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Sterling Treats with a Southwestern Flair, Sandra Logan adds her own spin to a centuries old trade

Sterling silver jewelry and turquoise go together like milk and cereal. 

Since it's origin as a Navajo art form in the mid to late 19th century, to it's booming popularity in the Southwestern states during the 1960's & 70's, the trade of silversmithing has taken on a life of it's own. Veering down many paths of inspiration, the delicate and time consuming method of taking sterling silver and combining traditional jewelers skills of soldering, stamping, casting and stone setting is a distinctive wearable art form finding a new surge in mainstream popularity.

One such artisan putting her own style stamp on the trade is Sandra Logan, the one woman team behind LittleHoboBird. 

By combining old school techniques, a love of a wide variety of stones, and a killer sense of humor, she's created a brand that has captured the eye of everyone from an Instagram cult following to FreePeople.

We had the pleasure of visiting her studio and asking her a few questions about the trade she's helping keep alive and flourishing.

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When did you start metalsmithing? What inspired it?

In 2009 I took a beginner's silversmithing class at a local art academy. It ended up being mostly a class of older women who used the time to socialize, so fortunately I was able to move ahead pretty quickly with projects. My teacher ran out of beginner projects so she taught me how to bezel, which was what I really wanted to learn anyway. At the time I was working at Anthropologie as an Ops Manager, which isn't the most creative position. I was feeling pretty down and realized I was missing the creative piece of me I was able to explore pretty freely when I owned a vintage store. When we closed Selvage Boutique I was blue for a long time so I dragged out this crazy assortment of vintage knick knacks and broken jewelry and started creating simple pieces held together with wire and glue. A ring I had hastily crafted from an Anthro knob caught the eye of my District Manager and she asked to see more. I was excited but also pretty embarrassed. I didn't have the tools or skill to sell Anthro quality jewelry so I started searching for a way to make my own findings from scratch, that's how I found Art Academy of San Diego.

What's your favorite type of piece to work on?

My favorite pieces to create are the ones that challenge me to try something new. I love when after 75-100 convos with a client my design ideas are enthusiastically received despite terrible illustrations, and they trust my ability to pull off something I've never tried before.  When they get their custom piece in the mail and send me an excited message that they LOVE it, that drives me to continue to take part in the bespoke world of jewelry making. That's where I find joy

 

You do repairs, too - what's your vintage jewelry collection like? Enviable? Do you have a favorite piece?

 

Let's just say I'm a hoarder. Haha! I have loved jewelry since I was a kid and would sneak things out of my mom's jewelry box. Sorry mom! She referred to me as a crow once in exasperation. Having a vintage store didn't help at all, the hoarding continued from there. Now I buy vintage I can resell otherwise I can't justify owning more. (That's how we convince our husbands to deal with our jewelry obsessions, right?) my favorite pieces are a dime store locket my grandpa gave his mom when he was 12 or 13. It's so gaudy but there are two pictures of my granddad all spruced up as a kid. The other is a 14k gold ring I bought at a swap meet. It was a total steal! It's a Native American design, a spearhead inlaid with turquoise. It's one of the smallest pieces I own but I love the bright turquoise popping against warmth of gold.

Where do you find inspiration from when you're creating new pieces?

 

I make a lot of cactus pieces and that stemmed from a road trip in October 2014. My husband and I packed up our '64 Chevy truck and drove out to my Grandma's house in Texas to pick up our canned ham trailer. It was ridiculous fun, we took our time exploring everything along the way. Driving through New Mexico was the best part, and we saw so many cactus it became a game to find oddly shaped or pristinely perfect ones. I drew a lot in my journal, I wrote a song about our trip. I took notes and tons of pictures. I came back totally inspired by the landscape and the first thing I did was make a cactus piece. It wasn't my first but it was more developed than my previous designs. I also saw the Milky Way in its full glory for the first time but I haven't figured out how to incorporate that into a design. 

What is your favorite material to work with?

 

Sterling silver first and foremost, but put any chatoyant, shimmering, or metallic stone in my hands and I'm like Smeagol from Lord of the Rings, ha!

Anyone you look up to in the creative world?


C.Carl Jennings' blacksmith work/art was on display for a spell at the Mingei Museum here in San Diego. The collection of ironwork they borrowed from his home was incredible. He built everything in his mid century home, it was like a mid-century medieval creation made of stone and iron. Every latch was forged in his workshop. They had these amazing doors, gates, light fixtures... Anything that could have been made of iron was. I took a million pictures, bought a pamphlet, and tacked up pictures of his workshop in my workspace. He's my metal working hero. 

 

One of my friends got to take photos on site for the exhibit and he gave an excellent write up:

http://modernistarchitecture.blogspot.com/2013/11/struck-by-modernism-c-carl-jennings.html?m=1

 

Most creative people are pretty blessed to have an artist intrigue about other mediums. Say creatively you could choose a new trade to learn overnight - what would you want to be able to do?

 

Hands down I would make lighting. I collect (ok, hoard) fixture parts, and anything I find that could be made into a lamp is fair game. Rewiring lamps is like meditation. Most of the lighting in my apartment I either rescued and rewired or made from scratch and scraps. Now that I work full time for myself making jewelry I've picked up lamp making again as a hobby, I hope to continue with that. I'll just give them away whenever someone visits, haha!

What would you saw your 3 main wardrobe must haves are?

 

Skinny jeans I can tuck into boots in the winter, a cropped western theme cowichan sweater my best friend gave me years ago, and my bright red Samantha Pleet x Wolverine lace up short boots, and preferably all three in the same outfit!

Quick, FIRE! What 3 things do you grab???


My laptop, whatever jewelry I can gather, and my husband, haha. Everything else is replaceable for the most part. 

 

What does working with your hands, being an artist, mean to you?

 

I think finding your voice and staying true to yourself is important as an artist.  In the last year I've been able to nail that down pretty well, but it doesn't stop me from trying something new- it's important to keep evolving and learning new techniques. Above all I want my work to stand apart, for people to see it and recognize it as Little Hobo Bird.

 

Check out more of Sandra's work on the daily on her Instagram page https://instagram.com/littlehobobird/

Shop her pieces at https://www.etsy.com/shop/littlehobobirdwares

><< Do You Know What You're Wearing?>><

Let's talk about minerals. 

For as long as organized society has been around, we have been adorning ourselves with gems, jewels, and precious metals.

Whether it was to represent status, to with good luck, to align oneself with a higher power, or simply to decorate and adorn, cultures throughout time and around the world have used these gifts from the earth as part of their identity. 

Many of the agreed upon meanings behind stones come from these traditions, as it truly cannot be a coincidence that two ancient cultures from two parts of the world believed a certain stone carried a certain property. Intrinsic knowledge has lead us to where we are today in terms of our beliefs around stones and their magic. 

Many of us are naturally drawn to certain types of jewelry. Some people drip in Turquoise, others their birthstone. Perhaps the clarity of a stone like Quartz is your fashion. Why is it that we're drawn to the stones we tend to wear over and over again? What energies - both naturally held and man influenced - do these stones carry? 

TURQUOISE

Ancients have been wearing Turquoise for as long as the stone has been recorded or spoken of. 

Native American tribes across the US - most notably in the Southwest - have been making sterling silver jewelry with it as a trade for generations. 

Ancient Tibetans and Native Americans alike aligned themselves with Turquoise as a stone of blessing and protection of the wearer. They believed that the stone would take a hit for the wearer, and was indicated as such whenever a crack or blemish would appear.

Beyond protection, Turquoise is highly regarded as a stone to help the wearer become their truest self. It encourages self reflection, honesty (most notably with ourselves), and self realization helping you to better understand yourself, your ideas and emotions. It is a wonderful aid in regards to any type of analytical thinking.

AMETHYST

Amethyst meaning is spiritual growth and protection. These beautiful healing crystals are also known for bringing clarity of the mind to the owner.

By wearing or using Amethyst crystals, you can become more in tune with your own feelings and get to know your inner self on a much deeper level. It is a gemstone which can bring you calmness, inner peace and is thought to highten your natural intuition.

Amethysts are known for their ability to reduce addictive traits. The name amethyst is derived from the ancient Greek word “amethustos”, which translates to “not drunk”.  Goblets made of amethyst or in the colour purple were used to hinder inebriation. Today, amethysts are used in alternative healing practices for reducing addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping and a number of other afflictions

If you have trouble with anxiety or restlessness, Amethyst is a great aid in reducing nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia.

TIGERS EYE

Talk about a power stone - Tigers eye has long since been regarded as THE stone for those wanting a shot of confidence, power, strength and protection. 

Ancients regarded Tigers eye as the all seeing eye, and would often be worn by warriors to give them courage, foresight, protection and honor. 

OPAL

Opal is certainly an eye catching stone. It's rainbow of colors capture the heart of many people around the world. In ancient Rome, this gem symbolized love and hope. The Romans gave it a name—opalus—that was synonymous with “precious stone.”

Many cultures have credited opal with supernatural origins and powers. Arabic legends say it falls from the heavens in flashes of lightning. The ancient Greeks believed opals gave their owners the gift of prophecy and guarded them from disease. Europeans have long considered the gem a symbol of hope, purity, and truth.

Opal is considered an October birthstone. Some people think it’s unlucky for anyone born in another month to wear an opal. But that particular superstition comes from a novel written in the 1800s (Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott), and not from any ancient belief or experience. In fact, throughout most of history, opal has been regarded as the luckiest and most magical of all gems because it can show all colors. Once, it was thought to have the power to preserve the life and color of blond hair

RUBY

Early cultures treasured rubies for their similarity to the redness of the blood that flowed through their veins, and believed that rubies held the power of life.
 
Ruby is one of the most historically significant colored stones. Rubies are mentioned four times in the Bible, in association with attributes like beauty and wisdom. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.” Hindus put it on a pedestal, believing that only the highest cast Brahman should wear it. People in India believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with their enemies. In Burma (a ruby source since at least 600 AD—now called Myanmar), warriors possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle. However, it wasn’t enough to just wear the rubies. They had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies.

The name ruby comes from the Latin word ruber, which means “red.” The glowing red of ruby suggested an inextinguishable flame burning in the stone, even shining through clothing and able to boil water.

The tradition of likening it to power persisted through Medieval Europe.

Modern day regards it as a stone of passion and love, making it a great stone to gift a lover.

LAPIZ

Historians believe the link between humans and lapis lazuli stretches back more than 6,500 years. The gem was treasured by the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome. They valued it for its vivid, exquisite color, and prized it as much as they prized other blue gems like sapphire and turquoise.

Badakshan, a province in present-day Afghanistan, is a forbidding wasteland of mountains, bare of any vegetation. The sheer mountain faces rise as high as 17,000 feet, and are scored with treacherous ravines. Humans make their way there to seek one thing only: the azure treasure that is fine lapis lazuli.

Ancient Egyptians regarded Lapis as a stone of the Gods, and was only worn by Pharroh, as he was the living incarnate of the Gods.

Lapis Lazuli is a useful stone to wear as it is said to relieve anger and negative thoughts, as well as easing frustrations causing the anger.

They resonate with the energy of the inner king or queen, and are historically stones of royalty, and this crystal also helps to balance the male and female aspects of your personality.

The energy of these blue crystals may intensify the growth of psychic abilities, intuition, channelling and aid you to contact your guardian angels. 

 

DIAMOND

The world’s love of diamonds had its start in India, where diamonds were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams. Some historians estimate that India was trading in diamonds as early as the fourth century BC. The country’s resources yielded limited quantities for an equally limited market: India’s very wealthy classes.

Diamond does not have a specific healing nature. It does supplement the energy of other gemstones. The Diamond will increase the power of the Emerald and the Amethyst to a higher level. Healers often have rings or necklaces set with Diamonds surrounding the Amethyst.

Care must be used when wearing a Diamond necklace as it can block the energy flow if the wearer has negative thoughts or feelings.

Most notable about the wearing of diamonds and their energy is their source. While the diamond industry has changed through the centuries, it has become a source of bloody conflict all over the continent of Africa. While spotlights on the industry and the term "blood diamonds" have publicized the nature of their sources, it has done very little to detour the violent slave-like industry in Africa. 

Stones hold onto energy, and it can be argued that aside from moral reasons behind being very careful as to the source of a diamond, energetically what it has held onto during it's trip to your finger, neck or wrist should play a part in deciding on wearing the stone or not. 

Best thing to do if you just can't get enough diamond? Buy old. The more vintage the better. Antique jewelry and their diamonds have much less of a bloody history, as diamond deposits in South Africa did not spring up until 1866 , and in the Congo (most noted for their unethical mining practices) until the 1950's-70's. The real boom of African mined diamonds was around the 1920's, so usually anything older than that can be deemed more likely to be ethically mined.


Whether it shines bright or glows in vibrant colors, the stones we wear do much more than make us look fabulous. It's always worth looking into the energies and history behind the stones we love, as it may provide fantastic insight as to why we are unconsciously drawn to them in the first place. 

Enjoy the bling!

xxKate




><>< Life, Love & Style ><><

First, a bit about us. 

Flight of Fancy is a 2 person team, comprised of myself, Kate, and Damien.

6 years ago we met at a Farmers Market. We made googly eyes at each other for a few weeks in a row, when he finally got the nerve to come up to my booth and have me put feathers in his hair. 

I've always believed in soulmates, though not in a conventional sense. To me, a soulmate can be anyone - a family member, friend, lover - who comes into your life and has an effect on it that changes the course of your being for the better. To date, I've been lucky enough to have 5 soul mates, each with a finger on the pulse of my life, whether they knew it or not. 

While I'm still incredibly close with almost all of them, Damien was the game changer. Here we are - a partnership in love, life, and creation - living each others dreams as our own. We truly are blessed.

But enough about us - we're really just vessels. From humble beginnings our brand has grown beyond crafting for a local farmers market into our lifestyle, and one we would be honored to share with you all.

From home decor to DIYs, guest blogs and home tours from some of our web faves, deep explorations of the trends we love and where they come from, our work's deepest inspiration, and an exploration of the handmade artisan movement, we hope this space will be one of inspiration, art, life and love.

From our heart to your's, we hope you enjoy what we have on offer.  Loving warmly, Kate & Damien Flight of Fancy

From our heart to your's, we hope you enjoy what we have on offer. 

Loving warmly,

Kate & Damien

Flight of Fancy