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Styled Wedding Shoot ~ Happy Seasons with Macrame

Styled Wedding Shoot ~ Happy Seasons with Macrame

Having just started out making large Macrame Backdrops for weddings and events, I realised that until they are used in a real wedding, I am going to need to do a styled wedding shoot in order to showcase my work and for it to be seen in an actual setting!  So I collaborated with a few awesome professionals and this was the result!  I found out a week before the time that our ‘bride’ had pink hair and I thought wow, that will look amazing with the garden ‘seasons’  shoot I had in mind!  It is not every day that you see a bride with pink hair, but I knew it would be different and with what I had in mind, I knew it would work so well!  The result exceeded my expectations!

We worked with a lot of what we already had, such as my own pure white ‘summer’ wedding dress, and a borrowed 1950’s lace wedding dress that looked exceptionally beautiful on our just-as-beautiful model, especially in our ‘autumn leaves’ shots!  I decided to make my own floral crown and flower bouquets and borrowed a gorgeous gold crown that a friend had handmade for her own wedding almost 20 years ago!  Instead of wearing it on top of her head, our bride wore it around her forehead and it looked so very beautiful combined with the lace wedding dress she wore!

Of course, we had to remember why we were there – to take magnificent shots of my Macrame Wedding Decor – backdrops, plant hangers and dreamcatchers, so although it was tempting to get carried away with creative shots of our stunning bride, we set to work at hanging, holding and securing the massive backdrop to create some of the most beautiful images, and I feel so proud of how they turned out!

As already mentioned, we wanted to shoot with different ‘seasons’ in mind, particularly summer and autumn, though we are currently slap bang in the middle of Durban winters! Thankfully our winters are lovely and warm by comparison.  Our props were supplied by Kim from Crystal and Vine.  We chose the Wooden Slatted Hurricane and lots of candles and ivy for our Autumn shots, and the large and small Copper Lanterns which looked stunning in our Summer shots.  Since the focus was on the macrame items, we did not need much else, especially since we made use of beautiful garden surroundings, next to a Lilly pond, on a bridge and amongst an array of Autumn leaves lying under a magnificent tree.  The weather obeyed and we were blessed with the most beautiful day. Our daughters were our little assistants who did such a great job, sometimes standing on ladders to hold up our heavy backdrop in the background, or fetching and carrying.

Above all, this being our first styled shoot, we just wanted to experiment and have loads of fun, and looking at how our bride was laughing in the last images of this post, it truly was a fun and happy day! I hope these images will inspire you!

All Macrame Backdrops, Plant Hangers and Dream Catchers are available for hire or to purchase.  Customer Orders are also available on request. Have a look at our website for more products and details!

~  Collaborators ~

Photography ~ Kathy Nugent;  Model & Makeup ~ Alissa Dawn Maakal; Decor Hiring ~ Kim from Crystal & Vine; Wedding Dresses ~ all borrowed.

Styling, Flower Arrangements & Macrame Decor ~ Yvette Mommsen owner of ArtEsense online shop ~ The Hand to Heart Collection of Macrame Decor.


Collage Lilly Pond


Collage Lace Lilly Pond Trio


Collage BottomBridgeHappyWaterfall


Collage Macrame Top Bridge Trio

Collage TopBridgeDoubleFlowers



Collage FernDreamCatcherTrio

Collage FernDreamcatcherTrio3

Collage AutumnLeavesIvyTrio


Collage HappyBrideAutumn.jpg


DIY Series: Photography Tips

DIY Series: Photography Tips

This is the first of a DIY series I would like to start. It will be ongoing as there is so much out there that you can do yourself! And because my blog and my business is all about ‘handmade things’, I would love to share with you how you can ‘make it yourself’. There is something out there for everyone, even if you never considered yourself creative. You may just surprise yourself! And even if you are not creating as a business, just making something for you, for your home or as a gift is good enough! There is something so exciting and satisfying about making something yourself, and seeing the finished product brings such pride and joy (even if you didn’t quite get it right the first time).

The first series I am going to start is called ‘Photography Tips’. In particular, taking great photos for your online shop, website or your blog. I have an online shop selling handmade products from various suppliers, so this is something that very much applies to me and my business, but even if you are not selling your creations online, (yet), I am sure you will find some of the tips I am about to share very useful! I am still learning myself, so this series is as much for me as it is for you!

I usually have to rely on the makers of my products to send me their beautiful images. However, not everybody knows how to take the perfect picture, and when you are selling something online it is your photo that needs to tell a story! You may have a wonderful product, but for some reason it does not sell, and more often than not this is as a result of not-so-great photography. This makes sense because unlike a virtual shop, your customer cannot smell, touch or feel your product and they need to know exactly how big or small it is. It also really helps to take a photo in the setting that it would be used…for example a storage box with books or hand towels rolled inside looks so much better than a plain box on a table….

To start, because not everybody that makes a beautiful product to sell has a great camera too, I am going to share with you how you can simply take product photos using your Smart Phone. (In my case, I use my iPhone).

As I said earlier though, taking a photo with your phone need not be just for your products or business. In fact, these tips will help you take beautiful, fun and inspiring pics at any time. After all, photographers are artists and just like artists they see beauty in every day life, often in the simplest things. So lets get started….

1.  First, look for good light! This is essential for a great photo. Natural lighting is by far the best and preferably no camera flash. Look for an area in your home or garden that has great indirect lighting and no direct sunlight. So, if you are taking your photo inside, then an area that has great light coming from the side but not directly onto your product.

TIP Use a big piece of white board across your light source to help create even light across your product!


Product photo with clean white background


Product photo with clean white background

2. What about your background? I personally prefer a clean, white neutral background as this allows you to play around with the scene and is not distracting from your product. Not to say that props cannot be used! Props are still a great idea, but make sure that the ones you choose fit the theme of your item and all work together. For example, if you are photographing a piece of furniture, make sure you use props that have a similar colour scheme such as a brown book next to a brownish vase with flowers.

TIP: as a background, use a large white canvas for larger items, or white printer paper for smaller items.


Product photo with clean white background


Product photo with clean white background

3. Take your photo from different angles. You can have plenty of fun with this part! I LOVE photos taken from above, so try this perspective or shoot from different angles that allow you to show depth and perspective. The important thing is to take PLENTY of photographs! This way you will have lots to choose from when you are finished.

4. Play around with the focus on your Smart Phone. Sometimes it looks great to have parts of your image out of focus. To focus on a certain part of your photo, tap the screen until you see a little square and wait for it to focus. (I do this with my iPhone). If you want the photo to be underexposed, tap on a bright part of the screen and vice versa for overexposure – tap a dark part of the screen. Remember you can tap on any part of your image to select focus, for example, if you are wanting to focus more on a part of your photo in the foreground, creating a bit of a blur in the background.

Here are a few photos I have taken with my iPhone only.  I have not edited any of them.  I have simply played with the focus on my phone, creating blur in certain parts, and focusing on certain parts of the photo, for example, the flowers.  Terry Angelos is one of my favourite Durban artists!  These Dancing Journals were custom made for a customer with 2 little dancing daughters, just like me! (and yes I have one too!) If you like Terry’s art, you may also like some of her block mounted art prints, available from ArtEsense online shop.


Terry Angelos Art Dancing Journal


Terry Angelos Art Dancing Journal


Terry Angelos Art Dancing Journal


Terry Angelos Art Dancing Journal

Terry Angelos Art Dancing Journal

Terry Angelos Art Dancing Journal


Terry Angelos Art Dancing Journal

I would like to share this video with you. It is from the blog Charm & Gumption and sums up many of the tips mentioned above.

I am going to end with this video. I really loved the way it was put together! Hope you have lots of fun trying out some of these Smart Phone ‘tricks’. The next part of my DIY Photography Tips series will focus on some really lovely editing apps, so come on over next week for more on this.

Thank you for reading. I hope this post was helpful! If you have any more tips I would love to hear from you!

Winter Fashion show at the African Art Centre

Winter Fashion show at the African Art Centre

African Art Centre Model wearing design by Bianca Warren, accessories by the African Art Centre

Last week I attended a Winter Fashion Show at the African Art Centre! This was an exciting collaboration between well-known Durban fashion designer Bianca Warren and the equally well-known African Art Centre, a landmark of the popular Florida Road in Durban.

The fashion show was to showcase the latest fashion designs of Bianca Warren, as well as the launch of a new beaded jewellery range made by crafters at The African Art Centre.

I am excited to say that ArtEsense will soon be collaborating with the African Art Centre and will be selling some of their stunning jewellery and other items online!


African Art Centre Round Telephone wire Flower Brooch

When I arrived I had already picked out ‘my favourites’.  Jewellery that I know I would certainly wear. The show itself was a wonderful success with a great turnout of people and supporters.  It was relaxed and buzzing with people, surrounded by some of the most beautiful works of art I have seen!  The jewellery is original, colourful and detailed and that is not all!  The gallery adorns beautiful pieces ranging from telephone wire baskets, to handmade ‘african’ dolls, ceramics, platters and spoons and even woodcarvings and more. I am an artist, so I love art and it is easy for me to appreciate and be taken in by beautiful works of art, but there is something for everyone and the colours and vibrancy that exude from this happy place would draw anybody in, I am sure.


African Art Centre Knotted Necklace

So, you may wonder what is so special about the African Art Centre?  I would love to tell you. They have worked with some of the poorest communities.  Rural men and women, the disabled, unemployed and those affected by HIV/AIDS. They are a non-profit development project, teaching creative art and craft skills to groups of mostly Zulu and Xhosa artists and crafters in rural KwaZulu Natal. Their development increases the sales of craft products in mainstream retail. The main aim always is to provide community upliftment and development support to very poor communities, helping them not only to learn a skill, but also to support their families.  Women are often the sole breadwinners for their families and this project has helped give them this amazing opportunity.


Have a look at just some of their beautiful crafts:

African Art Centre Fluffy,flower,telephone,wire,brooch

African Art Centre Fluffy flower telephone wire brooch


African Art Centre Beaded Earings

African,Art,Centre, metalic,citrus,red,earings

African Art Centre metalic citrus red earings

ArtEsense so proud to support Woza Moya Beaded Crafts

ArtEsense so proud to support Woza Moya Beaded Crafts

The first time I came across Woza Moya craft store products, I was blown away!  Everything was so well made.  The thoughts that went through my head were : beautiful, cheerful, colourful, sunny and so proudly South African!


Woza Moya Washline Necklace. Funky and such Fun!


Woza Moya Jacqueline Beaded Flower Necklace


Woza Moya Cherry Necklace handmade from tiny coloured beads.


Woza Moya Orange Beaded Ring














It is therefore such a privilege for me to once again be a very small part of such a worthy cause by selling these lovely beaded crafts through my online store, ArtEsense.   If you live in Durban, you will most certainly have heard about Woza Moya!  If not, then I would love to tell you more about this wonderful project.  Woza Moya is a project run by the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust which generates an income for the people who are taught to make these crafts. Through enabling crafters to use their creativity to generate an income, it brings hope and dignity to these people and the families they support. Many of the crafters are either infected with HIV or affected by this epidemic in some way.  Many also support as many as 10 family members, and so this amazing project is able to help feed these families. This project also shows that with the right care and access to medication a person’s life can be forever changed and they can live and look forward to a hope and a future. Woza Moya gives hope to between 200 and 300 crafters! How amazing!  Their crafts range from beaded salad servers, “scoobie” bowls, through to beaded jewellery and “The Little Traveller” which I will tell you abit more about.  Their craft skills are not just limited to beading!  Some of the other crafts taught include ceramics, sewing and crochet work.


Woza Moya Little Traveller holding a beaded Red Heart

Like me, you may be wondering what The Little Travellers are all about. Well, these adorable little dolls are also part of this worthy project, enabling the people who make them to put food on the table and support their families. They were born in 2002 and started out selling from flea markets, schools and conferences.  They were so popular that they eventually spread across the country and even to countries abroad!  They are small dolls making a very large impact on the communities of those who make them.  They are a symbol of hope.  Each one is unique and each one has a story to tell.  By wearing one you help the fight against HIV/AIDS and poverty.  The Little Travellers have also been inspiration for other famous projects around the world such as photographic exhibitions and competitions as well as Mount Everest climbers and even a movie which was selected at the Chicago International Film Festival!

Woza, Moya,Little,Traveller,

Woza Moya Little Traveller South African Flag


Woza Moya Little Traveller Mermaid