Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TaFuri Studios tries Acid.... etching...

I’ve fallen in love with etching metal. As a long time closet “artist” I’ve sketched my whole life and enjoy using photoshop and other design programs to scan and embellish my drawings. Although I’ve never thought of sharing this work- I can now add them to my jewelry! 

Photos and jewelry 
by Mary Tafuri, visit www.tafurious.etsy.com
Acid etching is a slow and somewhat daunting method of adding raised images to metal using acid etching solution. 

To make the sky map necklace shown, I scanned an old sky map and “re-drew” the lines and text in photoshop. I “printed” my drawing to  transfer paper, and carefully applied it to clean metal. 

After forgetting to reverse the image, I repeated the same steps for a more legible version. Next, I floated the metal in the acid bath, until I had the etching depth I desired. Adding several layers of patina gave me the aged metal feel I wanted. I finished it up using leather straps from www.tafuristudios.etsy.com. A little wire wrapping and an orange pearl, and this necklace became a show stopper. 

The process is lengthy, but after seeing the results, the time spent was well worth it. Since showing this work at RAW, I’ve been commissioned to create custom cuffs, like the Vidal cuff shown above right! See more Acid Etched TaFurious Jewelry! 

Tool Kits back in stock!

Our leather bracelet tool kit is BACK in stock! Our kit has everything you need to get started riveting and adding your art to leather. Use the hammer from your home tools to complete your total needs. Rivets can be purchased separately in assorted packs of black oxide, antique brass and nickel silver! 

Tool Kit includes:
Steel bench block
Rivets assortment
Small Riveting hammer
Leather hole punch
Scrap Leather for practice
Additional tools (not included): 
Large hammer 
Metal hole punch

HOW-TO Attach tags to leather:

1) Place pre-punched tag on cuff & mark rivet area. 
NOTE: If your tag has no rivet holes, use a metal hole punch of at least 2-3mm’s, to add holes to your metal. The "Euro tool" metal punch works well! 

2) Use the middle sized tube in your hole punch set to pound your leather holes. Use a wood or rubber block under your tools to prevent breaking your tubes.

3) Place the rivet "eyelet" (the long portion) through both holes. 
Add the cap to the rivet eyelet. 

4) Place your item on the bench block making sure your rivet is centered on the steel. 

5) Place your riveting hammer over the head of the rivet, then hit the end of your small hammer with a large hammer. 

~ One hard hit is better than several light taps.
~ Use a poundo or cutting board under your steel block to reduce noise and bounce.
~ Use a rubber or wood mat  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spokane Ca$h Mob

Ca$h Mobbing to Success!

My jewelry brand, TaFurious, is a featured staple at Glamarita Clothing & Accessories. Glamarita is a unique boutique selling only locally made goods, ran by designer and local fashion icon, Ronnie Ryno. Ronnie has always been an encouraging and sincere friend to me and many others in the fashion community. With her encouragement and constant creative support, my brand has become one of the most recognizable jewelry brands in our community. When I learned that the economy was crushing my favorite local shop, I couldn’t sit by and watch it close in silence. Inspired by a story on Inside Edition, I conspired with others in the fashion community to create an event like no other, in order to save the shop of our beloved icon. 

Photos by Kelly Kerns
Clothing by Glamarita
Ca$h Mobbing is a nation wide social shopping movement- that inspires loyal customers to come “mob” a local business facing the threat of closure. The idea is simple- motivate a mob to come spend $25 bucks each, at the same time. Our Glamarita Cash Mob became a huge event for our fashion community- designers donated items for auctions, our favorite local DJ used a mic and her vocal might to encourage passer by’s to jump into the fun, gorgeous models lined the streets and even turned the crosswalk into a runway. The Drinkery, a favorite watering hole, provided the party! In just 3 hours, Glamarita saw over 200 customers, and made nearly $8000 in sales. This is the second most successful Mob on record in the nation! We were so stunned by the success that myself and a few others have decided to launch a new Spokane Cash Mob for another struggling business this August. Stay tuned for more details!                         ~Mary Tafuri

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lying Gemstones and Other Truths for Jewelry Supply Buyers

I was browsing new gemstones, and wanted to take some time to help educate people on a few gem misnomers and other un-truths that are circulating in the jewelry supplies market. 

Before you say wait- I don't need another pretend expert telling me what to do, let me disclaim: I spent five years working in the marketing department for a world-wide jewelry and bead supplier. I have spent more than 20 years as a jewelry supply wholesaler and jewelry artist myself. I felt compelled to share a few pieces of wisdom I learned about buying jewelry supplies in the Etsy community.

"White Turquoise" and Other Nonsense

Everyone know's there is a huge surplus of "fakes" gemstones- green glass masqurading as an emerald, for example. But did you know some of these fake "gemstones" don't even exist in the gem industry? Take "buffalo" or "white" turquoise for example. Industry gem experts have rejected this stone and state clearly that no such stone exists. What is being sold as white turquoise, or buffalo turquoise, is actually a white stone known as magnesite, or sometimes howlite. These stones can also be dyed to look like turquoise. 

Glass or Gem?
I LOVE quartz. But the real kind is hard to sort out. Take watermelon, blueberry and lemon "Quartz" for example. These items are actually a fine glass. Are they still pretty? Yes, yes they are, but they are still glass. 

Why are sellers allowed to call it blueberry quartz? This is where things get a little tricky. Industry suppliers are allowed descriptive names. Take clothing for example. You can go purchase a garnet shirt, or a turquoise scarf. Obviously the material is not made from ground up rocks. But because these names are actually just descriptors, manufactures use them to describe color. Not ingredients. Yes, I said the name turquoise is JUST a color descriptor- a disambiguation of sorts. After all, there's a river called Turquoise, a trail in Arizona, and even a film called "Turquoise". Why my niece is even named after the gem. Apply that sense of reality to purchasing rocks and I am sure you're left scratching your head. Me too. To confuse you more, the name came from it's earliest misnomer "Turkish stone", not the color! Now that I've completely confused you, what can you do to protect your purchase power? 

The Stone Will tell you it's Story
If you look carefully, using a loupe or magnifying glass, you can detect the fakes yourself using a few simple methods. Air bubbles are never present in naturally occurring gemstones (except in the case of some Amber). Air bubbles are usually found in glass or resin masquerading as a fake gem. It's a dead giveaway so look at each stone. If you find even one air bubble, you've found a fake. 

Seams are never present in natural gems. This seems like a no brainer, but if you're looking at a strand of pearls, and each is identical featuring a raised "seam", well, you've found a molded, reconstituted bead. Yes, these molded beads can still be made of crushed pearl parts, but at least you'll know what you're getting. In case you're still confused- I call beads made with these kinds of methods "the left overs". Most material used to re-create the gem are actually just the parts that were not good enough to begin with.  

Turquoise with traces of white are most often fakes. Surface gray veins are suspicious. Naturally occurring veins should look deep and have texture, as though the stone could be cracked at the vein. True light turquoise is never white, but a very pale light blue. Not all turquoise will have veins, and the blue can get very pale, so don't jump to conclusions because it's so perfect. If all else fails, check the price tag. If it's too good to be true... you know the saying. 

Knowing the industry and it's common terms can also help. Hematite has been "man-made" for years. Pearls are often "re-constitued", and Ametrine is created by "heat treating" amethyst and citrine. Is it still gorgeous? Yes, yes it is. The good news is that most suppliers are already telling you the truth. If you take the time to learn the terminology, you will quickly discover it's been staring you in the face all along. 

Break the Fake! 
You can bust a bead in half and see in an instant if your strand is dyed fakes by the chalky white inner core. Obviously a true gem will be consistent inside and OUT. As a savvy bead buyer, be wary of any supplier selling  stones with misnomers. Even the least experienced sellers should know by now that they are misrepresenting their items. And if they'll misrepresent one item, they'll likely misrepresent many. Don't bother talking sense into them. Recently I spoke to a woman who bought her "very rare" white turquoise "from the mine itself!"... because gem mines never lie... e'hem... moving on. 

Lead Laws in California, and Why Other States Should Care

Now that you know what you're buying, I'm going to shift focus and ask you, do you know what you're SELLING? No really, do you deeply and completely know that your parts are toxic free? 

Leather Bracelet and Bag Strap, 6 yards of thin Leather Lace for the price of 5, leather jewelry supplies
Leather Lace at www.thingumabobs.etsy.com
California leads the way with it's toxicity laws, including the new lead laws. As far as states go, CA law makers are the most protective over the end user and designed this lead law to protect people from supplies that have high levels of toxicity. If you're purchasing supplies and it states ANYWHERE that this product is not for sale in CA, it's because it's not ALLOWED in CA. This means that if you buy it, and RESELL it as a part of any creation, to customers in CA, you could be held libel for any toxicity that leads to actual injury. Be careful when buying, be careful when selling. 

Just because it's "natural" or "organic" doesn't mean it's not toxic:
I sell leather bracelet supplies for jewelry makers and have learned that many leather products and imports are treated with toxic chemicals. Some are dyed using petroleum based dyes, others are tanned using horrible chemicals. All a baby has to do is suck on that leather bracelet to send trace amounts of petroleum and other toxins through their digestive systems. To protect your customers, always find leather goods that state clearly that they use WATER based dyes. These natural, eco-safe and non-toxic dyes are being perfected every day, so bleeding is becoming less and less of an issue. Buying water based dyes products won't totally eliminate this issue as tanners still don't list their ingredients when selling full side leather, but it will certainly help. 

Lastly, find suppliers you trust and use them regardless of who sells it cheaper. A trusted seller will tell you everything they know about product safety and will bend over backwards to investigate your questions. If you ask, and they say they don't know and can't find out, move along.

What material wisdom have you learned when buying supplies? Share your tips with the rest of us here. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to Find and Create with American Made Supplies

Since I posted my last blog about my personal story with a local "good guy" exporting our USA hand-made ingenuity to China, I've been asked about sourcing beading and jewelry supplies from with-in our own borders, and how you can brand your business as a Made-in-USA brand.

While it's challenging (to say the least) to find a supply house not currently importing beads and findings from countries with a scary product safety history, there were a few gems. The lack of labor laws in other countries (pushing employees into suicide protests) has been driving tons of cheap goods into every aspect of our craft for decades. It's difficult to know if you CAN actually source some of these goods in the US. But a few places seem to understand the importance of giving us an import opt-out feature and are doing a better job of posting country of origin in their product listings. So we can sleep better at night.

S045 - 5mm Grommet, 4.6mm HoleHalstead Beads makes it easy with a "Made-In-USA" category and has coded products for search-ability. I love the chain selection and the sterling findings... and the sterling stamp blanks... and the sterling eyelets (Great for my leather customers)... ooops... I'm getting distracted.

Next Up we have Lindstom Tools. This company dates back to the late 1800's, and still has office, workshop and manufacturing facilities in California. Yup. You read that right, Someone still manufactures tools in the good old USA- and the second you try these pliers... well when they say quality, they mean it. 

Another FAVORITE, with an entire product line made in the U.S.A., is Metal Clay Crafted Findings. Crafted Findings has had their fair share of idea's shipped over seas, and most of us probably recognize the knock-offs, but the second you test the quality of a tool... you know it isn't a Crafted Findings tool. Plus, they have awesome selection of new LONG rivets, another win for people using leather. 

If you love Etsy- good news- it's still a TOP source for finding USA handmade suppliers, and many Etsy sellers have wholesale terms. If you're a resin worker, prepare to giggle your butt off while checking out Buy My Crap for a new line of resin jewelry molds. These molds are "Made Entirely by hand by Mr. Crap from gorgeous silicone rubber." No release agents needed. Another new favorite is Fallen Angel Brass, a small craft house, like mine, hand forging brass filigree components. To make shopping on Etsy easy for you- here is a current search for Made in USA  in the supplies category. If you run an Etsy shop and sell supplies that qualify, be sure to include it in your tags. 

Scale Flower Kit - Small Anodized AluminumI made one exception in my search for home-turf supply houses. Since I'm in Washington state, The Ring Lord is a short 15 hour drive from me, in Saskatoon Canada- where the dirt smells exactly the same. Jon Daniels (plus 10 employees) manufactures a great selection of jump rings, lobster claps, tags, cuff link findings and then some. Plus all sorts of pretty metal petals and fun scaly things for chainmaille workers. Get your ruler out and prepare to squeal at his selection. I think bowing at his lordship is encouraged.  

The good news about shopping with manufacturing companies using fair practices: 

Ok so I know it's hard to justify paying a little bit more, and maybe even waiting a little bit longer, for these quality goods. But purchasing from these suppliers may allow you the privilege of adding "Fair Trade" to your product line, which is a win-win in your marketing and affords you a lot of chances to be more visible.

If you don't already know, being Fair Trade Certified is a great thing for any product, but difficult to achieve in jewelry crafts because- well because we've gotten a bit used to a ton of cheap imports.  If you put a little more time into sourcing your goods however, Fair trade can add to your branding, and as a bonus, it's also a way to source imports that actually make a difference in the quality of life for other countries. So you CAN buy and import- AND still sleep at night. :)

But wait- there's more. If you use these suppliers- you can see if you qualify for the certified use of the Hand Made in America logo, garnering use of that cool little hand in this blog, and fantastic exposure in their growing community. I've just gotten mine and will be adding it to our site shortly.

Don't forget to visit our Etsy supply store  for Quality Leather Beading supplies- All 100% U.S.A made (except for our hitch posts- and believe me, we're working on it). If you're buying local- find my TaFurious jewelry work at Glamarita on Garland- ask Ronnie about custom work.

I'll be adding to this list of home-bread suppliers regularly, so book mark us and come back to visit. Let's let our dollars do our talking.

Edited- More Sources:

Vintaj reached out and would like to let us know that EVERYTHING in their product line is 100% made in America- and the brass selection is amazing. Thanks Vintaj!

I've been having a fun little twitter exchange with Ornamentea, who's shown a ton of support and is (deservedly) proud to stand behind their USA suppliers. From bead caps to brass stampings, their selection of USA-made supplies is truly impressive... I'm placing my order now.

 we don't have it sectioned out but the VAST MAJORITY of our chain, findings, stampings and charms are USA made/EU made.

 has collected an AWESOME list of non-beady American-made stuff- lot's of great stuff is hand made right here in the USA... shop the USA love list today. http://www.usalovelist.com 

Follow us on twitter! 

More excellent sources from Etsy peeps: 
DalkullanJewelry from DalkullanJewelry says: Hoover & Strong uses recycled metal and is all U.S. made. Shop here: https://beta.hooverandstrong.com/

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Rings & Things: Exporting an Artist's Ingenuity, Importing Cheap Goods"

Cheap Imports
A multi-million dollar business touting "Buy-Local Buy-Handmade" exports the hand-made goods and idea's of a local artist to China."

I once had the pleasure of working for a company that fed the creativity of people just like me; People that create jewelry, with their hearts and with their hands. I became a customer of Rings & Things wholesale in 1995, and have religiously purchased their jewelry supplies and tools for 17+ years. As a customer, I was impressed with their customer service, and their expertise in a craft I was passionate about. Then, I worked there, for close to five years. I loved my job, but what I saw was a company struggling with identity, trying to walk a tight rope between that of a wholesale supply house, and that of a retail bead supply conglomerate. R&T wanted 100% share of the market, and who could blame them? I own a business, I’m a capitalist at heart, so I wasn't going to judge. I’m also a very loyal person, so over the years I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars at Rings & Things, and sent countless customers to their web-doors, touting their selection and honest information. 
As an employee and customer, I helped take their once hand-drawn catalog to full color with my photography. I tested products, started their first on-line design gallery, developed new marketing strategies, ran a jewelry examples team, taught customers on-line and in the class room, edited product descriptions, wrote copy, worked on publications, started a new product development team, and freely offered up my own jewelry designs for use in marketing publications. Despite their initial refusal to place credit under jewelry designers work, over time my argument won out and artists were given recognition. Upon my exit, my jewelry had been featured on the covers and inside pages of 18 catalogs, over a hundred ads, and in dozens and dozens of how-to articles I wrote myself. I was thrilled to see my work in BeadStyle, Beading Daily, Stringing, Bead and Button and Art Jewelry mags, among other popular publications. I loved this industry. Everything about it. I was hooked on hand-made. 

In April of 2006, I noticed a lack of supplies that I desperately wanted to use in my craft. Quality leather components. I needed leather pieces already cut, already dyed, already treated and HIGH quality. With access to global suppliers I was surprised to find nothing but the same dingy cords and various native american spacers I’d been seeing for decades. I consider my work high-fashion and my jewelry is in a few popular stores and hits runways frequently. This would just not do. 
I made it my mission, on my own time, to source quality materials, USA made and 100% eco-safe. I studied up and noticed that a lot of imported leathers from China contain petroleum based dyes, so I carefully weeded out supply houses that imported and started seeking tannery’s in the US. With patience, I found a US supplier that was not only willing to take on my task- but enthusiastic. I also found a great partner, who wanted to invest time, money, love and support. I hired the supplier and married my partner and have never been happier. I finally had the leather I wanted to use, and my jewelry work has been more satisfying than ever. 
Together, my husband and I built Tafuri Studios. We branded TaFurious™ high fashion jewelry and TaFuri Tough™ Leather Beading supplies. And I’ve happily sold our supply products to Rings & Things ever since, who’s always shown joy at our success. We’ve even sent dozens of free samples of new products to try out, as we developed our materials, our quality, our color, leather selection, and our product line. We lovingly hand-make our products from USA quality leather. We cut, treat, and dye and set hardware. Our quality has grown over time, and each artist in our studio is proud of the work they produce. My business relationships with R&T buyers and sales staff grew, matured, and has been one of mutual respect and sincere friendship. 
Tafuri Tough™ Leather ends at R&T
Our products started with Tafuri Tough cuff-ends, and Loop-End bracelets. Items specifically designed to be used in jewelry creations. We offer 13 color choices, numerous leather types, and matching hardware for any and every metal an artist decides to use. Over time, we’ve become a trusted supplier in our industry. Our sales have grown 300% every year since our beginning. And here we are in a downed economy. I have to think back to how it started. And where it started. At Rings & Things wholesale. 
When I approached Russ, the owner of R&T, with my idea of leather components he said, and I quote, “There’s no market for that. People can go make leather themselves, and often do- why would they want yours?”  I told him about my frustrating experiences, as a single mom crafting at home, and trying to source high quality leather affordably, along with the tools needed to set the hardware, and the process involved in dying the leather. I was certain jewelry makers wanted their leather ready to create. I know I did. Leather-ready became my focus. And his “no” answer didn’t change my resolve. I created the cuff-ends, had dies made from my designs so they could be precision cut, pursued a copyright, and a patent, and invested my time, money and sweat into making this product work. I had enough people on staff at R&T who believed in the idea, that my family and I were allowed to produce a few initial runs and see if it sells. With-in a year, Tafuri Tough components were in the top 5% of best selling products at R&T. And if you’ve seen their selection of 500,000 jewelry items, and growing, that is no small feat. 
My products at www.thingumabobs.etsy.com
Upon the success of my components I was able to direct my attention full time into the manufacturing process of making my products and when I started selling on Etsy, “I quit my day job” but continued to buy and sell at R&T. I also developed new products. Bracelet blanks and double wraps, strappy leather bracelets and lace leather, starter tool kits and rivets. All high quality and fairly priced. I delivered samples to Rings & Things religiously. For free. They held my products in their hands, and they held my trust. Until this week. 

Nearly four years after starting my business, I see the company that preached buying local hand-made and keeping customer loyalty, totally lose mine. The first un-raveled thread was when I got a catalog in the mail, four or five months after giving them my cuff blank samples. The cover featured a cuff bracelet blanknearly an exact duplicate of the one’s I sell, with a few cost cutting adjustments.  It would appear a company I once cared for and trusted, is adding imported cuff blanks in leather that, pardon the honesty, I wouldn’t use for our scrap bags. The second slap was an undisclosed accounting error and laps in private information sharing on their end, that resulted in some tension, to say the least.  The last and final nail in the coffin was when I popped onto their home page to place an order, and noticed they were adding "wrap around leather bracelets". This was my product, down to style, color and size options. And to add insult to injury, in my own original color names. A lot of our customers remember our Denim Blue and our Scarlet red. I changed the names in my Etsy store, due to relevancy search needs. But  good news- now you can get Denim Blue and Scarlet Red leather cuff blank bracelets at Rings & Things. What’s even better- it’s directly imported from…. China. Now, I’m not accusing R&T of stealing my product concept, knocking off my designs and capitalizing on my idea’s… per se… but if the chinese kimono fits…. 

History aside, obviously a wholesale supplier like myself, takes a risk when sharing goods with potentially large buyers. I understand I’m not the “first person" to make a leather bracelet. But if your idea and your products are a hand-made craft, you’re even more exposed to copy cats and cheap knock offs and for some reason, these companies have no problems with stealing a hand made artist's concept. A company that cares only for it’s bottom line will steal an idea from a hand made artist faster than any other. We sellers on Etsy have seen it countless times and I saw it first hand while working at Rings & Things. The discussion regarding a new product often ended with weather or not they could source it or create knock-offs at cheaper importers. I saw them actually do it, countless times. And I felt the disappointment for that artist each and every time. And I felt shame in my employers.

So, I should not be surprised that this happened to me. And sadly, I am not. Our USA made leather-ready beading products are experiencing some success, thanks to our many loyal and loving customers. It’s only natural then, for a big company to take notice, and as a business woman, I have to trust that our brand recognition will see me through this sort of betrayal. I am however, sad that these opportunities were taken from my small but passionate staff. I’m lucky enough to employ 5 people now. American people who love their job and our little company that could. 

This kind of business practice doesn’t just hurt a hand made artist, it hurts our country. It reeks of the reason we have such income disparity, why so many have lost pensions, and jobs, and retirement funds. Rings & Things is considered small with only 100 employees, but even they were not untouched by this company's greed, as I watched friend after friend lose their good paying jobs after decades of loyalty, only to be replaced by temps and lower wage employees. The simple fact is, exporting American ideas, and paring your staff down to the lowest possible wage earners, no matter how small, hurts all of us. Even the big guys.

I’m a realist, and the competition came calling. That is the name of business, right? So why should the big guys care?  
This is why: A company only concerned with a bottom line, a mass importer like Rings & Things, misses the point. They choose to disregard the human element in this story and it has everything to do with the bottom line: American artists WANT USA made quality goods. They WANT American manufacturing back. And we all know they need it. I don’t know why a company I loved and trusted chose to take the easy route and took the cheap, if less-humane option of importing products available in their back yard. And this is a company that supported buying local! It’s befuddling to say the least. But there is one thing I am sure of: Manufacturing always starts with hand-made. If American artists want manufacturing back, they must support their hand made artists. And not just by purchasing their wares, but by NOT purchasing imports. No matter how much you once loved the companies currently shoving it down your throats. 

*We have a great Update to this story

Since publishing this post in 2012, leather has fully taken off in the jewelry supply market. We have suppliers working hard to provide USA made leather components, calling us as consultants. This afforded us the opportunity to share what we've learned about leather imports, toxicity of some tanning and finishing processes, and how to provide wearable SAFE leather to jewelry artists- as well as testing metal components that meet the tough expectations of quality desingers. We're proud that we were along for the ride at every step of the way and welcome leather as "a thing" in the industry that we were a part of. 

Customers now have options. LOTS of them. Customers are also gaining from the benefit of our safety research, as each company we consult with learns the process of recognizing harmful tanning and finishing methods and shares that with their customers. We are honored to share our knowledge and proud of an industry that is responding and valuing the work of "the little artists" among us. 

We were trailblazers for leather, and we took an active role in product testing for TierraCast who recently added a beautiful line of high-quality USA leather components and more USA made leather for jewelry artists to work with. 

On a personal note, Russ and Dee, the owners of Rings & Things were very proud of all we were able to accomplish in this crazy leather venture. They shared that pride and kindness with me, when they visited us shortly after opening our retail store in 2013. I learned a lot from my time with Russ and the kind people at Rings & Things, and we have a lot more to learn. But I am thankful that the industry I love, both respected and recognized our small voices in this lasting leather trend. I am blessed that I was able to reconnect with Russ in forgiveness, before his passing in June of 2014, and will always try to honor the voice he trained me to use: "Buy local, Buy Handmade". Russ was always an advocate for honesty, and I will never forget the unique and wonderful man who was truly a mentor to me. Rest in Peace my teacher, and friend. I will miss you. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Totally Trashed Fashion And TaFurious™ together again!

Totally Trashed Fashion And TaFurious™  together again!

This past December I had the wonderful opportunity to design a custom piece for a top secret surprise gift. The un-witting recipient happened to be none other than Rachel Mace, of Totally Trashed fashion. Rachel and I worked together on Runway Renegades last August, so I was happy to design something specifically for this spunky vixen.

I'd been saving the last chunk of a beloved pair of rescued chaps- so I had a great time designing with the right hip of this very distressed up-cycled leather. As the piece came together, I got more and more excited. "The Right Hip", leather skarf had the makings of an oooh-la-la piece. Every thing worked correctly, from the corset type tie back, to the dripping front chain.

Rachel was so thrilled when she opened her gift, that she took it to a Tinsel Tokyo magazine shoot- and will be using it in her Sugar Does Portland fashion show, Feb 10th. And as a bonus, she's taking several other TaFurious pieces too (A few more gems being designed just for her creations)! I'd go... but santa brought ME two tickets to Maui. While she's cat-walking it up, I will be tanned, relaxed, sipping a cocktail and probably dreaming up new island inspired jewelry.

If James Dean has a female counterpart, it's Rachel Mace in this necklace. Photo Courtesy of Conner Allen Photography
"The Right Hip", by TaFurious