Handmade Belt Project

Silver Filigree Belt Buckle No. 1
By Daniel Icaza

I never fail to be impressed by Daniel. A few nights ago, he was thinking about making a Silver Filigree Belt Buckle, and within a day or two, he did it. No worrying, no planning, no over-thinking. I often feel jealous of the way his artwork just flows out. It never looks forced or commercialized. I long to have that sort of artistic freedom. 

Anyways, Daniel presented me with this lovely buckle seen above. (It's simply the bees' knees!) I've been asked to create the belt piece for the buckle, which I'm incredibly flattered by. Daniel even made some little Filigree buttons to go with the design of the buckle. 

So, we've batted some ideas back and forth, trying to get a good mental image of what we're expecting it to look like. I've made plenty of anklets, bracelets, rings, and necklaces with hemp and macrame stitches. But creating a belt is an entirely different ball park. But I'm going to try my absolute best and hope it works out.

I've got plenty of super ideas floating around in my mind, and I really want to start working. Alas, creating the belt I desire may require up to 12 yards of hemp to complete it, and I need more strings.

I'll update you on my progress & completion of this belt as soon as I accumulate all of the materials I need.

(By the way, take a close look at the second photo of the belt buckle. Behind the lovely wire work, the black plate has a rainbow patina. I'm mesmerized by it's beauty & uniqueness.)

Mandalas: Kaliedescopes & Lotus Eaters

I've fallen in love with Mandalas. In fact, I'm so in love, I'm committing to creating at least one every week. (Although I really can make dozens of these in that time!) In order to keep me moving, thinking, and drawing, I'm creating a new special on this blog. From this point on, every Monday will be Mandala Monday, and I will share at least one of my drawings with you. I hope you enjoy!

 "Kaleidescope" by Kaylee Hinrichs. May 2011. Inks. 5in. diameter

This Mandala had many feelings behind it. Too many, I think. I named it "Kaleidescope" because I feel it resembles a kaleidescope of thoughts. All colorful, evolving, growing, changing, morphing. Turning bad feelings into positive, happy ones.
(You may remember this Mandala from last week's Mandala post. It was barely started at that point.)

"Lotus-Eater" (Pink Lotus) by Kaylee Hinrichs. May 2011. Inks.

The idea for this Mandala originates from a chapter in The Odyssey. Odysseus and his crew land on the strange island of the Lotus-Eaters. The inhabitants of the island eat the flowers and fruits of the lotus and become apathetic and sleepy. The lotus plant tasted so delicious and wonderful, it was addictive to anyone to ate it, and they would be trapped on the island forever, unable to escape. In the story, Odysseus sees his crew has eaten the plant and they are content staying on the island forever to eat lotus. Odysseus awakens them from their stupor, directs them all back onto the ship, and leaves the island of the lotus-eaters.
The chapter of the Lotus-Eaters is one of the briefest in the story, but has heavy symbolism and context. Which in turn, gives more meaning to my Mandala drawing above.

I hope you've enjoyed these simple artworks!

peace & love,


Fresh Starts

It's officially been a year since I moved to Costa Rica from Arizona, U.S. It's been a really intense year. A lot has happened, and a lot has changed. For some reason, this month has been a month of fresh starts, changes, and beginnings. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on myself, my art, and what the heck I'm doing.
There are a number of revelations I've had since moving, which I would like to share.

I learned that The United States is not the only country that has problems. Every country is a little messed up. And home has nothing to do with where you are currently residing. I discovered that I love tomatoes, fresh.

I found out that television really is useless and a waste of time. Without the television, I've found peace within myself, confidence in my appearance, and time for what truly matters.

I came to truly understand that societal pressures don't have to rule your life. Learn the rules, and then break them.

I also learned that deep breathing does wonders for stress and anxiety. And that nobody can give you happiness and freedom, you have to claim your right to them.

I've learned that it's okay to love yourself and do what really makes you happy.

I've learned how to run my own business. I taught myself how to take breaks, accept change, reward myself, and enjoy each day. I found out that I am much stronger than I seem.


These days, I find myself spending most of my time here. I tend to answer emails, write blog posts, and do the typical admin tasks associated with self-employment. I rarely go into my studio unless it's to get a sheet of paper, a 4B graphite pencil, the pastel sticks, or what have you. I just find it so difficult to be inspired by my studio nowadays.
I have this horrid tendency to want things to be perfect. I am a perfectionist by nature, and it kills me and my artwork at times.
I want my studio to be perfect, and I know exactly what I want it to look like. And since I cannot produce this image into the reality I see, I stay as far away from that room at all costs.
I often tell myself that it's alright. Eventually, things will take off. At some point, I'll become successful, enjoy my job, and create wonderful things that bring more happiness into people's lives. I'll fall in love with my studio, and it will be my most favorite place in the world.

But for now, I write my little blog posts, create anklets and Mandala drawings.
In hopes that one of these days, I'll get the break-through I've been waiting for.


Mandala Madness

Mandalas have been used by Hindu and Buddhist cultures as sacred artworks. These cultures created mandalas as a spiritual tool for meditation and trance. In creating a mandala, there is exponential possibility for symbolic meaning. As a spiritual tool, the mandalas served,
"to access progressively deeper levels of the unconscious, ultimately assisting the meditator to experience a mystical sense of oneness with the ultimate unity from which the cosmos in all its manifold forms arises." -David Fontana
The more common use of a mandala is to represent the microcosm/macrocosm of the Universe, metaphorically and symbolically. It may also be used to induce trance and meditation. which then can allow the creator to dissolve internal struggles, resolve inner conflicts, and subdue emotional irregularities.

"Burst" By Kaylee Hinrichs, 2010. Inks.
(My first mandala)

"Mind Like Water" By Kaylee Hinrichs, 2010. Inks.

"Living In Aqua" By Kaylee Hinrichs, 2010. Inks.

"Blossom" By Kaylee Hinrichs, May 2011. Inks.

In Progress, May 2011. By Kaylee Hinrichs

When creating my mandalas, I often fall into the "trance" which Buddhist and Hindu cultures speak about. I become spellbound by the colors, shapes, and movement of the work. While creating these, a word will sometimes pop into my mind, such as; patience, growth, love, freedom. And I find that creating a mandala representative of a feeling or idea helps me to understand it on a deeper level. 


I apologize for the poor image quality of my drawings. They were drawn in a thread-bound, hard-cover sketchbook. It's impossible to take nice photos or scans of anything inside a chunky book. (The photos makes the circle shapes look very irregular, but I draw all of my mandalas with compasses.)

I love my mandalas. I hope that someday I can make a giant "coffee table" book full of them. 
But for now, I'm off to draw up some more colorful mandala designs. 


 Fontana, David (2005). "Meditating with Mandalas", Duncan Baird Publishers, London.


Colorful Hair & Other Updates

Golly, I just ooze and gush happiness for anything that's handmade. And my new dread-lock wraps and feather hair piece is completely handmade. I started working on it this morning and finished it a couple hours ago. Oy, I'm in love with this! It's beautiful, doesn't irritate me, and it so subtle. But, of course, now I'm completely obsessed and addicted with tying strings, beads, feather, and other small objects into my mountain of dreadlocks. 

In other news, I've got a bunch of really awesome things in the works right now. 

The work for the online shop is coming along, I'm working on bulking up with some inventory and stock. Shop opens Fall/Winter 2011! (If you would like to sneak a peak at my fashion sketches for the shop, click here.) 

Also, a lot of the things that I want to make for my shop require more art materials. So, Daniel and I are hosting a campaign to raise money for art supplies! The deal is: you donate some dollars to us for art supplies, and we'll send you some original artwork! (I know, it's awesome!)
(Click here to read the blog post where I introduced the campaign)

We've made $100 out of our $1,069 goal. And we only have 45 days left to go.
If you have some extra bucks this month, why not help out a couple of artists? Every bit helps! 

Click Here to donate to Kaylee & Daniel's fund.


Today was stellar.
But tomorrow is going to be twice as amazing. 
Tomorrow, I'm going to be releasing a newer, more permanent design for this blog,
and a super awesome surprise!



Keep It Together Now

I've started to see intense progress with what I'm working on. I've got a regular posting schedule over at my other blog. I'm working on the re-design for that blog, as well as this one. I wanted to set more clear distinctions between what will be found on this blog and what will belong on the other. It's tricky because I find that my personal life and professional life intertwine so intimately, it's difficult to tell which is which sometimes. 

Nevertheless, a decision has to be made. So, my decision is that this blog will evolve into a steady documentation of my life as an artist, creating my studio, starting up my handmade business, and making a name for myself. Riddled with inspiration, passion, fun ideas, peeks inside my studio and latest projects. 

My other blog, will serve for my professional image. There I will post my finished works, updates, DIY, inspiration, shop sales, discounts, featured artists, amazing artwork, and bits of my personal life. That blog will be where I focus my efforts on community building and reaching out to people.

Now the distinction still feels rather fuzzy, but hopefully over time, it will become more clear. Regardless of whatever may happen with my blogs, I'm always going to be talking about art, artists, creating, handmade, or something related to that. 

Ah, now that I've got that off my chest, onto more fun things! Daniel and I received our first contribution to our campaign. On my other blog, I wrote a post introducing our campaign to raise money to expand our studios. (Click here to read that post.) 

Basically the deal is: You send Daniel and I some dollars to buy art supplies, and we send you some of our original artworks. Pretty awesome, right? (I am psyched about this!) 

Here are examples of the artworks that Daniel and I are sending to people who donate to us:

(Art by Kaylee Hinrichs. May 2011)

(Art by Daniel Icaza. May 2011)

The coolest part about this campaign is that if we can raise the money we need, then I can buy a sewing machine. And having a sewing machine will make my art-making/crafting/creating experience way more efficient, awesome, and beautiful. 

I would be so flattered if you re-posted the link to our campaign where ever your think it would count. I may even be so moved by your support, that I may send you artworks anyways. Wouldn't that be nice?

Thank you for every bit of support and help. It makes all the difference.