Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Handmade With Love - TAG Fiber Artists Part I

The very first time I purchased a handmade toy or article of clothing, I realized it carried an energy that no mass produced product ever could. There was a warmth, a positivity, a sense of pride...obviously all instilled by it's creator, who no doubt created each piece painstakingly with love. Hence the allure of handmade...

Now, there's handmade, and then there's handcrafted... the fiber artists at The Artisan Group take this to a whole other level...there are so many talented artists I need to cover, I need to discuss them in two parts...

Shanna's Tie Dye   The lovely and talented Shanna Torres has been a tie dye artist for 15 years and here is her story:

Shanna Torres finds creativity in every aspect of life. As a mother to three boys and
a military wife she must constantly adapt to life’s challenges. As an artist and an activist she shares that 
creativity with the world. A passion for the arts pushed Shanna to leave her small home town of Citico, 
Tenn. to major in Fine Arts at the University of Tennessee. While attending UT she met her now-
husband and she has managed to continue her artistic pursuits while taking care of their children, even as the war and military commitments have taken her husband away from home. The Torres’ have now been married for nine years and are currently stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. 

Shanna is s self-taught tie dye artist and her creations for Shanna’s Tie Dye can be seen and followed on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. She is a proud member of The Artisan Group and affiliates with The Real Army Wives E-Magazine. She also works for Happy Family Organics and enjoys organic heirloom gardening, making meals from scratch, hiking, upcycling, reading, chasing after her three sons.

Courtesy Shanna's Tie Dye

Courtesy Shanna's Tie Dye

Courtesy Shanna's Tie Dye

Shanna's beautiful products have been gifted to celebrities such as Ryan Gosling, Mila Kunis, Vanessa Lachey, Jessica Alba, and Tori Spelling!

TG Bears Based in Indiana, and founded in February 2011 by the very talented Monica Collins. She makes her glorious, personalized Teddy Bears by hand using the finest, and softest materials. As a matter of fact, I am a proud owner of Jenny Bear (see photo below). TG Bears has also teamed up with Angels 4 Epilepsy, and together they have formed a Facebook support group for parents of children with epilepsy. It is a very active forum in which parents can discuss specific issues and support each other. The group link is Another wonderful contribution by TG Bears is sending a bear to a child undergoing a serious procedure related to their epilepsy. This bear is sponsored as a joint effort by member contributions, a contribution by Angels4Epilepsy and also one by Monica. Here are some photos of recipients .The group is open to anyone who has a child with epilepsy or has some other interest/knowledge that could be a help to those that have.

Courtesy of TG Bears

Courtesy of TG Bears

My Jenny Bear!! Check out my name embroidered on her paw!!

Me and Jenny B!!

These adorable furries make awesome holiday gifts!!

Crafty Ridge  This Indiana based company was started in 2011 by the lovely Angela Warren-Mixson. Here is Angela's story...

I create and sell handmade items on Etsy. My favorite medium is crochet and I am a proud member of The Artisan Group

Crafty Ridge is an eclectic blend of fun and unique crocheted items that can fit into just about anyone's life. There is a mix of fantasy and functionality in the items I have available. They are all handmade and have their individual quirks.

Being a SciFi geek and fantasy aficionado (summed up that means I'm a bit of a nerd) I love making anything from baby hats to the fun and unusual. I am inspired but just about anything. I love the fun and unusual, so I am pulled towards a lot of scifi and fantasy. However I also love creating beautiful accessories that everyone could use.

When I began crocheting my unique items it was just a fun way to create wearable art for family and friends. I never would have thought that it would have grown into something as great as Crafty Ridge. I am a proud member of the Artisan Group and through them I have been able to gift the beautiful and hilarious Amy Poehler as well as participate in the Press Bags at the 2013 Golden Globes and a Stylist bag full of items to be considered for ABC's hit show Pretty Little Liars. I thank my wonderful family and friends for being a ginormous support system and encouraging me to do what I love.
Here are links to five of my products

 I absolutely love my Bearded Viking and adore my Infinity Scarf in Oceans' which I sent to Amy Poehler, but honestly I think I fall in love with just about every creation for one reason or another. At least when I get it right.

Items by Crafty Ridge have been sent all over the world. In the past year I have sent Viking Helmets and Mohawk hats to the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and New Zealand. At the moment I sell exclusively online with a few local bazaars and such mixed in.I am always looking to extend my business and get it out there.

Outside of Crafty Ridge, I am a full time mother of 2, and wife who is trying to build Crafty Ridge into my full time job.

Courtesy of Crafty Ridge

Courtesy of Crafty Ridge

Courtesy of Crafty Ridge

Hooked on Yarn, Connecticut  Hooked on Yarn CT's owner, Lori Byrne is a perfect example of having passion for one's work. Although this Connecticut native works full time, she finds the energy to knit and crochet her wonderful creations, two of which I proudly own. One of her beautiful scarves was featured on the ABC television show "The Middle"! (see below)

Courtesy Hooked on Yarn CT ( I have one of these slouchy hats in gray!!)

Courtesy Hooked on Yarn CT (This lovely scarf appeared on ABC's "The Middle").

This is moi! Custom fit, color, and I swear it was delivered as soon as I hit the send button on Paypal!! Someone told me it makes me look young!! I think I'll order one in every color!!!

MadiBella  Based in Tennessee, this lovely children's clothing line is owned and designed by the talented Charity Helvie...Here is Charity's story:

I'm Charity, the creator and founder of MadiBella. I love fabric and putting different fabrics together to create something fun, cute, and unique for your little blessings to wear! God gifted me with the ability to sew three years ago and brought me home from the corporate world of finance to raise my children and to open this little business of mine. As a member of The Artisan Group, I've had the privilege of gifting celebrities such as Giada De Laurentiis, Vanessa Lachey, and Alison Sweeney. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to also gift some of my favorite musicians in the upcoming CMA awards! 

Courtesy of MadiBella

Courtesy of MadiBella

Courtesy of Madibella

Beautiful!! Where were you when my girls were little??

There are other talented TAG fiber artists I'm dying to tell you about!! Stay tuned for Part II!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's On Tap?

Lot's of exciting things down the pike at Alexis Gopal Jewelry!! Although our event at New York Fashion Week this September was postponed until February, it's going to be bigger and better than last time!! Our new website is almost ready to go live...and yours truly even modeled for a couple of shots!!

We sent a pair of earrings to the hit television series "Pretty Little Liars"!!

I wonder which character will end up wearing them????

There's lot's more in the pipeline...but we can't spill the beans yet!!