Friday Favorites – Golden Notes

This week’s Friday Favorites features the art of one of our commenters here on the blog!

We know her as Carapace 🙂


Golden Notes

I‘m delighted that she’s agreed to an interview where I’ll be showcasing more of her work. Please check back on Tuesday to read the article and have a further peek at her portfolio!

Hope you find time to do something fun this weekend! See you Monday with the new questions! 🙂


Interview with the Artist: Elsie

This installment of Interview with the Artist features a very special lady, whose beautiful paper snowflakes have brought joy to countless people . . . and I am one of them!

I “met” Elsie a couple of months ago when she began to comment on the blog. She won the weekly giveaway and afterwards sent me an envelope that contained the most gorgeous paper snowflakes I’d ever seen!


I was simply fascinated by their intricacy, and also very touched that she would surprise me with such a delightful gift! After learning a little more about Elsie, I discovered that she does this all the time.

She very graciously granted me this interview. I know you’ll enjoy it . . . and as Elsie says: “Let it Snow!” 🙂


Were you interested in art as a child?

I loved art and my kind parents always encouraged me. I would cut big square snowflakes and spent lots of time practicing. I also enjoyed drawing, paper arts, painting, and clay/pottery. I became an elementary art teacher and worked until my son was born. He’s 21 now.

Does it take a long time to develop a talent for making them so beautifully?

I learned to cut a wide variety of paper snowflakes as I was teaching my students to cut the 6-sided, more realistic-looking, type of snowflake. We decorated the whole school with them!

Do you need special scissors to create the snowflakes?

I use regular scissors, five inches long, sharp and pointed.

Who are the lucky recipients (besides me!) of these exquisite little pieces of art?

I have given away hundreds of my paper snowflakes to friends (mailed in Christmas cards), neighbors, nursing home residents, hospital patients, hospice staff, also to shelters, schools, and offices.

Can you estimate how many snowflakes you have made over the years?

One year I cut over 2000 of them. Lately I lose count.


Of course white paper is probably best because it makes the most life-like snowflakes, but have you ever experimented with different colors or types of paper?

I still experiment and use pastel colors of blue and pink for hospital maternity floors, or I try to include shapes of angels, trees, or even names in the snowflake designs as a treat for children to find – it’s so fun and I am constantly inspired!

Do you also make paper dolls or other paper art?

My other art interests include origami paper folding, woven paper hearts, personalized paper pumpkins, and window valentines. Paper crafts are inexpensive and portable to work on, and fun to share!


Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself? 🙂

I haven’t saved any snowflakes for myself . . .

I make the snowflakes to be small gifts of appreciation from me, or to send my good wishes during the Holiday Season. The kind notes and letters of thanks I’ve gotten are delightful and bring me joy, and I’ve saved them all. I once received a personal Christmas card, in return, from U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and some of my little snowflakes were on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art, on the office windows of the Education Department! This blog interview invitation from Crystal is thrilling for a Mom from Ohio! Thanks Crystal!

Wishing all a Happy New Year and Let it snow!


If you’d like to contact Elsie about her snowflakes, please leave a comment on this post with your request, and I’ll be glad to forward her email address!


Interview with the Artist: Mamazakka

This installment of Interview with the Artist features the wonderfully talented Autumn Sousanis.

She calls herself “Mamazakka” – but I’ve nicknamed her “Wonder Woman” 🙂

She is mother to four little ones (ages 5, 4, 2, and an 8-month-old!), and yet she somehow finds the energy to design and create art that is unique, whimsical, beautiful, and useful – all at the same time!

Much of her work resonates with the themes of motherhood. From her families of nesting dolls inspired by Russian Matryoshkas, to her Baubles for Baby Necklaces that Moms wear and babies adore, Autumn captures the true essence of what it is to be Mama.

Baubles for Baby

Baubles for Baby

Enjoy the following interview 🙂

It’s warm, witty, and full of generous advice – just like the lady, herself!

Were you interested in art as a child?
Yes, I remember in Kindergarten I started saying “Artist” when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, maybe because both my parents were artists, (they met at Pratt Art Institute) or maybe because no one offered it as an option and I wanted to say something different than “Nurse or Teacher or Stewardess”? I still like the feeling of being a bit outside of the mainstream, but now that I’m grown up I do realize those jobs pay better 🙂

What were some of the earliest projects that you created?
I made a ‘soft sculpture’ doll out of pantyhose and scraps of cloth when I was 5 (do you remember those ‘pickled’ doll faces in jars?! Boy, were they ugly). Mine was not much prettier but I figured out how to do it by myself and I was very proud of it. Mom also signed me up lots of Arts and Crafts classes, so I was able to ‘get my hands on’ clay, and weave on a loom and do papier mache and paint…I always thought my Mom signed me up for all those classes because I was ‘good at art’ and to expose me to lots of ‘techniques’ but now, as a parent, I suspect it was so she wouldn’t have to clean up after me all the time! 🙂

Teeny Tiny Mama House and her children Miniature Doll Pin

Teeny Tiny Mama House and her children Miniature Doll Pin

When did you first become interested in working with beads?
Well, during college I worked for a wonderful artist named Marcia Hovland who makes ceramic jewelry, and then I worked for Carla Hankins of Bag Lady Beads, also in creating ceramic jewelry, but Bag Lady Beads was also a wonderful bead store (in Hamtramck, MI) and I quickly fell in love with making beaded jewelry.

You are a true renaissance woman – you work in several different media. Do you have a favorite?
Oh you’re sweet, I’m afraid I’m more of a “jack of all trades…” . I’m always compelled to work on what I’m terrible at, so I find myself sewing a lot. Right now I’m very interested in color and pattern and printing my own fabric. Just bought a GOCO printer. Also a serger! Ack!

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
The shower. Haha, but that’s about the only place where I find I can think, these days! I love to make the things I need, and sometimes the ‘inspiration’ is a conscious shift from ‘consumerism’ to ‘craft’. I mean, I’ll want something, I’ll look for it in the store or online, and then realize I need to make that thing myself. Like my ‘Love Me Don’t Lose Me Teether Leash’.

Teething Toy Tether - Love Me Don't Lose Me, Baby

Love Me Don't Lose Me, Baby - a Teething Toy Tether

I also get great ideas while shopping for other projects, don’t you? 😉 My Baubles for Baby Nursing Necklaces were inspired by need too, but also because I found some really nice, though gigantic(!) lucite plastic beads in JoAnn fabrics one day, while looking for fabric. Now I hunt for lucite beads just about everywhere I go. I’m very particular (the beads must be seamless and solid) and I get inspired by the beads themselves. If I sit down and start sorting beads, I have to pull myself away or I’ll keep going all night, making Baubles! I never thought I’d love plastic so much! I used to love semi-precious stone beads, but now I’m just crazy for plastic! Weird.

Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself? 🙂
That’s a great question. I probably don’t. I kept one Baubles for Baby Nursing Necklace that was one of the first I ever made but I list my best pieces in my Etsy shop right away, because I get so excited to ‘show’ them off, and then they often sell immediately! Which can be so fun but also kind of sad. I listed and sold every single one of my Matryoshka Nesting Dolls and I kind of miss every single one. But I priced them high enough to feel compensated if they sold, so it’s OK.

Owl Mama and Owlet Baby Clip Ornaments in Cashmere and Wool

Owl Mama and Owlet Baby Clip Ornaments in Cashmere and Wool

What advice would you give to a person who would like to begin selling her art but could use a few pointers?
Well, I’d say only make what you are excited about making. If it doesn’t sell, you won’t mind being ‘stuck’ with it, but also, the excitement and energy will come through and make your items more appealing to purchase. Don’t make massive amounts of anything! (Carpal tunnel = Bad. Landfills full of Friendship Bracelets and Potholders = Bad) Price your work so it’s ‘worth it’ to you to keep going. Keep on making exciting, cool, fun, wacky things. Live as a ‘creative spirit’ and not just as a ‘consumer’.

Don’t think in terms of what will appeal to everybody. You are unique, and if you make what you would like to wear, or have, you will attract others like you, to you.

And I love You don’t need your own website! They provide you with one! (sort of!) You don’t need a lot of (or any) backstock to set up your own shop or online presence, just whatever items you can manage to create, and you don’t need to pay a boutique or gallery any big commission, (etsy charges something small…3%? while galleries can charge up to 75%!!!).

You just need great photos, (or at least good photos) to do the ‘talking’, and to know that the ‘Be true to yourself’ thing and the ‘Write what you know’ stuff is all true.

And, finally, haunt the Forums on Etsy. There is great advice there and loads of people who are really friendly and who will answer your questions directly. It’s kind of amazing.

To view more of mamazakka’s art, please click here