• Cat Kerr: Mixed Media Artist Extraordinaire

    cat kerr mixed media artist collage

    Intrepid, Insightful, Inspiring

    Cat Kerr is a mixed media artist driven by curiosity, constantly inspired by the materials she handles. For Cat, the creative journey is paramount, often outweighing the final result. From a young age she was always drawing.  Initially, her dream was to be a fashion designer. Inspired by her grandmother, Belen de Carvajal, this was also the name she chose for her business.

    In her 20s, Cat’s artistic focus shifted to manipulating paper and incorporating found objects. The thirties brought an obsession with resin, metal, and rust, experimenting with their combinations. In time, she moved on to working with wood and plastic, particularly enjoying the creative potential of plastic films from Graphix.

    Currently, Cat’s art revolves around color, whether through acrylic paints or wax sticks. And she’s having a great time combining all the materials and techniques she’s explored over the years, including the use of canvas, metal, assemblage, and art journaling, reflecting a bit of everything in her artist’s toolbox.

    Cat Shares Her Journey and So Much More

    In this episode, Tammy and Cat discuss Cat’s creative journey, her love for experimenting with different mediums, and her passion for inspiring others to create without fear. They also touch on topics such as organizing art supplies (the ongoing battle many of us face!), working directly with manufacturers, and the value of your artwork. And, so much more.


    Visit Cat’s Linktree for access to all the places you can find her. 


    Social media plays a dual role for me—it’s both a business tool and a platform to share my excitement for art. My goal is to inspire others to create fearlessly and explore new techniques. I hope my followers feel this excitement and are motivated to try new things themselves.

    Key Episode Takeaways

    • Say yes to opportunities, even if they are unpaid, as they can lead to new learning experiences and connections.

    • Embrace curiosity and let the materials guide your creative process.

    • Don’t be afraid to try new techniques and push the boundaries of what a medium can do.

    • Organize art supplies in a way that allows you to see and easily access what you have.

    • Make connections and reach out to  manufacturers if you have ideas for new products.

    • Consider the time invested when determining the value of finished artwork.

    • Encourage others to create without fear and inspire them to try new things.

    • Finding the right balance between creating for joy and getting paid for one’s time is a challenge in the creative industry.

    • Art has a healing power and brings grounding and meaningfulness into our lives.

    • Having a focus, defining goals, and staying disciplined are key to achieving success in the creative industry.

    Keep Learning, by Cat Kerr


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    Embracing Creativity and Curiosity


    Exploring Different Mediums and Techniques


    Organizing Art Supplies for Inspiration


    Making Connections and Collaborating with Manufacturers


    Inspiring Others to Create Without Fear


    Valuing and Monetizing Creative Work


    The Healing Power of Art


    Finding Grounding in Art


    Challenges of Getting Paid for Fun


    The Importance of Focus and Goals

    The Nibbler, mini journals; by Cat Kerr
    Assemblage by Cat Kerr


  • The Artist Rolodex Solution and More

    Barnidge-header  (1920 x 800 px) - 1

    In This Episode of Heart & Hands of a Maker

    Sandra Barnidge  is a writer who wears many hats. She’s most often a freelancer for universities, nonprofits, and foundations, where she writes in-depth features about scientists, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers. She also has a novel about religion and sports in the Deep South forthcoming from Belle Point Press.

    Recently, Sandra and her brother launched a new project, called Handcraft Nation. This is an online directory of artists, crafters, and makers of all kinds who live in the United States. Think of it as a rolodex for crafters, especially those who sell their work predominantly at arts and crafts shows and festivals.

    Tune in to Heart & Hands of a Maker to hear more about their mission and future plans to become a hub for all things handmade, including jewelry, personal care items, and clothing.

    For a limited time  you can sign up for an annual membership for free! In the future, as a listener of Heart & Hands of a Maker, you can apply a special code and save 10% on your annual membership. Use code: HeartHands10

    Artists work shown above (center) can be found on Handcraft Nation.

    Clockwise starting in the upper right:
    Copper Baskets
    Shepherd Industries
    Sand’s Stones
    Dara’s Soapery

    Handcraft Nation Artisan Directory

    Handcraft Nation is a platform created to support artists and makers in the United States. 

    This online tool was created to address the challenges artists face on social media platforms, where algorithms limit their reach and direct traffic away from their own websites. Handcraft Nation aims to connect consumers with local artists and makers, promoting sustainability and supporting local economies. The platform currently has around 60 makers listed, with plans to expand and become a hub for personal care items and clothing made by independent artisans.

    Key Episode Takeaways

    • Handcraft Nation is a platform that supports artists and makers in the United States by providing a directory of their work and linking to their websites and online shops.

    • The platform addresses the challenges that artists face on social media platforms, where algorithms limit their reach and direct traffic away from their own websites.

    • Handcraft Nation aims to connect consumers with local artists and makers, promoting sustainability and supporting local economies.

    • The platform plans to expand and become a hub for personal care items and clothing made by independent artisans.

    Design by Sandra Lupo


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    Introduction to Handcraft Nation


    Buying Less and Buying Better


    Putting Small Towns on the Map as Creative Hubs


    The Path Forward: Embracing Creativity

    Copper Baskets by Virginia Fisher


  • Allie Perry: Jewelry Designer, Entrepreneur, Mentor

    Meet Allie Perry

    Allie Perry is a contemporary goldsmith who lives and works in Connecticut. An avid nature lover, her one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces are frequently inspired by her surroundings. With professional experience spanning decades, Allie draws on her knowledge and specialized experience to create custom, heirloom-quality jewelry that is meant to be worn and enjoyed. She does this while taking great pride in the fact that the making of each piece often supports multiple small businesses.


    Get Allie’s comprehensive ebook, Find Your Perfect Jewelry Size, for FREE when you join her Insiders Club, In The Loupe! You can opt-in here.


    Find and Follow Allie in the following hubs:

    Sterling silver clipper ship pendant by Allie Perry

    In This Episode of Heart & Hands of a Maker

    Allie Perry started making jewelry in high school and pursued it despite societal expectations. She took on various jobs in the jewelry industry, learning new skills and navigating a corporate environment within the fine-jewelry space. After losing her job during the COVID-19 pandemic she started her own business. 

    In this conversation, Allie emphasizes the importance of trust in oneself, being flexible, and finding inspiration in nature. She encourages aspiring designers to embrace their unique style and put their work out there.

    Tammy and Allie discuss the challenges and roadblocks faced by jewelry makers and small business owners. Allie emphasizes the importance of taking action and not waiting for the perfect time to start. She also highlights the value of community and finding support from like-minded individuals.

    Allie shares her experience of being part of jewelry-specific and small business owner groups, where she can ask questions, seek advice, and receive feedback. Allie shares her plans for the future, including transitioning her business back into fine jewelry, offering online classes, and writing informative articles and eBooks to educate her customers.

    Key Episode Takeaways

    • Trust in yourself and go for it!
    • Be flexible and willing to adapt to changes.
    • Find inspiration in nature and embrace your unique style.
    • Put your work out there and believe that there are people who will appreciate it.
    • Don’t wait for the perfect time to start your jewelry making business. Take action today.
    • Find support and community in like-minded individuals who can provide advice, feedback, and guidance.
    • Continuously learn and adapt to changes in the industry to stay relevant and successful.
    • Consider diversifying your income streams and exploring passive income opportunities.
    • Share your knowledge and experiences with others to help them succeed.
    • Focus on building relationships with your customers and providing them with a personalized experience.
    • Don’t be afraid to make changes and pivot if something isn’t working or making you happy.
    • Take care of your physical and mental well-being to avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
    Sterling silver and Prehnite cicada pendant by Allie Perry


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    Introduction and Background


    Navigating the Jewelry Industry


    Embracing Challenges and Overcoming Self-Limitations


    Taking Action and Overcoming Roadblocks


    Diversifying and Adapting in the Jewelry Industry


    Educating Customers through Informative Content


    Building Relationships and Providing a Personalized Experience

    Sterling Silver functional penny farthing by Allie Perry
    14k yellow and white gold diamond wedding set, displaying a wave motif by Allie Perry


  • Sandra Lupo: Jewelry Designer, Instructor and Inventor

    Meet Sandra Lupo

    I became a maker in my 30’s while raising two children. I had worked in the corporate world for most of my 20’s and married. I discovered I liked to work with my hands and create after I had my best creations, my children! I didn’t enjoy the needle arts or sewing (as my Mom did) but I sure liked getting my hands dirty and rough, i.e. furniture refinishing, upholstery, stained glass. Jewelry making and playing with fire was next!

    Jewelry Designer, Instructor, Tool Inventor

    Join Tammy as she talks with Sandra Lupo, a renowned artist, educator, and tool inventor. Lean into Sandra’s journey, which includes the creation of her tool, Conetastic. See the transformative power of collaboration in DIY and jewelry making through Sandra’s eys. Gain invaluable insights into overcoming self-doubt, handling criticism, and navigating the business landscape as a creative entrepreneur. Explore the essence of creativity, staying true to your passion, and the vital role of sustainability in the ever-evolving DIY community. Tune in for a vibrant discussion filled with wisdom, encouragement, and the joy of crafting from the heart.

    To find Sandra visit these links; be sure to follow her to stay in the loop!

    Find her Conetastic tool at your favorite jewelry supplier.

    Conetastic tool invented by Sandra Lupo; manufactured by Beadalon

    Key Episode Takeaways

    • The importance of DIY

    • The value of teaching and collaboration in the maker community

    • The challenges of bookkeeping and studio organization in running a jewelry busines

    • Social media can be a necessary part of all we do but can also a chore

    • Teaching in person provides a unique and fulfilling experience, but online teaching has become more prevalent due to the pandemic.

    • Collaboration and community are essential for personal and professional growth as a maker.

    • Incorporating personal talents and experiences into one’s work adds a unique touch and helps to create a connection with customers.

    • Staying relevant in the DIY space involves staying informed about trends, being mindful of sustainability, and continuously learning and growing.

    • Traveling and exploring different environments can provide inspiration and broaden one’s horizons as a maker.

    mixed media, layered necklace: wood, wire, freshwater pearls, crystals, gemstones, cotton By Sandra Lupo


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    Introduction and Finding Creative Inspiration


    Sandra Lupo’s Creative Journey


    The Invention of Cone-tastic


    Continuing to Create and Make


    Navigating the Business Side


    Collaboration and Bringing Personal Talents


    Dealing with Self-Doubt and Negative Feedback


    Final Thoughts and Embracing Fun

    “Sun worship Duo” originally published in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Wire wrapping beads and stones, half-round wrapping, wire components fabrication, sheet manipulation, bezel making and stone setting


  • Francesca Watson, Jewelry Designer and Instructor

    Heart & Hands of a Maker

    Francesca Watson is a passionate metalsmith and jewelry-making instructor. She, along with her beloved husband Nick who is also an artist, manage the operation of The Makery. The Makery is a working and teaching studio in Old Village in Downtown Bulverde, Texas where they host in-person and online workshops, retreats, and more.

    In addition to The Makery, Francesca is host to an online community and co-director of Heart of the Maker (now open for enrollment!) , alongside Jessica Coté.  As an aside – their next collaboration will be called Hands of the Maker. And yes! It’s a complete coincidence their programs and the title of my podcast are so similarly named.

    Passionate maker, instructor, supporter of all who want to learn and grow

    In this episode of Heart & Hands of a Maker, Francesca shares insights from her personal maker journey, emphasizing the intrinsic value of creativity and making. Aspiring entrepreneurs will receive invaluable advice from Francesca, highlighting the imperative of seeking professional guidance and crafting robust business strategies—before(!) you start. Francesca emphasizes the value of community, sharing our knowledge to lift others up, and to never stop learning.

    I took a beading class, fell in love with rocks so picked up wire wrapping (because torches scared me), dabbled in metal clay as a “work around” to soldering, and finally bit the bullet and dove into metals wholeheartedly. My first experiences were not … let’s just say encouraging. Not encouraging at all. I was in love with the work of Connie Fox and could not get soldering to work for me at all. I was ready to just admit I was a failure and give it all up, but I took a class with Richard Salley and Jessica Jordan Coté that changed everything, and I really owe it to them that I’m a metalsmith.

    Boho sterling silver earrings by Francesca Watson

    Find and Follow Francesca Watson

    To find Francesca, please follow these links then follow her to stay up to date on all she has going on and is offering: 

    Francesca offers her thanks and appreciation to those who have influenced and helped her along her maker journey. Those she references are as follows and can be found through their respective links:

    Richard Salley

    Jessica Coté 

    Charles Lewton Brain 

    Loretta Lam 

    Tonya Davidson 

    Connie Fox 

    Key Episode Takeaways

    • Creativity is valuable for its own sake and does not need to be monetized to be worthwhile.
    • Aspiring business owners should seek professional help and create a solid business plan.
    • Balancing teaching and making can be challenging, but it is important to give oneself permission to focus on personal creative projects.
    • Busy is not a virtue, and it is important to make time for stillness and creativity.
    • Embrace failure and learn from mistakes
    • Don’t worry about what others think and focus on your own journey
    • Take classes from different teachers to gain different perspectives and techniques
    • Create a safe space for students to learn and grow
    • Find joy in making pretty things
    Hope, necklace by Francesca Watson


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    The Value of Creativity


    Advice for Business Owners


    Personal Creative Projects


    Creating a Safe Space for Learning and Growth


    The Joy of Making Pretty Things

    Redemption Series, work in progress by Francesca Watson


  • Jen Cushman: Freedom Through Art and Spirit

    Jen Cushman is a natural storyteller drawn to the imperfect, the quirky, the artsy, and the authentic. She’s spent 25 years as a mixed-media artist and instructor, authored two jewelry-making books, appeared on numerous DIY television shows as a guest artist, and has been published in national magazines. Currently, she is a contributing artist on the MadeTV maker network. 

    To learn more about Jen, visit her website  or follow her social media:


    To learn about Jen’s retreats in the South of France visit: soulstirringretreats.com

    Each Monday, at 11:11 am Arizona time, Jen hosts her Magic Mondays livestreams, where she teaches about personal growth, wellness, energy medicine or spirituality.

    She also does mini readings for a handful of her live viewers using her own Joy FULL Oracle Card Deck for Creatives, Healers and Feelers.

    In This Episode of Heart & Hands of a Maker

    Jen discusses the importance of self-care and setting boundaries. She emphasizes the need to prioritize oneself and overcome cultural conditioning that often places women’s needs at the bottom. Jen also encourages embracing failure as a learning opportunity and reframing mistakes as feedback. She highlights the freedom of art and the power of embracing imperfection. Additionally, she challenges the notion that artists are not essential and asserts that art brings beauty and meaning to the world. Jen concludes by emphasizing the importance of supporting and empowering each other on our creative journeys.

    Key Takeaways

    • Embrace authenticity and be true to yourself in your creative journey.

    • Art and spirit are interconnected and combining them can lead to a deeper understanding of oneself.

    • Business evolution often involves finding a balance between teaching and creating.

    • The pandemic has led to a pivot in business strategies, such as Soul Stir Magic, and a greater appreciation for in-person connections.

    • Digital learning has become more accepted and provides opportunities for both convenience and connection.

    • Taking care of oneself is essential, and it can be achieved by starting with small, manageable steps.

    • Authenticity is valued and appreciated, and it is important to embrace and share your unique gifts with the world.

    • Embrace failure as a learning opportunity and view mistakes as feedback.

    • Challenge cultural conditioning that undermines the essentiality of artists and recognize the value they bring to the world.

    • Support and empower each other on our creative journeys.


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    Introduction and Creative Journey


    Art Plus Spirit


    Business Evolution and Teaching


    Creating an Oracle Card Deck


    Pandemic Pivot and Soul Stir Magic


    Balancing In-Person and Digital Learning


    The Importance of Authenticity


    Resetting and Taking Care of Yourself


    The Importance of Self-Care and Setting Boundaries


    Embracing Failure and Learning from Mistakes


    The Freedom of Art and Embracing Imperfection


    Challenging Cultural Conditioning and Recognizing the Essentiality of Artists


    Supporting and Empowering Each Other


    Final Thoughts and Call to Action