Looking for something special for Valentine’s Day? Consider visiting the heart of the village, Nyack’s Farmer’s Market at the Nyack Center, this Thursday, from 8a-2p. Two women-owned small businesses and a local craft project might have something that will make your special someone happy. This week, Nyack Sketch Log interviewed Myriad Mirage, Ginamarie Engels and Annie Roberts of Rebecca’s Paradise to learn how they get their artisanal goods to the market. I also introduce Liz’s Folded Whimsies.
Ginamarie Engels of Myriad Mirage
When did you make your first piece of jewelry?
Technically, I made my first piece of jewelry when I was 14. It was with recycled paper and plastics and nail polish. Myriad Mirage jewelry began in 2013 at age 21, when I found a 17 yr cicada wing on the ground on Jefferson St in Nyack and was intrigued. Then I found out thousands of the Brood II were emerging that spring and summer, so I found wings on 6th Ave and High Ave almost every single day. I had to continue collecting. My soul depended on it! I still have a lot of wings left and have made hundreds of cicada wing jewelry..mind you, this is almost 7 years later! Google the 17 year cicadas if you’ve never witnessed, or noticed, an emergence!
Were you fascinated with nature as a child?
To be honest, I actually grew up petrified of insects! A lot of my family was pretty scared of spiders, so it kind of transferred over to me as a young child. I didn’t spend as much time outdoors exploring as I would’ve liked to back then, which is possibly why things are the complete opposite now. I love entomology. I love honeybees, as I’ve become more educated! I’ve developed a fascination and peace for insects that I certainly didn’t have as a child.
When did you sell your first piece of Jewelry?
I sold my first piece of jewelry in 2013. That was really exciting.
How did you come up with the name of your company?
Oh, I love this question. For 2 months I was pondering and nothing came, people were like telling me what to name it and it just didn’t fit and so I let it go and I actually prayed about it for a week and woke up one morning and Myriad Mirage came. I was like okay, that’s it. As time has gone on, I have been looking more into the meaning of each word and how they play together, giving the journey even more meaning than I would’ve even known when I first named the game! Haha. I’m happy with the name of my company. It also gives people a combo of distinct words to remember.
How do you decide what to pick up and work with?
So sometimes nature just appears in front of me if I’m paying attention, like a fallen autumn leaf, barnacle, some milkweed flying in the wind. I try to just keep an eye out for unique plants that also have some science background or medicinal properties that I can also share with others. Also, I love color and to have a variety of colors to work with and put in jewelry is exciting.
What is the strangest think you’ve been given to work with
Hmm… I’ve had people ask if I would do their wisdom teeth, but never followed through. The strangest thing I decided to work with in the past were raccoon toe bones, those were surprisingly a hit and I still get asked to make them. No raccoons or raccoon toes were ever harmed to obtain the bones! Myriad Mirage has changed their mission a bit so no more raccoon toe bone jewelry.
I’ve received deceased butterflies in the mail, that could be odd to someone else but beautiful to me! I am always willing to work on custom orders, locks of hair, specific plant requests, custom work is special.
How many markets do you attend?
Well, the past couple years or so, I started to pick up some local-ish farmers markets like the Nyack Farmers Market and NY Botanical Garden Farmers Market which added to the schedule. I’d say about 1 to 3 per week from spring to winter seasons for now. It may increase or decrease in time as I scope out which shows to attend!
What’s harder, making it or selling it?
99.9% selling it is harder. There is an abundance and array of jewelry out in the world, which is actually an incredible thing! We all have a place, a niche and gift to share. But that being said, it means a lot to choose from and to filter. With lower priced and mass produced factory-made jewelry out there, sometimes handcrafted jewelry and its concept can get lost in translation. Also, a small percentage of people seeing Myriad
Mirage in person for their first time, it takes some chatting for them to realize there are real plants inside!! Sometimes people don’t realize at all and will sometimes come back to see the jewelry again and eventually it sinks in thus interests them further.
More exotic plant and herbal jewelry, hoping to start accepting bridesmaid and wedding floral jewelry & keepsake orders, traveling around to new and further places. Encouraged by Martin Luther King Jr which federal holiday just passed this month I have a dream… to one day have a flower farm although it’s a joy to support others tending to gardens and laboring seeds to produce beautiful plants for all to appreciate and learn about. I have a dream… of teaching workshops someday. I just have some kinks to work out. I have a dream to support more charities and local organizations somehow, somewhere, someday through Myriad Mirage.
When do the cicadas return?
So, there are many different species of cicadas, there are cicadas that are annual and we hear or see them every year but just not in abundance like the 17 year cicada. And they look quite different. The annuals are mostly dog-day cicadas and are black-ish green, they have green veined wings and the 17 yr periodical cicada has red eyes, orange veined wings! So, from my knowledge, the 17 year Brood II cicada will be back in Nyack, NY around in 2030, I hear we can get some stragglers here and there though! One more full decade till we see them in the area again!
Liz’s Folded Whimsies
Liz Rodgers Maldonado will be creating and selling her “folded whimsies” at the Nyack Farmers’ Market on Thursday. February 13. These handmade playful paper objects come in a variety of romantic shapes and alluring colors.
Between Myraid Mirage, Rebecca’s Paradise and Liz’s Folded Whimsy, you can find a unique expression of your undying affection.
Annie Roberts of Rebecca’s Paradise
Where did you learn the secret of health skin?
From my grandmother, who got her knowledge in Jamaica. She went on to attend a technical college where she became a professional skincare specialist. I am a certified chemist, which is how I am able to create our products!
What else from Jamaica inspires your brand?
Growing up around nature, in a place I called paradise! After years of using, exploring and living the organic and natural lifestyle, I was inspired to created cutting edge spa-quality handmade skincare for customers like myself!
What was your first product?
Brighten My Day Creamy Cleanser.
Are your products as gentle on the environment as they are on skin?
Yes, all ingredients that I use can dissolved into nature without damaging or accumulating waste on the place we call earth! The packaging is super easy to recycle!
How do you ensure that your products are eco friendly?
The ingredients used to create the products are sourced from an NPA guideline. The are eco-certified, from local organic farmers and organic certified.
What are some of your most popular products?
The best-sellers are: Brighten My Day Creamy Cleanser, Make Today A better Day Body Butter and Antioxidant face coverup.
Do you have items for men?
Yes, most of my products are men friendly
What would be a good Valentine’s Day gift from you collection?
Rose Face serum and Himalayan Rose body exfoliator
What are some of the challenges of running a small business?
Keeping up with inventory! It can get very expensive and overwhelming at times.
What’s next for Rebecca?
Expanding my skincare line and venturing out into an adventurous mud spa!
Visit Rebecca’s Paradise at rebeccasparadise.com
Visit Myraid Mirage at myriadmirage.com
An artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Valentine’s Day Finds at the Farmer’s Market” © 2020 Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com to see more.