Whew! Time does not wait for anyone!!! It's just flying on by. Turns out I did not finish my reading list. In fact I only read ONE book in completion. Summer reading fail aside, there's been a lot going on. When you’re out here on your own making your ambitions come true, no one sees the back breaking work, the endless efforts, or understands how much of your time goes into it. Some do. Very few!! People maybe see the final product in a photo or video form online, possibly in person. Hopefully in person!! It’s wild.
Everything here is hand made. Every component is thoroughly sourced, looking for what I think are the highest quality materials. If I can make it, I will. If I don't know how to, odds are if it's part of my process, I'm going to learn how eventually. At this point in my journey as an artist and small business I’m very proud of what I produce. While I’m not making as much money or custom work as I want right now and I’m not where I thought I’d be at this point in my life… but I am here and VERY grateful. Thanks for any support, kind words, and feed back. Everything helps when you’re in a solution based mindset which is just ONE of the many things this journey has taught me. THAT BEING SAID! Here is an attempt to explain the amount of time & detail that goes into one of my custom works.
The most recent work of wearable art I've had to opportunity to create is a wrap dress for one very special person. I decided to hand sew it using a back stitch with embroidery floss. Using a thick needle and thread is ideal in my opinion. It feels stronger to me. We'll see how the dress fits and wears over time though. It's being shipped out this week and my nerves are eating at me!! The fabric was carefully selected from my favorite local fabric shop Discount Fabric in Clawson. Then screen printed with yellow ink. The screens I had made with my original art work at Ocelot Print Shop in Cass Corridor of Detroit. This screen was originally intended/used to print on recycled paper cards but I later knew they'd make fantastic fabrics or interesting tiled shirts! I decided to use the color yellow on the dress because while designing a couple custom necklaces for the same client, she told me her husband is color blind and can only see yellow. The gray color fabric goes perfect with the yellow floral collage screen print and fits her neutral wardrobe.
After screen printing the fabric I scavenged the internet for interesting wrap dress patterns. There are SO MANY cute designs but ultimately this dress was based on a pattern called ZOE from Dressmaking Amore. I did not buy the pattern but created my own pattern, fit to my clients measurements, from the tutorial video on this website. I really like how minimal the idea is and how simple it would be to add sleeves to the pattern. After deciding on the design I bought patterning paper from JOANN Fabrics, sketched and measured the pieces out and just... went for it. The whole process took about a month. Now that I have one made, I know the time to make it could be cut down significantly. Thinking of making one for myself honestly! Who knows what I'll make next! Would love to make another so please reach out for more details if you're interested.
The most challenging aspect of the process was the edge lining. Some of the folded pieces of fabric I wrapped around the edge of the dress moved. I spent a ton of time ironing them to get a crease but those buggers still moved out of place!!!! A few times this happened and I did not notice while sewing. I then had to go back and comb through every seem to make sure the edges would not come unfolded when wearing, over time, or after washing. I'd be more thorough on my next one as far as pinning these little details to the dresses edge. After a hand wash and drying, the dress is folded into a box and ready to ship!
While in the process of creating this dress it dawned on me that this is how EVERY piece of clothing was made before sewing machines were invented and popularized. This kind of realization makes me feel a deep connection with humanity and history. This is one reason why making things by hand is part of my lifestyle. We have been completely removed from the making process in many ways or people don't have any idea what really goes into the process of making things. People talk about slow fashion, hand sewing your own garments is a whole concept! Not a new one but it does seem kind of novel...
Last week we announced our latest addition to Citrine Tangerine - Our Signature Fragrance Peridot Crystal Candles. They smell sweet & floral with a hint of citrus like Peony and Lemongrass. How were these candles made? Let us tell you! Our candles are made in partnership with Leslie - owner of True 2 You Candles! Her business is just extravagant and her candles are the best!
During the lockdowns of 2020 I'd accumulated a significant amount of these adorable glass yogurt containers that I just HAD to make into candles. After my first attempts at making candles, I knew my process had to be wrong. Leslie was the answer! We scheduled a fragrance consultation to find my signature blend. After sampling a couple fragrance combinations, Leslie made the Citrine Tangerine Peridot Crystal candles in no time at all.
While the candles cured, I made sequin filled recycled paper for dust covers. Each candle has a little green stone in the bottom. This is a gemstone called Peridot. These particular Peridot are sourced from Arizona. I did not know you could find Peridot in Arizona until sourcing for the August birthstone collection this year. This crystal was included so your space not only smells good but is infused with the crystal energies of Peridot which bring you well being, increase, prosperity, and warmth. The fragrance is blended to remind you of a warm day perhaps drinking tea in a flower filled garden. A perfect 5 oz. candle with Cotton wicks and organic coconut soy wax in up-cycled yogurt containers.
When we opened our studio in The Village Arts Factory, Leslie was the first studio-mate we met. She's so warm and friendly! When going to the Village Arts Factory it's likely that you're headed to a lively party with your friends making candles at True 2 You Studios! It's such a blessing to have met her and if you ever do meet Leslie, you'll certainly feel the same way.
Happy November! Watch my latest video for close up views of four pieces from the latest collection inspired by and featuring the Quartz variety Citrine.
Symbiosis is a painting series depicting Kelp inspired by an under water photograph.
At the top of the new year, 2021, it became clear that I need to step it up when it comes to marketing Citrine Tangerine. With clarity came a wave of reality – This year was going to be filled with hard work. 2021 would be the hardest year of all because it was the one upon me! I was ready. I made a plan. Now is the time to put everything I've prepared into action. It was settled! I'd create small monthly collections featuring the birthstones. This way I could cut down on how many pieces of jewelry I create but keep the website updated frequently enough to keep it interesting. These monthly collections inspired beauty looks for self portraits, new blog posts, crystal readings, and fresh ideas for product photography. Here we are 8 months down and it's been rewarding. So much good has happened. The gratitude I feel is insurmountable. I'll never forget the love.
When the May Collection came around I had no idea the impact and inspiration Emeralds would bring to light. It was late April when I started designing pieces, photographing jewelry, and recording the Crystal Reading from The Book Of Stones - when inspiration struck. The photographs from this collection are memorable. It was the way the green of Craig's tumbled raw emeralds illuminated in the sunlight. I'd also made two electro-formed Moldavite rings and a few new Herkimer Diamond rings too. Inspiration must have been in the air.
For some reason the word 'Symbiosis' popped into my head. Why was this word suddenly present in my mind? It was like I found a 'pocket' of consciousness. Soon I was pondering how we as humans relate to one another, animals, objects and the planet, I recalled many years ago how concept of Symbiosis was introduced as a concept in school. We discussed different kinds of Symbiosis – Mutualism being one I want to be part of as a global community member. But even parasitic Symbiosis is an inherently necessary aspect of how our complex planet operates.
Moving into this tangent focused around the concepts of Symbiosis I found an incredibly intriguing photograph of Kelp. This photograph was the beginning of a deep pondering on the Symbiosis humanity has with Oceans and their life forms, specifically Kelp. These green and alien like organisms reminded me of the links connecting my jewelry designs. Their growths, one on top of the other, reminded me of how we build ourselves in years at a time. Their tendrils also remind me of DNA for some reason. I discovered Kelp are not plants but a Heterokont. This word made me laugh a bit. Kelp are part of the order Laminariales. Our oceans are responsible for a substantial amount of our breathable Oxygen. Some people eat Kelp for health benefits. Large bodies of water are sources of relaxation, memories, and travel. Our oceans remind me of power. They remind me of the vastness of our planet and just how small we humans are.
'Seaweed' prior to this moment was a source of irrational fear rooting from my childhood. Nothing in particular happened to me regarding sea weed, I just did not like it! Swimming in Northern Michigan's fresh water lakes such as Higgins Lake or Lake Huron afforded me the privilege of crystal clear waters. If the water was full of long tendrils, good luck getting me in there! It just always freaked me out not knowing what was below. Never before had I seen Kelp in the light that underwater photographs of Laminariales shined on their beauty. Pure Green and Blue rays of color. Simply breath taking. Gorgeous. Stunning. This is when I knew something was emerging from my soul. I just had to paint these out of this world pictures. Like every other time I tried something new, the first pieces were NOT what I imagined but it was the start of decompressing from the lock downs in 2020.
What a year 2020 was... Nothing went as planned but painting kept me sane when I couldn't travel. I planned for another time, some time in the future... Painting kept my imagination alive. It brought color, imagination, and adventure into a very traumatizing and still year. Never did I think painting would be therapeutic but this was just one of many discoveries made last year. The creative community on a global level banded together in such a beneficial way. I am so grateful for everyone I met during these times and to have participated in several 'Lockdown Exhibitions'. It sparked a new connection with painting that is alive in this latest series of works.
There are several photographs of kelp that made me want to go somewhere new. Some where I've never gone before and perhaps I never will be able to go, to an ocean forest filled with kelp -- To experience the order of Laminariales from the ocean floor looking up. After a while my imagination took control. I hope you're able to dive into the atmospheres of this series. It is my intention that you feel more calm, more alive, and to spark your curiosity with this series. Our world is truly a beautiful place to behold. Our imaginations are powerful tools to be used for our advantage. Allow your mind to flow and extend, kind of like the laminariales some of which reach 120 feet in length. Thank you for being here.
About the Author
Megan LaCroix also known as Citrine is the daughter of a Navy Veteran. She’s lived all over the US but has roots in Michigan where her family is from. Spending summers in Northern Michigan exploring nature inspired her to create art work starting with jewelry and photography. She’d spend hours looking for rocks and creating assorted beaded jewelry with her sisters. In 2014 She graduated from University of Michigan School of Art & Design with a BFA then moved to Detroit where she is currently living and working. She is a multi-media artist with ever expanding skills but is best known for her jewelry, screen printing, photography, and paintings. Detroit Graffiti has a significant influence on her painting and drawing style. She’s participated in ArtPrize 2015 & 2021 and currently has a studio in the Village Arts Factory of Canton, MI.