UnWrapped VOL 1, Issue 1

Some Nights

 

Beads, Beads everywhere, and not one idea to string…”

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Hanged Beads by 11×16 Design Studio

As I sit here with a hard cider and an amalgamation of beads, wire, and various other findings, I really wonder if customers appreciate the pieces of us that go into handmade jewelry.

I mean think about it: when you are wearing a handmade piece, you are literally wearing Ashe, or Divinely gifted personal creative energy.

More than that, there is literally someone’s blood (do you know the havoc wire working wrecks upon one’s hands?!?) , sweat, and yes, tears (especially if creativity does not come easy) in a nice shiny and one of a kind package.

And people have the gall to scoff at $25 for a price.

Custom piece
Custom piece

See, while you are looking at that ring that  has been meticulously forged from silver or steel and a dream, what you don’t see is the countless sketches that are trying to capture a beauty that was expressed in a dream. You don’t see the long nights spent trying to steal a quiet moment to create because the babies still need time and love, the dog still needs a bath and a walk, and the bill-paying job’s boss still needs that report and those 8 hours at a desk doing soulless tasks.

You don’t see the 5 or 6 other conflagrations of stone, bead , wire and whatever else that were failed attempts at manifesting this vision. You don’t see the cramped hands and cut fingertips from filing, and weaving and cutting; no what you get to see is this uniquely weaved dream that catches the light like you’ve never seen!

But, hey! Our personal issues aren’t your problem! Nay, why should you pay for the nuances of our personal lives?

Well, you , my dear potential customer, aren’t being asked to pay for these issues. That would be unfair.

However, what you must realize is time is a commodity you really can’t value, and yet can never really recoup. And since we’re Capitalists, the next highest commodity is money. So what you are paying for is the hours ( yes, hours) spent roaming our supply stores for inspiration or that unique cut of quartz you haven’t seen before.

You are paying for the high quality steel, silver, gold, brass, copper, pewter, or silver that is American made.  It is verified not to turn that pretty finger of yours green and blistered. You are paying for that hour spent winding, grinding, and wrapping to make sure everything is the perfect size and shape for your needs and vanity. You are paying for that special box and bag, and you are helping to pay for the opportunity to walk by this table and be able to even see these works of magick up close and personal; because most shows don’t have free tables.

So, out of the maybe $150 dollars it took to deliver, you get to take a piece of me home for $25; simply because I refuse (read: don’t know how) to charge for love.

So yes, you could “have your friend make it cheaper” , but will it be this exact piece? Will it have the passion and energy? Will the care be taken in the selection of materials and methods?

Are you sure?

See, you could put a group of us jewelry makers in a room.Then give us all one project to duplicate with the same tools and supplies.  You will still end up with a different piece from each of us. No two artist are exactly the same.

And while one may be faster, a testament to experience,  that would only affect the labor cost associated. (We artists, as a community, NOTORIOUSLY undercharge for this.)  It still doesn’t take into account the cost of those skills.

 

Want something truly unique for less? Order the supplies (buyer beware on that outrageous deal on metals you say on Ebay) and queue up YouTube. Make sure you get some extras for inevitable trial and error. Then devote about an hour or two…Wait, you don’t have time to devote to all of that?!? Well, you have the same hours in a day as us!

 

However, you have other More Valuable things to do, I bet. That is plausible, for value is in the eye of the beholder. But just like you wouldn’t be able to recoup the time spent learning to make your own piece of jewelry, We’re not able to recoup the time we took to create either.

That $25 suddenly seems like a bargain, huh?

So, next time you run across a handmade item you love, appreciate what it took to create it and present it to you. Respect and appreciation is the one thing that makes nights like this worth it to us sometimes.

 

10365438_864739156921132_1818379449913310550_oOnyoja(Onya) a.k.a Phoenix Nightshade is a Mother, amateur blogger, Science enthusiast, and IT minion who turned a love for jewelry and accessories into an entrepreneurial journey. When she’s not sleeping, working or mothering, She enjoys West African and Afro-Cuban Folkloric dance,African Traditional Spirituality,  Water Aerobics, Personal assistant/Concierge work, Desktop Publishing, and creating and seeking out little pieces of magick for The Butterfly & The Phoenix and Aisiki Collective .

Blog: https://thebuildingofagoddess.wordpress.com/

Website: http://thebutterflyandthephoenix.com (She built it!)

Facebook: Onya Jennings

Riding the winds with Diane Lonsway of Michigan Pagan Fest

Diane Lonsway is the firebrand behind the Michigan Pagan Fest that has become an international phenomenon.  Beautiful in mind and soul, forthright, and down to earth, she embodies the drive and vision that can be found among the best of us.  She is also, as typical of many people who do the work involved to make things really happen, a name you may not know.  She took a moment to allow a brief interview on who she is and what she does for this powerful event.

Diane Lonsway with Permission
Diane Lonsway
with Permission

Take a moment and pull up a chair while we get to know heart of Michigan Pagan Fest.

How would you describe yourself if you were talking about you?

Laid back, humble, smart, can be funny, people-pleaser.

What would you say describes you specifically as an event organizer?

I’m organized, experienced, and friendly, hate drama, listens to my attendees and staff.

How does this affect the way you see the world?

It’s my world and I only see it that way lol.

 How did you get started, where did you begin your journey?

Started at the Florida Pagan Gathering in 1998 helping with sound than moved onto video, photography and the website. I still do the photography and website and eat with the headliners.

Who would you say was the most influential on your style.of management and organization?

Roger Coleman who founded FPG and the current board president of FPG, Ann Marie.

What makes Florida and Michigan different? In what ways are they sort of alike?

MPF is smaller and location is easier to handle. We run on a dozen or so minions and volunteers. FPG requires so much more staff. FPG is a non-profit, MPF is not. We host many of the same headliners and musicians.

How are the communities in respect to their attendance and preference of programming?

Michigan Pagan Fest public symbol

I have seen FPG close to 700 people and as low as 350 with other festivals popping up in Florida. Programming is similar.

What do you look for when you are headhunting headliners?

My personal friendships and knowledge of many them helps. We ask who people would like to see and go after them.

When you decided to take on the Land of the Fresh Water Seas, what was your biggest challenge?

It was an accident! We didn’t actually decide to do a festival at first. I am friends with Spiral Dance from Australia and one of their tour stops in the U.S. canceled on them. They got a hold of me to see if there was someplace that would host them in Michigan. I had the perfect partner to help start this. She knew all the local people to assist and I knew all the headliners and had the experience of working FPG for many years.

In talking we decided to call some of the headliners whose numbers I had in my phone. Called Edain McCoy and she said absolutely, emailed Raven and Stephanie Grimassi and they were in. Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone also had a cancelation on their U.S. tour and when they heard we were having one they called me. So our first festival (although expensive and in the hole) was filled with amazing headliners and musicians.The first two years it was owned by a non-profit. I have personally owned it for the last five. The biggest challenge has been staying in the black. When you see and hear the attendee’s excitement, enjoyment and finally blissful exhaustion after it’s over you put all the aches and pains of doing this aside and realize why you do it.

What has been your greatest victory?

Breaking even to live another year.

 Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone – image by Sianna74
You call your volunteers Vikings? Why?This is new this year for our site/vikings people. Regular staff is called minions. Then we have our guardians. Vikings are setup and tear-down and emergency weather assistance for tents and canopies and have to stay the entire weekend. We just tossed out names when coming up with this department and it stuck. Volunteers are on-site only, they do not attend meetings.And what would you say is the biggest motivation behind your volunteer morale?People like being part of something bigger than themselves. For some it is the only way they can attend due to finances. We like to be drama free and treat our volunteers with respect.

Is this a labor of love?

You have no idea.

RD has been a big personality. Can you describe this larger than life entertainment dynamo?

He helped start the Atlanta underground drag shows. He has 2 doctorates. Enjoys the entertainment world and sings like you wouldn’t believe!

What can we expect this year at the festival?

We have 75 workshops, 24 vendors, Opening, Main, & Closing Rits, Peruvian Fire Ceremony, Bardic Circle, Variety Show, Midsummer Masquerade with Tommy Toons and of course camping and hotels.

It expanded too, right?

Yes, currently we are a four day festival.

What should folks pack who are camping out?

Depends. We have the option of the slumber party which is bring everything but the tent and claim your spot in the huge building.  If tenting it. Extra stakes (from experience) for your tents. If you have forgotten anything, Walmart and Meijer’s are right around the corner.

Any special tips for festival etiquette?

Always ask before taking someone’s picture. Do not throw anything into the sacred fire for the entire festival. No means no. Enjoy yourself! 

Now, if you had a theme song for this year. …what would it be

“Wind of Change” – Scorpions. Most words apply

This year, Diane has once again brought renowned people to the festival that just keeps getting better.  This year lasts from Jun 23 – 26, 2016.  Headliners include Judika Illes, MR Sellars, Orion Foxwood, and Lady Bona Dea.  Music, workshops, fire, drums, and magick.  Sounds like a heady mix to put the wind in anyone’s sails.  Thank you, Diane, for being who you are and doing what you do.