I have many, many talented friends/family and people I admire in the Art community. Here are some great folks worthy of support.
*Don't forget that "support" doesn't only mean buying someone's works... there are tons and tons and tons of ways you can support small business artisans without spending a dime, and these mean a LOT... (although if you want to purchase their work, please do! I will happily point you towards it!😁)
Arts represented here include a wide variety of talents (quick links below, more details if you keep scrolling)...
People I know personally:
People I adore and admire from a distance:
My friend Travis owns Renaissance Leather
and does beautiful, amazing leatherwork... belts, bags & satchels, flasks, phone cases, weapon carriers, mug loops.. the fine accessories needed to complete any SCA outfit. The quality of his work is simply unmatched. 😍 Travis makes an absolutely amazing Scottish targe (a small, round leather shield) and they are truly a sight to behold.
Henna By Heather
My dear cousin Heather is the amazing henna artist behind Henna By Heather. If you live on the east coast of the USA, I am envious! Heather is really brilliant and has many other talents, but henna is what she's best known for.
Creative Fiction by Elisabeth Niederhut
My cousin on the other side of the family, Elisabeth Niederhut, is a brilliant young writer and has published several books on Amazon. I am super excited to see what she comes up with in the future. 😍
Elisabeth's Author page on Amazon is HERE
Elisabeth and I have a shared cousin Dillon Niederhut, who is also super, super brilliant (there's a pattern of that here 😉). In addition to everything else he does in the world of machine learning, Dillion designs a range of items designed to fool AI and to empower individuals and spark conversations about privacy and technology as part of an effort to reclaim control over our personal information - a very noble pursuit!
Ian Hawkins Voice
My friend Ian Hawkins is an amazing narrator. He has an absolutely incredible range, and I really hope to see him narrate many, many more books. Ian has a wide variety of other talents too - he does leatherwork, he weaves, he plays instruments and has many other how-to-run-a-business skills as well... One of my regrets in not having a brick and mortar store, is I would absolutely have begged Ian to run it for me. He worked with Renaissance Leather for many years and is a huge part of their success. Plus he's just a really great person all around. I'm a fan! 😁
Ian is on Ko-fi, too! Follow him or buy him a coffee HERE
Creative Writing by Finn Thye
My very longtime friend Finn Thye wrote a wonderful book of poetry, which is on Amazon. Finn is yet another one of my brilliant, multi-talented friends. She did work for Rosetta Stone to help preserve endangered languages like Arapahoe (and speaks Arapahoe... how cool is that?!) and is very close to the local indigenous community. I can't even remember what she earned her Masters in because she has so many different talents🤩. Yes, this is her wearing one of my coats, but don't let that distract you from her brilliance. 🥰
Kristina Iodice's Magical Photography
My dear friend Kristina Iodice is another multi-talented, brilliant person. She does nuno felting and needle-felting and has a photography business which I hope to see grow. She takes AMAZING photos and is very talented as a photographer, as well as a model. I hope to have her model some of my works in the future. She's a very sweet person - beautiful inside and out, and very talented.
Lynn Raccoon's Amazing Art
My friend Lynn Raccoon has an amazing collection of, in her own words: "Abstract, silly art and other shiny bits made by your favorite queer, neurodivergent trash panda." 🥳 Her page is an absolutely FUN collection of art of all kinds, in all sorts of media. Super, super fun. If you're on Facebook, please consider giving her a follow. 🙏
Sean Gilbreath, Absolute Master of Woodworking
Sean and I went to high school together and I still remember him teasing me about my punk outfits.😊 I'm not surprised to see Sean developed an amazing talent for working magic with wood, being the son of an artist (I owe his mother Chi Leary an entry here too). His work is AMAZING, but I still like this photo the best. This is a guy that loves what he does.🤣 Seriously though, people who LOVE what they do, do the best work. Plus... recycling? HELL to the YES!! ✊ Seriously, go check out his Facebook page. The spruce tabletops with inlaid mother of pearl are WOW... just WOW. 🤩
Ways to support all these folks:
Follow their social media pages
Share their work on social media - this is HUGE. Many artisans don't have an advertising budget, and really... isn't Mark Zuckerberg rich enough already? Boosting artists' visibility is an enormous help, and it takes almost no effort on your part. If you're sharing artists' work, I adore you and you are a hero. 🥰
Tag a friend or someone who might like their work
Like their posts
Better yet, comment on their social media posts to boost their visibility
Make a purchase or commission them if you can (even a small purchase means a LOT!)
If you've purchased or commissioned their work, take the time to leave a review!
Some of the people above aren't able to pursue these talents full-time and oh my gosh, if I ever won the MegaMillions, one of the first things I would love to do would be to rescue the ones here that are trapped in the corporate world so they could have the freedom to follow their creative pursuits full-time. The corporate world holds way too many brilliant people hostage - undervalues them, overworks them, and under-appreciates the wide variety of skills that they have (and I say this as someone with an HR degree). I lack a winning lotto ticket however, so this is the best I can do for these amazing folks at the moment. 💖
Disclaimer: I have not included other Katwise-inspired makers on here because that's just not the direction I want to go with this. I'm sticking to people I know personally, and other unique trail-blazers in the art and fashion world. 😇
Speaking of unique trail-blazers, on that note.....
Katwise, the original Goddess of Sweaters
I just.... I have no words. I bow to her greatness. The world needs more whimsical, weird cool people that have the courage to be different. 🥳 Everything about this woman is ART, even the house she lives in. In a world full of HOA's and suburban every-house-is-the-same neighborhoods designed to suppress all uniqueness and creativity, the lone psychedelic calico rainbow patchwork house is like food for the soul. 😍
Zero Waste Daniel
Oh my goddess this guy is so cool. I am.... platonically in love. He works with lighter-weight knits, scraps that he takes from fashion houses and turns them into garments, saving hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fabric from the landfills. I can not possibly say enough cool things about this guy and what he does. For those of you who have been asking for lighter weight goodies, it's just going to be awhile before I get to those, so for now.. just go check out this guy's work. It is AWESOME. 😍
Aura Gaia Original Creations
Aura Gaia is another one of my favorites. You may have seen her work on Pinterest. I've also seen dropshippers steal her photos and attempt to use them to sell knockoffs of her work (that will be nothing like the beautiful original) so please don't fall for the stolen photos. Find Aura Gaia's work on her Facebook page in the link below this awesome photo of her modeling her work.. Again, if you're one of the folks asking me to make "lighter weight" treasures, please go check out Aura Gaia. 🙏I LOVE her work!! 😍