Man Maker Series interview with Spencer Hansen

Today's Man Maker is a treat to discuss as this human has been a favorite of mine for years. After relocating to San Francisco in 2007, I became enveloped by a new world of artists and performers. The burning man circuit was a circus of an experience and after I was happily dragged out to the dusty desert, I had the fortune of coming across this back flipping fellow. Yes, Spencer can back-flip like no one's business at the drop of a hat and has dance moves that can keep one engaged past sunrise. He has a kind presence, an intriguing one that entices most to take the journey and see where the adventure can take you. Over the years that I've been following the expansion of his artwork, I've repeatedly found myself inspired. His hands have crafted hands and masks, wooden figurines, snapped images that are mesmerize the mind and beckon for a deeper look into the magic behind. He is a maker and a designer who keeps his hands occupied in the process and also knows how to live a balanced life with lots of play. Based out of Bali with his phenomenal team, he shares his thoughts below on art and handmade. 

GHOST DANCER MAN MAKERS INTERVIEW:

What is your heritage:

Weirdo from Rural Idaho

What are 3 reference points of inspiration for your work: ( philosophy/culture ):

Time, handmade and quality made. Making art/items that last and are not bound to fickle fads. I like to create outside of the popular ideas of how beauty is defined. I make because without this process, I feel lost. 

What are 3 skills you've learned in representing yourself as an artist:

To trust in myself, not my waste my trying to please other people or create pieces for other people. Artists are not bound to one medium and the more we learn to play and experiment, the more newness can be born. 

What are 3 skills you believe are a necessarity to be an independet designer/artist?

Focus and the importance of time. Time plays a large structure as a creative and time spent away from work also allows for more inspiration to accumulate. 

What moved you to make with your hands? As an artist who also runs a small production, I'd like to know more about what you directly create with your hands.

Its a constant quest to learn,  I love making with my hands.  Currently its ceramic clay to make heads for Blamo sculptures.  But on any given day I could be Drawing my designs, sculpting, painting, photographing, storyboarding, making clothing patterns, wood carving, photographing other peoples work.  Dyeing clothing, coming up with new processes for clothing such as painting garments, leather forming hats, masks, shoes etc.  

I also love working very closely with employees to learn new skills or come up with things we havent tried before.  Very lucky to work closly with Shayne Maratea, Naomi Samara, Jeremiah Hansen and the rest of the Heathen and Blamo teams.   

If you could travel anywhere today, where would it be and why?

Space 

3 favorite dj's at the moment?

Martha Van Straaten ,

Ubiq,

Dj Fog Puma

What advice would you offer your fellow female makers? Business advice?

Love what you make- don't waste time making what you think others want. Find people to work with that have a skill set different and varied from yours

What advice would your 65 year old self tell you today? 

Be kinder  to yourself.

 

What change would you like to see in the world?

The end of religion, a quieter life. 

 

Any additional thoughts on the importance of handmade goods in a fast growing Western World?

I am often amazed how much people love and care about the uniqueness of handmade quality goods. It's refreshing to know that the machine made, mass produced reality has not fully taken over yet although I was reminded of how omnipresent it is while traveling around America. There is plenty of the ugliness,  evident in Walmart and the homogenized everything on a larger scale. I think there are more of us waking up and designing a uniqueness in design and thoughtfulness in our goods after seeing such blandness. There is a niche for this movement and market. 

Take a peak at his work.

www.blamotoys.com

IG: Spencerblamo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Balloons in Mojave

Photographed by Chelsea Brewer in collaboration with Ghost Dancer

 

 

I've had an obsession with balloons ever since the film the "Red Balloon" came into my sphere at a young age. Something about the movement of wind behind the balloon captured me. Perhaps it is the way the lifelike persona of this intangible cherry red dream tantalizes the little boy below, it's this caravaning dream that hovers above that caught my eye as a child. Whatever it is or whatever Jung might say about my psyche, balloons against an empty sky have mesmerized me for many a moons. They've been a focal point for dreaming up shoots and this one was a blast. Chelsea and I ventured off into a scorching day while wrangling all these black balloons, the store owner thinking we were off to a funeral. Here's what we shot while frolicking minimal shade and sandstone castles in the Mojave. X

 

 

Man Maker Series interview on Westward Leather Co.

      Introducing the first talent of Man Maker Mondays, Ben Fife of Westward Leather Co. I had the pleasure of coming across Ben's work after a conversation regarding Tinariwen several months back. In my experience, I've come to develop some of my inspiring kinships through the power of music so I decided to step into the portal of his company. Ben dwells in Spokane, Washington where he occupies his time in the art of leather working. His work is sharp and sleek with a reminiscent spirit of the wild western days. I can smell the scent of leather from here and the wind-driven tales of his life from his images. 

I created the questionairre for the Man Makers series and offered it to Ben to be the initiator and brave soul to start the series off. I've honored he did. There is such a warmth, a timelessness to his soul and a kindness that would make it easy to befriend the fellow in real life. Below, are his thoughtful answers and approach to the art he makes with his hands. 

GHOST DANCER MAN MAKERS INTERVIEW:

What is your brand/name?

Westward Leather Co.

What is your heritage?

I was born in Washington State.  My mother is from Spokane born and raised, and my Father is from a small town in Louisiana.  My last name is Scottish, but I’m pretty mixed up in the blood like so many others in this country.  A mutt, or maybe a chameleon…I prefer a chameleon.  I guess what matters is I come from humble upbringing of hardworking, creative people, with very good hearts.  I am fortunate in that way.

What are 3 reference points of inspiration for your work?

I draw inspiration from so much really, this is a tough answer to pin down.  But I can say for sure that history is a large reference point.  I am always looking back, in large part at cultures that were innovative with very little, like the American Indian.  I am lost in admiration of the American Indian culture throughout history.  Not just the creativity and ingenuity of  their craft, but also the perspective they held/hold toward the natural world, and their role within it.  Which brings me to my next reference point: Nature.  Nature is the ultimate creation, and I can’t help but always be refreshed and inspired by it.  It is always waiting patiently for us to come, it overtakes me in the most magnificent way, and reminds me of who I am, and who I want to be.  Finally, I am inspired by the hope that this fast paced world, that seems to be barreling forward like a locomotive always gaining speed, will take a moment to slow down, look at our lands, look at our hands, and decide to embrace things in a more tactile and intentional way.  That’s why the Buffalo is my logo, because in our folly, we almost hunted that powerful animal to extinction, but stopped just in time to re-evaluate our misdoings, and work to restore life to something that we almost lost forever.  That’s how I feel about the importance of craftsmanship in our world right now.  Of many things.

What are 3 skills you've learned in representing yourself as an artist?

I’m probably more in the state of learning, than “ earned", but I’d say I’m working on self representation and selling my product.  It’s very easy to be excited about what I make when I am in my shop, but for some reason quite difficult for me to express the enthusiasm and faith I have in my product, to strangers.  This is mostly specific to the monetary side of things I might add,  and I’m learning how to be more confident in that approach, because I work hard to make the best item I can, with the best materials…and I know they’re worth it!  I’m also learning that I need to be careful not to try and please everyone.  Some invitations are not worth the hassle, and it is good to know when to say, NO.  And finally, I’ve learned that I have to remember to have fun!  Making the same things all the time can become daunting, tedious, perhaps lose the luster of when we first started, so it’s good to take a break and create something totally new, or off the wall sometimes.  Different materials, no intention of selling, whatever it takes for me to just challenge myself, but also be lose and untethered.  

What are 3 skills you believe are a necessity to be an independent artist/designer?

Hmm, independent or successful?  Ha!  Artists and designers will know what I mean by that.  From my experience, faith in yourself first and foremost.  Take on a big job once in awhile, bigger than you think you might be able to handle, but think you could still pull off.  Succeed or fall short, that will teach you all the skills you’ll need to be an independent artist/designer.  And as hard as it is for some of us, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  Not only will it help you get things done, but in the end, sharing in all this is what it’s all about.  

What moved you to make with your hands?

Whatever has moved me to breath.  And watching my Father.  

 

If you could travel anywhere today, where would you travel and why?

I think right now, I’d go somewhere warm, like Oaxaca or Peru.  I don’t necessarily mean warm in climate, but warm in the people…warm within the culture.  I’d love to spend more time with people that still have a visible connection to their indigenous roots.  And the craftsmanship coming out of those kinds of territories is just insane, and deserves more recognition.  

Can you narrow down your 3 favorite songs at the moment? 

I live in music, so this is a tough one. I’d say for a groove, Inner City Blues by Marvin Gaye.  On a sunny day drive, spin Ku Mi Da Hankan by The Elcados, and wait for the breakdown. And finally, pop on your favorite headphones, and let this track take you into a realm of revelation; Maggot Brain by the Funkadelic.  That last one touched my soul in a crazy way the first time…maybe every time.  Bonus track for the fade out…Preview Side Too - Bootsy Collins. 

What advice would you offer your fellow female makers?

Fellow female makers out there, believe in what you do, love what you make, always work to improve your craft, and go after your dream.  I’d say the same to my fellow male makers too I guess.   Oh, and remember to take a vacation and respite!

 

What advice would your 65 year old self to you today?

Shit, I hope something really wise.  But he’ll probably just say something sarcastic, before going off on some existential rant.  Ha!

What change would you most like to see in the world? 

For the fear that is used to lead people to hate, to turn into a humble pursuit of knowledge that would lead to love.  

Any additional thoughts on the importance of artisanal/handmade goods in a fast pace Western World?

Sure, pass it on.  This world appears to be on the verge of losing perspective on many things.  I am excited to see what seems like a renaissance of artisanal handmade perspective.  That brings me hope, and I’m honored to play a part in it in any way I can.  But whatever we can do to get the youth excited about the creative process, arts and culture, pride in ones work, etc…that’s gonna make the difference.  I know I need to be better about this.  Each one teach one!

Well, I was dearly delighted after reading Ben's thoughts. I've been able to get a good sense of the individuals I'm interviewing through their answers. Ben's products are of high quality and would pair very well with a good beaver hat, a bottle of Woodford Reserve, a campfire and an adventure into the quiet yonder with coyotes in the background. And ladies, that Watanya Cicilla bag is an absolute must. Take a peak on his site below.

http://www.westwardleather.com/

IG: @westwardleather

Thank you Westward Leather Co for sharing inspiration with us here via the Ghost Dancer platform. I'm grateful to be apart of this handmade revolution with you and bring more thought back into wearable art, commodity and our choices on how to support artisans. We are all in this together. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feminine Light of Carlota Guerrero

Summer has come and occupied this nimble fingers of mine for other means than typing. I still romanticize the idea that all writers and storytellers of written word use typewriters but I yet have to find one who steadily does. With the work load rains, writing takes a quiet seat in the back of the engine revving engine. I output more during these high volumes than I intake. In the spirit of intaking rather than emitting creative steam of the verbose kind, I'd like to input the feminine light of Carlota Guerrero. 

Carlota Guerrero is a photographer and art director based in Barcelona who works on personal and commissioned projects. She recently directed Solange's new video which enabled me to come across her work. When I look at her work, I feel like I'm coming across one of those round cornered photographs from a relatives album, grainy and soft with the filter of fog on a grey day. Vintage and timeless, a piece of art that will teleport you to a day in 1972. I have found a softness within her work and her art direction. Her interview on ID Vice proposed this questions and has resonated deeply with me albeit such a short, simple answer. 

ID VICE: What does girl power mean to you?
The power I find in my body and soul is infinite and that power is strengthened when I get to share it with other women. Together we are powerful beyond measure.

When I think about the unknown and winding journey with Ghost Dancer, I think about my success and how that directly translates into the ability to continue to collaborate and directly work with other talented women. To me, one ray of the sunshine of success is the ability to financially support other artists, without that funding for my own work or others, we are hobbying. From day one, I have set my sights on a list of photographers that I dream of working with, spending long hours in mystical settings creating art together. I hope this road will bring me to a place where I may work with Carlota. 

IG: @carlota_guerrero

carlota3.jpg
Source: http://carlotaguerrero.com/

What is Man Makers?

After relocating to this quaint little abode in Ojai, where the fledgling hawks are calling out mercilessly for food, I've been doing alot of thinking. As an artist, as a human, as a woman.   I believe it's my duty to reflect on the important questions, the questions that seemingly do not have answers yet. I've never been one to avoid the deeper thinking or the plague of real intense emotion that ebbs and flows. I want those questions that stir the soul to knock on my door and provide an impetice for real change. The questions that seem to be hovering above me at the moment are  " How is my art a means of making this world a better place?" and "How can I create more of a positive impact through my art within my community?"

As a weaver, I've come to develop my understanding of energy even more acutely. Weaving is comprised of two forces, the weft and the warp. It's an intersection that brings matter into form. The relationship between the threads is what will provide a limitless use  for the final product or material. Warp and weft, like feminine and masculine, are foundational. Thankfully my cup from day one as an artist, has been supported by the feminine. My patrons, fellow artists of varying mediums, have cloaked me in loving words and opportunities to refine my skills. My muses are vast and the collection of creative women in my life abounds. I began Woven Woman Wednesdays a while back on Instagram and immediately became overwhelmed by the lists long of women working with their hands: tiny, paint splattered, nimble fingered hands in every shade of the rainbow. The more overjoyed I became sifting through endless lists of  feminine forces in my life,  I began to notice the imbalance of the masculine. I felt there was a need to paint a harmonized image with both the lady makers and the man makers. So, this blog will be the field in which we unite the forces. And momentarily, this feels like a proactive quest for understanding my own artistic experience within a community. 

Man Makers for me is a way to connect the infinite spider web with men who tell their experiences and deepest understandings of life with their hands. I'm aspiring to create a hub where Ghost Dancer clients may come to peruse the collections of artists who make this world a more beautiful place. When I envision a cohesive community, I see a glowing fire in the middle of it's gathering space. Each individual comes to this space to be heard, to be supported and acknowledged. Around this allegorical fire, we tell our stories and our perspectives, our follies and rewards landscaped into wisdom....landscaped into beauty. Man Makers is space for each of these male storytellers to express their myths and ethos. It's a platform where there is breathing space to divulge just an ounce more of thought behind each image or each piece carved. I'm collecting makers whose quality is exceptional and crafted with pride. Here, as a tiny spider weaving a web, may I offer a wide range of artisanal goods and network the glimmering world together. Be it a visit for visual inspiration, a gift for a friend, an investment in a painting or a mellifluous song, all arises from the palms and fingers of a maker. It's always been such a pleasure collecting goods from some of my fellow makers and now, through this web, many more can come to understand who inspires me and how to trail the experience. Connect, collect, be inspired and go make.

These are the architects of thoughtfulness I would like to share with everyone. These are the vessels of masculine divinity expressing itself and making this world a more meaningful place through art and the nature of hand made. Enjoy.

Image by Edward Streenan

Image by Edward Streenan

Lenny...

Lenny Kravitz pulled this look at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last month in Ghost Dancer. I was thrilled when I caught wind of his sharp suit paired well with one of my long beaded chest pieces. The Titan necklace on this timeless male muse.

I've attempted to write a blog at least 4 times today and I've erased them all. There has been much transition in my life within the past few weeks, a break up, settling into a new home and living alone again for the first time in 11 years. This is what I have been calling in for myself and I am grateful although there's much matter to contemplate. Presently, I can't weave. I have a show this upcoming weekend and everytime I sit to transfer the emotional matter into the physical, I give up and sit my ass on the floor and stare. At the moment, this is my way of being an artist. I started an entry on the way of the artist, with all the complexities in a vast world, of being a bright individual carving out a successful journey in the myriad of many. And, I erased all the words because at the moment, this is my manner of being an artist. Sitting with discomfort, accepting reality as it is and knowing it's within my minds ability to create the change I'd like to see moving forward. It's extracting the moments that cause suffering and realizing the patterns that need to be unwoven and unlocked for future progress. At the moment, I'm 100% okay with my inability to generate. By nature, I'm one hell of a generator so when the waterfalls of mystical inspiration pour down, I'm prolific. At the moment, I am still watery and in the flow of the changing chapter from hour to hour. And, I'm grateful for it all. There are no complaints in the way the fates have woven this little chapter as I know there are always mounds of gold behind this moment. In the meantime, here is what is visually moving me while I gestate on what threads to bind together for beauty.

 

And post script, Dior nailed it with the 2018 collection. x

e846a4067b7af9704d44cc5afdf9aa5d.jpg

 

 

FAUXTALE X TAIANA X GHOST DANCER X BLUE CALEEL

Years ago, when I was coming to know Brooklyn day and night, I was introduced to a beautiful boutique that made my heart melt with all it's curated beauty. This store was Beautiful Dreamers and I will never forget the palpitations I had walking in there. One of the pieces that caught my eye immediately, aside from the giant swing in the window with vines growing around it, was a piece of Taiana's work. My eyes were drawn to the strong presence her work held and at this time, I wasn't too acquainted with the artwork of felting. I fell in love and couldn't stop gazing at the textural wonders that had a spirit of both the light and the shadow. Something about them lingered and it was less than a few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting her at an opening at Roseark without even realizing who she was! Some people go starstruck immediately for the celebrity fame, I, on the other hand, can feel my knees go weak and all the goofiness of my soul compensating so I can able to say hello and engage when I meet a designer I respect. TWO of them in fact! . Well, Taiana is absolutely darling and quite easy to converse with. The same for Toree from Fauxtale. Toree has been creating this whimsical head crowns, body harnesses made of porcupine quills and all bits harvested from animals whose lives have passed. Her work is of the Earth and speaks a language of pure appreciation for the found gifts all spirits leave behind. Fauxtale is majestic and enchants you from the get go.. I began to dream up what it would be like to be on a merry go round with Marie Antoinette wearing one of Toree's crowns, flowers dripping down the sides or butterfly collars playing peek a boo. Both of these women truly inspire me and I am grateful we have been given the chance to be surrounded by beautiful, friendly and insanely talented women. Here is the photoshoot they whirled up. All items were pulled from the boutique we all showcase our work in, Roseark. All these items are available there. I am also appreciative of the introduction to this beautiful photographer, Blue Caleel. 

 

www.fauxtaledesign.com

www.taianadesign.com

 

Blue Caleel Photography shot these. Fauxtale headpieces, Ghost Dancer woven dress  and the raven cape on the dreamy Taiana from Taiana Designs. 

 

 

The Sand Dune Story

Somewhere long ago, my ancestors must have lived directly upon the sand. Something about sands, tiny grains that may have once been mountains move me like no other substance of earth. The sands of time speak to me so strongly that my work is directly influenced by the palettes, the structures and the way the minute channels it's tiny voice into larger legions of life. With that in mind, anyone coming to know my work will understand why I chose to name so much of the work after sand dunes around the world and why I take refuge in the deserts to create. I've had in my mind for years now to embark on a journey shooting my work, whichever medium speaks to me at that chapter in life, atop the sand dunes around the country. Death Valley offers a few different landmarks of sand dunes and Eureka Dunes has had my name all over it since I first spied their nostalgic beauty in an image. This past April, as the wild flower began to dot the landscape and the winds were still shaking their winter coats off, I ventured alongside a fantastically talented photographer friend and the breath taking model. Ben Renschen, who is an angel riding the tails on a prayer of mine to call in more visually inspiring friends, said yes in a heart beat to this new roadtrip. Melina Drake, a silent and strong woman of Mexican/Choctaw descent, excitedly responded to my call for long dark haired model. She is a woman of the Earth by all means around and an budding photographer. All three of us embarked into the scorching, sandstorm weather of Death Valley for a weekend. Below is what happens when your focus is on making art, unifying in creative vision and releasing yourself 100% to the elements. The sandstorm was intense and it felt like we were all being wind slapped by the spirits of the land. I am the type that gets an idea in mind and won't cease until it's complete so the other two really hard to bare with my head strong nature when it came to climbing the dunes. I could care less about my sun burnt face and my bruised legs, or even the parching that came about when the water bottle trickled low. When I am conjuring spirit, there is no stopping so onward ho we went. I was left breathless by the portal to high heaven art Ben captured. Enjoy. 

Bohemian Diesel

I am such a fan of Bohemian Diesel's curation skill and easy breezy ability to share a tale of hand crafted beauty. A few of my fellow sister designers have been written about on this blog and here is the little post on Ghost Dancer. Here's to the gypsy spirit that resides within all of us wild women, dancing to a different beat from the mainstream projection of beauty.

Here's the link to our story.                            http://bohemiandiesel.com/art-music/art/ghost-dancer

 

 

Autumn and Fall Treasures

I often find myself too entranced with work on the loom to take time for a blog post but I find it to be valuable for all those who make their way to the website. Below are many of the one of a kinds, wall hangings and images of the seasons inspirations. Enjoy. 

Ghost Dancer X Free People

Hello darlings,

I have finally released an exclusive I have been working on for sometime. Ghost Dancer is now on Free People! I designed two woven necklaces, a woven bracelet and rebirthed some of my old fancy beaded earrings.. Below you can take a peak! I am also grateful for the opportunity to be highlighted in their Designer Spotlight. X