When I offer my annual sponsorship ads for the holiday, it’s like a crap shoot. I just never know what types of shops would respond. I mean, I doubt I’d get approached by an Auto Parts store but I just never know.
So when Eye On The Sparrow Designs offered to be a sponsor (see the badge to the right?), I was more than relieved. I was ecstatic and thrilled, not just because it is an eco-friendly shop, but because the history of how the shop started really moved me.
Abbie is an accidental jewelry designer who opened “Eye on the Sparrow Designs” with an unique eco-jewelry concept and with a heartfelt purpose. Let’s find out who she is and how she accidentally became a jewelry designer.
When did you start “Eye on the Sparrow Designs”?
Eye On The Sparrow designs started in August of 2009, so that puts me in business for just over two years – my third Holiday season.
How did you come up with the idea of restoring guitar and bass strings to make jewelry with? I mean, what a brilliant idea, since there are so many guitarists!
The idea for eye on the sparrow designs took a while to come together. After the tragic death of one of my dear friends and prominent Dallas (and beyond: Charlie Sexton, Edie Brickell) musician Carter Albrecht I watched the music community come together and support one another and then I watched it fade. Along with that when Carter passed away he was working on his first (and only) solo effort, “Jesus Is Alive and Living In London.” As I listened to his cd I found myself wanting something to touch, something that was a part of him. And then one night I was talking with my boyfriend, also a musician, about all the memories that are stored in his strings. Those strings told the story of who he met, where he played, how the gig felt, and carried so much mojo and passion. I was really taken by that and that is who the idea began to evolve. I wanted to bring the community back together to support something that in turn was going to promote and support them- help them find fans they wouldn’t find. And I wanted music lovers to be able to share the creativity and the stories of those strings. Everybody wants a guitar pick or a drum stick. Why not have something that can be cool and hip and you can see everyday and can pass on that mojo. Everybody wants to be a rockstar! With eye on the sparrow designs you can tap into that space or at least pretend too.
What is the significance of a sparrow?
Carter sang for his own band years before he passed away that was called Sparrows. The day he died I found some drawings that his girlfriend had done of some sparrows. I took the drawings and put together some frames for the people who were closest to him. Later on as a tribute to him I got a tattoo of one of the drawings to celebrate Carter’s life and his influence in my world. The biblical usage of a sparrow and the idea that even a sparrow is not forgotten was an important message I learned from Carter about my own life even though religion never played a part our friendship.
It sounds like you were truly influenced by him and everything about his music. Are you a musician too?
I am not a musician. I am a music lover and have fantasized about being a musician all of my life. I hate to admit that I didn’t have the dedication necessary when I spent years in piano lessons or a variety of other instrument attempts to make much of it. I kick myself about twice a day for that! I learned guitar enough to play a Bob Schneider song once, but past that I didn’t get very far. In my head I’m an amazing fiddle player!
I’m sure you would have been an amazing fiddle player! But I think you were meant to be a jewelry designer and through Carter’s music, you found your true calling. Where else do you sell your jewelry, other than on Etsy?
Eye On The Sparrow designs in sold on etsy and a number of stores currently around Dallas, Texas where I’m from. The list is on my website at www.shareyourstring.com. I will soon be found in Australia with EcoChix. I’m super excited about that! There are a number of stores in the works. I’ve spent the last two years doing a LOT of craft shows and am hoping to transition more into stores with wholesale orders. I had a baby this year and I have to be more careful about my time than I used to. I don’t have as much time to give up!
You donate a portion of profits to Carter Albrecht Music Foundation. Can you tell us something about the foundation and what its mission is?
Carter’s parents started the Carter Albrecht Music Foundation after Carter’s death and the creation of eye on the sparrow designs was centered around donating to the foundation from day one. It’s unique to have someone have such a tremendous impact on your life. Carter did that and I doubt he even knew it. That was just who he was- tender-hearted. Carter was a strong supporter of the Dallas music scene. He had many opportunities to leave and didn’t. He refused to let go off the idea that Dallas could have a place on the music map. The Carter Albrecht Music Foundation awards music scholarships to graduating high school seniors who are working towards further pursuing a career in music. I know Carter would have supported that and anything I can do to help them towards their mission I want to do. To date I have donated over $5,000.
How do you obtain your supplies of guitar/bass strings? Do you buy them from musicians who want to discard them or do they donate them?
I have two resources of suppliers for guitar and bass strings (guitar strings are WAY easier to come by than bass strings – guitar strings are changed more often and are a lot cheaper to replace). A large number of strings come from people who play music, some are in bands, some just play in their living room. When I started eye on the sparrow I had hoped that this would be my only supplier because I wanted to identify each design with the person who played those particular strings. Through a number of circumstances and partially my ability or inability to run all over town collecting strings I soon realized that I need another supplier who could give me a large number of strings to keep up with the amount of sales I was having.
I actually didn’t consider how well this idea would take off. I kind of didn’t expect the overwhelming positive response I have gotten. So, the local Guitar Center also helps me out by saving their strings when they change them for folks. I’m in the process of training their new guitar tech to remember to save the strings he changes. EVERYBODY is used to throwing them away when they are through with them.
But, to answer another part of your question, I never buy them. The designs wouldn’t be what they are if they were made with untouched, new strings. The would be lifeless and to me would defeat the purpose of having the bracelet, earrings, or necklace (the design).
Do you have any messages for my readers?
If someone donates strings for their own design they get 25% off. I’d love to also offer a free design with the purchase of a design – the idea is to give one to a friend to pass on the word about eye on the sparrow designs and to help connect your music loving friends to musicians. It (the offer) is good until next Friday, November 18, 2011 AND the first ten people get a free copy of Carter’s CD, “Jesus Is Alive and Living In London. You can use the code ECOKAREN.
Thank you for allowing us to peek into your shop and your generous offer for my readers!
Now, you know I had to offer a giveaway, right? So I bought this pair of cool earrings for you to try and trust me, it. was. very. temping. to. keep. them.
All you have to do is leave me a comment, as many times as you want. Here are the rules:
- The giveaway is open worldwide and ends on Friday November 18, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST.
- You must be an ecokaren’s e-mail subscriber
- Visit Eye on the Sparrow Designs, and let me know what other items you love in her shop.
- Heart Eye on the Sparrow Designs on Etsy,
- Follow Eye on the Sparrow’s blog
- Follow Eye of the Sparrow on Twitter
- Like Eye on the Sparrow on Facebook
- And of course, let me know if you’ve shared about the giveaway too.