Artist Spotlight: Alexa Grambush

Not too long ago I talked with Artist Alexa Grambush of California. Alexa has some really great paintings on her Etsy page but her fish inspired paintings really caught our eye. Below is a little bit about Alexa and where you can see and purchase her pieces.

Alexa Grambush was born and raised in Michigan, loving the Mother Lake and the time she spent living with her sisters on a boat in Traverse City. Much of her early life was spent on the water, soaking in all of its richness and variance: swimming, fishing, tubing, exploring, and canoeing. Ever-inspired by the Great Lakes, she finds her way back to those bodies each year. In-between visits home, her dad never puts his fishing rod down, always sending her pictures of his latest catch, encouraging, “you should paint this one next.”


Alexa is an observer, creator and painter.  Her innate sensitivity to space and dynamics, both interpersonal and aesthetic, informs her creative interactions which have included watercolor, weaving, floral design, calligraphy, environment design, and event production. Her artistic expressions are guided by her deeply held values of truth and sincerity, and her desire to see the sacred in the everyday. She paints both figurative and abstract works, and is available for commissions. Since leaving her home state, she has called California and New York home.

Alexa, Thanks again for sending us out one of your trout prints. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

To see more of her work, or contact her for commission inquiries, visit alexagrambush.com, or find her on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/AlexaGrambushArt. 

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Doddy’s Flies Silicone Inserts

I recently was searching for intresting items on etsy when I came across something unique that caught my eye. Silicone slabs for holding flies. Sort of like the big name brand one’s that are extrememly pricey, who we won’t mention, but much more affordable and also customizable.

Andrew Dodd is the creator and designer for these awesome inserts. He sent us out a little care package of 3 of his designs. The one I think is pretty great is the one that fits inside an Altoid tin. Perfect size for your pocket when you only want to go in with the bare minimum in gear which I like to do when hiking and fly fishing up in the Pennsylvania mountains. Below is a little something Andrew wrote up for us telling you about his Inserts.

“My name is Andrew Dodd and I’ve been fly fishing for a little over a year. I am a Mechanical Engineering major at Clemson University in SC and I’m starting my third year in the fall. I was raised in the low-country surrounding Charleston, SC. When I’m away at school I fish the local rivers for trout, there is rainbow, brown, and brook. When I’m home for the summer I fish Stillwater for bass and panfish and salt for redfish mostly. These patches came about shortly after I started fly fishing and seeing how expensive tacky fly boxes were. I use commercially available silicones and 3-D modeling software to make pretty much any size or shape I think would be useful. The first one I designed was the altoids tin insert and after a few iterations, I found the perfect size to fit  perfectly into the tin. The larger patches (I call them “dash patches”) were designed for stand alone applications, whether that be on the dash of your car, the console of a boat, or to keep freshly tied flies organized on your bench. As a college student, I didnt have the extra cash to buy the high end boxes, so i took my knowledge in 3-D design software and my creativity and came out with these silicone patches. The larger patches are the old silicone i used to use, it is a little softer than the new silicone and only came in the greenish color. The altoids patch is the new silicone and it comes translucent allowing me to dye it and make any number of color variations.”

You can check out Andrew’s wares on his etsy page which I posted below. I highly reccomend this product !!!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DoddysFlies?ref=simple-shop-header-

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Emily Johnson Art

I recently had a chance to chat with Alabama Artist Emily Johnson. She had quite a story for us and some amazing art as well. Her pieces are unique and would look amazing hanging on any wall of your home. Below is a little bit about Emily in her own words. Enjoy!

“I grew up in a small town in Alabama on the most gorgeous lake ever – Lake Martin. Most of my life has involved the water! My brother, sister, and I grew up water skiing before and after my parents went to work, swimming almost every day, and exploring the lake with my family as much as we could. In the summers, we would fish in the afternoon and night, catching bream, crappie and catfish. As my siblings and I became older, we started spending our vacations at the beach – and when I say beach, I really mean the bay. We would go shrimping in our little john boat, scoot around to different sandy locations and snorkel. Our whole family loved it. We also were all scuba certified at some point during that timeline – and began scuba diving regularly as well! I remember so vividly during some of the dives, my brother and dad would spear fish while diving, and sharks would follow them as they speared fish. My sister and I would stay 20 feet above them looking down, because we were terrified of diving with sharks!


When I was in college, my dad purchased a big fishing boat – it wasn’t anything fancy – more like a big RV that floated. We would find little canals on the bay to camp there for the weekend and stay up fishing right off the back of the boat and eat what we caught. My dad quickly started learning about deep sea fishing. Our family loved it, and we started taking people out fishing with us. We had so many fun adventures on that boat. We caught all kinds of gorgeous fish like snapper, grouper, mackerel, amberjack, tuna, and wahoo. My biggest catch was a gorgeous cobia!  
I met my husband, Scott, when I was living in Birmingham, a couple of years out of college. I was kind of interested in him, and on our third or fourth date, he mentioned that he grew up camping and fly fishing with his brothers and dad, and it was one of his most favorite things to do. I thought then and there, I think I like this guy! Just a couple of months into dating, I went to the Smokey Mountains with his family, and Scott begin to teach me how to fly fish. It was so different from all the other fishing I had ever done. I put on the waders and vest, had my long rod, and my net attached to me, and I really thought that I may hate this as I waddled into the creek with him. However, as soon as we were out in the water, the whole world disappeared, and I quickly fell in love with fly fishing. Compare to every other type of fishing I’ve done, this one was so peaceful.

I loved everything about it, being in the river in the mountains, the air was cool and crisp, and it was tranquil. The actual fishing was interesting to me – having to think about what types of flies to use, where and how to cast your rod, what to do when you had a bite. There was a good bit of logic behind fly fishing, and it was a lot of fun! Since then, I can honestly say, fly fishing is my most favorite type of fishing. We have been married now for five years, I joke to him it was the fly fishing trip that sold me on him! We have two kids, Ellie who is 4 years old and Jake who is 2 years old. Any time we go in any type of outdoors store, my husband wants to check out the kids waders! He can’t wait to teach them. As far as him teaching me, I am slowing becoming better each time we go! I did take a casting class at Orvis with mother-in-law, and it was super helpful as well. Scott is the best teacher however, and he cooks really great trout over the campfire. 


As much as the water has been a part of my life, art has been there too. I would bring my sketch book and draw on the back of the boat as we were riding around on the lake or bay – sketching whatever I saw. I quickly had an interest in drawing nature, especially birds and fish. My first art contest I ever entered in 8th grade was of a gorgeous angel fish I had painted from our trip down to the Florida Keys. I went to college at Samford University and studied nursing. I really wanted to pursue a degree in art, but my wise parents encouraged me to get a degree that could support a career in art. Nursing has done exactly that for me! I was a nurse for the past 9 years, and now, I am mom to our kids and run my art business. I first painted the rainbow trout (that is currently in my Etsy shop) for my husband after our mountain trip – he loved it so much I did him the brown trout as well. I have plans to do many more freshwater fish, as well as a saltwater series. I like to paint fish I have caught before, so I guess to my husband’s delight, we need to go fishing! “

Check out her shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/EmilyJohnsonArt

Full Lip Fly

Found a guy in Pennsylvania with a very unique idea and some pretty amazing hand-tied flys. Full Lip Fly implies simply that. Packaged in a chewing tobacco style can, easily fitting in your pocket like any other can of dip. Packed with an assortment of flys for a day on the water. The ultimate goal and premise would be to have these sitting on local counters of convenient stores for you to pick up on the way to your favorite fishing spot. All boxed up and ready to go. I had a chance to fish some of these beauties and it payed off landing a couple beautiful PA wild browns. Below you will find a statement from Josh Clevenger owner and operator of the company.

Like almost everything that comes to fruition,  necessity is the mother of invention. Being about an hour away from the nearest fly shop, I came up with an idea for a conveniently packaged dozen of flies that would universally catch fish year round. Every little gas station near a local stretch of water carry live bait But there is never anything for the fly angler.
With the day pack, now you can grab a quick dozen of popular fly patterns with your coffee on the way to the water. Obviously it is highly customizable. Could be offered in a wide variety or (flavors)to target multiple variety of fish.


Every convenience store has a wall off snuff cans. So I decided to package them in medical grade containers that mimic that packaging . For ease of storage and easy to display . Hence the name fullip fly , a full lip of snuff or a full lip of a fish that just ate the fly and took the pinch! #giveemapinch
The pattern choices are based on the size and productivity that apply to almost any situation. Can be fished alone or work well together in a tandem set.
I’ve been fishing for over 20 years. I started fly fishing for pan fish when I was 12 but my love for tying and chasing trout in the mountains of Pennsylvania has become a healthy obsession over the last 5 years. The barrier to entry for fly fishing can often be daunting. So with this day pack I can help take the guess work out of fly choices for the beginning fly angler .
Or the most experienced angler that maybe forgets a box on the tailgate or loses one to the drink if these packs make it to market now you can stop at the gas station and stock back up.
One of my favorite things to do is share my passion of fly fishing with friends and family(especially my 6 year old daughter Layla) these patterns are the patterns I would tie on for them if I want to see there face light up and bring fish to the net!

Thanks for sending us out a can Josh!

Everyone can check out is shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/Fullipfly

The Fly Crate

Nate from The Fly Crate sent us over a little sticker pack to represent! Nate and his company have a great thing going. Tons of stickers and t-shirts with lots of cool designs. They also do a monthly fly subscription. Not only that but they have a mini zine they send out that is seasonal with each order with tons of helpful tips and tricks as well as short stories and they have free shipping to boot.

Below is a small snippet from his Etsy page but they do have a full website as well.

“When I was 11 years old, a bunch of old guys taught me how to fly fish. These men are now some of my closest friends and have guided me through life. They brought me outside and showed me what fun it is to lose yourself in nature. I wanted to do the same for others as they did for me. That is when I decided back in 2016 to launch The Fly Crate. We are a Monthly Fly Club and Online Fly Shop out of Pennsylvania that provides fly anglers with amazing trout flies, tips, and sweet stickers each month. We also support our community. Each month we donate flies to help rehabilitate disabled veterans and make annual donations to help support fly fishing youth camps.”

Thanks Nate for the stickers. We will be putting them to good use.

Check out The Fly Crate online!

theflycrate.com

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFlyCrateShop?ref=s2-header-shopname

Fair Flies

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I recently had a chance to chat with Chris Allen Director of Customer Engagement from Fair Flies, an ethically sourced company making fly tying materials like fur and brushes. We talked a bit about what makes their company so special and how they are giving back to impoverished countries. Below is a snippet from their company web page followed up with a Q&A with Chris.

Fair Flies is a registered Benefit Corporation in the state of Oregon. Why is this important? As a Benefit Corporation we place mission first in our operating agreements. It is the job of our board of directors to make sure that we are first about mission and second about financial returns. Sustainability is important to us be we want to do it in the right way. We believe in Trade instead of Aid and we use fly tying materials as our primary product to provide livable wages to marginalized people in compromised areas around the world but focused in SE Asia.
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Fair Flies is all about pairing your passion for fly fishing with our desire to make positive impacts with communities around the world. Our suppliers are committed to bettering the lives of the people they employ, be that with young people who need direction and purpose to stay out of crime, widows who need help providing for their children, victims of exploitation who need to be rehabilitated, or simply parents whose children are at risk of being sold into slavery. Obtaining regular orders from Fair Flies helps these suppliers retain employees and provide ongoing mentorship as they engage in the art of fly tying.
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It is equal parts proactive and reactive. By paying living wages up front, we are able to help in many ways. Families can stabilize because fathers can remain in country and mothers can move the family financially forward. This removes the temptation to send their children elsewhere for the hope of a better life, which often turns into some form of exploitation. We are also able to help victims of exploitation. They find a better way to live in a loving environment that provides a wonderful network of counseling and emotional support. Many come with stress disorders and need these supports to start a new life. This is our mission. These are the ones we care about and who your purchase supports.

 

What makes your materials different from the other materials out there on the market?

We call our brushes 5D for a reason. There are five ways in which our brushes are different than anything else on the market.

Dimension – Effective flies have perfect proportions. Fiber length, density, color, and placement affect the finished fly. We use up to five materials in each brush added in just the right quantity at just the right place. Our tiers are proud of their work and every brush goes through several quality control checkpoints. Every brush ensures 8-12 perfectly proportioned flies in a fraction of the time.

Deeper – With the perfect amount of materials in just the right proportion we can assure you that flies tied with 5D Brushes will find the perfect water column placement faster than other flies. This means more time fishing.

Dryer – By using all synthetic materials at just the right proportion flies tied with 5D Brushes shed water quicker than flies tied with natural fibers. This makes them easier to cast and allows them to land softer on the water.

Durable – 5D Brushes are hand tied using several strands of a proprietary stainless steel wire. They won’t rust or unravel. They are incredibly strong and won’t lose materials. In most cases these materials will outlast the hook you tie them on. And yet, our brushes are tied using post-consumer recycled materials that are far more biodegradable than typical mylar and silicone.

Doing Good – By supporting Fair Flies you make a real difference in the life of someone at risk of exploitation. Every tier we employ makes a living wage in Nepal, providing them with shelter, food, clean water, and education. Purchasing ethically sourced products has the power to change the trajectory of a family and shape an entire community.

•Explain a little bit more about helping out exploited populations and how you came up with the idea for it.

We’ve always had a passion for people. It’s where we started. We wanted to create a company built on the foundation of helping others. With our fly fishing background and the knowledge that commercial flies are often linked to exploitation we wanted to do things differently. A couple years ago we had the opportunity to start a tying group in Nepal, one of the most trafficked countries in the world. We quickly saw the opportunity before us to change lives. We vowed to provide opportunities to exploited and marginalized people, and to repay their contribution with a living wage.

•Are there any future plans for finished flys?

Yes. In fact, we started with flies so it is in our DNA. Our 5D Brushes were conceived as a way to make top quality flies more quickly. However, when we launched them at ICAST in 2017 they became an overnight success. We’ve spent the last year expanding that product line and improving the materials that go into them. We’ve been working with an excellent hook company to partner with on a line of flies and eventually jigs.

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•How do you go about choosing which impoverished communities  get chosen to make the products?

This is a difficult decision. Our roots began in Kenya. The Kibera slum is one of the largest in the world and people there desperately need opportunity and hope. Sadly, the corruption and logistical difficulties forced us to move operations. We found a couple key partners in Nepal and knew it was the right decision. Nepal also desperately needs opportunity and hope. The caste system denies basic rights to millions of people. We were able to establish relationships with organizations doing amazing work in Nepal.

•What’s next for Fair Flies?

We are continuing to innovate in the fishing industry. Our product depth with continue to grow with more patterns of 5D Brushes. We recently launched a line of synthetic fur called Fly Fur and we have a line of micro brushes that will launch soon. Fly Fur has twice the usable fibers as competing products and is longer and finer than anything else out there. We will soon launch our own line of flies and are working on a line of jigs as well.

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These materials are pretty amazing. You can feel good buying them knowing that you are helping people that just want to better themselves. Jeff Coffey, Owner of Fair Flies has really done something special. Making unique brushes and furs and touching peoples lives all over the world. Hats off to you and your company and I hope you guys are successful in many years to come.

Check out Fair Flies website below where you can read more and purchase your own materials.

https://fairflies.com/

Worth its weight in cold…

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The only thing keeping me sane this winter is by keeping busy tying flies and getting out on the water as much as possible. I had the chance to get out recently with some good friends and family. Standing out in the cold in the water with the wind blowing would have most people running for the warmth of their car. But there is something that calls to me time after time and just catching one fish no matter how big or small makes it all worth it and makes the drive home more enjoyable and bearable. It can feel like you’ve wasted the whole day when you haven’t caught anything. Casting over and over again to that one deep hole just hoping that the fish hiding in there is going to grace you with its presence and give you that split second of euphoria. Warming your soul in the cold harsh weather even if it only lasts a couple mins. High fives and and a little howling and it’s on to the next run. Time and weather are always against you so making the most of it is the most important. I look forward to fishing the rest of this Winter until the warmth of Spring is back again and everything around you is alive once more.

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Here are some photo’s of a beautiful cutthroat I caught. The only fish all day. One broken rod tip and lots of ice on the guides, but in the end this one lone fish made my day until I can get out again.

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Foster⚡️Weld

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“Handmade, ’cause We Made It!” is the motto of Chris Foster, owner, maker and designer of Foster Weld. Along with the help of friend and fellow maker and designer Kurt Thompson these two gents have created a strong brand in the art of metal working. With their unique designs and a limitless amount of possibilities for custom pieces, Foster Weld is your go to for everything from belt buckles, custom vintage signs, key chains,and anything you can dream up. Below you will find a little something the boys whipped up for you to read. Thanks guys for the support and keep doing what your doing. 

“We quit our day jobs to make the dream of FosterWeld happen. Why? Because we wanted to, and self employment makes life more interesting. We’re down to earth people who have been blessed with the ability to balance creativity and entrepreneurship. Our passion for working with our minds and our hands keeps us grounded and fresh. The business can be demanding, but we love nothing more than relaxing outside just like the rest of you. 

img_0073We like playing with metal. And since it’s so much fun, we decided we had to share. Let us complement your style and your surroundings by making original metal art that you can’t find anywhere else. No two pieces are exactly the same, because each is handmade and individually crafted right here in Boise, Idaho. While we offer a variety of unique products, everything fits into a distinct style that merges modern composition with classic welding technique. From buckles to cuffs to home decor, if it’s metal, we’re down with it. But we’re more than just metal art — FosterWeld is a lifestyle. Check out the shop to find out more.”

The guys sent us out a little care package of a couple of their new belt buckle designs. Loving the trout one of course but that die-cut fly buckle is pretty great! They also have some pretty cool bottle openers not pictured but trust me these things are solid! Go check out their etsy page or website. Links below.

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https://www.etsy.com/shop/FosterWeld?ref=l2-shop-header-avatar#about

https://www.fosterweld.com/

Artist: Susan J. Schneider

image 0                        “A river runs through it”.

Susan J. Schneider lives in North Central Arkansas in the middle of the Ozark Mountains right next to Norfolk Lake, in a little cabin in the woods. She moved there 21 years ago to fish, paint, look for wild mushrooms, hike in the woods and live a simpler life. She left Chicago when she was 35 and never looked back. She was a Certified Public Accountant with her own practice until 2011 when she decided she’d had enough of the rat race and brought her passion out from childhood and high school art.

Her Father was a professional architectural photographer with his own business for his whole working life. Susan grew up in her fathers camera shop waiting on customers, sorting pictures, answering the phones and checking customer photos for quality control. Even before she was given a working camera at 12 years old, she was already drawing everything in sight! No pencil, ballpoint pen or paper was safe in her house.

In 2011 she closed her office because no one was getting any younger and it was just time. She decided to “go big or go home” and painted a twenty-foot by 12 foot mural. In perfect , 3-D perspective. It took her almost two years (weather) but she got what she wanted. She’s been painting and making beaded jewelry since then.

Susan is inspired by the woods where she lives and all of the history there. She see’s something new every day there. She can go fishing almost every day and go for hikes in the woods. She spends most of her time painting with acrylic paints on board and canvas, but also does commissions where she has painted before a whole house as well as other large murals. She has painted sculptures and even a six foot tall saw blade with a whole underwater scene on it.

Her underwater scenes were inspired by swimming and snorkeling and of course fishing. She has done some of the best crappie, large and small mouth bass, walleye, catfish and trout fishing right where she lives.

She paints mostly from memory and imagination, buut when she can, she really enjoys painting from life. Her studio is her house which is filled with all sorts if weird things! She finds beauty in painting everyday objects, especially animals, hand tools, farming stuffand outdoor things. In the new year she plans on painting as much as possible.

Susan we want to thank you from the bottom and top of our hearts for sending us out a print of one of your paintings and appreciate you taking the time to chat with us and let us in to a little biut of your world.

You can find Susan’s work at cabinhillgallery.com and also her etsy page at https://www.etsy.com/shop/cabinhillgallery?ref=l2-shop-header-avatar

Artist: Theresa Hryckvich

We recently got to chat a little bit with Massachusetts artist Theresa Hryckvich. She has an etsy page with a couple items she has made but what caught our eye was this beautiful watercolor of a Cutthroat Trout. Below is a little bio of Theresa in her own words. We are looking forward to seeing more art from Theresa in the near future.

“I’m from a small rural town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, where I grew up fishing in all the local rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. I loved to be outside and also admired all the different wildlife in my area, where it was very abundant with native fish and game. I studied everything very closely and began drawing and painting at a very young age. I would obsess over the beautiful colors, fine details, and movements so I could translate it on paper. A lot of my art includes fish and wildlife from where I’ve traveled as well. My father had a seafood business so I spent a lot of time deep sea fishing as a kid. I learned a lot from this experience and it definitely inspired interest in capturing the beauty of all the different species I’ve seen. All of these fond memories are the inspiration behind my art work. I’m currently working on a new series that will feature all local fish species found in The Berkshires. New website featuring my portfolio coming soon. ”

Check out Theresa’s painting. Just follow the link below.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/614299963/cutthroat-trout?ref=shop_home_active_8