Please let me know what you think! This blog will evolve and your comments will help. Just click on the "comment" icon after each post. Besides, I'm sure the artists being profiled would love to hear some reactions!

Friday, November 27, 2009

“Spotlight” on Leinaala Mitchell of Bella Beadjeweled

Leinaala Mitchell makes adornment. Couldn’t think of any other way to say it. These are not “necklaces”, “bracelets”, “earrings” and “rings”. There’s just no way you could put such a simple label on her elaborate bead work. Her pieces bring to mind empresses, goddesses and royalty from far off places in another time and age. Your imagination could run wild conjuring up the images that must inspire her work. Asked about her inspiration she says,” My inspiration comes from everywhere, literally. Nature, dreams, songs.

                                                            Karma Carnelian

She is a self-taught artist who has made things with her hands for many years.

           Isis                                                      Dancing Animal Woman

 “I start my creations with curiosity about an idea, a photograph, shape, color(s), or a focal point. I don't draw any designs. I choose colors, beads and other materials intuitively and allow the piece to unfold itself through me.”

 Her creations, which she calls “Adornment for the Adventurous”, are not what most people would consider “everyday” jewelry. You could easily imagine them on the red carpet or at a gala event or worn by your favorite trendsetting celebrity.

Welcome to the Grammys

Tequila Sunrise

                                                           The Mermaid's Ransom


When asked which is her favorite piece she says it is “the one which I am finishing now and hope to have listed in early December.”

Leinaala says,”I dream of a day when personal adornment and celebration of the body are restored to a sacred place in our lives.”


If you are looking for something truly special and unique, consider the work of Leinaala Mitchell.


Quote of the Day:

"The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.
If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself
 without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest
 in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life."

                                                  -   Frank Lloyd Wright

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

    Rather than highlight an individual artist today, I would like to give thanks for all the wonderful artists in the world. They certainly make our life a more beautiful place. I also want to say thank you to all those who support the Indie Arts. It is not an easy job to not only make your art objects but to also market and sell them. Those people that recognize and appreciate and buy handmade work are a blessing.
    Today, the day before” Black Friday”, the biggest shopping day of the year, I would like to remind people to “Catch the Wave… Buy Handmade.” Sure, there may be some things that you need to get at the mall but there are also wonderful, unique, and incredible gifts available at your local artists markets. Don’t have one near you? Okay, try an online artist market. Let me tell you about them…

1000 Markets

At 1000 Markets you can find some incredible stuff. From jewelry to clothing, to accessories, soap, pottery, fine art, …. The list goes on and on. Each artist has their own shop and shops are also organized into markets by theme such as “Come to Asheville”, “Old Town”, “Grand Arcade”, “ Inspired by Nature”, as well as many others. Here is just a small sampling of some items available on 1000Markets. There is soooo much more to see there. Give it a look!

Wren Song Art



                                                             Rising Sky Pottery

Just Jewel

Green Earth Jewelry



Etsy has been around for a few years. There are literally thousands of artisans selling their wares in their individual etsy shops. There are a number of ways to shop- by item, by artist, by color, etc…, You can even “Shop Local”. Put in your zip code and you can view the art from your local artists! The following is a sampling of etsy products. Sooo much more to see there too.

White Earth Studio

                                                        Wired Women Designs

Earth Art     

What are you waiting for? Get going!

And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Quote of the Day:

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."  

                                                                                    - Aesop

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Spotlight on Scott Plumb of Sticks and Pics

Woodturner and Photographer

I found Scott Plumb while perusing I always take a few minutes out to check out the woodworkers, particularly the turners. Scott has some really great woodturnings.
 Take a look at this Southwest style elm bowl

- beautiful – and a steal at $40.00

Or this Dark Walnut Turned Vessel

Couldn’t you picture either of them on your mantle or showcased on a shelf?

Scott says that his father was his number one influence. “He was a mechanical engineer that approached woodworking (and photography) with the same engineer eye for design and detail as his work…My second inspiration has been a friend of my Mom and Dad that lives in Buena Vista, CO. His name is Bob Gray.”  (See  )

I asked Scott about his passion for woodturning and he said, “I just really like the idea that I can pick up a piece of a tree and turn it into something beautiful. I really enjoy the creative process (and lack of detailed planning, my Dad would be appalled) involved and am always surprised how the pieces turn out.”

Scott says that the piece he likes the most in his shop right now is “the walnut vase (large, tall, free form). A friend cut down the tree in a woman’s front yard because it "was too close to the fence". I loaded up an entire dump truck of the 30" logs and will have a lot of walnut pieces coming up in the future. It is a really beautiful chocolate brown with fantastic grain patterns and is easy to turn.” He plans on adding additional items to his sop such as “smaller bowls, salt and pepper shakers, more potpourri containers, some all wood, turned clocks (I really like to make these) and try some more bowls and free form containers with turquoise and other inlays in an effort to boost my creative juices, others interest and sales.”
    As beautiful as his woodturnings are, wait till you see his photography! Stunning! I had a really hard time picking a few to show you. I suggest you look at the rest in his etsy shop.  The 8 x 10 Fine Art Prints are only $15.00.  Decorate your walls or give as gifts.

It’s work like this that made me want to start this blog. People need to see this!

Thank you Scott, looking at your work makes me feel good.

Changing History

   This morning I was using Google Analytics to check the activity on my website and online shops. I like to do this now and again. It’s fun to see how many people look at my stuff. I particularly like to see where they are from and how they got to my site. Anyway, on the pull down menu marked “Reporting” there was an option – “CHANGE HISTORY”. Well I had to chuckle and literally had to sit back for a few minutes to ponder. That took my mind on a wild ride. Imagine being able to change history with the push of a button? Where would you begin? And then what? And hasn’t there been a Sci-Fi movie or two about this?
   Well, I understand that I will never really be able to change history. And I am thinking that I probably wouldn’t want to. Sure there are a lot of things that I would rather never happened but I do believe that everything happens for a reason and that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Why? Because maybe there is something we need to do or learn in the here and now. There are so many things and events that led me to where I am now. For example, if I hadn’t moved from New York to North Carolina, I may not have given up my job and started making purses and returned to woodturning. I may never have noticed all the great handmade products available and been driven to show people that they have an alternative to “big box” stores. I wouldn’t be writing this blog. You wouldn’t be reading it and seeing Scott Plumb in the “Spotlight” today.
   So what it comes down to is that I can’t change history. I can only learn from it and try to use my present station to learn my lessons and make the most of every day to do what I can do. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And now you know about Scott.

 Quote of the Day:
"When I stand before God at the end of my life,
 I would hope that I would not have
a single bit of talent left and could say,
''I used everything you gave me.''

                                            - Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spotlight On: Woodturners

About 15 years ago I wandered into a gallery in Greenwich Village, NY and saw the most beautiful wooden objects ranging from jewelry boxes to sculptural items to vases, bowls and vessels. I was particularly drawn to the items that were turned, though at the time I didn’t know what “Turned” meant. The unbelievable smoothness and full ripe roundness of the objects fascinated me. I couldn’t put them down. I just needed to caress them. I’ve been a woodturner for about 14 years now. There is nothing like putting an “ugly” log onto the lathe and cutting it into a thing of beauty as it spins. The wood revolves and evolves. It takes on a life of its own. The grain “paints” its pattern in amazing ways. Most woodturners will agree with me that once you’ve turned, turning becomes a passion.
Woodturnings make fantastic gifts. You can find useful items like bowls and platters and salt and pepper shakers, or you can find solely decorative objects for the one who has everything.   The wonderful thing about woodturnings is that no two are exactly alike.  The wood grain is always different, like fingerprints.  There are many talented woodturners out there. Find them at your local galleries and craft fairs. You’ll be glad you did. Here are three I found this morning on-line. Most are quite reasonable. Some a little more costly. All are definitely worth it.  Take a look at their on-line shops.  They have more.  You'll also find other woodturners at those sites.


                                                                      Earthly Prize

                                                                 Large Mimosa Platter

Pointed Blonde

Limbwood Studio

                                                              Box Elder Hollow Form

                                                                   Spalted Maple Bowl

Balock Woodturning

Brown Mallee Burl Natural Edge Bowl

Silver Ambrosia Maple Platter

Silver Maple Burl Hollow Form with five carved spirals

Silky Oak and Ebony Christmas Ornament

Me (Susan Ruvolo)

                                                                       Dream Ball

Weather or Not

It’s tough being a starving artist! So my main local venue for selling my work is an outdoor artists market in Asheville, NC. Biggest problem? Weather. It’s hard when you need to make some money and your game is called on account of rain. I have been sewing like a madwoman and my inventory is abundant. I’ve been trying to gear up for the fast approaching holidays. But today the skies are not cooperating. So I’m home and so are all my purses. I have to say it is definitely warmer here. It’s only in the 40’s outside today. I hate the cold. Last year I ended up with pneumonia and missed most of the Christmas selling season. That’s what happens when you stand outside all day “hawking your wares.”

My son is happy I’m home. He just discovered my plan to make chocolate chip cookies today. “I love you!” he announced as he threw his arms around my neck. “I say that because I really do, not because of the cookies”, he adds. He does admit that the cookies definitely help, though. He’s six. Cookies are way important. (Here’s my chocolate chip cookie secret: I use the standard toll-house recipe but add ¼ tsp of allspice. I love allspice. I also make a double batch, bake about 2 trays and shape the rest of the dough into logs about 12 inches long, wrap in saran and freeze for another day.)

Quote of the Day:

"If a man has talent and cannot use it,
 he has failed.
If he has talent and uses only half of it,
 he has half failed.
If he has a talent and learns somehow
to use the whole of it,
 he has gloriously succeeded,
and won a satisfaction and a triumph
 few men ever know."

                                                                 - Thomas Wolfe

Monday, November 23, 2009

Some Thoughts about Buying Handmade

So, I make handmade purses. Leather and fabric. On the weekends I sell my purses at an outdoor artists market in downtown Asheville, NC. If you haven’t been to Asheville, it’s worth the trip. More on that another day. Anyway, most of my customers are women. Sometimes they are by themselves, some in groups, some with their husbands/ boyfriends/ significant others. They come to my booth, oohing and ahhing over the purses. Then their “pursenality” comes out. “I like a zipper.” “I like compartments.” “I like a big bag. “I like the smallest bag I can get.” Long strap, short strap, square, slouchy, flap, no flap…. I could go on and on. I watch every purse that goes by. The endless variety amazes me. Some are great, some appalling. To each his own. I love how, these days, almost anything goes.

The beautiful thing about handmade items is that, for the most part, you will see really original stuff.  Some beautiful, some odd, some, well,…. I don’t get it. But there is definitely something for everyone. Lately, more and more of my customers are telling me that they prefer to buy handmade items whenever possible. Many have found that handmade purses, for example, are better made and more durable. So next time you are in the market for a new purse, go to your favorite search engine and type in “Handmade purses” or go to or There are so many places on-line to look. And most larger towns have galleries of local handcrafted items. I assure you, you will be delighted with the variety and quality available.

Artist’s markets are a great place to find wonderful things by local artists. The one I sell at has only twelve tables but people come back again and again because of the fine quality. Here you will find incredible jewelry, pottery, clothing, purses (of course), soaps, glassware, drawings, paintings, photography, candles, just to name a few.

Here is a picture of my booth at the Grove Arcade Portico Market, taken a few years ago. This was early morning before other artists and the hordes of shoppers arrived.  Things have changed a bit since then. I should probably take more pictures.  My products have evolved as well as my display, but you get the idea.  I also have my purses in several galleries and on several on-line venues (see side-bar).  I really like this downtown market because I get to meet so many people and get their reactions to my work.

Quote of the Day:

              “Start by doing what’s necessary,
           then what’s possible and suddenly
             you are doing the impossible.”
                                                               -St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quote of the Day:

   "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds you plant."

                                                              -Robert Louis Stevenson

Why, why, why?

    Okay, so you want to know who I am. And maybe even why I am writing this blog. I am a woman who is totally driven to create. I make handmade leather and fabric purses. I am a wood turner. I am an amateur oil painter. I have dabbled in ceramics. I’m writing a screenplay. I have several children’s books in the works. I love to cook and bake. Everything I look at causes my mind to wonder “what can I make out of that?” I am also a wife and mother of a wonderful little boy. My life is full.

    It has occurred to me as I struggle to market my products, that there are many other creators out there who are making wonderful handmade products yet are struggling, like me, to get noticed. Yes, there are many wonderful websites and blogs touting handmade items these days. However, there are many more artists that haven’t been given their share of the spotlight.

    My purpose is to showcase some of the talent I find. I also will write about what’s on my mind. Yes I will talk about my purses, too. Self- serving? Maybe, at times that will be the result, but that is not the motive. I do need to sell my products to survive. However, I truly believe that handmade products are wonderful and want to do my part to bring as many “finds” and their creators to the attention of as many people as I can. Hopefully this will help both the artists and the people who are looking for wonderful and original products and gifts.

    I’m looking forward to receiving comments from readers. Let me know what you think. This is just a beginning and this blog will evolve over time. Stick with me!
    Oh, and by the way, I love quotes - particularly motivational quotes.  So I plan to add a quote of the day at the end of each post.  Hope you enjoy!