Think Art Loud

Inspiring, Encouraging, and Promoting the Handmade Arts and Artists

Thistledown Botanicals

Thistledown Botanicals is a small, at-home business on the northern fringe of Lower Michigan’s civilization (also known as Standish, Michigan). Now, I must admit that I have more than a little bias towards Thistledown Botanicals, as the owner of the business happens to be my mother, Holly Hepworth. She makes 100% natural skin care products and cosmetics. Right now, her products range from lip glosses and balms to lotions/lotion bars, sugar scrubs, and body butters; she has even made her own organic sunscreen. However, she is always looking to expand and learn new things. Most recently, she has been bitten by the soap bug…… and badly, there is soap curing EVERYWHERE in the house. She uses a variety of essential oils, fragrance oils, flavoring oils, mica colourants, etc. to make her work not just functional, but smelling and looking beautiful! Some of her soaps are even topped with flowers she dried in her dehydrator.

She is still new to the world of handmade/homemade businesses, and so does not have a website at this time. However, she does have a Facebook page you can visit which is set-up so you can purchase through it via PayPal. Keep checking back to see new products!


Announcement: Posting Schedule Change

Posted Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Ok, so you are probably getting a bit tired of seeing me changing posting schedules, themes, etc. around, but hopefully this will b the last time. Up until now, I’ve had a themed post for each day of the week (minus Saturday and Sunday), however, as life progresses I’ve been finding it difficult to keep up with that type of posting schedule. So, I’m changing it yet again. Here is how it will work, at least in theory: once a month there will be a ‘featured artist,’ this will (hopefully) guarantee at least some measure of activity each month on the blog; then, as inspiration strikes, other posts will be made when time allows. No more themes (as much as I love them) because they are just to hard to keep up with and the time needed to research them out beforehand is just not there. They were a good starting point for me when first starting this blog, but it’s time for a change. As mentioned before, hopefully, this will be the last time I need to reformat my posting schedule. I don’t want to just abandon the blog, but life is just not allowing me to be as active in posting as I had hoped to be. Oh, and if you have suggestions/recommendations for blog posts you would like to see, topics you’d like discussed, etc. please feel free to let me know!


2LittlePs is based out of Virginia Beach, VA and run by jewelry artist Cathy P. Cathy creates beautiful handcrafted jewelry from a variety of materials. She works with sterling silver, fine silver, and copper and loves to combine these materials with leather, silk, beads, and sea glass. She also works a lot with precious metal clay. There is a lot of whimsy and elegant simplicity in Cathy’s style. No piece is over-fussed, or under-designed.

2LittlePs - cancer awareness pendant

Cathy is involved with many different charitable organizations and uses her jewelery talents to support and spread awareness for these causes. Among the foundations that 2LittlePs jewelry supports are: Crisis Pregnancy Cneter, Wounded Wear, Autism Up, and an array of cancer foundations.

2LittlePs - Hart of Dixie Earrings

As a member of The Artisan Group, 2LittleP jewelry has been involved in a number os celebrity gifting events such as the Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes. Her jewelry has also been gifted to the wardrobe stylist’s for a number of shows and been used on TV. These TV shows include: Hart of Dixie and Vampire Diaries.

Here’s where to go to learn more about 2LittlePs:

Whether giving a new use to an old (and possibly broken) object or just creating artwork out of atypical materials, upcycling can be a ton of fun and there are a ton of books out there that can help give you ideas. So, Here’s a list of just a few of the great books out there!

Playing with Books: the Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson

Playing with books: the Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson:

This is a really interesting upcycling book. It’s an upcycling book all about upcycling books! The book shows many different techniques including bookbinding, origami, papercrafts, textile, and a number of other techniques and ideas of how to have fun with reusing old books.

Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things from Stuff You Already Have by Danny Seo

Upcycling: Create Beautiful Things from Stuff You Already Have by Danny Seo

This is another really great upcycling book. There’s a wide range of different project ideas all of which use just everyday materials that are easily gotten ahold if if you don’t realdy have them.

Upcycling: 33 Ways To Reuse Old Glass Jars, Mason Jars, & Wine Bottles For Home Decorations & Much More! by Kitty Moore

Upcycling: 33 Ways To Reuse Old Glass Jars, Mason Jars, & Wine Bottles For Home Decorations & Much More! by Kitty Moore.

Another great upcycling book with really easy crafts!

You know a great place to look for upcycling books? Try your local library. I have a small part-time job at one of my local libraries and I’ve seen hoards of upcycling books in there, not only in the adult non-fiction collection, but also the young-adult/teen and children’s non-fiction collections. We’re also getting new ones all the time. Actually, some of the ones in the children’s non-fiction are especially good. There’s a whole series of them that my library has and there broken up into material themed books, versus the mish-mash of a lot of the regular non-fiction idea books out there. While they are generally more simple, they can sometimes be a great place to start if you are just getting into this kind of craft.

Ok, so, as promised, here is the first post according to my new post schedule! Starting things off, is an announcement for my newest jewelry line: hair jewelry!

Hair Jewelry – ‘Aoifa’ design

Hair Jewelry - Aoifa design

This is the first of many more pieces of hair jewelry to come. It’s a sterling silver and Freshwater Pearl Mobius flower chainmaille and metalsmithing hair fork. Alternatively, if you don’t where hair jewelry, hair forks also work great as shawl/scarf pins. The total length of this hair fork is nearly 3 inches long. For anyone interested, it is available on my website.

I’m extremely happy with how this piece turned out. It’s simple, yet very elegant and not as easy to make as it looks! Hair jewelry is actually pretty tricky to make, and this piece was no exception. When it come to making hair forks, the trickiest part of this kind of hair jewelry is the shaft. Besides making sure you have a good wire gauge/temper, it is very easy to over work the zig-zag kink pattern that helps to keep the hair jewelry in your hair.

No idea when they will be finished, by more designs and styles are on their way! From hair forks, to hair combs, to hair sticks!

Ok, so now that regular life seems to be calming down a bit, I am hoping to be able to get back to the blog soon. However, I think I may have been a bit over ambitious with my original post schedule, so I will likely be revisiting that so as to find something that works better. The problem is this, I’d carefully structured what kinds of posts/artwork would be featured on what days, and while this sounds great in theory, in practice it’s a nightmare. Here is why: 1) some topics/artwork are harder to find posts for than others, 2) I don’t like to post an artist’s work/photos without their prior knowledge and consent and 3) contacting said artists to get consent is sometimes easier said than done, and it can be a while before you hear back, assuming you hear back at all. I know lots of bloggers do not get permission before they post, but I don’t like that. At the very least, it is a courtesy, but it really goes beyond simple courtesy to actual copyright laws. So, I’m going to be ditching my carefully planned post schedule. Here’s the new post schedule that I’m considering: instead of the daily or alternating post schedule I’ve been using, I’m thinking a monthly schedule might work better. Maybe have one major featured post that fits with the old posting themes, and then however many other posts I actually have time to make. That way, I have longer to plan for the posts, hear back from artists, etc.

Ok, so I know that Veteran’s Day isn’t until tomorrow, but this is a M/W/F posting week and I really wanted to do something in honour of Veteran’s Day, and one veteran in particular: my grandfather, Franklin Bramwell Hepworth.

Memories of Grandpa - Laura Hepworth

This painting is from 2008 and was my final project in Painting I. When we were told that the topic of our final would be completely up to us, I knew pretty much from the start of the semester what I wanted my final to be about: my grandfather who had just gone to be with the Lord in early August of that year.

[The painting measures at 30×40 inches.]

Memories of Grandpa - Laura Hepworth

Memories of Grandpa - Laura Hepworth

My grandfather served in the Army during World War II. He was a lieutenant in charge of a tank platoon. Ironically, he was also claustrophobic so that meant he had to ride with his head outside of the tank which is partly how he was awarded the Purple Heart (he actually received a Purple Heart with two oak clusters, which I was told signifies three injuries and is the equivalent of three Purple Hearts.) I don’t completely remember what the other two injuries were, but the one I do remember hearing about was directly related to his riding with his head outside the tank and a clear testament to the Lord’s protection: a 50 caliber bullet went past the side of his head and popped the eye on that side out of its socket and left it dangling; he picked it back up, shoved it back in his head, and despite the doctors saying he’d no longer have sight in that eye it was his best eye for many, many years. My grandfather’s tank platoon was also present for and actively involved in the liberation of Anne Frank’s prison camp, and on D-Day during the storming of Normandy, he and his tanks were shelling encampments from behind enemy lines to draw fire away from the troops landing on the beach.

In addition to the Purple Heart, he also received the Silver Star and a couple of other pins for his service during WWII and occupation of Europe after the war.

[The portrait miniature is just 2.5×6.5 inches.]

Memories of Grandpa - Laura Hepworth

He loved flowers, and for a time, also worked as a florist……..

Memories of Grandpa - Laura Hepworth

….. as well as a teacher. In fact, on the the gentlemen that used to go to my church was actually one of his students! (Lol, such a small world at times.)

Memories of Grandpa - Laura Hepworth

He was also a pastor for many, many years….

[The landscape on the wall behind the pulpit was painted by my Uncle Chet; the miniature here is 1.5×1 inch.]

Memories of Grandpa - Laura Hepworth

… and one of the godliest men I’ve ever known! He was 91 when he passed way, and that year he and my grandma would have been married 68 years.

In the background of the painting is a portion of Psalm 91, my grandpa’s favorite Psalm. It reads:

14. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue
I will protect him for he acknowledges my name.

15. He will call upon me and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble
I will deliver him and honor him.

16. With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation.

Psalm 91: 14-16

And to all those that have served or are serving, Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you for your service!!

FiberArts Cafe

So, if you are a fiber artist in or around the New Jersey area, you might want to check-out the FiberArts Cafe. The FiberArts Cafe is owned by Carol V. Moore and is located in Millville, New Jersey. Whether you are a knitter, crocheter, needlepoint artist, or any other form of fiber artist, the FiberArts Cafe is sure to be a place you’ll enjoy visiting. They carry all manor of supplies, tools, books, and also offer workshops.

In addition to the wool, bamboo, alpaca, cotton, and acrylic yarns that the FiberArts Cafe carries, they also carry an selection of more unusual yarns, as well as, yarns that have been handmade locally! Also of note, is that the store carries work made by local fiber artists, so be sure to stop by and appreciate their work!

Interested? Great! Here’s where you can find them!

501 N. High Street, Ste. L
Millville, New Jersey 08322

Store Hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Sunday: noon – 6pm

Group meet: Monday & Wednesday: 6pm – 8pm


Beautiful Memories of the Past by Nina Gore Art

Nina Gore of Nina Gore Art is a henna artist. Now generally, when you think of henna, you think of it being applied on a person, and while Nina also applies henna to skin, Nina Gore takes henna out of the realm of temporary body art and into the realm of fine art. By applying the henna technique to other materials such as glass, paper, and canvas, Nina Gore Art also allows those who may be uncomfortable with body art to enjoy the beauty of henna in another fashion: as a painting. Not only that, but she has found that, unlike when applied on a body, the henna won’t fade over time like it otherwise would.

A Vibrant Peacock by Nina Gore Art

Nina Gore has an amazing eye for pattern and composition! In addition to the henna, sometimes Nina will combine it with oil pastels bringing an entirely new dimension to her work: that of colour.

If you would like to see more work by Nina Gore Art, here’s where you can find her:

Store (Saatchi Art online art gallery)

Grape Soda Necklace by Instinctively Indie

The artist behind Instinctively Indie is Ann Jepsen. Ann Jepsen creates unique upcycled jewelry from all sorts of bits-and-bobs. Her jewelry features lots of upcycled buttons, pieces of vinyl records, soda cans, marbles, melted crayons, and so many other interesting objects.

Cool Tones Melted Crayon Bracelet by Instinctively Indie

Instinctively Indie jewelry is cute, colourful, and full of vintage whimsy you just can’t help but love it! When not creating beautiful jewelry, Ann Jepsen can be found at home chasing around her home in Sioux City, Iowa with her family.

If you would like to see more of Ann Jepsen’s beautiful creations, here’s where you can find them!

Store (Etsy)
Store (Handmade Artists)

Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By