The Nature Of: Marisa Wilhelmi Designs

Returning for her fourth Heartmade market is one of our biggest cheerleaders, Marisa Wilhelmi! We love her spirit, her heart, and especially her ART! (Editor’s note: apologies for the accidental poetry. 😂) We were dying to know what goes on inside her head, so we thought, what better way than have her answer our questionnaire? She did not disappoint! Come see Marisa and experience her explosion of beautiful personality that comes out in every piece she creates — she’ll be at Heartmade on May 4th from 10-5PM!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

My idea of happiness can be divided in 3 categories: Eating great food, not having to yell at my kids, sewing like a maniac in my magical room. 

Which living person do you most admire?

Mmmmmmmm... My husband: He is patient, a great dad, humble, hard worker, puts up with my craziness and he is pretty much the calm that I need when I want kick people in the eye. (thanks Morrissey, that’s a great idea

What is your greatest extravagance?

As right now, I would say Rothy’s shoes and buying fabric online (like... one fat quarter away from being featured at a Hoarder show

What is your current state of mind?

I have been working like a maniac, sewing, sewing sewing, and I lost my voice. So, I would say HIGH on the adrenaline for the market (but in silence).

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

I guess every virtue has its place, and no, I am not trying to stay on the fence, but... I can’t choose 

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Oh boy... my flabdominals. FOR SURE!

What is the quality you most like in a man?

A nice gentleman goes a long way! 

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Sincerity! Authenticity! Being real! 

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Ma Che Cazzo!!!! (cursing in Italian)
Ah caralho! (cursing in Portuguese)
Guys, STOP!!!!!! (at my kids) 

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband, this man puts up with all my Latin boiling blood, my inner Tasmanian devil and our gremlins!

When and where were you happiest?

Mmmmmmm...

Spending time at my grandma’s house as a child, she used to let me eat all the shit my parents denied me.

Then, when I was about 20 something, back in Brazil, when my grandpa was alive, we used to meet to eat pastries and drink espresso together. 

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to know how to sketch. I pretty much mess up my stick figures. 

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Maybe to be a little more patience, perhaps. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Growing up, I used to hate English at school, because I was SO MUCH BETTER in French. So, fast forward the years, when I met my husband I had to learn and I pretty much taught myself. Another thing that I feel proud of, leaving everything I knew behind to follow my heart. 

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?

(Laughs) that’s a fun one. A little “slap, trap resistant” fly. So I would lurk around. 

Where would you most like to live?

France was pretty amazing to visit! I think would be a cool place to live. 

What is your most treasured possession?

Oh. All my Anna Maria Horner fabrics!!!! And a little box with my grandpa’s sewing supplies that I receives when he passed away. He was a tailor. 

What is your most marked characteristic?

I curse a lot! Like A LOT! And I am known for not faking shit, what you see is what you get. Life is too short to pretend, to lie, and sometimes people get scared (intimidate) by it. 

What do you most value in your friends?

Making themselves available for the relationship! 

Who are your favorite artists?

My favorite fabric designer is .... (drums) ANNA MARIA HORNER!!!! (every time I say her name, a start is born in the sky)

I love John Mayer.

I cried when I saw “The Scream” from Edward Munch.

Ah!!!! Maia Leppo, a delightful metal smith that makes kick ass jewelry!

Also, Jon-Michael Frank, he is a male version of me if I could draw. 

Which local artists or makers most inspire you?

I have a very dear friend/muse named Lisa Sacaris! She is beyond talented and her dyed scarves and pieces make you want to fill your bath tub and just immerse in it. 

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Mmmmmmmmmm... there’s a Brazilian writer named Castro Alves and I think we may have met each other in another universe. 

Who are your heroes in real life?

My parents!!! Both came from poverty and were able to give my sister and I a very good education, fighting every step of the way. I remember seeing my dad who is a car mechanic carrying his heavy tools to go to work by foot (when we didn’t have a car) and my mom crocheting and knitting during the night to sell her pieces to gather money to pay for my school. 

What are your favorite names?

Ahhh Marie Claire and Benjamin! 

What is your motto?

You may know my name, but you don’t know my story. 

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Check out the series to see how they all answered.

My Favorite Piece with Earth and Ember

Danelle Cass’ ceramics caught our eyes immediately because of her gorgeous colors, and we loved that she sells items to decorate your body AND your home! We’re very happy to welcome an artist who has shown all around the world and we know you’re going to love Earth and Ember as much as we do — below she shares her Favorite Piece with us and we hope we get to see it in person on May 4th!

My favorite piece is called “Jewels of the Sea”


I have this three dimensional mermaid in a few colors. The central mermaid is crafted from custom colored liquid porcelain slip and cast in a mold. I then hand carve the detail into every one individually, so each piece is unique. The mermaid is fired in a kiln and the mineral colorants in the porcelain slip gives it a beautiful satin matte finish. I then wire wrap various pearls, gemstones and Karen Hill Tribe fine silver beads along the chain with sterling silver wire. It is finished with a handmade clasp.


I wanted to create a statement piece that included a three dimensional form in porcelain. The curve of the mermaid’s body had the perfect shape for a necklace. To give the necklace the spirit of a mermaid’s treasure chest, I decided to add some lovely, naturally colored pearl beads in pinks, peaches and purples to complement the sea green of the mermaid. I added sea jade, Peruvian blue opal, chrysoprase, and Karen Hill tribe fine silver seashell beads to bring in the blue and green hues of the ocean.


It is my favorite because I feel it truly shows how versatile clay/porcelain can be. I love the ocean, fairytales and mythology as well as the amazing things the earth and its creatures craft, such as gemstones and pearls. I feel this piece blends the fantasy and whimsy of fairytales with the beauty of earth’s treasures.

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Heartwork Essentials: Markets

Top 5 tips for being successful at markets … that have nothing to do with your setup.

1. Create relationships

With event organizers

Having a good relationship with the event organizer(s) means you have a better chance of coming back for the next one, especially if it is a juried event. It can also result in extra promotion, a good booth location, and other opportunities. If it is an option, becoming a sponsor can double down on those perks. It doesn’t always make financial sense, but can pay off if you find you love the event and you can afford to. Also, finding ways to be cheerful and helpful, even when it isn’t popular, can go a long way in a relationship. Put yourself in their shoes and make a friendship. The event organizers almost always have a lot of experience and can teach you a thing or two, if you are willing to listen.

With fellow vendors

It is 100% worth it to make friends with your fellow vendors. Maybe you have a ladder and they need to tie something up high… or maybe you need to go to the bathroom while it’s really slow and need someone to watch your booth… whatever the reason, making friendships will ensure you have more fun, and help you be successful, both in the long term and short term. Promote each other. Praise each other. Learn from each other.

With attendees

When people attend and walk through your booth, be friendly, helpful, answer questions, and tell them a bit about yourself. If they have a good experience, they will be more likely to purchase from you on the spot or in the future. Even if they don’t, you might make a new friend, become a mentor, become a student… who knows! 

Imagine finding out toward the end of the conversation that a customer follows you on social media or already owns some of your work. You might even have clients who were friends with someone you know or who has bought your work before. Now imagine that they didn’t see your best side or came specifically to meet you and found someone else working your booth.

You don’t have to approach every person, and in fact, I don’t think you should. Give people space to think and peruse, or talk to their friend. Sometimes their friend will do a better job of convincing them they need the item, then anything you could say.

Customer relations are the cornerstone of your business and should be a priority. Keep an eye out for the related post next week on talking about your art.

2. Choose the right event

This is maybe the most important thing you do if you want to be successful at whatever event you choose. Research different events, their booth fees, the vibe they promote, the advertising and promoting they do, the venue location (start with local shows to keep travel expenses down), the parking availability, the attractions or ‘extras’ for the event… all of these play a big role. If the event organizer can’t get a lot of people there, including the RIGHT people (meaning, people who will spend money), it doesn’t matter how awesome your product is, you’ll have a disappointing experience.

Once you chosen the right events for your calendar, be careful about how many you do. More markets = more money = better, right? Not necessarily. Think about your product and your audience. If you sell something that is consumable, you’ll probably be okay. Customers will want to find you to replenish. If you sell original art or luxury items, you might consider giving people a little time to build up excitement about your new work and cultivate a following of collectors. If someone thinks that they can always buy your work, then they may not value it as much.

3. Promote yourself

Promoting yourself is all about creating buzz before the event. This is the magic of social media! You can often pre-sell pieces by promoting new work before the event. You can also put work out there that ’will only be available for purchase at the market’, which makes people want to come to your booth first before things sell out. If you have a blog, it would be a good idea to write posts about certain buzz-worthy pieces or new processes that you are trying out in your studio. Take snapshots of different things you will be selling and get people talking (and sharing). And keep it up during the event!

4. Be professional

Be professional in manner and dress. You don’t have to dress fancy for every event, but be well-groomed and look like you take your job seriously. This is your business, your brand, you must represent it well. Even if you don’t feel like being the type that greets others first, or smiles and engages in conversation easily, FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT! Don’t talk about others negatively, especially in front of your customers. Remember that how you look and act definitely matters in your success.

5. Keep evolving

Make sure that you keep growing as an artist. Try new things, explore new mediums, keep being creative. It’s important to stay relevant in the art community and your customers will love taking that journey with you. Also, it gives them a reason to keep coming back to your for more art!

Lastly, have fun! Hand out business cards like crazy, take future orders if possible, and make connections. A successful market isn’t just about the sales made during the event, but also about the relationships and sales made in the following months that resulted from something that happened at that event.

The Nature Of: K. Jones Jewelry Designs

We consider ourselves incredibly lucky that jewelry designer Kendra Jones continues to be a member of the Heartmade family. Her work is ever-evolving, always stunning, and she has something for EVERYONE. We know that whenever we see a K. Jones booth we’re going to see pieces we’ve never seen before and it’s very exciting! It shows us a mind that is always at work, constantly striving to reach the next level. Artists like Kendra are one of the reasons Heartmade is a success. So let’s see what makes her the fantastic jeweler that she is and be sure to visit her on McKinney on May 4th!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Love, peace, giving back and good health. 

Which living person do you most admire?

My mom is the person I most admire. I come from a single parent home but my mom made sure it never felt like that. She is literally the strongest person I know. I am who I am today because of who she is and how she express her love, faith and kindness to the world.

What is your current state of mind?

Be uncomfortable! This allows me to push myself and more courageous instead of settling for what is easy. 

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

"Be the bigger person." I believe you should always stand firm in your beliefs or what you know to be the truth.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I am pigeon-toed, enough said. 

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be a singer. A singer that gives everyone goosebumps. 

What is your most treasured possession?

I have this 10k gold heart necklace that my aunt gave me when I was 13. I rarely take it off because it reminds me of home. 

What is your most marked characteristic?

My smile. I believe if you give a smile you can brighten someone's day. 

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty, respect and love. 

Who are your favorite artists?

Arthur Smith, Jewelry Designer 

Which local artists or makers most inspire you?

Melissa Manning 

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Arthur Smith, Jewelry Designer 

Who are your heroes in real life?

Maya Angelou, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson, and Madam CJ Walker 

What are your favorite names?

Jurnee, Sage and Luna 

What is your motto?

Smiling is Free Therapy 

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Check out the series to see how they all answered.

My Favorite Piece with Hauntwell

We were so excited to meet Jenny Gacy of Hauntwell at our Heartmade Harvest market last year, and we are SO happy that she’s coming back this spring! Her sigils are both relatable AND powerful and she will help you find just the right one for whatever you need. Today she shares HER favorite piece. Check it out in person on May 4th!

It's hard to choose, but PROTECTION FROM HIDDEN ENEMIES is probably my favorite sigil that I've created. It was one of the first ones I made, and is still my favorite daily go-to design to wear. It has a sword-through-the-evil-eye motif, and I feel like coupled with the diamond shape it really gives off a strong, powerful look that makes the wearer feel confident and bold! Perfect for warding off bad days and negative vibes.

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Heartwork Essentials: The Legal Stuff

Today Heartmade Essentials is tackling the legal stuff. Why, you ask? Because we all want to be responsible business owners. And some markets and wholesalers require you to have all your ducks in a row. And, technically, so does the state of Texas.

Step One: The DBA

A “doing business as” (DBA) name allows you or your company to do business under a different name. There are a bunch of reasons for filing for your DBA:

  • You want to use a business name and not your personal name. As a sole proprietor, your name and your business name are legally the same. For example, if you are John Smith and you have a consulting business, the name of your business is John Smith. The same is true for general partnerships. The business name is the same as the partners’ names. Filing a DBA allows you to transact business under the DBA name instead of your personal name.

  • Your bank often requires a DBA to open a business bank account so that you can write and deposit checks or get a credit card under the business name.

  • Some clients may require you to have a DBA in order to contract with you. If you’re a freelance graphic designer, for example, you bid to do work for a local corporation. 

  • Your company is entering a new business area not reflected by your current name. You may expand to a new medium or product line and having a more descriptive name could be beneficial.

  • You may have another business or website that you’d like to operate in addition to your existing one. Imagine that your company makes and sells women's skincare. You also produce a line for men. Knowing that these two lines need completely different branding and marketing, you might file a DBA and create a separate website specifically targeting this audience.

The state of Texas requires all businesses to file a DBA. This applies to sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs and corporations. The specific process for obtaining a DBA varies from county to county, however. If you want to file a DBA for a business operating in Houston, you will need to register your DBA in Harris County.

Visit the Harris County Clerk's Office website and access the Assumed Names Search page. Using the "Search" fields, enter the assumed name that you hope to establish (such as "Jane's Consulting Services," for example) and click "Search." You can then find out instantly if your desired business name is available. If the name is already in use, think of a different business name that you can register.

Download and fill out the appropriate DBA form. If your business is a corporation, you must fill out form 205. If you have an unincorporated business with one to three owners, use form 207. For four to 13 owners, use form 207A. If your business has 14 owners or more, use form 207B. You can find all of these forms on the Assumed Names page at the Harris County Clerk's Office website. 

Step Two: Sales and Use Tax Permit

Most states require seller's permits, which provide authorization to collect sales taxes on purchases within that jurisdiction. In Texas, this type of license is called a "sales and use tax permit" and any individual or enterprise selling or leasing tangible personal property or services within the state must have one.

The Texas' Comptroller explains who must obtain a Texas seller's permit. First, to determine whether you are “engaged in business," the state looks at whether your business:

  • Maintains a physical place of business, such as a warehouse, distribution center, sales room, etc., within the state

  • Uses a sales representative or agent who operates within the state or independent salespeople involved in direct sales of taxable items

  • Receives rental or lease income from a property located within the state

  • Promotes any event involving sales of taxable items

  • Otherwise conducts business in the state through others

While the above list is not comprehensive, it covers the most common factors considered. Notably, Texas also requires a seller's permit for those who provide taxable services, such as data processing and insurance, or even digital goods. Regarding online sales, Texas residents who “sell more than two taxable items in a 12-month period and ship or deliver those items to customers in Texas" must have Texas seller's permits. More information can be found on the comptroller’s website.

You can apply for a Texas seller's permit online through the Texas Online Tax Registration Application or by filling out the Texas Application for Sales and Use Tax Permit (Form AP-201) and mailing it to the Comptroller's office at the address listed on the form.

On the application, you must provide information about you or your business, such as name and address, as well as a tax identification number—either your Social Security number (SSN) or employer identification number (EIN). If a business doesn't yet have an EIN, the Comptroller will issue a temporary one until you receive it and issue a new permit thereafter.

Texas doesn't charge a fee to acquire a seller's permit, but you may be required to put up a security bond, the amount of which the Comptroller determines upon evaluating your application.

Once you receive your Texas seller's permit, the state expects you to display it and collect sales taxes on taxable sales. You must keep track of taxes collected and pay the appropriate amount of sales and use taxes to the state quarterly or yearly.

Those are the basics kids. You can do it yourself, but you may find that a little help is in order if your situation is more complicated. An attorney or online legal services company can help you make sure your business is in full compliance with tax laws and regulations. You can also ask your fellow makers. All of our Heartmade artists are happy to point you in the right direction if you need some advice.

The Nature Of: Pigsey Art

Houston, meet the amazing, hilarious, and talented Brandy Davis of Pigsey Art! (Editor’s note: We call Tracy “Houston Brandy” and Brandy “Austin Tracy” because they are basically the Wonder Twins. 😁) Brandy is an incredible Austin maker who has turned her love of books and science into a thriving business, with laser cut journals, magnets, pins, and more! She’s a market sister, having run her own share of shows, and we are thrilled to have her back in Downtown Houston on May 4th!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Reading a really good book while cuddled up in a warm bed with loved ones with an endless list of Broadway music playing in the background. And Chris Hemsworth is in there giving me a foot rub and complimenting me on my impeccable taste in art. 

Which living person do you most admire?

I think Lin-Manuel Miranda just seems like the most creative person alive right now while still being a serious cool human being.

What is your greatest extravagance?

There was buying a laser-cutter but that was a one-time thing. But otherwise, a really good bottle of aged, single malt scotch.

What is your current state of mind?

It's almost Spring y'all and that means new designs, new shows and laser fumes. I'm giddy. I'm nervous. I'm gently taking wood scraps away from a crazy puppy. Coming off the holidays, I always have so many ideas on where to go with Pigsey Art this year and it's a matter of figuring out what is realistic and what is a bit nutty. Honestly, sometimes the nutty ideas win.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Assertiveness.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Used to be my hair so I started dyeing it crazy colors. Now, I feel pretty okay about it all.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Compassion. And Thor hair.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Compassion. The world needs more kindness and understanding.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Literally, literally

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Cheesy answer for a cheesy question: my children. It's stupid but you look at these crying mini people that FINALLY left you and yeah, you're smitten.

When and where were you happiest?

Anytime out with my kids and husband. Just being with them is the best. 

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I was a better at traditional painting. 

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I would love to need less sleep, I've become a slave to sleeping as I've gotten older.  

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?

A flying squirrel! So fluffy, so many nuts!

Where would you most like to live?

Somewhere close to a forest. 

What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty and honesty.

Who are your favorite artists?

Audrey Kawasaki, Banksy, Dali

 

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Check out the series to see how they all answered.

My Favorite Piece with H. Lively Textiles

Today’s My Favorite Piece is from new Heartmade maker Haley Ognoskie of H. Lively Textiles! Haley is a self-taught designer and artist and her work is perfect for any chic Houston home. Her patterns are both bold and soothing, and the fabric she uses is printed right here in America — a soft and inviting linen-cotton blend. Come snuggle up to her booth on May 4th and take home some new accessories to make your home even more comfortable and inviting!

My Favorite Piece: The Leslie 

Why? The Leslie was a revamp of a design I created years ago when I first started creating my own textiles so it has a lot of history behind it! It has become one of my best sellers because it is a perfect paring of cool and warm colors, and as a result, works with so many design schemes. Since this design has been with me from the beginning, I decided to name it after my best friend, Leslie. Our friendship started almost a quarter of a century ago! We have shared so many memories over the years so it seemed fitting!

How it is made? Inspiration begins my process. From there I create the design concept via sketching, painting and palette selection. I use various art media to add the texture and color I'm looking for, and after numerous renditions, designs are perfected and digital files are created. My textile patterns are then printed in America on a high-quality linen-cotton blend fabric. Once printed, I use the fabric to create soft goods for the home. My process starts by hand and ends by hand. It is truly an honor and a blessing to get to use my hands to create for others, especially to create for one's sacred space, their home.

The Leslie pattern is great for home decor pillows or framed textile art as a stand alone piece or as part of a gallery wall! It is even available as fabric by the yard for your own custom upholstery projects!

The Nature Of: Debbie Carroll Fine Art

We first saw Debbie Carroll’s incredible paintings at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar in Austin. Ohhhh the colors and the sheer beauty of the Southwest that shine out of her work make her a perfect addition to our market. Anyone who sees one of Debbie’s pieces will feel immediately transported to whatever scene is depicted — that’s the gift in her work! We are thrilled that she will be bringing all sorts of pieces to our show from originals to cards to bags…you’ll definitely find a “must-have” at her booth!!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being at peace with oneself, surrounded by those I love and still have time to create! 

Which living person do you most admire?

Tough question. In general? Women who help in their communities to make changes for the greater good. 

What is your greatest extravagance?

Shoes and art supplies.

What is your current state of mind?

In limbo. Remodeling our house to put on the market at the end of March, and no decision on where we are moving — gravitating towards small Texas towns like Brenham, or perhaps a mid-size city like San Angelo.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Another tough question. Maybe courage? We all have fears, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, even fear of success. Working through the fear teaches us it’s okay to fail (as long as we learn from it), and often times we learn that what we fear isn’t as catastrophic as we imagine.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My ears, they stick out.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Kindness.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Empathy.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

You know....

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My family, my husband Mike, and my sons Carson and Cooper. Also our beloved pet Cutter, recently deceased after a good long life. 

When and where were you happiest?

Happiest on road trips to New Mexico with my guys!

Which talent would you most like to have?

Would love to be able to sing (well).

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I would clone myself so I could be in two places at once!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My biggest achievement is raising two wonderful young men.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?

Another tough question. I often joke that I’d like to be reincarnated as someone’s beloved pet and be spoiled and take naps in the sun all day. 

Where would you most like to live?

New Mexico or West Texas - love the high desert! The South of France or Italy wouldn’t be too bad either! 

What is your most treasured possession?

I treasure my old photographs of family and friends and the memories they provide. 

What is your most marked characteristic?

Crooked smile. 

What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty and mutual support 

Who are your favorite artists?

So many. Maynard Dixon, Howard Post, Barbara Clark, Alice Leese, Jim Jennings, Danika Ostrowski, Gustave Baumann, Angie Coleman, Georgia O’Keeffe, Thomas Hart Benton, Vincent Van Gogh, my list could go on for a while!! 

Which local artists or makers most inspire you?

Denise Elliott Jones, Danika Ostrowski, Whitney Avra, Catherine Massaro, Janet Haynes, Jo Petersen, Gwen Plunkett, Rebecca Bennett, Greg Barton, again too many to mention! 

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I identify with those who struggle to make their art and persist in the face of rejection. 

Who are your heroes in real life?

My heroes are the people who are brave enough to put themselves and their work out there. The art business is not for the faint of heart. 

What are your favorite names?

Carson, Cooper, Claire, Caitlin - I have a thing for “c” names. 

What is your motto?

Better late than never. 

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Check out the series to see how they all answered.

My Favorite Piece with J Kendall Art

Joanne Kendall popped into our lives out of the blue with her incredible mobiles and we are SO EXCITED that she will be at Heartmade this spring! We’ve never had a creative like Joanne and as Tracy likes to say when she’s sizing up artists, “I don’t have one of you yet!” 😁 She shares her Favorite Piece below and it is definitely a favorite of ours as well! Don’t miss her on May 4th!

“Flight Path”   hanging mobile   29 in high by 26 in wide   recycled metal tin, steel wire

As an artist, I like to challenge myself to make pieces that force me to grow and look at my work in a new light. Sometimes I do that by using a new material, and sometimes I try a completely new form. This piece it the result of that process, and it is one of my favorites. I don’t usually create pieces that have a linear form; my typical mobile is more of a ball or box shape.

Each of the butterfly wings is hand-sawn, painted on the reverse, and completed with a hand-made wire body. The method I use to attach the butterflies to each arm allows them to swing independently from the arm. Each arm is balanced by hand to create a mobile that moves easily with air currents or a gentle push.

I use a wide range of materials, often recycled/repurposed from items that would have otherwise been discarded.  This piece is made from metal tins. I am really excited to join the Heartmade Market family of artists and bring my mobiles out to play!

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Heartwork Essentials: Instagram

Instagram is probably the single biggest thing to happen to the creative community in the last decade (at least). It has become the number one way to share your creations, hopes, dreams, and coffee shop meetings with your adoring public. It has also become that thing that consumes ridiculous amounts of time and causes tons of anxiety for small business owners. Today’s Heartwork Essentials is taking a dip in the shallow end with quick answers to a few of the questions we get asked most frequently about using Instagram.

Instagram

Just do it. Post what you want, when you want. If you are putting off using Instagram because you are afraid your content doesn’t look like everyone else’s, stop worrying about. People would rather see anything from you on a regular basis rather than one post every few months because that’s all you can manage while you’re trying to meet some visual standard that you have in your head.

Be genuine. People want to see your personality come through in your posts. Be quirky. Be real. Show your face if you’re comfortable with that or don’t if you’re not. But whatever you share, make sure it’s you and isn’t fake. People can tell and it doesn’t resonate with them the same way.

Business or personal account? This choice is more about your preference. There are some solid reasons for keeping your business account separate. The main one is that you can keep the personal stuff personal. Pics of your kids, dogs, drunken Friday night shenanigans, etc. may be best left off the business feed. Being genuine doesn’t have to mean letting the public have access to every part of your life. This is more important if you are not your brand, like a brick and mortar store or service-based business. As an artist, it may be fitting to have some of that bleed through so people can see how your life influences and informs your work. Having said that, keeping up with two accounts is hard and may not be feasible.

The algorithm. Dear lord. The algorithm. It’s become the bane of social media existence. But here’s the thing, it’s not actually as bad as everyone makes it out to be. And the 7% thing … hoax. Yes, of course, we all preferred the chronological feed. Let’s look at it from Instagram’s perspective. They had a HUGE user count but really low interaction rates … that’s right all you Instagram stalkers, we’re looking at you. They were afraid people weren’t seeing relevant content and would leave the app causing the whole thing to fail. Enter the algorithm. The most important concept to understand is that the user is now ultimately in control of their own experience. The posts they comment on, heart, and share will sort higher while other types of posts move down in their feed. All of this activity teaches the algorithm what content they value. As a contributor, you need to realize that those engagement numbers you’re watching nonstop are not something that you have total control over. Not all of your posts will be relevant to all of your audience. So breathe, and then let some of the algorithm angst go. Here are a couple things to remember:

  • Your followers are just as busy as you are. They don’t have time to endlessly scroll through Instagram to find your content either. They’ll miss some of your posts. It doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped liking you or your work.

  • Use hashtags!! Change them up for each post. Use them to find new audiences. Do a little research and see how the accounts you follow use them and which ones.

  • People are sick of ad content. And that doesn’t just mean the sponsored kind. Take a survey of your posts and make sure that they aren’t reading as ads to your followers. A lot of what small businesses post boil down to available products in their web store or at a market. Make sure you are being a little more creative with sharing your work and it isn’t always ending in a push to your store.

  • Those quotes that are everywhere … guess what, they actually get sorted lower because of the high ratio of text to image. They remind people of ads. Be selective when using them.

  • Improve your photography, writing, and planning skills. There are a ton of blogs, courses, and other types of info online for this. Do some research and identify those areas where you can make some improvements over time. There are apps to help with photos and planning posts.

  • Engage with others! Be part of the community. Those likes and comments that you want on your posts? Everyone else does too. Be thoughtful and generous with your hearts and comments and let people know that you’re there to support them. They’ll reciprocate. Everyone makes new friends! Note than Instagram rates comments longer than 3 words more highly when considering how engaging a post is, so all those emoticons don’t necessarily count. Use your words people!

Fake followers. Please don’t participate in Instagram pods, buying followers, the follow/unfollow game, etc. Anything that sounds too good to be true, probably is. While you will have an initial boost of activity, these practices do not result in permanent growth for your account. Nor will these people be truly engaged with your content which is key to staying relevant on the platform and making sure your posts are being sorted higher in people’s feeds.

Pay attention to your overall grid. Anyone who already follows you may not see it on a regular basis, but this is usually the first place potential followers go to get an idea of your content. Despite what some social media experts would lead you to believe, that doesn’t mean you need to spend all your time curating every post to build the most perfect grid. You should, however, keep the audience for that view in mind and check in every now and then to make sure you have a good mix of content, nothing sticks out as “off-brand,” and that the overall picture accurately reflects you and your work.

See you guys out there in the trenches. Look for us in the comment section and say hi!!

[Editor’s note: I 100% realize that all of this is easier said than done. And while I am full of tried and true advice for other people about the ins and outs of social media, I am still trying to reliably do even half of these things on my own feed. I guess it is true what they say … the last thing you have time to do when you work for yourself, is work FOR YOURSELF! There is also so much more information out there, so what we’ve covered here might not be the answer for you. Do your research and make the best decision for your situation. – Sonja]

The Nature Of: Mr. Romper

When we first saw Melissa McCullough’s repurposed baby rompers we all but yelled “YEE HAW!” What Texas baby can live without a few of the vintage styling of Mr. Romper? (Or any other state, we all know they want to be Texas.) Editor’s note: Editor is completely biased towards Texas and freely admits it. 😉We are thrilled that Melissa will be making the trip from San Antonio to join our posse and we know she’ll get the big Houston welcome that we specialize in! Now let’s read about what’s behind the rompers…

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A baby’s belly laugh.

Which living person do you most admire?

My daughter’s birth Mom. She has given me one of my two greatest gifts.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Anything I thrift that isn’t tagged with the color of the week! 👊

What is your current state of mind?

Hustle! 2018 was create.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Kindness

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Kindness 

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

For sure......it’s vintage.....vintage.... 

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband. My husband always supports my creative ideas. And if he doesn’t I would never know because he lets me own them and see them through. That’s true love. 

When and where were you happiest?

One day at a time. And everyday has a moment of happiness. If not then there is always tomorrow. Hopefully. 

Which talent would you most like to have?

Drawing.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Not be so hard on myself.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My two kids. 

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?

Mrs. Roper (Editor’s note: I feel like we’re going to really get along… T)

Where would you most like to live?

I love Texas! Colorado next!

What is your most treasured possession?

I am a collector of vintage thrifts. Today my most treasured possession is an Indian painting from Goodwill.

What do you most value in your friends?

Creativity. 

Who are your favorite artists?

Charley Harper. Charles and Ray Eames. George Nelson. Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson.... Architects and Country Legends... 

Which local artists or makers most inspire you?

David Grizzle and Eryn Brooke. Austin, Texas Artists and Photographer. They have both helped shape Mr. Romper but they both have all of the qualities I value in a friendship.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Iris Apfel (Editor’s note: Yeah, we’re DEFINITELY going to be friends. ❤️T)

Who are your heroes in real life?

My Mom. She was kind, caring, strong and beautiful.

What is your motto?

You be You 2019 

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Check out the series to see how they all answered.

My Favorite Piece with Socorro Society

We love Lauren Gonzales of Socorro Society’s endless creativity. Each time she’s participated in Heartmade she has brought a blast of color and vintage with her own twist added. Her new Favorite Piece is ours as well! Snap them up on May 4th before Tracy jumps in! 😆

My favorite pieces I’m doing right now are my newest pieces, said every artist ever, ha! No, but really, I’ve really been pushing myself to create new and interesting embroidered patches, and am pulling most of my inspiration from my trips out to west Texas. Nature has so much beauty to offer, I love looking towards what’s already there when I’m feeling a creative block. 

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Heartwork Essentials : Email

One of the things we are most proud of about Heartmade is our commitment to artist development. We’ve advised makers on everything from booth design to pricing to branding. And now, we’re bringing some of those tidbits to the blog so everyone can benefit. Welcome to Heartwork Essentials where we’ll be going back to basics for running a small business. Whether it’s your side hustle or your main hustle, if you expect it to support you like a business, you have to treat it like a business.

Email

Getting an email that is specific to your business is one of the easiest steps you can take towards legitimacy. Whether it is a free gmail account (ex: makershop@gmail.com) or one that is branded with your website domain (ex: name@makershop.com), having that dedicated address to receive all your business correspondence is key. This separates your business communications from all the day-to-day emails and spam that permeate a personal email address. It is also way more professional and easier to remember than that email you’ve been using since college, a la gltter_grl72@hotmail.com. People often know your business name before they know you personally and, if they aren’t the same, you could be doing yourself a real disservice.

Gmail is of course the absolute easiest way to do this. You can secure a free account in a snap. There are other platforms that provide this as well. The most important this is to get one that is yourbusinessname@provider.com. If your business name is taken, go with something close that makes sense. Or go with your social media screen name. As long as it is consistent with something that you are promoting to the public.

There are many different opinions out there on whether a branded email tied to your domain is better than a free account. We won’t address that here, you can google it if you’re interested. Having said that, most web services providers include a free email when you pay for hosting and if you have that option, absolutely make use of it.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t use contact forms or social media direct messaging. They definitely have their place in a communications strategy, but they have their own challenges.

Instagram direct messages do not all show up in the same place. When you follow someone, you’ll see messages from them by tapping the handy paper airplane in the top right corner of your screen. When you don’t follow them, read new customers, you have to go looking for those messages in your inbox. That’s right folks. You could be missing out on tons of business if this is the only way that people can get hold of you. Instagram has a great help section that covers all of this.

Facebook messaging is more reliable but if you manage a separate page for your business you have to turn on the function to get notified and be able to respond in Messenger. If you are juggling more than one extra page, it’s easy to miss this or confuse your personal and business conversations.

Website contact forms are perhaps the most impersonal way to interact with your audience. Users have the feeling that their really important question is going out into a void and, unless you have your form set up correctly, sometimes it is. It is also not a one-click response to reply. You often have to make the effort to start a new email to the person and you lose the context of their original question or request.

Now that you have your email sorted out, you know what is even more important? READ AND RESPOND TO THOSE EMAILS. There is nothing more frustrating than emailing to inquire about a maker’s services and getting absolutely no response. Or getting one that clearly indicates that they didn’t read a word that you wrote. If a customer or business partner has taken the time to write you a detailed email, you should give them the professional courtesy of reading and responding accordingly.

Managing an email box means checking SPAM and Junk folders to make sure that nothing has ended up there in error. If you are going to set up filters to keep your inbox smaller, go check those folders.

You never know what opportunities you are missing out on if you are managing your correspondence poorly. We’ve all made these missteps and we know … believe me WE KNOW … that it’s hard and time consuming to run a small business. Communicating with your customers and peers is essential to your success.

The Nature Of: Chris Celusniak

When we came across Chris Celusniak’s work at Blue Genie it made us stop and stare in wonder. The detail that goes into every piece is beyond incredible, truly. We love that he’s a Houston boy as well! ATX Nation has a fantastic description of Chris’ work that we want to share:

Chris’ art shows a hidden depth of stories within stories that come together to create the whole picture. The eclectic works derive their form from patterns, improbable vintage, and a world of endless color. Viewers look into the canvas and find the intimate spaces within the larger whole, to read the narrative of its inhabitants, each with a story to tell. Chris works to create a window on a feeling that both he and the viewer may share.

Chris filled out our questionnaire and we also encourage you to read the bio on his Heartmade page. You’ll be excited to meet him on May 4th!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Spending time with my wife, son, and daughter

Which living person do you most admire?

The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost 

What is your greatest extravagance?

Wasting time!

What is your current state of mind?

Texas!! 

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

What's not to like about Aristotle's 12 virtues? Unless they are at the cost of a person's well-being. 

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

The Gary Cooper gene passed me by.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Ethicalness 

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Empathy 

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Don’t shoot the piano player.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My family

When and where were you happiest?

Right this second. Oops it's gone... 

Which talent would you most like to have?

Thankfully I have it, my artistic talent. 

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Be more gregarious 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being a father 

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?

Saxophone player at Le Moulin Rouge 

Where would you most like to live?

Beverly Hills 

What is your most treasured possession?

My Father's war internment camp diary 

What is your most marked characteristic?

My dry humor 

What do you most value in your friends?

Their gift of friendship 

Who are your favorite artists?

Edward Burne-Jones
Mort Kunstler
Maxfield Parrish 

Which local artists or makers most inspire you?

Haley Celusniak, my amazing daughter 

Who are your heroes in real life?

Alexei Ananenko
Valeri Bezpalov
Boris Baranov
 

What are your favorite names?

Ziggy 

What is your motto?

Always look deep to see the stories within the stories. 

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Check out the series to see how they all answered.

My Favorite Piece with Mauve Moon Designs

We’re so delighted to welcome Kristi Soto of Mauve Moon Studio to Heartmade this Spring, and she’s bringing a new collection that is perfect for the season! She sent us photos of her current Favorite Piece, shown below. We can’t wait to shop the whole booth!

This is the center piece to my new collection titled Showers & Flowers. The collection is still in-the-works but this piece is already my all-time favorite work. Referred to as a hollow form, this cloud is 3 dimensional and formed from numerous sheets of sterling silver to give it depth. It features a beautiful piece of rose cut aquamarine as well as my signature hand cut fern leaves.

The inspiration for this collection is two-fold: The first are the beautiful rainstorms that frequent springtime afternoons. And the second are the trials and storms we all face. Although difficult in the moment, in the end we bloom and grow into stronger individuals, just as the flowers bloom in the spring time. 

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The Nature Of LH Candle Studio

When we first met Minah Lee of LH Candle Studio we KNEW she had to be a part of Heartmade! Not only are her candles absolutely gorgeous, but they also smell amazing, which is not always the case with candles that are also art. More importantly she is a lovely and sweet person who makes every customer feel special and important. She likes to talk about her scents and she’s always ready to find the one that’s perfect for you and your home. We can’t wait to see her on May 4th and we know you’ll love meeting her as well!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Waiting and looking at the sunset on the beach, mountain or wherever with the people I love. 

Which living person do you most admire?

My parents

What is your greatest extravagance?

I think I spent most of the money on travel. 

What is your current state of mind?

Calm and relaxed. 

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Consistency 

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I wish I was taller. 

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Confidence 

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Confidence

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I don’t know 

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband who is my best friend, support and motivation! 

When and where were you happiest?

The day after I quit my previous job. I was really happy when I woke up in bed and realized that I don't need to work for a long time any more. 

Which talent would you most like to have?

Painting (I don't want to paint anymore with paint-by-numbers kits.) 

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

My indecision. Sometimes even choosing what I want to eat is a challenge. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I have become a business owner in a new country (I moved to Houston because of my husband's work). It was a big transition from an office worker to a business owner and from South Korea to the USA. (Editor’s note: Thank you to husband’s work for bringing us Minah!! ❤️)

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?

I want to be me again, give me another chance to live my life.

Where would you most like to live?

I love to live somewhere in the Mediterranean. 

What is your most treasured possession?

My wedding ring

What is your most marked characteristic?

Tenacity

What do you most value in your friends?

Trustworthiness

Who are your favorite artists?

Alex Katz, Henri Matisse, Diana Krall 

Who are your heroes in real life?

My parents

What are your favorite names?

Inaki, Shabu-shabu

What is your motto?

Vision without action is just a dream.

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Check out the series to see how they all answered.

My Favorite Piece with Linkster Love

Today’s My Favorite Piece comes from Heartmade favorite Robin Lively of Linkster Love! We love Robin’s adorable, hilarious, and incredibly creative pieces for both children and adults. She even gives the adults a little something naughty now and then which is how Tracy first fell in love with Linkster Love. It just so happens that Robin’s favorite piece is also Tracy’s! (Editor’s note: This is a fact. These towels hang in my kitchen. 😁) Visit Linkster Love on May 4th and grab some super cute towels for the kiddos and some fun gifts for you and your friends as well!

When I started embroidery journey I knew I wanted to do designs that resembled my style and linens you would see at your grandma’s. This is one of my most favorite to stitch out, i love the cross stitch look and I love “cussy” crafts.

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The Nature Of: Monique Weston Art Jewelry

Monique Weston has been an important fixture in the Houston art world for years now, and we’re so thrilled to have her joining the Heartmade family this year! She makes incredible jewelry using vintage items, parts of musical instruments, stamps, and more. Her talent is as big as her heart and we know you’ll want to stop by and see her on May 4th!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Everyone I love happy, healthy and pursuing their interests. And me too. 

Which living person do you most admire?

Larger society-wise: Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Personal: my husband.

What is your greatest extravagance?

ART SUPPLIES and BOOKS! On a good day, I can combine the two by making art while listening to an audiobook!

What is your current state of mind?

Content, busy. 

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Prudence 

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Signs of age!

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Constructive-ness - not sure how to put it - doing/making/living his best and if he doesn't know how, finding out how.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Constructive-ness again and kindness

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Haha! These are awesome questions. Probably "neat"!

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband

When and where were you happiest?

A day at home when everyone was healthy, connected to each other and happily busy about their favorite things. I had a brief and well-attended art show, saw friends I love, sold some art and got to see friends' artwork sell, met some new friends for drinks, then came home to beloved people, good food and happy dogs. It was fully-experienced gratitude, a perfect habitation of my life. 

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to write a really good book.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Insecurity 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Any day that's lived well. I know it sounds corny but these days it's true.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing what would it be?

An otter! Whiskers and a tail and swimming and mudslides and an innate knowledge of how to play!

Where would you most like to live?

Houston, if it could just be moved into some mountains. 

What is your most treasured possession?

My dogs (if they're possessions?)

What is your most marked characteristic?

Desire to connect

What do you most value in your friends?

Tolerance of my foibles

Who are your favorite artists?

Dewasne, Kandinsky, Pollock

Which local artists or makers most inspire you?

Kristy Allmon, Susanne Slade, Agnes Bourely, April Murphy

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I don't think I know enough history to give a decent answer.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My husband, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, first responders

What are your favorite names?

Autumn Eve, Reverie, Griffin/Gryphon 

What is your motto?

It depends on the day!

From Vanity Fair: "The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature." We've taken the original Proust Questionnaire and modified it a bit for our artists and makers so that they can share more about themselves with all of you. Check out the series to see how they all answered.