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Blog

What I love about Durham? Handmade and local!

Lisette Fee

I'm SO SO excited to be returning to Durham this coming Sunday, 12-5pm, for the summer Patchwork Market show!!  It's been several months since I've done a show and I really miss being out and about meeting people and sharing my love of handmade and jewelry.

If you've never been to a craft show or more specifically a handmade craft show (there are so many variations of types of craft shows) BUT they are so much fun.  The quality and craftmanship you get from handmade objects and jewelry are WAY better than what you get at the mall. 

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As a SAHM (stay at home mom) I get a bit lonely - as much as I love playing with my sweet girl, I crave being social.  Thus show time is a serious joy for me.   Plus I get to catch up with my fellow makers and bossbabes!

AND I get to shop handmade as well, seriously I do most of my gift shopping at the shows I participate in, because it is pretty amazing to connect with the person that hand makes your favorite mug, handbag, tshirt, print, jewelry and more. 

Now if you can't make it to the Durham Patchwork market you can always still shop with me online - wink, wink.  Because honestly my best pieces usually sell at these shows. 

Also check out my post on my 5 Eastern North Carolina Artists and Makers you should follow. My friend River of Rivtak is featured and she will also be selling at the Patchwork Market. 

Embracing your shadow self

Lisette Fee

I have a confession, I just learned what this meaning was recently, the shadow self.  And this discovery of the word makes complete sense.  Not only do I feel that it is extremely beneficial for our well being to address the shadow self and work with it but also to accept it as an asset.  Think about it as the Star Wars saga - you see a hero that works with his inner teacher but faces the darkness.  It's the yin and yang of who we are. 

I'll be the first to admit that there is a secret side to myself that can be conceited and self rightous. WE all have an inner struggle with what we know can be mean, ugly, jealous, and so forth however our good angel, the one that knows and understands what is morally good. 
"Carl Jung stated the shadow to be the unknown dark side of the personality. According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else."

Being  my sassy self. 

Being  my sassy self. 

So what can we do to work with our shadow self and harness that side of us that is nasty and dark? Turn it into something tangible like art or change that energy and thought.  I tell people all the time that the jewelry I create, the aggressive talons, the large and possessed pieces reflect the badass part of me - the side of me that is unhindered. 

I once read the performer and singer, Marilyn Manson say that his music channeled his aggression and violent thoughts however it didn't mean he went out and tried to do any violence to others.  And I felt that it resonates so much with why it is so important to release certain energies and thoughts into good action. 

thus - make art, dig in the dirt, go for a thrill seeking bike ride through your neighborhood, go to a ropes course with a friend, do some yoga, meditate, climb a tree, go swimming in the ocean - physical movement or activity stimulates some of the same chemicals in our brains as those found in certain drugs. 

I hope this gave you some insight and thoughts about the shadow self and learning from all the aspects of yourself.  The good and the bad.

 

How to style your jewelry this summer and all the time

Lisette Fee

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Make your jewelry the centerpiece of your outfit - a long necklace brings the eye inward, your hair pulled up shows off your new gemstone earrings
— Lisette Fee

You - my dear customers and friends are the ones that have showed me how wonderfully you wear and show off your jewelry.  The ladies above are all dear friends and models of EJ and you can do the same!

click the link below to receive more tips and tricks on how to style and use your jewelry in your daily life.

Practicing Self love

Lisette Fee

You may think to yourself, well yes I do that all the time.  But do we really? I'm not talking about having a glass of wine or going to the beach.  I'm talking about the act of giving yourself love daily.  I've been pondering more and more on this, that our daily habits and our work and life patterns truly effect our mental and physical well being.    But the big takeaway that I've discovered is that when you love yourself you also share that love with others and this essentially makes the world happier. 

Just laying outside can lower your blood pressure. 

Just laying outside can lower your blood pressure. 

So what can you do to practice self care/love daily? Even if it's just for thirty minutes or fifteen minutes.  Now these are self care suggestions that aren't the indulgent ones but ones that speak to your spirit and soul.   Studies have shown that when we're content and feeling good about ourselves, other people notice and feel that vibration.  Here are some suggestions for you to practice self care and love:

  • Go for a walk or bike ride, anything physical.  Endorphins (happy hormones) are released in your body when you move. 
  • Call your bestie and catch up
  • Grab a blanket and lay outside and look at the clouds
  • Take a soothing bath
  • Play with your cat, dog or pet or someone elses
  • Work on your garden
  • Do an activity that gave you joy and happiness when you were a child, like coloring or playing with legos.

It's funny how we've lost some of these activities the more technology that comes into our life however taking time to do an activity that uses your hands and mind has big benefits and impacts for not only your happiness but the longevity of your brain.  Many studies have shown that working with your hands and playing games can prevent Alzheimers and dementia.

So even when it's a crazy busy day and your stressed, which is when you need self care the most.  Stop, breath and go for a walk or do whatever gives you joy!

 

 

Tap into your third eye with your jewelry

Lisette Fee

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This is a super brief yet easy reminder that we can always tap into your inner teacher and third eye to guide us to more clear and conscious living. 

Tonight is the pink full moon in Sagittarius.  We can use this time look deep inside ourselves and ask, what is calling to us? So take a lil time out, even five minutes to be still and quiet and use your jewelry as a source of focus. 

thanks as always for reading and stopping by.  And click on the link below that takes you to my One of a kind jewels that will aid you in your meditation and journey to your inner teacher.

My journey and self discovery

Lisette Fee

One of my most treasured self care rituals is taking a bath and this evening as I lay there in warm soothing water (my element as a Pisces) I thought of what to post here on my blog; and it came to me - sharing my journey and path to jewelry and love of gems, tarot and the Occult.

I will not shy away from saying or writing that word - THE OCCULT - because in my mind it isn't bad or riddled with horrible things but of magic.

Shot from the Valkyrie collection.  The cup represents water and the cauldron.

Shot from the Valkyrie collection.  The cup represents water and the cauldron.

When I was in my early twenties I was at my lowest in self confidence and direction.  I was lost; and of course I got into trouble.  I went through so much inner pain and anguish and filled the deep void within myself with material objects.  And as with many individuals whom get lost, I found faith.  First through Christianity but eventually I became fascinated with the old gods, with their tales and myths.  Mind you, I've loved storytelling since I was a child in middle school.  Their tales gave me hope and renewal.

Enamel brooch, 2011. 

Enamel brooch, 2011. 

Fast forward roughly ten years, I still had some emptiness inside but I learned to channel my fear and doubts with keeping my hands busy.  A thought formed in my mind of melding my two loves - faith and adornment.  Ritual adornment has fascinated me since I was a girl attending the traditional catholic church and prayers.  I loved using the ritual beads and iconography.

Thus I continued my passion for making jewelry and became fixed on turning it into a career.  As humans, our nature is to create culture - to embody the Gods by also making and forming with our hands and mind.  And I'm most happy and fulfilled when I'm being creative and not just in the studio but in my garden, my kitchen and with spirituality. 

When I moved to eastern North Carolina I was thirty years old, at a precipice of venturing into the wonderful world of jewelry and metalsmithing.  I'd found my calling and it felt liberating to embrace it and take the leap.  It changed my life moving to North Carolina, and it's not so much the place but the people I met that challenged me.  

***peep my brief interview below going into more detail of my process.

So my tale has come here, to a happy and growing place of contentment and exploration.  I hope that it gives you hope to leap, and that your net will appear.   Be patient with yourself and give your space to explore and question yourself. 

Thank you as always for reading!

Beauty of the Beast

Lisette Fee

I don't often participate in exhibitions so when I was invited to submit several pieces for the Greenhill Gallery at the Greenhill Center of the Arts exhibition Beauty of the Beast, I was extremely honored and thrilled to participate!   Below are the details and concept behind the exhibition.

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So many amazing and talented artists from North Carolina and abroad. 

So many amazing and talented artists from North Carolina and abroad. 

What I love most about the concept behind the exhibition is merging art with the wild - because when you truly think about art - nature and the wild is the ultimate creation, the ultimate form of art.  And North Carolina has such a rich history of both art and appreciation for wildlife.  I truly became in touch with animals and my own inner strength because of them when I moved to Eastern North Carolina.  I hope that the exhibition brings attention to preserving our parks, rivers, streams and oceans.   Now more than ever we need to be aware and also be active in our wild environments.   If you live in Greensboro, I hope you can attend the exhibition and events the amazing staff at the Greenhill Center of NC Arts have organized.

The Bast One of Kind necklace will be on display along with other signature EJ pieces. 

The Bast One of Kind necklace will be on display along with other signature EJ pieces. 

How I've juggled being a Momboss

Lisette Fee

It's been one year since I became a mom and it's been one fun, overwhelming and gratifying experience.  I've also somehow managed to keep my business going while caring for our baby everyday.  Even though one year is very little time, I thought I'd share with you what I've learned and how I continue to juggle two of my biggest roles. 

First off, it wasn't as scary or impossible as I thought it'd be.  And somehow my flow of work continued only with minor adjustments.  Nap time is KING! That is when I run around the house and my studio.   Whether it be working on jewelry at the bench, preparing and shipping out orders or handling administrative tasks.  Tuesdays are my full on work days, as my generous inlaws watch Tallulah all day.  My husband also watches her in the early evening and one day on the weekend so I can get more intense pieces finished.   It truly does take a tiny village to raise a tiny human!

My husband and I can't afford childcare and honestly, I feel so grateful that I can stay home and raise my daughter.  Most days it can get quite boring watching Sesame Street on repeat BUT I get to feed her the food that is good for her, take her for walks and generally enjoy raising her. 

My 'office space' in our second kitchen, it's part of the mother in law suite of our 1950's house.

My 'office space' in our second kitchen, it's part of the mother in law suite of our 1950's house.

I think the hardest part of working from home AND watching Tallulah is deciphering what to address as the most important and pressing need of that day as well as planning for the future.  I'm just now hitting my groove where I can finish work in my studio but also sit down and plan for the following weeks and months ahead. 

Now if you have any friends or family that are business owners themselves, you know that there are SO many facets to running a small business.  What has really helped me to not feel so overwhelmed is to compartmentalize each task.  For example, scheduling specific days for certain tasks.  Mondays I plan out the week and handle administrative work, Tuesdays are primarily studio days (finishing jewelry or wax work), Wednesdays I may follow up with clients, reach out to boutiques and press, Thursdays are for sketching, planning and working on new or current designs and Fridays are for doing any of the other tasks I didn't do earlier in the week.  Then on a Saturday or Sunday I'll working half or full days in the studio depending on the time of year, holidays are crazy busy so I definitely work on the weekends. 

Tallulah and I on her first birthday.

Tallulah and I on her first birthday.

I will admit though that lately I've come to a place where I'm viewing my business and goals from a new perspective and I'm thinking of changing the overall model of what I produce.  I absolutely love making one of a kind, highly personal pieces versus more production jewelry.  I think this is due to the fact that I can't churn out a ton of work because I also care for our child, which demands the most amount of time.  

I also acknowledge that over the years, my demands as a mother will change and so will my business, so I'm trying to be 'loose' with my schedule and go with the flow.  Which can be SO incredibly hard because at the same time, if I don't stay on my toes and maintain a consistent level of communication and new jewelry for my clients and customers then I won't keep that flow of sales which are essential to our household income. 

She doesn't even have to try and be cute!

She doesn't even have to try and be cute!

The pressures are there, but when I reflect on our life before Tallulah, it seems less bright and I wouldn't change that for the world.  Tallulah has given me a new meaning to life and I'm so grateful for that.

Thank you for following me on this journey and for reading my blog.  You can stay in more touch with me on my newsletter - sign up at the link below!

5 Eastern North Carolina Artists you should follow and support

Lisette Fee

It's been awhile since I've shared with you some of my new obsessions and since it's springtime and we're all wanting a bit of a refresh in shopping and supporting artists it seems like the perfect time.  Some of these makers are new to my radar and some I've known for awhile - but you don't so here is my list of artists I know you'll love!

1. RIVTAK - I met River several years ago when I began selling at the Durham Patchwork Market and she is the sweetest most talented lady around!  She is obsessed with textiles and repurposing clothing and discarded textiles.  River not only creates beautiful clothing, objects and jewelry she also teaches workshops and printing processes.  

Here I am wearing a  handmade full moon kimono  River made.  It's my new go to piece!

Here I am wearing a handmade full moon kimono River made.  It's my new go to piece!

You can find River's handmade goods online and in several shops around the triangle area and in other states.  I promise you will go BANANAS for River's fun and beautiful handmade goods!

2.  Lo & Behold - 100% Natural Body Care - Okay I went a bit nuts when I discovered Lizzie's amazing products, especially her cuticle cream, it was a lifesaver for me last winter.  Lizzie's products are so rich, creamy and soothing for the body.  And Lizzie is a total BOSSBABE, I'm in awe of how successfully she runs her business and invests in her community. 

For a jeweler like myself, cuticle cream is essential!

For a jeweler like myself, cuticle cream is essential!

3.  Caroline Hedgepeth - This talented artist really doesn't need much of an introduction, you've probably seen her name on my blog/IG/FB feed over the years now.  I've truly come to appreciate the talent and amazingness that is tattoo and Caroline is way up there.  I don't know how she does what she does - but she KILLS it with her artistry.  Not only that, Caroline is ONE OF THE BEST people you will ever meet.   It's like therapy sitting in her chair, she listens and is so empathetic and generous.

That's Caroline to my right. 

That's Caroline to my right. 

4.  Victoria Sexton - I've long admired Victoria's work at Emerge Gallery in Uptown Greenville and I finally purchased one of her pieces.  They're super quirky, weird and fun! Victoria's pieces visualize what we feel internally, perhaps we're mending our hearts or feel like the joker.   And you can shop Victoria's amazing work locally at Emerge Pitt County Council of the Art's gallery!

5.  Vincent Li - There are some artists that you're dumbfounded by their talent and that is Vincent, he's got such a fine touch with the paintbrush and creating images that come from another world.   I've known Vincent since my days at Art Avenue, when he was interning with us and now he's painting murals around Farmville and Greenville and receiving commissions.  I'm so proud of how far he's come and where he'll go. 

Bigsby's Dream, oil, 9.5x11 on display and for sale at East Carolina Art Space. 

Bigsby's Dream, oil, 9.5x11 on display and for sale at East Carolina Art Space. 

Art and the handmade isn't just for museums or for the wealthy, but something for all of us to enjoy.  And it can be in the everyday, from your coffee mug to your tattoo on your arm.  I share these amazing makers so that it not only helps my friends gain exposure but to engender a sense of community.  Please feel free to share this post and spread the handmade and art love, we need it so much right now. 

As always, thank you so much for reading!

Growing a green thumb

Lisette Fee

There seem to be these phases of growing into adulthood, other than the usual kids and buying a house.  And I believe one of them is becoming a gardener.  I've always loved flowers and herbs but not enough to truly grow a garden.  And now that we have a very large backyard - I'm very excited to begin cultivating it.

I can only dream that my herb garden would produce this much of a harvest - one day!

I can only dream that my herb garden would produce this much of a harvest - one day!

Last weekend my husband and I planted a pear and fig tree.  We're still not there yet on the raised beds but we will get there. What I absolutely love about having a garden is being able to go right out my back yard and pluck a cherry tomato for my salad or add rosemary to breads or oils.  There is something precious about cultivating your own food. 

I will say I'm also incredibly lucky that my inlaws are experts at growing a vegetable garden AND they have chickens.  Their eggs are the best! And you know whats also cool about having a garden you actually don't need a large backyard.  You can grow vertical gardens in tight spaces or simply keep small potted plants on your porch - it's what we did before we had an actual yard. 

I hope you enjoy this season with fresh herbs and vegetables - especially if they're from you garden!

Do you want to play with fire?

Lisette Fee

It's that time, to teach classes at Emerge Pitt County Council of the Arts at the end of the month.  I really do love teaching these small classes, I learn so much and so do my students.

In the session I taught two years ago several of my students took it to the next level with their pieces.  One of the best parts of taking a jewelry/metals class, as well as teaching, is that making objects trains your brain to think in new ways.  You are actively challenging yourself to figure out how parts can go together and which way of connecting them makes the most sense.
 

My friend Carrie sanding her piece. 

My friend Carrie sanding her piece. 

These are all made by Caroline Hedgepeth in my class from 2016.

These are all made by Caroline Hedgepeth in my class from 2016.

In the pieces Caroline made, especially the enameled pendant on the left, she made two pieces and tube riveted them together (or that is the plan).  She wanted the texture of the piercing to overlay the splatter enamel she did. 

Even if you don't feel like you have a creative bone in your body (which in fact we all do) you will still love working with metal and making jewelry.  It's so much fun!

Sooooo, here's my pitch. If you live in the Greenville (Pitt county) area and want to learn jewelry making or take your jewelry to the next level - take my class! It's every Wednesday night, 6-8:30pm at Emerge Pitt County Council for the Arts.

As always, thank you for reading and stay lovely!
xo
Lisette

How divination is healing and restorative

Lisette Fee

Many, many years ago, about fifteen years ago, I began playing with tarot cards, runes and several other forms of divination.  At the time I was at a cross roads in my life, I had graduated from college and moved into my parents basement.  I needed some direction, a sign to show me - this is it, this is where you are and what you're going through and tarot cards provided a visual representation with symbols of patterns in my life.

bone divination.  Photo from  Love by the Moon blog .

bone divination.  Photo from Love by the Moon blog.

And I believe firmly that divining answers using tools, whether it be runes, tarot, tea reading, palm reading provide a physical way to show what is going on in your life that you may be ignoring, neglecting or need to address.  Generally most of us know intuitively where we need to go but as humans, we don't want to acknowledge the painful or difficult or even obvious. 

My tarot keepsake box made by Stone and Violet.  My runes, Skullgarden tarot deck and gemstones. 

My tarot keepsake box made by Stone and Violet.  My runes, Skullgarden tarot deck and gemstones. 

With tarot you are able to call upon a symbolic image to provide you with a path to investigate and grow.  I also believe the simple act of taking time out of your day to reflect on your current situation is often what we need most.  In our day and age of oversharing and giving so much of our lives to technology we neglect our inner teacher and voice.  

A great Awakening has begun. People around the world are opening their eyes to their own spiritual natures. They are beginning to see who they truly are and what they have always been beings with an eternal past and a glorious future.
— Betty Eadie

What is most important is to give yourself space to reflect and listen.  And specifically with tarot you want to sit with the cards, look at patterns and see how they connect.  Here is a small list of some of my favorite tarot decks and methods of divining. 

1.  The Rider Waite Tarot deck:  It's the all classic, tried and true tarot deck that many of us begin our practice.  It's direct and fairly straight forward. 

2.  Runes - not only are the runes a form of divination but also as language, the Germanic people created runes as a way to communicate enchantments and messages to each other on stone, wood and religious objects.   I don't often use my runes however that they are fantastic way to study larger life meanings and themes.  

3.  A simple yes or no will do:  I have a special stone that I use  to give me an a yes or no answer, using a map either with paper or cloth the left is no the right is.  I hold my pendulum, quiet the mind and ask my question. 

Divination cloth used for basic questions.  I used this when I was curious what Tallulah's sign would be. 

Divination cloth used for basic questions.  I used this when I was curious what Tallulah's sign would be. 

What you gain from reading cards or simply sitting and reflecting is a sense of awareness and perhaps resolve to change and grow.  One of my goals for this year and the future is to dedicate quiet time, be aware and in the moment and to also use specific tools such as the new jewelry I've been making for ritual objects.  Necklaces specifically offer a fantastic way to carry with you intention.  Think about it as a rosary, just as Catholics and Buddhists use beads to count prayers so too can you use a necklace to call upon intention.  

I believe humanity is going back to the old ways, reaching back to ground us in the now.  Divination is showing a big resurgence and it's no coincidence.   Even if you don't necessarily believe or have confidence that what you're doing is the correct way, it really doesn't matter as long as your intentions are true. 

Ritual and divination jewelry. 

Ritual and divination jewelry. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and you give tarot a try, it's fun and relaxing - plus the images on tarot decks are simply beautiful works of art.  You can shop for tarot cards at my favorite NC shop - Everyday Magic

Don't forget that Eilisain Jewelry makes the perfect accompaniment to your tarot divining and also for the stone magic it brings!

Valentine's Day Gift guide

Lisette Fee

All commercialism aside, I love celebrating Valentine's Day, y'know why? Cause I'm a lover, I enjoy connecting with people and showing people with gifts and memories how much I love them.  And we've come to a point in culture where we recognize that it doesn't have to be romantic love to celebrate on Vday, it's your bestie, your Aunt or Uncle or your work wife/husband!

So with that said I have a fun and affordable gift guide for you this year.  And I can attest that each of these makers are ones that I support.

I was unable to provide a link in each image so here they are:

Immortal Mountain chocolates

Blue Earth Curio Embroidery

Watercolor moon print