Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wildly Creative!

Who: Joy Kruse of Wild Prairie Silver
What: Handmade Jewelry
Where: Casco, WI
Why: I found Joy's work by pure serendipity...searching for something on the net and tripping over her site and ohgoodgolly, screeching to a halt. Gorgeous chunky gems set in oxidized sterling, 14K and 18K gold in a lush techno-primitive style. Gothic but in a good way and screamingly cool...Joy is wildly creative and it shows!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two on Tuesdays...A Double Cast of Characters

Who: Mitsy Sleurs of ArtMind
What: Unique Handmade Ceramics
Where: Hasselt Limburg Belgium
Why: So sweet, witty and cherishable! Her Feelings series includes 'em all.... Balanced, Tough, Confused, Bored, Adventurous, Creative. I can think of someone I know that matches each one...yep, even Zombie.

Who: Lila Ruby King/Anna Ruby King
What: Eco-friendly Paper Goods, Fabrics, Small Art, Objects, Illustration and Handmade Jewellery
Where: Athens, Attiki, Greece
Why: Swirly swans, rompy rabbits, chirpy birds, fluffy feathers...all characters in a parade of lovely, lively art pieces that you can bring into your life! I gasped with glee when I saw that favorite bird and oh so beguiling!

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Treasured Tales

Who: Laura Davidson
What: Handmade Books, Drawings, Mosaics and Boxes
Where: Fort Point, Boston, MA
Why: Laura's intriguing mixed media artwork features hand-drawn birds, maps, art and architecture in gently edgy, provocative pieces that almost whistle at you, saying "Hey there, come on over...let me tell you a little story". They chronicle her journeys across the world and across her intimate memories, throughout times in her life and throughout the dreamy dimensions of her imagination. They are child-like and precious, yet they can make you stop and think about rather weighty things like the meaning of time in surprising new ways. Her more complex and elaborate pieces often end up in prestigious collections and museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Library of Congress, but she has several wonderful series of offset editions that are easily affordable. There is nothing like having an artist-made book in your hands, turning its pages, touching its textures and listening to its treasured tales.
I don't know about you, but I'm always up for a new enchanting story!


Sunday, February 26, 2012


Who: Chuck Domitrovich of Down To The Wire Designs
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: Seattle, WA
Why: Chuck is a metalhead to the core. He revels in metalworking every aspect of his pieces, including making his own earwires and findings (parts such as clasps...not easy, let me tell you). His work is meticulously finished, his designs intuitively attractive in an elusive, primitive way. I especially love his earrings...can ya tell?


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Master of the Fires

Who: Pat Flynn
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: High Falls, NY
Why: One of my favorite jewelers. Truly a pleasant man and a born metalsmith, a master of the fires.
Superluxe high karat gold meets rough and rugged forged iron, crisply sparked with Diamonds, Opals, Sapphires...powerful, fierce and gorgeous!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Out of the Ancient Mists

Who: Bridget Fauser of organikx
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: Lafleche, Saskatchewan, Canada
Why: The medieval magic of Bridget's jewels derives from her hand-wrought textures and rustic finishes, along with simple cabochon-cut gemstones and minimal details. Amethyst, Chrysoprase, Ruby and Turquoise are a just a few of the gems she pairs with oxidized sterling silver and 14K gold. The stones' colors truly glow against the dark if they carry centuries-old secrets bestowed in the mists of a sorcerer's castle.
Blessed be this sacred charm,
Protect me well from hate and harm.
Gems of bright and vivid hue
Grant me peace and guide me true.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Porcelain Dreams

Who: Mónica Tort Bori of NiuTaller
What: Porcelain Jewelry and Ceramic Art
Where: Pamplona, Navarra, Spain
Web: (in Spanish)
Why: Whimsy-tinged tiny designs hand-painted on porcelain rings, brooches, neckpieces and earrings, and an occasional wallpiece or two. They made me smile when I spied them, and that's all I need to know. :)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Singular By Nature

Who: Catherine Chandler
What: Modern Jewelry Inspired by Nature
Where: Portland, OR
Why: Catherine's one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces have an appealing organic quality derived from gentle textures, irregular shapes, rustic finishes and phenomenal gems such as Boulder Opal, Labradorite, Moonstone and Cherry Creek Jasper. I love the irregularity and spontaneity of her designs...each piece has a singular character, unlike anything else. They appear captured from nature's if you could stumble upon them in an ancient forest lying by a wild orchid or nestled under a mushroom or hidden by the roots of a tree and you wouldn't be surprised in the least. Pick one up, slip it on, wear it forever...quite naturally done.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two on Tuesdays...The Indie Island Life

Who: Anastasia Egórova of L'Accent Nou
What: Indie Handmade Ceramics, Pebble Jewelry & Accessories
Where: Manacor, Balearic Islands, Spain
Why: Anastasia makes conceptually organic pieces using clay, textiles, wood, ink...anything that inspires her richly creative imagination. She is powerfully influenced by the breathstopping splendor of her island home Majorca which she describes so stirringly... "this beautiful island, turquoise summers, spice-smelling autumns, blooming almond winters, red soil, popular culture, catalan language, mediterranean food and steaming coffee in the morning..."
Ohgoodgolly, if an artist could find a better place to work, I don't know where it would be.

Who: Jill Fine of Glazed Over Pottery
What: Handmade Vibrant and Rustic Ceramics & Indie Jewelry
Where: Sayville, Long Island, NY
Why: Jill plays with glazes and spins her potter's wheel in a small sea-breezy town on the southern coast of Long Island. Amidst her rigorous pursuit of a PhD in Ancient Near Eastern culture, Jill let loose by taking classes in ceramics and has most assuredly veered off her academic course. Her vibrant deep sea blues, gentle greens and earthen browns color joyfully simple stoneware forms. She follows a "wabi sabi" philosophy in her derived from imperfection...and celebrates the wobbles, wiggles and wondrous spontaneity of her craft. And in life.
And that's the way I like it too.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Beyond the Ordinary

Who: Carla Pennie
What: Handcrafted Mixed Media Jewelry
Where: Santa Fe, NM and Northern Ireland
Why: Carla works with an esoteric array of materials and techniques...Tagua Nut, Fossilized Ivory, pressed leaves, original drawings, scrimshaw, inlay, precious metals, resin and gems of all kinds. I'm attracted to her beach pebble palettes artfully mixed with a reverence for nature and origin, and I'm completely wowed by her imagination and originality of design. Truly extraordinary !


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cure with Pure Color

Who: Stevie Rose of Garden Therapy Handmade
What: Handcrafted Throw Pillows & Home Decor
Where: Vancouver, Canada
Why: The next best thing when you can't dig in outdoors! Lush limited edition images printed on linen and cotton, and crafted into brilliantly blossoming pillows. Stevie starts with close-up photos of Cornflowers, Sunflowers and other bloomers in her garden, and using planet-friendly materials wherever possible creates instant-hits-of-happy. Like Coco Pink lipstick on a fresh face or a dandy-bright Dolce & Gabbana bow tie...a quick and lively way to dress up your home!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to B Cool

Who: Nikki Butler of nikki-b
What: Handcrafted Bead Jewelry
Where: New York, NY
Why: I've got lots of reasons to admire Nikki...she is a vibrantly successful fashion model, compassionate entrepreneur, mother and wife, and supergroovy jewelry designer. She uses rainbows of beads to design comfortable, nicely-priced pieces inspired by the many cultures she has encountered traveling the world. While living in Chile, she established a fair-practice collective of women artisans to create her designs, and opened her own boutique so she could work directly with her customers. She's hands-on and headstrong in all aspects of her work, and designs with a down-to-earth color-drunk spirit. The hippie chick in me is definitely admiring those stretchy bead rings and heaps of beaded bracelets...I am b-smitten!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Humble Beginnings

Who: Stephanie Albertson
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: New York, NY
Why: Stephanie's collection of high-end 22K and fine silver jewelry designs had very humble beginnings. In her teens she began crafting with inexpensive beads, then made and sold Venetian glass jewelry in college while studying art history and music. She went on to work a variety of jobs, serving as personal assistant to model Elle Macpherson and to Liz Tilberis, editor-in-chief at Harper's Bazaar, while continuing to create jewels in her spare time. After four years at the magazine, she concentrated full-time on her jewelry and has achieved success beyond her wildest bead-stringing teenage dreams! She's been featured in Vogue, Elle, Town & Country and W magazines and sells her pieces through several prestigious art and jewelry galleries here and abroad.
Stephanie has undoubtedly worked hard, and has had some phenomenal opportunities, but it's her consistent talent for timeless design that has carried her through. Beautiful gems artfully set against rich 22K yellow gold and glimmering fine silver...these are pieces that you can purchase as a twenty-year old and wear throughout the rest of your life, no matter which way the fashion winds blow. These days with head-spinningly high gold prices, 22K gold jewelry might be considered an investment, but Stephanie's work is worth it. There is a solidity to it, a treasured heft and finely-wrought construction that will last for generations. She has truly mastered the art of her craft.
...and it all started with a few pretty beads.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Clay Play

Who: Jhanna Kosicki of Kosmeo Clay
What: Functional and Fine Art Ceramics
Where: Brooklyn, NY
Why: Jhanna is gaining acclaim as an emerging ceramicist after a productive residency at the Brickhouse Ceramic Arts Center in New York and several noted exhibitions, including one at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. She enjoys exploring and experimenting with forms and materials, and you can see a strong identity bubbling up through her craft. Her wobbly tumblers are so playfully fun and original. Her "Relationship" series of lazily slumpy and pushed-over squashy vases is thoughtful and humorous. Lots of movement, supercool shapes, pleasant patterns and glaze effects. I'm excited to see where her blossoming talent and passion for clay lead her next!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hidden Apparitions

Who: Mikel Robinson
What: Mixed Media Digital Art, Handcrafted Jewelry,
Vintage Found Objects and Ephemera
Where: Durham, NC
Why: Mikel is another one of those mystically gifted artists that transports you into another realm, one of dreamy fantasy, sometimes eerie, sometimes provocative, but always mesmerizing. He uses a vast palette of media, from gold leaf to weathered relics, as well as hauntingly recurring images...Ferris wheels, black ravens, silent, still trees.
I'm most drawn to his rich layering of techniques and materials, combined with a practiced hand to mood-driven perfection. Or I should say imperfection, as each piece definitely bears a time-wizened quality. Steampunk, but older, wiser, more primal and mysterious. Unforgotten archetypal memories perhaps? Or just apparitions from an artist's inner journey? The images will linger with you nevertheless.
Mikel divides his work among three different shops:
Galerie De Illuminata--Mixed Media Art and Illuminations
Sanctum Ornamentum--Hand Made and Antique Wearable Art and Jewels
Ephemera and Object--Vintage Found Objects and Ephemera
I'm curious to know...which pieces appeal to you?

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Simply Enough

Who: Britta Ambauen
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: Tacoma, WA
Why: Britta's jewels reflect her training as a printmaker, featuring etched patterns in ethereal earthy designs. She developed a deep interest in metalsmithing after apprenticing with the ever-creative Angie Star Jewelry studio and gallery in Boulder, CO and has brilliantly evolved in her now well-established Northwest coast studio.
Britta's work is minimal and timeless, paring down to instinctual essentials. I love how she respects the natural elements in her work, preserving the spontaneity of her materials and techniques without overdoing the design.
It's easy to enjoy when it's just enough.

Please visit my recent post "Brilliant Stars" at The Alternative Consumer for more about Angie Star Jewelry!


Monday, February 13, 2012

With Hand to Hammer

Who: Amy Bixby
What: Contemporary Handforged Jewelry
Where: Seattle, WA
Why: Seattle-based Amy Bixby brings with her an integrity and respect for the earth that no doubt have roots in her rural New Zealand upbringing. Her design aesthetic includes simple cheery shapes and color pairings, both in metals and gems. Her work ethic is honor-worthy...each piece is forged by hand (and ample muscle-power!) out of fine and sterling silver and karat golds from 14K to 22K. Her metals and natural gems are ethically sourced, and she recycles metal in-house whenever she can.
Above and beyond all that goodness, I enjoy her oxidized finishes and hand-wrought textures, her spot-on color instinct and the easy wearability of her pieces. Her collection is well-priced too, especially for all the effort that goes into it.
Amy sells her work through fab galleries such as Gallery De Novo in Dunedin, NZ and Artisans On Taylor in Port Townsend, WA (check her News page for more gallery links), as well as through her online shop. She's a rising star and with her amply-talented hand to the hammer, she will undoubtedly go far!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Precious Portals of Other Sorts

"The stray passer-by may trespass on the streets of the underwood village: he may see the fairy door-stone, and mark the footpath of the indwellers ; but it is only to the rare intimate that they reveal themselves in their shadowy fastnesses."
(Source: "Canada" by Wilfred Campbell, 1907)

Tiny Fairy Doors are popping up everywhere! After discovering the first Precious Portals, I stumbled and tumbled into so many other Fairy Doors and Hobbit Doors, Gnome Doors and Magic Doors, created by witty and talented makers guided by their mystical muses. Carved out of wood, clay, metal and resin, in every shape and form to fit fairies of all sorts...and perhaps those fortunate enough to be given passage through them!
Do you know the secret password? ;)

1. Fairy Door
Dave of Gelert Design
Bristol, UK

2. Paddy's Pub
George of Celtic Realm
Napanee, Ontario, Canada

3. Warm Heart Fairy Door
Kimberly Mertz of Flying Frog Creations
Ann Arbor, MI

4. Brown Hobbit/ Fairy Door
Bette and Robb Durr of HiddenWorlds
Cleveland, OH

5. Fairy Door in aqua, with architectural detail and flying heart embellishment
Bev Peterson of Rock In A Heart Place
Boise, ID

6. Garden Fairy Door Curlyque
Jul McFillin of Enchanted Pumpkin Art
Darlington, MD

7. Fairy Gnome Door
Sandy Robertson of Enchanted MushroomLand
Abingdon, VA

8.Seahorse Fairy Door
Kim Detmers of Clayworks by Kim Detmers
Alamogordo, New M

9. Faerie doors
Kerry Roberts of Nothin' But Wood
Conception Bay South, Canada

10. Miniature Garden, Fairy Door

11. Lilac Cottage Mini Fairy Door
Chelsea and Megan of ballet llama
Anderson, SC

12. The Drinking Song
Annie Wild of The Merry Muse
Taos, NM

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Precious Portals

"...There is a rock closing the visible cave which is said to be the fairy's door...and also the very identical key-hole which the king of the fairies unlocks..."
(Source: "Sketches in Ireland", 1827)

Admit it, at some point in your life, haven't you wished you could open a door that would lead you into a strange new wondrous world, a realm of enchantment where anything is possible?

Enter the Fairy Door, madly popular in the past few years, in all sorts of art forms from exquisitely elaborate wooden entranceways to tiny trinkets to groovy little gateways. Installed in a house, adorning a loved one or wedged into a tree nook, they are fantastical and fun and completely irresistible to the imaginative spirit in all of us!

Tiny door lockets are really nothing fact it's easy to find these simple sweet Fairy Door Lockets in plenty of places on etsy and elsewhere. It's what a designer does with one that makes it kind of special. Almost all of the above are mass produced, but each artist has added their own special touch, christening each with new life and a new story, entrusting it with a mission to carry your miniature message inside! One-of-a-kind number 7 is handmade of Precious Metal Clay, complete with its own lockpin. A Fairy's delight!

1. Fairy Door Locket Necklace
Angela Pastorelli of Circa AD
Chicago, IL

2. Fairydoor
Tanya Herig of Wiccan Style
Nürnberg, Germany

3. Brass Locket Necklace
Susan Scherer of birdzNbeez
Lathrup Village, MI

4. Fairy Wish Door Pendant
Church Mouse Studio

5. Enchanted Bronze Fairy Wish Door Locket
Duney Bug Designs
Los Angeles, CA

6. silver fairy wish door necklace
Sarah of The Prairie Fair
Bloomington IL

7. Silver Locket, PMC
Anise Severt of SeavBeach Designs
Raleigh, NC

8. Sparkling Heart Door Locket
Beloved U
Tucson, AZ

9. Silver Fairy Door Locket 1
Corby Lee of Corby Lee Design
Aliso Viejo, CA

Searching for a different door? Try Precious Portals of Other Sorts...

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Creature Colors

Who: Cindy Dauer of The Slumbering Herd
What: Original Pen and Ink Illustrations, Art Cards and Prints
Where: Evanston, IL
Why: I was wandering my way through the internet today, trying to ignore the whipping winds, cascading snow and plummeting-like-a-2-ton-rock temperatures outside, when I screeched to a virtual halt at Cindy's etsy page. Oh glorious salvation of my color-starved self! Vivid teal and turquoise, velvety purple, plush pink and tropical lime...swirling together in wry and whimsical illustrations of the cutest possible creatures! A steampunk llama, sleepy birds and a sheep with attitude are just a few of the fabulous inhabitants of The Slumbering Herd's realm. I'm so smitten and smiley now...thank you to Cindy and your band of merry friends!


Thursday, February 09, 2012

What's Black and White and Gold All Over?

Who: Lori Katz
What: Ceramic Wall Panels, Vases, Dinnerware and Teapots
Where: Alexandria, VA
Why: Lively stoneware designs that will adorn your wall or table in dancing designs of black, white and gold. Lori's inlay technique of black on white is painstakingly perfect and her gold leaf accents add a touch of elegance and richness. Stoneware is a high-fire form of ceramics that is stronger than earthenware, and has a distinctive feel and "clink" that makes Lori's pieces particularly appealing as well.
A tall, tilty vase for a spray of lavender and daffodils...yes!
A playful plate full of orange and beet salad...a delight to eat!
A line of tiles climbing up a sunlit wall...welcome home.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Impressed By Love

Who: The Big Harumph
What: Letterpress Prints, Pencils and Block Prints
Where: Wichita, KS
Why: Innocently edgy modern designs with handmade appeal.
If you love the above, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Go give a Harumph.

Who: Studio Olivine
What: Letterpress Papergoods and Custom Printing
Where: Portland, OR
Why: Hand-fed letterpress printing...100% recycled based inks...original illustrations.
Exquisitely-crafted squealingly cool custom designs for weddings, business and personal pleasure. 'nuf said.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Two on Tuesdays...In Rare Form

Who: Amy Buettner
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: Portland, OR
Why: One of the joys of studying gemology is discovering the beauty of more esoteric materials. It's easy to marvel at a plush royal blue Sapphire or a sizzling canary yellow Diamond, but in my eyes Boulder Opal, Turquoise, Moonstone and the like are just as marvel-worthy. In some cases they are rarer than Diamond, and the color spectra and complex patterns they reveal can be just as breathtaking!
Amy has a similar appreciation and the talent to do these gems justice. Amy and her studio partner Tucker Glasow design and create 18K, 14K and sterling pieces that evoke archetypal themes and feature these and other exotic gems such as Variscite, Druzy Quartz, Meteorite and Jaspers that dance with life. The settings themselves have depth and character and they virtually praise these truly one-of-a-kind stones. No piece can ever be repeated exactly again, so wearing it will make you feel rare and special too!

Who: Jacob Albee
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: Burlington, VT
Why: Monolithic in form, yet tranquil in design. Grain-streaked Gibeon Meteorite slices set in high karat gold, platinum, fine and sterling silver, countered by crisp and colorful ethically sourced gems make up just one of five fascinating collections by award-winning metalsmith Jacob Albee.
Gibeon Meteorites are named after the area in Namibia where they were first discovered. That supercool streaking is called a Widmanstätten pattern, formed by heat and speed as a meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere, and it is a highly collectible quality in meteorites. Jacob uses it well, balancing it thoughtfully with gold and bold gems such as rose-tinged Pink Tourmaline, pale green Meralani Garnet, deep teal Indicolite Tourmaline, and glowing golden Yellow Sapphire. Strikingly gorgeous jewelry!
Gibeons are so fun to work with...they bring out the best in those qualities we prize in collectible jewelry. Rarity, character and a provenance you just can't find here on Earth...literally!


Monday, February 06, 2012

Scintillating Wit

Who: Betsy and Stephen Carr of found*ling
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: Asheville, NC
Why: Betsy and Stephen's line is a really refreshing take on the modern trend of resin jewelry. At first glance it looks like something you'd discover in your grandma's attic...oxidized metal, weathered lettering, gentle delicate designs.
Then you get up close, and you have to smile at the smirk in their messages.
Yep, these could be grandma's jewels...if your grandma is Dorothy Parker. ;)


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Stacks and Stones

Who: Gretchen Baneyx of Bespoken Jewelry
What: Artisan Silver and Gemstone Jewelry
Where: Seattle, WA
Why: Cool color combos, liberal use of recycled sterling, buoyant easy-going designs. I'm a stack fan and these gemmy sets are full of light and happy attitude. Mix, match, invent your own stack!


Saturday, February 04, 2012

Find Your True Self

Who: Claudia Atkins
What: Precious Metal Clay Jewelry
Where: Drexel Hill, PA
Why: She gave it up, walked away, followed her inner muse. After several years as a successful psychotherapist, Claudia dropped it all and dove headfirst into exploring her creative urges. She experimented and learned, asked countless questions and sought sage advice. Slowly she has found her groove, hand-crafting a gorgeous line of 24K gold and fine silver Precious Metal Clay jewelry adorned with gemstones and featuring exotic patinas and techniques.
She trusts her instincts and thrives on creating the flow, in a groove, in touch with her true self. She's inspiring to anyone who has tinkered with a dream, teetering on the edge, listening to a whisper of an inner beckoning.
If you follow that whisper, where will it lead you?


Friday, February 03, 2012

Kiss and Yell

Who: Lee and Karl Franklin of Inkabilly
What: Rocker, Roller Derby and Retro-inspired T-shirts and Accessories
Where: Bristol, UK
Why: They are rebels with heart, silkscreening up a storm using environmentally friendly water-based inks on ethically manufactured organic cotton. Not your average panda bears either, but just-shy-of-the-edge images that make stuffed shirts nervous and prim ladies frown.
Witty, gritty and stylishly sly, I'm guessing those Booty Shorts would sure kick things up on Valentine's Day! ;)


Thursday, February 02, 2012

To the Rescue!

Who: Beth Taylor of A Quirk of Art
What: Mixed Media Jewelry
Where: Bethlehem, PA
Why: Beth has found her niche as a jeweler/junk picker/recycling dynamo, designing edgy eye-catching one-of-a-kind jewels from found objects and castaways. She takes great delight in rescuing colorful and odd bits and gizmos, and instilling new life in them as well-crafted wearable art. Quirky? Maybe. Full of character? Heck yeah...that's what the best hand-crafted jewelry is all about!


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Tiny Steps Toward a Greener Planet

Who: Jennifer Parsons of Tiny Pine Press
What: Letterpress Stationery and Custom Printing
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Why: In addition to being a marvelous designer, Jennifer is all for protecting the planet...
"Tiny Pine Press has had a full commitment to being as green as possible in the interest of the current environment and our future. Tree-free, cotton and locally handmade papers as well as recycled and sustainable materials are always offered and encouraged. There is little waste or overage printed and they have always printed letterpress with soy ink whenever possible."
Smart and swirlingly sweet...that monkey charms my hemp socks right off!