love, gratitude, admiration or desire. 

So while we patiently await our first event of 2014 at the end of June in downtown Newport, RI on scenic, historic Bowen’s Wharf, remember that many of our vendors can be found in the off-season at their online storefronts. And quite a few can be conveniently perused at once on Etsy.com, our favorite one-stop shop online for handmade, vintage and authentic finds.

We are still talking about the last show at Rhodes and how we ogled the uber earthy creations of Sasha Walsh, how we just lingered at Maji Jewelry and stood amazed by the delicate beauty of Mermaid’s Baubles newest pieces. I’m sure I added something to my wish list with every pass by!

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Cherry Valley Herb Farm Assorted Teas

Wishing something sweet for my mother, I called Dina just today at To The Queen’s Taste. Her whoopee pies at the last show were outrageously good. She is happily still taking orders and recommends shipping her coconut macaroons or her classic Eccles cakes, made so decadent with cinnamon, raisins, brown sugar and a honey glaze. Any of her creations would be a welcome treat to come home to. Pair with a loose tea from Cherry Valley Herb Farm and you’ve just warmed the heart, home (and belly!) of a loved one even if you can’t be near.

The list of awesome festival followers goes on… and on….Any ideas handmade from your heart this year? Let us know, we’d love to hear back. For now, stay tuned and stay warm!

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Maji Jewelry’s Fossilized Gold Dipped Shark Tooth

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Sasha Walsh

New Year, New Festivals!

12 Jan

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They say it’s the Year of the Horse, but we’re calling it the Year of the Festival…

We’ve got exciting news: Festival Fete has added TWO NEW SHOWS to the festival lineup for 2014!

Our first new show will kick off the season right in the heart of beautiful, downtown Newport, RI on Bowen’s Wharf, just outside The Landing Restaurant. A historic seaport overlooking Newport Harbor, Bowen’s Wharf is home to some of Newport’s finest boutiques and eateries, as well as 18th century commercial wharf buildings. Stroll along the water, check out the architecture, eat, shop, and be merry at the 1st annual Newport Art Festival, June 28th and 29th from 10am – 5pm daily.

Next up is the 1st annual Festival Fete Emerald Square Art Show, in North Attleboro, MA. This event marks Festival Fete’s first venture out of Rhode Island, and we are so excited to have the opportunity to connect local artists and artisans with the wider New England community! Held outside the Emerald Square Mall, and conveniently located right off the interstate, this show will be a crowd-pleaser. Join us on July 26th from 10am – 5pm for some locally grown art, food, and merriment in The Bay State!

Here’s where else we’ll be in 2014:

The 2nd annual Wakefield Art Festival will be held  along Main Street and the Saugatuck River in historic, downtown Wakefield, Rhode Island on October 4th from 10am – 5pm.

The 4th annual East Greenwich show will be back at New England Tech. Dates and times TBA shortly.

The 4th annual Garden City Center Art Festival in Cranston, RI. Dates and times TBA shortly.

Check out our website or the FAQ page for more detail on show locations.  We can’t wait to see you there!

Nature’s Artistry Jewelry Made by a Nature Lover

17 Jul

Linda Popper is an artist who has a unique product in that she is very conservation minded and carries an Eco-friendly message with her jewelry creations.

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Photo by Robyn Ivy

Linda lives in South Windsor, CT and travels extensively between Cape Cod, Rhode Island, Maryland and New Jersey to participate in carefully selected art festivals. Lucky for us, she found Festival Fete online a few years ago and because she enjoys the quality of the experience at a Festival Fete show, she happily returns. She values the face-to-face contact with her customers and the overall experience above all else. She does not sell her jewelry online because each piece is one of a kind and she’s so busy attending shows that she doesn’t have time to manage an online store!

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Linda began designing while employed by Hannoush Jewelers in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and she credits that position with giving her the confidence to explore her vision.

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Her work celebrates the beauty of the natural world and our obligation to protect it.  She uses sustainable organic resources including farm raised pearl and shell products as well as recycled metals. As a life-long conservationist, Linda was able to fuse her love of nature and responsibility to it with personal expression through wearable art.

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One important aspect of my work is my desire to keep it affordable,  What better way to convey the message of uniqueness and fragility of the environment than to make it reachable by almost everyone?  It was with this intention that I recently added pendants to my collections.  A large statement piece, a small pendant, or something in between can be chosen to exemplify the clients personal style.

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This year, I am working more in leather.  Guests at the festival should be sure to stop by and see my collection of one-size-fits-all leather pieces.  It is fun and youthful, but works for any age. Festival Fete treats their vendors better than any place I have been. Thank you!

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You can find Linda at Festival Fete’s East Greenwich Art Festival Aug. 31-Sept.1st from 10am – 5pm daily. For her complete show schedule and more information about her, visit naturesartistry08.org or Natures Artistry on Facebook.

East Greenwich Art Festival

Wakefield Art Festival

Many thanks to our sponsor:

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Art is Smart for the kids: Young Artists’ Booths

29 Oct

Festival Fete’s non-profit, Art is Smart is an important part of each Festival Fete production and is a great opportunity for kids to support kids through activities such as the Young Artists’ Booths. One of the ways that Festival Fete supports Art is Smart is by reserving a section of booths for young artists in grades 1-12 to sell their paintings, sculpture, jewelry or other hand made creation. It’s a great experience for the young artists, and they help support the arts by donating 10% of their sales to Art is Smart. We have some really great talent lined up for Festival Fete’s Holiday Market so be sure to stop by and see some of the Young Artist Booths at Garden City on December 1st and 2nd.

You will definitely want to check out “A Little Bird by Zoe” where you will find wonderful little origami earrings and hair clips.

Zoe started doing origami at the age of ten and is self taught.  She has been interested in making jewelry since she could string macaroni into a necklace.  Zoe started making these particular origami earrings within the last year, and the Labor Day East Greenwich Art Festival was her debut.  She is looking forward to Festival Fete’s Holiday Show at Garden city. Zoe is a high school honors student and is saving up for a trip to Rome with the Latin Club.

Rylie is another one of our young artists that will be at the show. She is an enthusiastic jeweler and I know that she has been working very hard to prepare for the show. Her bracelets and earrings are made with tiny beads in every color you could imagine, and she even takes custom orders!

Here is a little sampling of the artwork from some of our other “Young Artists”:

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Art is Smart supports public school art teachers by donating funds to help them purchase supplies for their art classes. The money raised by Art is Smart at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market in Garden City will go directly to a Cranston, R.I. Art Teacher.  If you are an art teacher interested in requesting funding, please contact Jennifer Neuguth by email for more information. It’s a simple and straightforward process for raising and distributing funds. Art is Smart is based on pure passion for the arts, and supporting art education for children.

Festival Fete’s Holiday Market will be open from 10–5 daily on December 1st and 2nd. There is a $3 suggested donation entrance fee to support Art is Smart. Many thanks to one of our yummy sponsors:

Holiday Market Artist: Deb Terilli

30 Sep

We are so pleased to have Deb Terilli, jewelry designer returning for another Festival Fete!

Deb works in a hospital as an IV Nurse, but relishes the time she spends in her small studio at home in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Because she wears an I.D. badge every day at work, it was a natural fit for her to design some very creative ways to wear her badge, including some whimsical fabric covered name badge buttons.

In addition to the badge buttons, Deb creates beaded lanyards and eyeglass holders. All very beautiful and functional too! She continues to work with hammered copper and silver wire to create her one of a kind jewelry.

Deb says that she is so inspired by all of the jewelry artists that she has met and says, “I can’t wait to see everyone at Festival Fete’s Holiday Art Festival! It’s always an awesome time!”

We look forward to seeing Deb’s latest designs at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market in Garden City this December 1st and 2nd.

See you there!

Festival Fete would like to thank our sponsor Cardi’s Furniture for their support!

The BIG Weekend is Finally Here!

31 Aug

We can’t wait to see you at the East Greenwich Art Festival this weekend at the new New England Tech Campus located on Division Rd.

Come out for wonderful local art, live entertainment by Big Nazo, local eats, kid’s activities and MORE!

Don’t miss out on this annual event!

CLICK the below video to see what’s in store!

BIG Thanks to ALL our WONDERFUL Sponsors!