Thursday, September 07, 2006

Shiny, Pretty Things

Fall is my favorite season, and I’ve never gotten over the “new clothes for school” syndrome as I’ve aged. Personally, I think we must continue to mark changes in seasons, which is why, despite fashion trends to the contrary, I am all for putting away the white clothing and the linen after Labor Day. (Okay, I live in the South, where it stays hot, so maybe dark linen is acceptable, but please, people: put away the white linen! Save it for a cruise!) As far as clothing goes, I’m pretty basic. My job does not require me to dress up (at all…seriously, people wear clothing to work here that has holes in it…and this is a professional, white-collar company.), and I have the basics covered: sweaters, jeans, some cute shoes. I love coats, but owning a bunch of coats in Atlanta…if I owned ten, I’d have one for each day of winter, let me put it that way. Pointless to have so many awesome coats and leave them hanging in a closet.

For some reason this year, I couldn’t bear the thought of buying another sweater. I was completely unenthusiastic about fall shopping. But then, I found Modish. Modish is one of my favorite blogs featuring the works of independent craftspeople from around the world. Every week Jena, the “owner” of Modish and a jewelry designer in her own right, shares all kinds of interesting finds, from notepaper to art to bags and t-shirts to jewelry.

Yes, jewelry. Frankly, I’ve never been one to accessorize. I tend to wear the same watch and earrings, along with my wedding ring, every day. But some of the designs I saw on Modish got me thinking: instead of buying new clothes, I could just get some cool jewelry to spice things up! I mean, I thought about doing this before, but let’s face facts: Atlanta is the land of the old Mall & Chain. I find it difficult to get excited about buying a necklace when it’s hanging on a rack with fifteen others just like it, and it also screams “I AM A TREND!” And if you can find a boutique that features independent crafts, you must be prepared to pay through the nose for them.

But I found some interesting, unusual, and pretty (and very affordable) stuff thanks to Modish, and so I wanted to share!

Anna Sofia Designs
Anna Sofia Kukafka makes handcrafted jewelry out of glazed handmade or silk-screened papers from places as various as Japan, Nepal, Italy, Thailand, and Bangladesh. She also uses sterling silver, semi-precious stones, and Swarovski crystals. I ordered this pair of earrings, and also a necklace (not the one pictured…she’d removed the picture from the site, but it’s lovely!). The paper is quite pretty, and the pendants and earrings are very lightweight. I’ve only worn the necklace so far, but I got many compliments, because it’s so unusual.

Spipo Designs

Rickina Velte, a former Aviation Electronics Technician with the U.S. Navy, is the owner of Spipo Designs, and her site features earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, and brooches. Let me get the bad news out of the way first: This site is difficult to get through—because it’s just so impossible to decide what to buy! Rickina thinks of her jewelry as works of art, and I would have to agree. She puts a great deal of time and effort into perfecting her designs. I bought this carnelian necklace—which is stunning in person—and these gorgeous emerald nugget earrings. Hm…the Navy’s loss was the art world’s gain!

Sweet Thunder
Jenny Mangun and RJ Porter are Sweet Thunder Designs. According to their site, Sweet Thunder “supports limited edition production with an emphasis on using recycled, reconstructed, rare vintage & antique materials.” This is yet another site that’s difficult to get all the way through without wanting to click the Add to Cart button next to almost every item. I ordered this pretty necklace made out of an antique box clasp the first time, and the second time, I ordered this Mercury Loop necklace. I had to be very disciplined and actually take items out of my cart. *Sigh.* Just wait until I win the lottery! I’ll join their Earring of the Month Club.

And finally, in closing, let me tell you the most impressive thing of all about these businesses: their amazing attention to presentation and customer service. All of them sent me messages personally thanking me for my order, and each time I received an item, I felt like I was opening a gift from a friend. Not only are these people crafting beautiful and unique pieces of art, but they make their customers feel as special and unique as the work they do.

So please, if you get a chance, visit these sites, and visit Modish. Support independent business people!

*all photos are from the designers’ sites