Since I was little I have always been creating. Working with my hands and making has always brought me joy, peace, and calmness. My Medium has changed over the years. Growing up I figured I would probably end up doing photography or painting. I even tried out woodworking for a bit and have always loved knitting.
I kind of fell into making jewelry. I started making myself earrings, just for fun and to try it out. I have always been a big earring girl and had a few ideas I thought would look cool. Once I made a few, my friends and classmates started asking about them. I posted a few on my personal instagram just to see what happened and I sold them all.
My story is similar to a lot of other new artists. Once the pandemic hit I lost my job and wanted a way to make some money, so I thought I would put a few on etsy. What could I lose? At the beginning it was mainly family and friends who bought from me. I remember getting my first sale from someone I didn't know, the thrill was addicting! That summer I did a few pop-ups, in my front yard, with a few friends in someone's garage, and I had a blast! I started emailing a few stores, posting more on social media, and Little Leaf Goods was fully out in the world.
It's important to me to try to be as sustainable as possible. I am a big believer that we get only one planet and we need to take care of it. Something that I do to try to reduce my waste is by using plantable seed cards as backing cards. Although I don't make the cards (I did try for a bit but paper-making is not the craft for me), I buy them in sheets, then cut out and stamp each one. Each card has wildflower seeds in it and is handmade from recycled paper.
Once you take your earrings home that piece of paper would normally go in the trash. That felt like a waste to me, to create something that you know will get thrown away in the end. When you take home a pair of Little Leaf Goods earrings you can simply tear it up, put it into some dirt (or plant it in your backyard!), add lots of water, and you should be growing wildflowers in no time!
I think my style and process really sums up who I am as a person. I have never been someone who thrives in planning, but in actual doing. I like to sit down and see what happens, try new things, and know it's okay to make mistakes, or even to make something ugly. This way I find that I stay more productive as well as more engaged and having fun, which to me is one of the most important parts.
When I have fun, I'm not only putting that energy into the earrings, but I find I make better earrings. I am a firm believer that making is experimenting. Something that I really enjoy is being able to make something come to life. I like to think of all the time and effort I put into each piece and I hope that when people wear my jewelry they can feel that joy and passion. I just think it's so cool that something I made is going to be worn by someone.
I like to think of what adventures it will go on, what places it will see and how many hands it will be in. A Lot of my own jewelry has been passed to me from my grandma. I knew that jewelry was one of those items that could live many lives with many people. I love to think of all the adventures my pieces will go on, what fun places they will explore and what stories they will see.
Happy Adventuring & Creating,
Ruby Dammann has been with North and Shore since the Makers Mercantile mobile camper days. She also is the maker behind Little Leaf Goods jewelry. Ruby grew up in St.Paul and moved up to Duluth for school (go bulldogs), fell in love with Lake Superior, and just hasn't been able to leave since. When she isn't in the store or making earrings she loves to get outside and go camping with her wife Marcy and dog Onni. You can find her and her jewelry on facebook and instagram at @little.leaf.goods