I love shopping small businesses and supporting artisans. I grew up working for small businesses and local shops in high school and college. Most of the jewelry that I own is from little shops I spotted while browsing Instagram, and I regularly browse through Etsy for inspiration. Water color prints of saint quotes made by Catholic artists hang on our walls, and homemade journals line my bookshelves.
After all, art is powerful. Beauty can lead us back to the creator of all beauty.
"Art is like a door opened to the infinite, opened to a beauty and a truth beyond the every day. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and heart, urging us upward,” wrote Pope Benedict XVI.
Here are four women artisans I’ve found who embrace the feminine genius in their own unique, beautiful way. Their small business have opened my eyes up to beauty!
1. Lillian Jude Designs
Lillian Jude Designs is a brand new gorgeous small company that takes the beauty of the Catholic faith and shares it in a little way. Each piece is hand-stamped by Martina. She takes a simple vision and turns it into something beautiful, and each piece is 100% original with custom designed stamps.
“Lillian Jude was founded on the idea that true beauty isn't boastful but found in the simplicity of God's great creation; sometimes we just need to stop and open our eyes to the little details we can easily miss,” Martina writes. “It is my hope that Lillian Jude pieces touch the heart and become pieces you will cherish for years to come!”
As a woman who loves the little details, I was beyond excited to see Martina’s shop open recently.
While some of the pieces that Martina designs are blatantly Catholic, most of them are beautifully sleek and subtle. “They’re pieces that anyone could wear,” Martina explains. “After all, catholic means universal.”
I am loving my new sacred heart disc necklace, which is a beautifully small reminder of my journey back to the Lord’s heart. Martina’s delicate and fresh Marian consecration chain bracelets - they make a great alternative to the hardware chain that I’m currently wearing!
I love how Martina embraces the feminine genius with her shop, especially when it comes to receptivity. It’s easy to get swept up in a culture that glorifies busyness and boastfulness. Instead of buying into this lie though, Lillian Jude Designs celebrates the little moments that are passed over by most. Martina is receptive to the still, small voice of inspiration that comes from the little details.
2. Gracefully Wrapped
When Marianne shares photos of her shop, Gracefully Wrapped, on Instagram, she not only fill my feed with gorgeous bouquets of wildflowers, but also incredibly insightful meditations on Scripture. She encourages me to wear my faith with joy and flowers!
Her pieces are an artful way to share God’s love. “Inspiration for items come from all of creation great and small. God has formed things so perfectly and our goal is to capture that work,” Marianne says when she talks about her shop.
“I am a wife and mother to three amazing children,” Marianne continues. “I love the Lord and aim to please him in my business and all other aspects of my life.”
I love how her shop embodies the feminine genius, especially sensitivity to the story of the other.
Recently on Instagram, Marianne shared a photo of some custom pieces she designed. “To preserve a memory, moment, and feeling is the goal of each of these pieces,” she wrote. “to bring to life the heart behind each of the customs I’m privileged to work with and to help you share your story.” She went on in the post to thank the women who shared their moments, memories, struggles, and triumphs with her, allowing her to preserve them.
Often sensitivity is treated as a weakness. In fact, I used to think that my sensitivity was part of my flawed character, not something to celebrate.
But if we were to take away this sensitivity, we’d take away our ability to empathize, and our creativity. We wouldn’t be able to notice those moments of inspiration or moments of joy in the stories of others. I
3. Emily Rachelle
I first happened upon Emily Rachelle’s work when a friend sent us a quick card in the mail. The front of the card was decorated with a beautiful image of Blessed Solanus Casey from Emily’s shop. That print is just one of many designs, poems, prints, quotes, and postcards, that fill her shop.
“I love folk music, puns, meeting people, exploring new places, and the feeling of a paintbrush in my hand,” Emily explains. “My work is an expression of my heart, and it is my hope that it will open the eyes of your mind to something beyond the everyday.”
Emily beautifully lives out the feminine genius with her art, especially when it comes to generosity. “The measure of your success will be the measure of your generosity,” Saint Pope John Paul II wrote. Emily recently demonstrated this so well with her shop.
“Often February is thought of as a month of chocolates, cute little cards, and love,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “So we’re offering a free printable download of the Sacred Heart through the month of February to remind us who the true Valentine of our hearts is.” In a month where it’s easy to end up feeling left out, forgotten, and unlovable, Emily’s art inspires us to turn back to the source of our true joy - Christ.
4. Catholic Wife Catholic Life Consultation Shopping
Annie’s blog, Catholic Wife, Catholic Life, is a website that I’ve logged onto many times over the past few years. Her thoughts on marriage inspire me to strive for sainthood in my vocation, and her and her husband’s mission to help Catholics pray more novenas has changed the way I pray novenas.
Annie has impeccable taste, and the images on her blog and social media pages are beautiful. I love when she shares pictures of her outfits for events, or gives her followers a sneak peek into her home, especially during the Christmas season.
Recently, Annie started a closet (or home decor!) consultation service. If you need to re-haul your closet or decorate a room in your house, but don’t know where to start, Annie removes the stress from the shopping process.
After a quick e-mail consultation where you share your style and vision, Annie scours the web to create a custom list of recommendations for you that are all within your budget.
Annie lives out the feminine genius in her daily life, but I think she especially embraces spiritual maternity. I’ve seen this in her consultation business recently. Her attention to detail and intentionality make women all around the world who interact with her feel seen, known, and loved.
Whether it’s helping select a dress for a special event (especially when nothing looks good), or bringing a special touch into a guest bedroom, Annie’s talents are inspirational.
“Everywhere the need exists for maternal sympathy and help, and thus we are able to recapitulate in the one word motherliness that which we have developed as the characteristic value of woman,” writes St. Edith Stein. “The motherliness must be that which does not remain within the narrow circle of blood relations or of personal friends; but in accordance with the model of the Mother of Mercy.”
Who are some artisans who live out the feminine genius that you love supporting? Let me know in the comments!