During an early photo shoot, I discovered that my personal collection of dainty earrings purchased on globe-trotting expeditions were nearly invisible in photographs. I’d purchased super-light weight, teeny-tiny earrings that could be worn all day at work and that felt invisible. This is the only kind of jewellery that you will generally see me wearing, except for special occasions.
My tiny, dainty earrings
We were going to source and sell earrings made by designers in developing countries such as Vietnam and India. However I discovered during my first fabric-sourcing trip that one favourite artist had moved on, with much design copying and poor quality workmanship by other earring sellers and makers. I’d also since discovered numerous fantastic individuals living all over the world designing and selling earrings via Etsy, Facebook and small business websites. I decided that supporting these individuals by showcasing and crediting their work through our photo shoots would be much more fulfilling than on-selling earrings ourselves.
I decided to make a collection of larger, bolder earrings from my favourite earring designers to add colour and interest to photo shoots of Monsoon Rags outfits, and to showcase the work of these fabulous people. My collection grew a little (understatement) larger than as agreed with my business and life partner (oops!). I guess pretty earrings are a weakness of mine!
Earrings by Heidi at Azteca Designs, USA
So check out the Monsoon Rags fairy’s lobes to see her collection of pretty earrings. To me, each are mini works of art. All are hand made by designers who sell their work through various platforms on the web, and are recent purchases. These are real, living artists! I tried very hard to collect a wide variety of designs that suit my personal style from quite a number of different artists, all around the world. Some artists sell earrings of the same design for a number of months, while others prefer to create only one-off pieces. You can also work with an artist to create a custom piece, such as a particular style and colour to match an outfit.
Earrings by Polina & Sergey at Beauty Spot, Ukraine
Many of my earrings also use components that are also hand made, by the earring designer or another artist, such as lamp work and ceramic beads, fancy ear hooks, enamel work, etched metal and painted wood. So you could be supporting 2-3 artists with one earring purchase! I have taken a great pleasure in discovering the individuals behind each of my earrings. It’s also been fantastic to see a vibrant online community of jewellery and component makers supporting each other across oceans and political boundaries. I will do blogs from time to time, showcasing favourites of my earring collection being worn out and about and at Monsoon Rags photo shoots. You will also see credits given to earrings visible in our images, these artists do wonderful work (next week’s job for me). We are keen to support them!
Earrings by Valerie at Entre 2 et 7, France
It is so much more fulfilling to have an item that has been lovingly hand made, with carefully selected, high-quality components, rather than one that has been carelessly produced in a factory or sweat-shop. Purchases made from the creating artist such as through an online or physical shop directly support livelihood of that person. You never know exactly who benefits the most from chain store purchases of mass-produced jewellery, and the quality of components used.
I highly recommend purchasing hand made!
The colours of fabrics in our first series inspired my choice of photo shoot locations, being the tropical forests of far north Queensland, and the red sandy Simpson Desert literally in the center of Australia. I’m soul-happiest living in a place where I wake up to a wilderness environment. My loved ones are discovering that the longer I am cooped up with wings clipped due to excessive commitments in a big city, the further I…
Last November I travelled to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand on a mission to collect fabrics for my Monsoon Rags designs. First I went to Hoi An in Vietnam to find some gorgeous silk brocade made by weavers at a favourite ethical business that employs and trains people with physical disabilities, then I visited Phnom Penh in Cambodia to source hoi silk, fine silk, raw silk and scarves, and finally I headed to…