Sunday, June 28, 2009

Win a free one-of-a-kind bracelet!

Good morning! I'm extremely excited to be participating in Vancouver's finest fashion & art marketplace today. Portobello West is from 12pm - 6pm at the Rocky Mountaineer Station and there will be over 100 local designers selling their wares - including ecocessories!

So to honour the occasion, I'm announcing a contest! Today at Portobello West I'll be handing out my business cards with an invitation to become a fan of my Facebook page. It's so easy to participate:

  • Be an ecocessories Facebook fan by July 25, 2009
  • You're automatically entered to win the Honolulu Hippie bracelet ($40 value)
  • Check your Facebook inbox & my blog on July 26, 2009 to see if you won!
The Facebook fan page is awesome because it keeps you informed of new designs, projects, markets, and general happenings in a place where you already are interacting. Plus, if you like what's on the Facebook page, it's so easy to share with your friends. Does anyone need a hint for a good upcoming birthday present for you? Share the ecocessories Page with that person's Wall - hint, hint!

If you are spending a bit more time on Facebook, click through one of the posts that you'll see in your Newsfeed to actually visit the Page. I post cool content there, like photos, videos, and personal notes from the artist - me!

Right now you have a sweet incentive for becoming a fan - winning the "Honolulu Hippie", a sterling silver & recycled bead bracelet - click here to enter.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Business School Grad to Eco Fashionista

Before moving out West, I went to business school back in Ontario. I wasn't sure where the path would lead me, but I studied marketing because I saw it as the most creative aspect of the academic business world. A lot of things really inspired me during my education - mainly things that included strategy and outside of the box business practices. There were also a lot of things that turned me off, or things that just gave me a nagging feeling in my gut.

I think since starting ecocessories I have gained a lot of insight into things that I studied, and why I really was attracted to certain things, and turned off by others. For example, I loved marketing because I saw it as an opportunity to influence and motivate people. There are so many good things in this world, and positive messages that need to be spread! However, many of my peers also loved marketing too. It better helped them strategize how to push the latest consumer products into the hands of unsuspecting citizens. By this I simply mean that so many household products are blindly consumed everyday and many people don't even stop to consider whether these cleaning sprays, cosmetics, or soaps are truly safe. This safety net can often be traced back to the marketing messages the consumer goods companies have associated with their products.

I really don't like that type of deception, which is one reason I moved to B.C.! It is so easy here to live a healthy, organic lifestyle. One of the main excuses I hear from people is that it costs so much more. But does it really? Yes, green products may be a bit more pricey on an individual basis but when you really think how you are benefiting your health in body, mind, and spirit I think you gain much more value in the long run. How and what you consume is a choice. Consider the individual parts of the next item you purchase - where did the metal, plastic, hardware come from? How was the item constructed - who had a hand in its production & distribution process from conception into your hands? Answer these questions and make your own decision about whether a change needs to happen in your own consumption habits. Are you a conscious consumer?

I'm designing in preparation for Portobello West this Sunday, but lately I have been struck with many thoughts reflecting on the lifestyle I've chosen. I think it is important to reflect on these choices on this blog so my readers can better understand ecocessories and it's importance to me. I'm going to write a series of posts this summer while I'm traveling back to Ontario during July telling you my reflective stories.

I'd love your comments below - how do you make your consumption choices? It is important to you to consume organic, environmentally-friendly, or non-toxic goods?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Preparing for Portobello West

It's a busy week in my studio as I feverishly prepare for Portobello West. This fabulous fashion & art market is this Sunday, June 28th! I've been silversmithing up a storm and am trying a new production process that lets me achieve my one-of-a-kind creations, but gain some efficiencies as well! Meet my new assistant, this funky clamp that pivots in it's base. Who doesn't love a new tool to play with.

I'm so excited for my upcoming summer events, which include:

Sunday, June 28, 2009 - Portobello West - Vancouver, B.C.
Saturday July 4, 2009 - ecocessories Garden Party - Sarnia, Ontario
Saturday July 18, 2009 - Festival of Lights - Peterborough, Ontario
Sunday, July 26, 2009 - Portobello West - Vancouver B.C.

I hope if you follow my blog, you'll be able to come say hi at one of these dates! It was so rewarding at Car Free Day hearing from those who read the blog, follow me on Twitter, or are a fan on Facebook.

My designs would make a special summer treat for yourself, and are great gift items. You'd see nothing but smiles giving the gift of a handmade, one-of-a-kind, eco creation!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Trip to Whistler Inspires Summer Scarves

I spent the last two days with my fiance in Whistler and experienced a luxurious and romantic time! As always, new destinations on the West Coast seem to inspire the creative juices in me and I finished the getaway with a new product designed. Introducing the Summer Scarf Originals line and specifically this one is called the Chocolate Lake Summer Scarf.

The ecocessories summer scarf was inspired by cool nights in Whistler, where a simple light scarf is the perfect accessory for incorporating loved knits into summer styles.

My fiance helped me design these handmade tags, and I created and hand stitched them in my studio. I'm working on a bunch of different colours of this design, and would love to know what you think in the comments below. I love the loose chunky stitch that gives this scarf its airy feel.

Wrap this handmade 75" long knit once for a simple, long style, or twice for added warmth and snuggle around your neck.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm designing tons in preparation for the upcoming Portobello West market on June 28th in Vancouver, B.C. and an ecocessories Garden Party being planned for July 4th in Sarnia, Ontario. More details coming soon.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Adventure Begins

I often head over to Danielle LaPorte's website for inspiration ever since reading her book, Style Statement. This morning, I read this quote on Danielle's blog by John O'Donohue, who I've since learned was an Irish poet and philosopher who seems to articulate what I'm feeling very, very well. I feel like ecocessories is my adventure, and I'm finally ready to embrace life in Vancouver and give myself to this path I've chosen, and the people in it.

I'll include some pictures from my day at Car Free Day yesterday to give you some visual stimulation while reading! Thanks to all who came out - see you at Portobello West in 2 weeks.

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

~ John O'Donohue ~

Friday, June 12, 2009

Recycle Jewelry at Car Free Day on Denman

I've been quiet on my blog this week because I've been working very hard preparing for this weekend. Finally, Car Free Day is almost here! If you can't tell, I'm very excited about this event. Why? Because it's going to be very cool. Not only will there be artisans like myself selling their wares, there will be musicians, street performers, community groups, demonstrations and more! This video with interviews from last year pretty much says it all:

I'm working on my display, which will also be used for the upcoming Portobello West, and I've scored some really neat finds from the thrift store. Of course I'm recycling vintage finds for my market table, because it is my mission to reuse our planet's existing resources whenever I can.

If you don't mind scrolling, check out the budding beginnings of my display. First, this brilliant idea came from my fellow jewelry designing friend, Donna. I scored some cookie cooling racks, which act perfectly to display my earring tent cards, and possibly my bracelets?

I simply hinged the two racks together so they fold flat for packing, and open up to give my display some vertical dimension! Hopefully I can find a few more of these racks.

I wanted a neat mirror for customers to pick up and admire themselves trying on my jewelry. This one does the trick without taking up too much valuable real estate on the table. I'm going to paint it white so the look stays consistent!

This neat rack was my favourite find. Originally this is used in a kitchen for storing wine glasses. Simple slide the base of the stem between the rungs and the glasses hang. I'm reinventing it as a necklace display! Brilliant!

Finally, for the spread of the table I got 5 or so vintage silver trays. Each one has its own unique character, like my one-of-a-kind designs! With a little fabric scrap, and the necklaces draped over them, these trays will make for a great vintage chic display.

The best part about this display is that everything folds down flat. My goal is to be as portable as possible, so I can set up anywhere. I don't have a car, so I need to be able to get around with my display and jewelry inventory easily and efficiently!

What do you think? Comment below! See all the elements put together tomorrow at Car Free Day in Vancouver on Denman St. from 12pm - 6pm. Now, I'm off to collect supplies and design a cool ecocessories banner for the table!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Eco Fashion for the Summer

If you're reading this from the West Coast, you'll agree that the sunshine the last couple weeks has been positively spirit-lifting! I've been feeling very inspired and am pleased to share a few new designs now available in the shop.

The "Bleeding Hearts Necklace" is my latest design with 2 signature clasps. This 18 inch necklace is a short style that comfortably fits most individuals. A unique recycled sterling silver heart is the focal point of this design, featuring an intricate engraving.

The "Lady Galadriel Necklace" reminds me of the woodsy, ethereal qualities of the elf queen character for which it's named. Light green aventurine represents joy inside and out, so lift your spirits with this one of a kind design!

If you are in the Vancouver area, please come out on Sunday, June 14th, 2009 to Denman St. for the Car Free Day Vancouver festival in which ecocessories is a vendor. Do you like these designs? Please comment below!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sustainable Voice - Eco Fashionista Kelly Drennan

I first 'met' Kelly Drennan when she started following me on Twitter. Or maybe I followed her. I'm not sure, but bottom line is that we have a common interest - eco-fashion! Kelly is the founder of a members-based Canadian organization, Fashion Takes Action, that is working on bringing about awareness for the eco-fashion industry.

As the organization's website puts it: "sustainable fashion is about the fashion first, and should look no different than conventional fashion." I definitely agree with this quote, as that's one thing that has attracted individuals to my jewelry - it doesn't 'look' like a stereotypical view of eco-fashion. My designs are high quality, stylish, artisan jewelry items.

In a recent interview I read, Kelly had a thing or two to say about the choices every person can make when it comes to living a bit more sustainably:

"In terms of the environment, the most important thing we can do is to stop purchasing things that are bad. Stop buying products made in China. Stop buying things made from plastic. Stop buying things that need batteries. Stop buying GMO foods. Stop buying household cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals.

Stop buying clothing that comes from fabric made with pesticides and other chemicals. Stop buying clothing that costs $5 or less – think about how it could possibly be that cheap and how much money the person who made that garment was paid to make it! And the list goes on."

Thanks Kelly for being an influential voice in the eco-fashion industry. If you're reading this - what do you think? Is it easy to stop doing the behaviours Kelly mentions? How important is supporting eco-fashion to you?