All of my life I have had animals as parts of my family. They really make the best companions. They are always happy to see you, they don’t judge and never stay mad at you. This is why I have enjoyed drawing portraits of companion animals. I feel that it is just as important that our memories of our quadrupedal friends last forever. As a former veterinary technician, I have seen many people lose their loyal friends and it can be just as painful as losing a human friend. Although you can go out and adopt another pet, no one forgets their lost companions. They are all unique with their own personalities, just as we are.

Most portraits were made for friends and co-workers, but a few were for some lucky raffle winners.

Dogs…..

(click on the images for slideshow and info)

I use high quality, archival drawing paper for graphite drawings, textured paper for charcoal and pastels.

Cats…..

😉

 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

This Mother’s Day, of course, I’d like to wish a happy day to all of the mothers I know – my Mom, my Mother-in-law, our Grandmothers, and all the women I know with children. I’d also like to suggest wishing a happy day to those women who do have small ones in their lives that they care for, provide shelter for, and spend their time thinking about, that may be a bit furrier than those other little ones.

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So to all the other fur-baby moms out there, I’d like to wish you a happy Mother’s Day because your love for your animals is just as significant as other people’s love for their children. And a special shout-out goes to those who’ve adopted shelter animals. Many of these animals have had very difficult and scary lives as little puppies and kittens. Most were born on the street and had to fight for food or starve. They definitely require a lot of patience in the beginning but it is worth it to be able to give them their forever home.

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My husband and I adopted our dog in 2009 the day we cam home from our honeymoon. We went to our local shelter, Cape Ann Animal Aid, and immediately fell in love with a quiet, 6-month-old hound mix named Josh. We decided to name him Jackson after one of our favorite places, Jackson, NH. He curled up on my lap in the back seat on the ride home. Fast-forward seven years and he is my best friend. I am as excited to see him as he is to see me when I come home after work. He is a special, loving dog whom we hope has at least another seven years to go.

As fur-baby moms we may not get any gifts this Mother’s Day, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a little something for ourselves. I love shopping on Modcloth and came across some adorable and fun pet-themed items that I think you’ll love. Check it out:

 

Happy Mother’s Day!😉

8> Tara <8

That’s my bag baby!!

My latest go-to gift item has been bags – I find a fun and unique pattern, or come up with my own, and then put a bunch of awesome stuff inside! For a few bridal showers I made bags and then purchased small items from the registry to put in it. Saves on wrapping, looks really pretty and makes a great keepsake gift!

Here are some of the bags I’ve made recently…

Nautical themed bridal tote bag ~ designed by Tara White Studio
Bag handmade by Tara White Studio using pattern from the Purl Bee. Apple tree designed by Tara White Studio.

 

Green duck shoulder bag ~ designed by Tara White Studio. Available for purchase on Etsy!
Chipmunk shoulder bag ~ designed by Tara White Studio. Available for purchase on Etsy!
Custom penguin and duck shoulder bags ~ designed by Tara White Studio.

And here are some of the many, many bags that I have accumulated over the years…

Tara's bags ;)

Uh oh, I think I might be hoarding bags, maybe I should donate a few of these, hehe. Thankfully, for my wallet’s sake, most were gifts!

That being said, I definitely enjoy finding unique and interesting bags when I shop. Modcloth actually has an amazing collection of super cute bags. Here are some of my faves…

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

ModCloth may be your go-to for cute dresses and clothing, but did you know they have a flourishing decor department? Think fun and unique adornments for your home, kitchen, bedroom, office space, and more. If that’s not incentive enough to check it out, they just so happen to be having a 20% Off Decor Sale that’ll give your place a pop of personality. No code needed, so just shop ’till your heart is content and there really will be no place like your home! Hurry while it lasts!

If you like bags as much as I do, I hope you found something you like here! See you next post!

~Tara

Here’s a peek at some of the things I’ve made this Spring…

I wanted a beachy but rustic welcome sign for our front door so I painted the word on a piece of old driftwood, attached it to an old, weathered basket and embellished it with scallop shells and vintage mother-of-pearl buttons.

Welcome Sign ~ Handmade by me out of a worn shallow basket, driftwood, shells, buttons and paint.

For Mother’s Day, I knew I wanted to make gifts for my mom and my mother-in-law. I had acquired a huge bag of vintage fabrics, including tablecloths, dish towels and doilies, many, many doilies! So, when a doily bag post from Sew Mama Sew came up in my blog feed, I was beyond excited. I came up with this bag for my mom. I altered the pattern a little by using the trimmed outer edge of my green doily as an accent for the top edge of the bag.

Vintage doily flower bag ~ handmade by me following pattern from Sew Mama Sew.

I was able to use a combination of some fun fat quarters that I had in this adorable little tote, pattern courtesy Oliver + S blog. I gave this to my husband’s Mom along with the Family wall hanging inside.

Multi-fabric tote ~ handmade by me following tutorial from Oliver + S blog.
Family wall hanging ~ collaged book pages, acrylic paint and metal leaves on canvas.

I decided to make something for my Mom to hang as well. She now works from home, using my sister’s old bedroom as an office, so I thought an office sign would be neat. I attempted to make it look old-fashioned, and even painted a vintage rotary telephone on it.

Office door sign ~ collaged book pages, printed text, acrylic paint on canvas ~ a Tara White Studio original.

The wall hangings / signs were relatively easy and fun to make, so you may see some in my Etsy shop in the near future!

… straight into my arms, straight into my arms. ~Laura Marling

The ocean is almost everywhere you look on Cape Ann, so it is no wonder that it provides inspiration for so much creativity.

Here are some photos of Cape Ann from this weekend, along with some crafts that were inspired by it.

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Magnolia shore. Photo by Tara White 2014.
Whale statement necklace by Tara White Studio. Click to purchase on Etsy.
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Wingaersheek Beach. Photo by Tara White 2014.
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Nautilus Earrings by Tara White Studio. Click to purchase on Etsy.
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Horseshoe Crab on Wingaersheek Beach. Photo by Tara White 2014.
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Handpainted shell plates by Tara White Studio.
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Magnolia Shore. Photo by Tara White 2014.

I came across this draft for a nature photography post this past summer. Since I am over this cold, snowy winter weather, I thought this would be appropriate to share now!

I love nature and really enjoy photographing it, even though it sometimes takes a lot of patience! Here are my favorite nature photos I’ve taken this summer:

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Hello Summer!

I can’t believe this is my first post in nearly two months! Since the weather is so beautiful here in New England right now, the theme of this post is nature. I’ll be sharing some woodland animal-inspired jewelry, photos of my first kayaking trip of the season and some random photos taken on walks with my dog.

I’ve mentioned my Etsy shop and team participation a few times. I recently joined some new teams, one called Animal Totems (check us out here: Animal Totems Team). Inspired by the other amazing shops run by members of this team, I created a series of animal spirit jewelry. A while back I had made some bear paw prints out of clay and wasn’t sure what to do with them at the time. So I made some more paw/claw prints as well as some clay claws, teeth, antlers and a feather:

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Initially I planned to use an animal track and a claw or tooth together as part of a more eclectic necklace, like this one for the cat:

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While I do love how this one turned out, it seemed it may be too much for some people to handle, plus if I separated them out, I could make way more necklaces!

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Each of the necklaces shown above and more are available for purchase in my Etsy shop: Animal Spirit Jewelry

Since today was too hot to not be near the water, I took old Nemo (yeah, that’s my kayak) out for the first paddle this summer. Our street is on a river, Little River, which feeds into the Annisquam River in Gloucester, MA. Here’s a map showing my route with the red line:

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I paddled down Little River and passed under the Andrew Piatt Bridge…

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I paddled further and in the middle of where marshes are at low tide I saw a tiny little island, with rocks and small trees on it…

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I had to pull up here and check it out. This was a pretty cool spot that I came across and definitely beat the beach since I was the only person there!

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This certainly was a great weekend and I am looking forward to many more kayaking adventures. Here are some cool pics I’ve taken around the yard and neighborhood to keep with the nature theme!

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A dog day at the beach

While I didn’t do much crafting this weekend, I did make a few trips to the beach with Jackson. Our favorite beach to visit before the summer is Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester.  Here are some photos of our trip.

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I certainly found a lot of new inspiration in this trip and can’t wait to go back. Although I bet Jackson is even more anxious to go! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Talk you you soon!

Tara

Animal Speak

While I am not a religious person, I do consider myself to be a spiritual person. I find inspiration from the natural world, especially our animal friends.

My father, who himself was brought up in the Catholic Church, has always had a great respect for Native American beliefs. He taught my sister and I a lot about their culture, and helped instill in us the importance of caring for and respecting all animals.

I have always felt a special connection to animals and am completely fascinated by all kinds. I changed my degree focus in college from Art to Biology solely for the purpose of working with animals in some way. I spent a year as a Veterinary Technician, an experience that taught me so much and that I will always be grateful for. At one time, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian myself. While that dream did not come true, the impact that animals have had on my life continually inspires me. (I should also mention that my sister is now a professional dog walker, so she was clearly impacted by them as well!)

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Learning to handle a sheep at Tufts’ Vet School’s, Adventures in Veterinary Medicine program, 2008.

I know this is why I very much enjoy creating pieces that reflect animals in some way. I created tiny clay marine animal sculptures that I turned into necklaces, earrings and ornaments, collectively referred to as Salt Marsh Creations.

In college, one of the most interesting courses I completed was Marine Mammal Biology. The adaptations that these animals evolved to be able to live and thrive in such an extreme environment are amazing.

I wanted to be able to honor these animals by making elegant and fresh accessories that anyone can wear. I think that adults should be able to incorporate a little animal into their fashion style too!

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Narwhals, seastars, horseshoe crab and dugong sculptures.

Just this weekend I finished making some whale tails out of Paperclay. They are simple and stylish and just need the right necklaces to hang from!

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Paperclay whale tails… works in progress.

I find birds to be such amazing creatures as well. Their anatomical and physiological development has made them into such perfect creatures that excel in their role in nature. The feather is arguably one of the most significant single adaptations of all animals. It’s design is so beautiful yet functional. I have been very inspired by the feather and made many clay feather pendants a while back. They are fun and quirky and make very cute summer accessories.

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Inspired by the simple yet intricate beauty of feathers, I have created this series of jewelry. The centerpiece of the necklace is a handsculpted clay feather that has been handpainted using acrylic paint and clear lacquer.

I just started working on a new series of tiny clay sculptures inspired by woodland animals and a book I refer to from time to time called, Animal Speak. The book describes the spiritual symbolism of animals as interpreted by Native Americans. It has very interesting information and ideas and just provides a unique perspective into the animal world. This book should give me almost limitless ideas for new projects!

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New little Paperclay owls – works in progress!

I’m so glad that I shared this because it is such an important aspect of my life. It makes me realize just how much animals have impacted nearly every part of my life. So I cannot end this post without mentioning my best animal friend, Jackson. Actually, he’s kind of like my child still, even though he’s almost four! My husband and I adopted him right after our honeymoon back in 2009. He’s a hound mix from Georgia and he’s got such a funny personality. He’s awesome to come home to after work and the best companion I could ask for!

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My puppy Jackson!

From, Animal Speak:

When we learn to speak with the animals, to listen with animal ears and to see through animal eyes, we experience the phenomena, the power, and the potential of the human essence, and it is then that the animals are no longer our subordinates. They become our teachers, our friends, and our companions. They show us the true majesty of life itself. They restore our forgotten childlike wonder at the world, and they reawaken our lost belief in magic, dreams and possibilities.

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This post is dedicated to my Dad, thank you!

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