Monday, October 18, 2010

Responses to Readers Questions

I had quite a lot of fun with this!  Many thanks to those of you that responded- enjoy free shipping on your next order!

"How are you designing a new piece of jewelery/hair accessory: are you first looking at your "raw materials" to get inspired on what you can create with them - or is there first a specific idea of how the masterpiece should look and then you get materials for it together?"
I hate to lead off with this answer, but, it depends!  There are times where I'll see something (usually a focal piece for the very top of a stick) and then I make the connection between that and a theme, then build out the rest of the stick to suit the idea.  A good example of this would be my Moss Terrarium hair sticks.  I loved the idea of a living hair stick and then had to work out a way to make that happen!

Other times there will be a theme or idea that I want to create something to follow, so in that case I have an idea of what I want, but then have to go looking for specific components to make the vision happen.  The Painting the Roses Red Hair Sticks are a great example of this!

If I had to guess, though, I would say that the first method, of seeing a focal piece and then having the connection to a theme happens most.

What is the main difference between the vegan panacea and the regular offering?

Each has their differences and  benefits, outside of one obviously being free of all animal products.

The Traditional Panacea's Hair Salve is slightly darker in color than the vegan, more of a warm cream color than pure white.  It works well on all hair types, but seems to be preferred by customers who have medium to thick strands of hair that tends to be prone to dryness. The scent of this salve is a bit more incense-like than the vegan blend, more subtle and dusky. The only non-vegan ingredient in this salve is honey, so some vegans whose beliefs permit the use of it can also enjoy this blend!

The Vegan Salve also works well on all hair types, but customer feedback indicates that it is most preferred by those with very fine strands of hair that is prone to splitting.  This salve is bright white in color and the citrus notes in the scent seem brighter and clearer than in the traditional salve.


Really, though, the best way is to try each!  NightBlooming offers sample sizes so you don't have to invest in a whole tub.  Try them one at a time or even blended together to see what you like best!  The sample tubs are also great for tossing in a bag for when you travel.

What made you want to start making your own hairtoys, were you inspired by someone, in need of something that didnt exist yet or just like to make people happy? Tell us the story!

I've always been artistically inclined and have had a tendency to look at something and say, "I can do that!"  In the past it had been sewing clothing, learning to weld, or even cooking!  So when I saw some of the beaded hair sticks being sold I had the same, "I can do that!" reaction.  It took a bit of figuring to come up with the right components and methodology to make sticks that are as robust as they are pretty, and there were some failed attempts along the way.

Other than the enjoyable challenge of just seeing if I could make hair sticks was the notion that while other hair sticks were pretty that's really all they were, just decoration.  There seemed little story, inspiration or thought beyond simple color-matching and adding sparkle. Anything is made more beautiful and more powerful when there is a meaning an an intent attached to it, and I know that my customers value the story and thought behind my pieces as much as I do.

The best thing about having a store is I get to share my ideas with others!  I have so many ideas that there's no way I could possibly keep everything I make for myself, and it also lets me explore ideas that are outside of my own personal tastes.

Do you work in silence, listening to the sound of nature around you or do you like to be inspired by music?

If the day (or night in my case, as that's when I do most of my work) is nice, I'll open the window and listen to the sounds of our garden.  I can hear the night-singing birds, the splash and gurgle of the waterfall in our koi pond, and the singing of insects.  It's extremely lovely and very relaxing.Often times, though, I listen to music.  My taste vary wildly, from Celtic World Music, to what I lovingly call Angry Chick Music (Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, etc.), to Trance, to industrial, to those LifeScapes music and nature sounds CDs you often see at the kiosk in stores.  Most often, though, I want something I can sing to and that tells a story.  I've included a few of my favorites below for your listening enjoyment!

The story of Eurydice as told by Sleeptheif.

Sarah McLachlan's Ice

Which items are your favorite to make and why?

This one I actually had to think about for awhile as I truly love what I do.  I think that my favorite items are asymmetrical pairs, where two sticks go together but aren't exactly the same.  One may have a dangle, or a slightly different topper, but they balance and harmonize in a way that even an exactly matching pair cannot.  I've included a few photos of my favorite asymmetrical pairs below!

Dragon Slayer's Wyrm and Sword Set
Blood from a Stone Set

Seelie and Unseelie Faerie Courts Sticks

I notice you (and several other etsy jewelry makers) do seasonal themed hair toys. Which is your favourite season to create in?

This is a secret, double sided question:
a) in which season do you feel most inspired
b) which season's hair toys do you enjoy making the most?
 This will probably come as no great surprise, but I would have to say Autumn is my favorite season to create in.  Something about the muted colors, the warm metals and the ability to accent with leaves to my heart's content makes it easiest and most enjoyable.  I would say winter is a close second, however, something about the cold blues and whites accented with silver really captures the feeling of the season.  Just for fun I picked an item for each season!

Spring- Errant Knight Quest for the Spring Bouquet
Summer- Drape Hair Sticks of the Faerie Queen Titania

Fall- To Autumn Hair Sticks
Winter- Prayer to the Winter Goddess Hair Sticks

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