Archive | March, 2014

Bring it on!

10 Mar

“Do you thrive under pressure or crumble at the thought of it? Does your best stuff surface as the deadline approaches or do you need to iterate, day after day to achieve something you’re proud of? Tell us how you work best.”

Tammy and I (here are Entwined Vines Jewelry) both seem to like planning and plotting to achieve a goal but when push comes to shove and the heat is turned up, that deadline is actively upon us we holler “bring it on” and chuckle as we know we can take it with fierce and powerful success. We seem to always be working on projects and in our minds working through the steps needed to reach a deadline with great results so when it comes to that “moment” of make it or break it we are very accomplished and thriving. Not long ago we had learned of a grant project that we had not heard about before and although we had never applied for anything like this before we looked into it. We thought is would be a great fit for the co-op we are a part of (Artistic Portland) but it was getting to the wire when it was presented. When it was decided that the co-operative would not be able to do justice to the activity we dove right in. We had no clue and no time left as the deadline was less than 5 hours away (talk about cutting it close lol). This  grant required a nice batch of writing and question and answer time where both of us had to like and agree to our answers one a day we both worked our “normal” jobs till after the deadline time set so we had to scramble through text messages and fast as you can think emails to accomplish this. We did it! We made the deadline by minutes complete with spectacular photos and a write-up we were more than pleased with. We then had two weeks to try to get caught-up with thousands of other people to recruit votes to make it into the next level for the grant. We gave it a huge effort and although we did not make the next level we are beyond happy with how for we made it and with the shear amount of knowledge gained through this experience. We had another un-expected bonus as well, follower in all our social media venues and dramatic increase of interest in our one of a kind pieces or wearable art! Will we apply again? You bet we will and although we will have more time to iterate that last minute deadline kicked us into over drive and we rocked it just like always. Take a moment and share where you stand on pressure and how you manage, we love to hear from all of you!



Riding the Crazy Train March 2014

7 Mar


“I have been Creating Art as long as I can remember…

I remember drawing the cartoons when I was a Very Small child.

I’ve always loved to Create Beautiful Things.

Anytime I can take something ordinary and turn it into a Beautiful piece of Art,

it is so Amazing!

I am a self taught Portrait Artist,

but I love working with all types of mediums,such as Pencil, Acrylic, Oil, Ceramic, Wire, Stone,

just to name a few….”


“I was born and raised in small town Wisconsin; land of the frozen tundra and cheese.  Growing up in the rural Midwest could have been considered boring but I had always filled my days with adventure.  Treasure hunting and day dreaming of tropical get-aways were my favorite hobbies.

Now am living my dreams; living, working, and playing in the hot desert sun of Palm Springs California.  I love being a Cali girl but of course you can’t take away my roots and I still have a huge place in my heart for treasure hunting and cheese.”


“My name is Jennifer and I found out my grandmother used to paint china. All of her work is stunning but what is amazing is that she had multiple sclerosis. I didnt know her well but know I am proud she was my grandmother. I pull inspiration from her and her strength.”


” I’m an Army Brat who was born in France to a U.S. Dad and French Mom.  I grew up in Europe and Turkey and was lucky enough to have traveled all over the world. I still love the traveling and seeing the fashions and styles of other countries … which I love incorporating into my “style”.”


” I am a Rag Quilter. I have been experimenting with traditional quilting also. I love to mix both styles.”


“Our home is in Lake Mary, Florida and we have been married for nineteen years.    My husband Jack, has over thirty three years experience as an award-winning Art Director with various design and advertising agencies, then for his own successful graphic design firm. He puts his talents to work now by making lampwork beads and jewelry.    I (Mary) have always been attracted to anything that sparkled, and what sparkles as much as jewelry? “Glass”.  I was very lucky to find a friend that taught me how to create beautiful beads, starting out with a glass rod and melting it like butter. Form it, roll it, and add more color!    I then passed what she showed me to my husband and look where it has taken us! Visit our gallery of Classy Art Glass to see the beautiful glass he has created.    What could be more fun doing something you love?!!”


” My name is Roxanne Coffelt.  I make all the jewelry that you see here in my studio.  I use many techniques, including fused glass, precious metal clay, wire-wrapping and sometimes just plain old stringing.

As a child I was exposed to lots of crafty things.  My mother sewed.  I learned Indian seed beading, made potholders, did leather work at camp, etc.

My journey in jewelry-making began in Shanghai, China.  While living there I learned about pearls; first buying pearl jewelry while shopping with the other tai tais (wives), then designing my own personal jewelry and having it made by the shops there, and buying a variety of pearls.  With my family I also traveled extensively in China in addition to other parts of Asia.  After returning to the U.S., I began taking jewelry classes in order to use the large supply of pearls I had accumulated.  My shop is named “Shanghai Tai” because one tai character means “too”, as in “too much”, “too expensive”, like “extreme”.  Two of the same character together though, is tai tai, which means “wife” or “Mrs.”  To me, Shanghai Tai represents the (slightly excessive) lifestyle that western expat women live in Asia.   My designs often have an Asian influence as a result of my many travels and exposure to Eastern cultures.

Though my degree is in accounting, I have taken many classes and workshops to improve my jewelry-making skills,  including classes from Chris Darway, Mark Nelson and Holly Gage, among others. In 2009 I became certified in precious metal clay.   As you can see, I also like to work with fused glass.  So far I have only exhibited my work locally, but have won some awards:”


”  A degree in horticulture, and working in that industry have greatly influenced my art. Most of the fabrics I use in my original designs are hand painted and(or) sunprinted by me to achieve colors and textures that can not be found in stores. Sunprinting on fabric can give many surprising results- the paint never dries the same way twice (It really can be fun to watch paint dry), and my gardens supply me with the many flowers and leaves I use for the sunprints. My photos of flowers and more from gardens or in the wild, are now finding their way into my art after I print them onto fabric.    The beauty of this earth we have been given to live in, with it’s flowers, gardens and rock formations is the main inspiration for my fabrics and art.

I began writing and selling patterns for my gift items so that others can make them with their own fabrics and creative styles (find them in my AndrusGardensDesigns shop here on ArtFire or at I love sharing creative knowledge through my blog, teaching workshops and lecturing”


“AUNTIE CHRIS AFFORDABLE QUILT FABRICS  We carry quilt shop quality fabrics without the quilt shop prices, affordable quilting/sewing kits and patterns. Quality fabrics will make a difference in the appearance and longevity of your finished projects. We strive to find beautiful, interesting and quality fabrics for less. We have hundreds of items to populate my shop, please check back often. Affordable heirlooms start here. Will happily ship a fat eighth to a whole bolt if that’s what you need. Always adding new items and surprises!!”


”  I have a large collection of silver beads, gemstones, some crystals and cabochons. New items added every day. My goal is to provide buyers with unique quality beading supplies and sell them in smaller quantities. I am also a jewelry artist specializing in unique handmade jewelry in a variety of styles and colors. My jewelry pieces can be found at:”


” I have been an artist since I was child with my first lump of Play Doh.  I have always enjoyed working with clay and discovered polymer clay in my late teens.  I love animals, nature, and the world of fantasy and this is reflected in my sculptures.  I also enjoy a large variety of crafts, and like to try new things.  Several years ago I started making cloth dolls, which have been a huge hit with my nieces and friend’s children.  I even had one of my dolls featured in “Today’s Creative Home Arts”.  The dolls make wonderful gifts for children or doll collectors.  Recently I began making jewelry with polymer clay and a variety of beads.  I’m inspired by bold colors and interesting shapes.  I also make very detailed miniature polymer clay houses surrounded with beautiful landscaping.  One of my log cabins was featured in the October 2008 issue of Polymer Cafe magazine.  Fantasy has always lighted a creative spark in me, and many of my sculptures sprang into life with that spark.  Fairies, wizards, gnomes, trolls, and dragons have all been sculpted over the course of my artistic career.  “Scorch the Rockin’ Dragon” was featured in the February 2009 issue of Polymer Cafe magazine.  My most recent work would be the World of Warcraft plush characters.  While I don’t play myself, my mother and brothers do and they prompted me to try my hand at recreating these interesting creatures.  I try to put as much detail as possible into my work, and spend many hours getting it “just right”.  I also strive very hard to provide excellent customer service and communication.  I try to use recycled materials as well- everything has a use!  I never throw out clothing, old purses, or trinkets that could be turned into something new.”


To see more check out the links provided and if you are interested in more by us,Entwined Vines, check us out on Artfire or if you are in the Portland, Oregon area you can find our products at the local artisans co-operative “Artisitic Portland”

Back to Basics: How to make an eye pin 3 different ways

5 Mar

Every now and then while creating a piece I want to use an eye pin but I want it to actively match the wire I am using and at times I want it to have pretty designs, so what is an artist to do? That’s easy, breakout the hand torch and make one of course! Making an eye pin is supper fast and easy once you have everything ready that is. Since it really takes seconds to make a few I highly recommend making multiples at a time even if  you do not need then right that second and mark what wire you used for future use.

What you will need:


  •         wire – 18g works really well
  •         jewelry style anvil
  •         pliers – rounded and flat or curved
  •         files and 0000 steel wool
  •         wire snips
  •         Chasing hammer

1) the fastest and easiest eye pin is one that has a loop to attach with other things.


As you can see above, this is very simple and supper fast. Cut your wire to an inch longer than you need for what you are placing on this pin so you have plenty of work/wiggle room to hang on to. Take a pair of round tip pliers and make a loop on one end doing a “break” at the base so the loop is centered above the shaft. Thread your items on and repeat the loop process at the other end to close then clip any excess wire to make the connections flush.


2) The second very common eye pin style is a hammered end that then can be left flat or curled under and tucked into your piece.


All you need to do is again cut your wire to about an inch longer than you want to end with so you have wiggle room to hang on and work with your wire. Place one end of your wire on a small jewelry style anvil then take your chasing hammer and whack your wire a few times, flip it over and give a couple more whacks to make sure it flares out evenly. Smooth out and soften the sharp edges with a file and complete with the quad lot steel wool. If you want to take this to the next level take your round nose pliers again and tuck under the flattened end so it will snug up into your bead (I really like doing this if I have a large holed bead).


“Every Artist Deserves a Home”

3 Mar

“Tell us about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed. Be sure to describe your situation in full detail. Tell us all about your triumph in all its glory.”


Tammy and I have hopes to make Entwined Vines into our primary source of income like many artists and we have seen how hard that can be. With this in mind we work hard to keep momentum and set goals along the way. We started off with a very tiny part of a booth at bazars as well as online at Artfire. We knew that with our primary creative endeavor as Jewelry Artists required us to get “known” as many people have no clue what Viking Knit is let alone how amazing it is and how comfortable it is to wear while getting huge amounts of positive attention. We knew that is people did not actually see our pieces or see how it is made and how much time and materials go into each piece that we would not be able to make sales let along grow. With this knowledge, we set out to be in positions to be seen more and more so we went through the extensive application process and involvement of becoming members of the Portland Saturday Market (not to be confused with a farmers market). We worked hard at this for three years which was our goal but had concerns that our online sales had been going up but were not stable enough to remove ourselves out of the public eye but knew that our personal lives had been taxed with needing to work 5 days a week at our “normal” jobs and then working so many hours every weekend. Something HAD to give and we were talking about what our options were and voiced that is would be really nice to be a part of an indoor artisans market but that it just was not reasonable as there were no options like that in the area that were not styled as a consignment kind of thing and we both need to be in charge of our work and not just hand it over blindly to a “boss”.

Once we both found our inclination to be a part of a store-front business we looked at cost and energy that would take and yet again we were blown away with the shear level of crazy that would take from both of us to make that happen. We had sadly put that on a back burner as not do-able yet dream worthy when a business acquaintance approached us with a “golden” opportunity; to be a part of a co-operatively owned and operated artisan store-front! Our dream!!! The group was small and had only started brain storming and plotting a month prior so we knew that the work would be intense with huge possibility of not being able to get off the ground let along real success. The formation of by-laws, getting a business license, learning the local laws, figuring out a base start-up budget, finding a location that would work for all, all the little things that a business has to work through before even opening had to be learned and implemented for not just one business but a group of 40+. We found a location and things were looking up to learn that it had fallen through the month before projected opening and the group was stress and crest-fallen. We had high hopes that had tons of momentum and had gone from zero to 100 in a few short months. The scramble was on and the newly appointed board of directors franticly searched for a new location that was in the original area yet still fit all our needs. In less than a week they succeeded although there was added stress as the rent was significantly higher than planned and several people were starting to re-consider paying to be fully a part of this venture as we had passed projected open dates a few times (we had dreamed big and had hoped to open in March – remember planning started only in December) as well as the daunting issue of funding since our very first ever kickstarter project had been basically a bust. Was our hope going to get shattered? Would we as a collective manage to succeed?

The results are still out but it feels like we as a collective have succeeded and Entwined Vines is still an active part of this. Artistic Portland was officially open for business June first after just 6 months of crazy hard work, several downs, and mega up’s. In the last several months the group had shrunk and then grown, we have transitioned, had trials, growing pains as a group as we learned to work together while still working as individual leaders, teams have formed and take off with mostly incredible results, and our hope continues to grow and evolve to greater heights. Entwined Vines is still working on sales through Artfire while growing and working in our community and loving almost every moment of it. Hopes and dreams are completely worth chasing and making true so follow yours then share in our comments.