Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Get to Know Faded Leaves, A Talented Artisan who Offers Autism Awareness Pieces

Each month, an artisan will be featured here. The artisan will have some connection to either autism or the special needs community, in general. For the first in this series, I present to you Shannon, owner of Faded Leaves. I chose her not only for her unique, handmade, customizable Autism Awareness line of products, but also for her stellar reputation at ArtFire. I believe you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

Welome, Shannon!

For those who may not be familiar with you and your studio, tell us a little bit about yourself and "Faded Leaves".
My name is Shannon and I am a very outgoing person who loves what I do. My 'other' job is being a nurse. I love working with people and helping them feel better. I am married to a man who is in the military and I love every second of my life with him. Our furbaby is a West Highland Terrier Mix dog named Icicle, who is a ball of energy! She keeps me busy on my days off. Faded Leaves is the name of my shop. I have always enjoyed making things so it was only natural that I would start selling eventually. My husband really encouraged me to start selling the things that I was making because he really thought people would enjoy them. With his encouragement, I went back to school and got a degree in Jewelry Design.
Beach Necklace by Faded Leaves
I just finished that program in March. It really helped me evolve my designs. While doing that, I started researching places online to sell my items. I initially looked into Etsy since I had heard of that venue in the past. After reading their TOS, I decided that venue just wasn’t for me. After more searching I found ArtFire. I stalked the forums for about 2 months and I read everything I could find about the site. I made my decision shortly after finding ArtFire to go with them. I was going to officially start my business in 2011 but after learning about ArtFire's awesome deal last fall, I took the plunge and that’s when Faded Leaves was born! I have loved every minute of it, and hope to make it my full-time career. Despite a HUGE learning curve when starting your own business, I feel that I am doing very well. I love seeing people so happy when they purchase an item of mine. :)

Your passion for what you do shines through. Personally, I absolutely love your Autism Awareness pieces! What is your inspiration for those?

Thank you! My inspiration comes from my past. When I was going to nursing school, I worked at a center for Developmentally Disabled individuals. One of my "favorite" clients was a young autistic boy.
Autism Awareness Necklace by Faded Leaves
He had made a lot of progress from what I understood and was now able to be in the same room with a bunch of other people. I loved working with him and seeing all the strides he made. When I graduated school, I got a job in a far away city and I find myself wondering often how he’s doing now. Making these pieces helps to honor his memory and to create awareness in the world around us. There is definitely a need to create awareness for Autism and help people understand what it is all about. :)

So many pieces out there are generic, “one size fits all”. For those who want that special, personal touch, do you offer custom work/personalization?
Yes I do custom work and personalization. I make a hand stamped Autism Awareness necklace that you can customize with the name/initials of the child you are supporting and I also make a necklacethat is a small picture frame. One side holds a picture of your child and the other has an Autism Awareness ribbon in it. Both come with cubed crystals that are red, blue, and yellow, adding a touch of sparkle to the necklace. I also willing to try anything your imagination can come up with. I love a challenge and love working with my clients to help them create that one of kind special piece.

As you know, my daughter is on the Autism Spectrum, which makes awareness and understanding very personal for me. Why is Autism Awareness special to you? Is there one thing about autism that you think is important for others to understand?
As I said before I support Autism Awareness because of my past of working with autistic children. I think the one thing people need to be aware of regarding Autism is that the child is still normal. They react differently to situations than we would, but that doesn’t make them different. So many people look at them like they are different and it’s so disheartening. The reactions I got from people when I would go out in public with my clients was just sad. I hope that by selling these pieces that awareness will be increased and the stigma will dissipate.

As I mention in my book, life consists of so many different things, and autism is just one part. Your work also consists of more than just Autism Awareness pieces - and jewelry! Would you mind sharing with us a little about your other handcrafted items?

Giraffe Bookmark by Faded Leaves
I like to make an eclectic array of items. I love love love to cross stitch  and I have incorporated that love into cards, gift tags, and ornaments. A lot of the items are soon to be seasonal only so you will only be able to get them closer to special occasions/holidays, like Christmas. I also make gift bows using colorful ribbon that I love and I hope everyone else does, too. I have ones for pretty much any occasion you can think of. I also make non autism awareness pieces as well. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc. I love creating!

I share your passion for creating so many different types of things! In fact, I recently decided to streamline my own studio, and the transition is almost complete. I understand your studio is entering a new, exciting phase, too. Tell us all about it!
Yes, I am entering a new phase! I’m so excited about it! I am slowly transitioning out all my current designs and replacing the silver plated/gold plated chains etc with sterling silver, copper, and occasionally gold filled if anyone wants that. I, myself, do not care for gold so I tend to use silver mainly.  I have also switched over to mainly freshwater pearls, crystals, and gemstones. I will still use other types of beads on occasion if I believe they will fit better into my design or if requested in a custom design. I also am doing more hand stamping. I am widening my line and making more custom pieces. I love hand stamping and making custom pieces for my clients. For sneak peeks of my new lines and specials, find me on Facebook!

Where can readers connect with you, and see your wonderful work?
Readers can find me on Facebook (, Twitter (@FadedLeaves), ArtFire (, email me at requesting custom orders, or follow my pictures on Flickr (

For those who might be interested in purchasing any of your pieces, I understand jewelry can be tricky to mail overseas, due to various regulations, etc. Which countries outside the USA do you ship to right now?
Yes shipping overseas can be tricky.  I currently ship to the UK, Canada, Australia, and obviously the US. I will ship any of my items to any of those countries as long as it’s not restricted by that country. :)

Is there anything else you would like to say? :)
I just want to thank you for this opportunity to talk about my passion for Autism and my business Faded Leaves. It was such a delight talking to you and all your readers. <3 Shannon

Last question, just for fun! What is your favorite dessert? 
My favorite dessert of all time would have to be pumpkin pie! I could eat it every day, though of course then I would weigh a million pounds.

Thanks so much, Shannon! It is such a pleasure to have you here on Julie Clark Art – the blog!


  1. I LOVE how it turned out Julie!!! Thank you so much for this opportunity. It was lovely getting to 'talk' with you and your readers. :) Shannon, owner Faded Leaves

  2. Not an easy thing to do, working with autistic kids and adults. I worked with a young man, in his late 20s for 9 months, and learned so much, but the stress level was very high being highly vigilant out in the community for 6 hours a day, five days a week, watching for triggers, sudden outburst, confusion, all the best cues, keeping to patterns, well known calming songs, etc. worked sometimes and sometimes not. So, I got promoted and worked with all adults with developmental disabilities. I guess the biggest challenge is communication and how everyone communicate just a little different, so for me it was how can I be a better communicator. I really loved the smartness and cleverness of the folks I worked with, but made painfully aware how they were so misunderstood by the public.

    June 26, 2011 9:30 PM