When the Soul Sings: Tiffany Marie Hill

You can easily see how beautiful she is, when gazing upon Tiffany Marie Hill in Swankety Swank or otherwise. What you may not know, is how strong and big and pretty her heart is on the inside.

Tiffany in eco chic Fall Swankety Swank lyrical look: bamboo and hemp harness dress with goddess head piece by Venus Superstar. MUA Belle by Marine.

After having worked with Tiffany Marie Hill as Swankety Swank Brand Ambassador for a blissful 6 months, I am keenly aware of this. Continue reading

Quality of Style: Claudia Kussano

The words “magic, sophistication, and modern” describe the jewelry designs of Claudia Kussano. When the elements of the Earth, an artist’s eye, and a maker’s mastery are combined, the quality of style is evident.  Aligning with the values of Swankety Swank, Claudia  seeks to evoke a symbiotic awareness of the world and our spiritual surroundings. See her work in the following images by Mercedes Abraham on Tiffany, our Brand Ambassador and my photos on the visit to Claudia’s beautiful shop in the Mission.

Tiffany wears the Fairy Labyrinth Necklace by Claudia Kussano and Swankety Swank hemp LBD.
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Claudia in her Jewelry Atelier at 591 Guerro St. in The Mission District of San Francisco.
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Earth and art with a modern flair showcase the retail windows of Claudia Kussano Jewelry Atelier.
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Earrings by Claudia Kussano on Swankety Swank Brand Ambassador Tiffany Marie.

Shop Swankety Swank and Claudia Kussano online. Visit her bricks ‘n mortar at 591 Guerrero St in San Francisco. XXOO Yabette

Beads of Beauty, sustainable art of the Huichol tribe

What do the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market and Swankety Swank have in common?  Supporting cultural sustainability. I recently came across an article about the annual Santa Fe International Folk Art Market in Sante Fe, New Mexico.   In its seventh year, the Folk Art Market features arts and crafts from around the world.  Artists are selected for the mastery of their craft, and 90% of profits from the sale of their work goes directly to the artist and their community. A member of the Clinton Global Initiative, the 501c3 organization  “provides a venue for master traditional artists to display, demonstrate, and sell their work.  By providing opportunities for folk artists to succeed in the global marketplace, the Market creates economic empowerment and helps improve the quality of life in the artists’ communities.”    Inspired and refreshed by the stories of the Folk Art Market, I was reminded of Beads of Beauty, Swankety Swank’s only non-local artists.

Beads of Beauty is the output of The Huichol Center for Cultural Survival, founded by Anthropologist Susana Eger Valadez.   The Huichol “or Wixáritari are an indigenous ethnic group of western central Mexico, living in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Durango.”  The Huichol have spent many years fighting to maintain their language and way of life.    The artwork of this now endangered shamanic culture is a reflection of their native spirituality, which dates back to Aztec times.  While Swankety Swank supports local artists, we also have alot of love for the rest of the world’s artists and offer our solidarity and support in empowering them to survive in the modern world on their own terms.

Not only does their work support a good cause, it’s also incredibly beautiful, and a perfect way to summerize any ensemble.  One of the outstanding features of the Huichol’s art is the fine detail of their work.   Every flower in this multi-color lariat is masterfully executed, creating a chain of tiny, glistening blooms.

Beaded Flower Lariat, $224

According to their website, “Beads of Beauty jewelry is hand-woven with size 15/0 Japanese and Czech glass seed beads (the smallest glass beads made in the world), using two needles and durable Nymo nylon beading thread. Each piece takes anywhere from a half day to an entire week to create. The tiny beads and the fact that they are not made on a loom create a lightness, smoothness and suppleness not found in other beadwork.”

Detail of Beaded Flower Lariat, $224

You can see more beautiful detail in this beaded flower bracelet.   Flowers play a part in all Huichol rituals.

Beautiful White and Green beaded flower bracelet, $98

For something more simple, but equally as beautiful, we have this turquoise crystal bracelet.

Turquoise Crystal Bracelet, $84

These Dusty Rose Tassel earring are exquisite.

Dusty Rose Tassel Earrings, $50

We have  many more beautiful jewelry pieces in the store.   Proceeds from the sales “funds the operational support of the project. These jobs benefit many families, who are able to make a living with their traditional art forms while at the same time bringing the beauty of Huichol symbolism and spirituality to the world.”  Equally as nice is the feeling of wearing something so beautiful, that empowers artists and their families to maintain their freedom and culture.

Photographs and writing by Aurelie Sandrine