Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Creative Woman in Business: Emily Dowzak, Photographer!

I'm so excited to introduce you all to my next Creative Woman in Business! Please help me welcome Emily, photographer and owner of emme photo design

Hi Emily, please tell us a little about yourself. Beyond name, rank and serial number, what would you like people to know?
Well, my name is Emily Dowzak and I'm extremely passionate about everything I do; from baking homemade bread to photography, I invest my talent, heart and soul. I find joy in others' happiness and beauty in everyday occurrences.

That's awesome, Emily!  What is your creative passion, and why?
Photography! More specifically, capturing those moments that people forget about, look at their photograph and relive the whole emotional journey of that moment. Everyone gets these wonderful moments everyday and so often we miss them because we're all so busy. Preserving those moments for eternity makes me so much more invested in being present in life, not just letting it pass by.

I was just perusing your website, and LOVE your photojournalistic approach.  What inspires you?
Just about everything. Old wooden fences, hugs, rusted car skeletons, color, personal stories, twirly name it.

Any advice for the novice just starting out?
Anything worth having is going to be hard; that's why we want it so badly. Follow your passion and you will always have something to hang your hat on at night. Sure, you'll have to tighten your belt sometimes, but at least you'll be true to your calling.

What words of wisdom to you try to live your life by?
There are so many books and inspirations to choose from! I think that the Golden Rule has dominated my life more than any other notion. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So often people forget we are our own mirrors and a smile goes a lot farther than a frown.

That is so true.  Now for what everyone wants to know: What song has been running through your head all day?
“Anyone Else But You” by the Moldy Peaches from the Juno Soundtrack

Is that because we live near East Jesus Nowhere? (Just kidding!)  Ahem.  For what three things would you like to be remembered?
Being true to myself, helping others, and my baking skills! {laughing} Seriously, I bake A LOT!

Mmmm.  I think that means we could be friends, Emily!  Tell us--is there any particular cause that is near and dear to your heart?
Not a named cause, I guess. I'm a firm believer that we (as Americans) forget that we have people living in third-world conditions right here in the USA and should help out our own as much as we've been helping out world causes. The Appalachian poverty really tears at my heart; it's beautiful nature out there, but such horrible living conditions for many families. Many Appalachian children die from malnutrition and medical issues much like those found in third-world countries, but not many Americans are even aware of their plight.

Please show us your current favorite photo.  We'd love to hear all about it!
For me to choose a favorite photo is really hard! Each one has a story and special meaning to me as well as my clients. I think perhaps this one is my recent favorite. The bride's nephew wanted her to have some more flowers and ran to put these by her feet right as they were exchanging vows. See? A moment!!

How sweet!  It's been a real pleasure to meet you Emily! How can people reach you?
I'm on Facebook:

Great! Thanks Emily!  Ellen

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Heart the Fleur de Lis

People often ask me what my favorite design is. That’s easy. The Fleur de Lis is so rich in history and has so many gorgeous variations, that it is my hands-down fave! Dating back to the 12th Century, the Fleur de Lis was originally used as an emblem of French monarchy.  Over time, it was depicted on coins, pottery, heraldry insignia, banners, crown jewels, and all things stately and important.

The phrase translates to “Flower of the Lily”, and is thought to most resemble the Iris. The three petals are often used to symbolize the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary, and have represented military power and strength.

Here in the U.S., New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) has held it strongly and proudly as a sign of its French heritage. The design is has been infused throughout time in architecture, and is frequently seen in wrought iron patterns and finials.

The Fleur de Lis has recently made a huge comeback, most currently by way of interior design, and even in graphic art scrollwork flourishes. It’s particularly used as a sign of support to NOLA following Hurricane Katrina. Even the Boy Scout and Girl Scout trefoils have evolved from the Fleur de Lis. So, I guess it’s safe to say that I’m not the first to fall in love with this special design.

Interestingly, the Fleur de Lis has been said to stand for light, life, and perfection. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. Here’s my rendition of the Fleur de Lis (as seen on my Bourbon Street Fleur de Lis Tee) in perfectly light-refracting Swarovski crystal rhinestones:

So, now you tell me. What is your favorite design element?
Take care, and always let your light shine, my friends! Ellen

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meet Susan Campanini: This Week's Creative Woman in Business

Hi Susan! I found these adorable earrings in your Etsy shop!
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a semi-retired teacher of college-level French and English who does freelance editing online at home and designs one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry. I live in east central Illinois with my husband and my six cats. In addition to work, jewelry making, and family life, I love reading literary fiction, flower gardening, music, art, and movies, to name just a few of my interests.

What is your creative passion, and why?
I love collecting beautiful and unusual beads of all kinds and making designs with them for earrings and necklaces. In part, it’s because I love color so much; also, seeing patterns emerge is like magic. The creative self-expression element is important to me too. But I don’t just like making them – I like the idea of sharing them with people, so that a little bit of beauty can be added to their everyday lives. As a result, I want to keep my jewelry affordable and to make a wide range of beaded materials and styles in the jewelry available in my etsy shop  at all times.

What inspires you?
Beauty in nature is always an inspiration for me--water, trees, flowers, sunsets--but mainly it is the beads themselves that suggest the designs. I just open a drawer full of beads and things start to come together for me. It’s an addiction!

Any business advice for the novice just starting out?
I’m new to etsy (shop open six months and not a lot of sales--yet :) ), but I have been doing craft shows selling my jewelry for 18 years. I think the best advice is to make what you think is lovely, display it nicely so people can choose easily, and make it reasonably priced so they can afford it. I also try to give people as much information and help in choosing as they would like.

What is your favorite item that you have for sale?
I love them all! But there is one necklace in particular that my husband and I worked on together to create wire elements (he has a jig for bending the wire) with beaded units in between. It was featured a while back in a published craft book, which was a really nice honor. I’ve put it on the etsy site for sale: Black-and-White Fantasy Necklace.

It's awesome that you work has been published, Susan!  Congratulations!
What words of wisdom to you try to live your life by?
Be who you are and enjoy it. Don’t take anything for granted. Trust your heart and your instincts and be kind.

For what three things would you like to be remembered?
Hmm, maybe my loyalty, my love of learning new things, and my sense of humor?

Is there any particular cause that is near and dear to your heart?
I am sensitive to the plight of our planet in many ways, so lots of environmental organizations matter to me. I have always adopted rescue cats--the best felines of all!

What else would you like us to know?
I’ve recently started writing a blog. It has information about my beaded jewelry, of course, but also posts about fiction, felines, music, films, gardening, and armchair philosophy. Check it out!

How else can we follow you?
I have a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter site
and, if you’d like to see my beading studio, come to my flickr photo page