Thursday, February 17, 2011

Of Pretty Things, Parrots, and Passion - A BESTeam Feature

She's a whirlwind of purpose, spending her days in a flurry of activity punctuated occasionally by pensive moods, forever feeding her passion to create - anything and everything. She's a writer, an artist, a photographer, an artisan, and a poet... and her life is her canvas and writing pad. Her work reflects a certain surreal and certainly whimsical perspective, yet belies an intensity and energy of spirit that is unmistakably based in a need to experience all the life she possibly can. Her avatar is derived from one of her mixed media art collages and depicts a girl looking through a rose colored glass - and I'm guessing that's how my featured artist prefers to view the world... with an upbeat positive outlook and "I can do this" attitude.

I'd like to introduce you to Eileen of Cookala's Pretty Things (CookalasHouseOfCards on Etsy), my BESTeam mate and the subject of this feature. Hailing from Long Island, NY, Eileen is a recently retired network administrator who is still adjusting to life doing not what she simply enjoys, but rather what she is passionate about - that being the artistry that allows her to express her "abundant creativity."

Abundant is a perfect description since one of the first things you'll notice when you visit her shop is that rather than a few pages of items, you'll be treated to over 500 pieces of eye candy in a virtually endless array of colors and themes. Created in the styles of Steampunk, Vintage Inspired, and European Pandora, her jewelry incorporates techniques like Viking knit, hand forging, and wire wrapping using a melange of beads and findings including semi-precious stones to whimsical lampwork to deliciously reworked "found" objects. I'd like to share a few of my personal favorites with you here today!

We're closing in on the transition of seasons from winter to spring and in keeping with that mood, Eileen's Viking Double Knit and Lampwork Bracelet captures the imagery of that first pink spring blossom appearing out of the still wintry dark earth. Eileen describes this piece as exquisite - I'm inclined to agree!

Keeping with the springtime theme, I absolutely love this next item. Polymer Clay Bracelet PCB004 seems too "austere" a name for this medley of springtime whimsy featuring such cheery polymer clay rondelles. I think I'll call it Bohemian Reverie :) This is just one of those pieces that says "Be Happy" and I think anyone would find it hard to argue with that whenever they wore this rainbow of springtime blooms . Perhaps once you own it, you'll come back here and let me know if I was right?!?

I own several pieces of turquoise and turquoise inspired jewelry because I love its versatility and its unique beauty. So I'll guess you won't be surprised at my last choice of jewelry pieces for this post. Eileen's Pandora Style Turquoise Earrings will complement a range of fashion styles from more casual denim themes to elegant evening wear. A must-have for anyone with a passion for the look of turquoise!

Eileen's artistic flair stretches far beyond the realm of jewelry design, however. At Cookala's Pretty Things you'll find a small but fun selection of mixed media collages and assemblage art for your living space. One of the facts that Eileen shared in her bio when she joined the team was that she was raising a nanday conure. For those unfamiliar with this species of affectionate companion parrot, they are characterized by their green and blue body plumage, black hooded heads, reddish orange feathered legs, and their size - at 12" they are one of the largest of the conure family, often living over 20 years. When I saw Eileen's mixed media collage entitled Always Travel Towards the Sun, I noticed the blue and green bird with the orangey legs as it sang along on its travels with the girl in the rose colored frock. I wonder...

Butterflies are another recurring theme in not only Eileen's work, but her shop banner and advertising graphics. Butterflies are, of course, a symbol of change and transformation... leaving behind the "old" you to spread your wings and fly - leaving beautiful memories along the way for others to enjoy. On that note, I'll share my final piece from Eileen's shop along with a wish that I've given you some lovely items to remember the next time you're shopping for something unique - whether it's for you or someone you cherish. This assemblage is titled "Come Out and Play" and shares the suggestion to "discover your inner child."

If you'd like to learn more about Eileen and her talents and artistry, as well as being among the first to hear about her latest offerings and special promotions, be sure to check out all of the other places you can find her on the web. The links are below!

Cheesecloth Moon (Blog) | Cookalas House Of Cards on (blog)| Twitter | Facebook


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