We are so excited to introduce an incredible lady who has inspired us beyond measure. We could not move forward with our mission without one very special person and her impeccable talent and heART. <3
Yes, heART was spelled that way on purpose because her art is truly in her heart. And since her art comes straight from her heart it will immediately capture yours. There are no words to express how grateful and fortunate we are that Madeline was brought to our attention by someone we didn’t and don’t even know! We also had no idea when we contacted her about the possibility of making our award bracelets that we would get so much more. After months of discussions the bracelet idea eventually worked its way to the final product which became our Come Together medallions. The medallions come on an adjustable red leather cord that can be worn as a bracelet or a necklace. The medallions are also reversible. More on that later! The medallions are amazing, and we cannot wait to award a medallion to one deserving kiddo each month! In the meantime, we couldn’t be more ecstatic for you to meet the artist behind the design, Madeline Ellis!
This extraordinary artist and mother of two owns and operates Mimosa Handcrafted, LLC with her husband, Dawson. Stop what you’re doing and go follow them both on Instagram NOW! Madeline’s posts are thought- provoking, funny, beautiful and best of all – real. Follow Madeline @mimosahandcrafted. Dawson posts awesome footage and pics that go on behind the scenes in addition to some, “bonus material,” that makes you feel like you are part of the family or hanging out with them at the shop. The other thing you’ll notice in Dawson’s posts is that he is completely in love with that wife of his who is simply beautiful inside and out. We feel you Dawson, to know her is to love her! Follow Dawson @manmomsahandcrafted
Madeline graduated in landscape architecture from LSU. “After graduation I worked for a small landscape architecture firm in downtown Baton Rouge. I’d leave that day job and go straight home to make jewelry into the night. I spent a lot of time exploring new techniques and materials; I took classes and read lots of books. My husband, who was much more entrepreneurial-minded, encouraged me to make Mimosa an LLC and apply to sell at the local arts market. I was slowly picked up by local retailers and added new shows and festivals as well as an online shop. Eventually I left my day job to pursue jewelry full time. My background in landscape architecture prepared me for creating pieces that went beyond aesthetic adornment. Everything we designed in school had to have a “why,” and we didn’t include things that weren’t adding to the form or function of the experience of the space. The way I approach jewelry design is exactly the same. I consider so much more than trends; each piece is rooted in creating experience, solving a problem, telling a story or raising awareness.”
Doesn’t that last sentence say it all? When we first visited her website https://mimosahandcrafted.com/ it sucked us in instantly. The meaning and purpose behind each piece was like a mini life lesson taught with the best artistic, visual presentation imaginable! Add that to the fact that each piece is handmade from start to finish and it was love at first click. You always hope that a gift will be loved and adored. But when you give Mimosa, you are giving a meaningful, quality heirloom that will be treasured for generations. As a matter of fact, having mentioned that, this is the perfect time to share this link: https://mimosahandcrafted.com/process/ You will be amazed at the thought, time, talent and heart that is poured into each piece by Madeline, Dawson and their team. One of our favorite tid-bits was finding that all their pieces go in crawfish pots! We just so happened to catch one of Dawson’s posts on Instagram of the boiling process and guess what?! Our very first Come Together medallions were in those pots! How FUN is that?!
But there is so much more…as we worked through the process of designing our medallion we have gotten to see what a thoughtful, loving friend and leader that Madeline is to so many. We also got a glimpse into the deep thought and care she puts into her most important work, her family. We are so excited to share Madeline with you, so you can be as inspired as we are!
Where do you get your inspiration for new designs and pieces? Everywhere. Honestly, most pieces are born from a story I’m trying to tell about our culture, landscape or past. I love making pieces that create opportunity for conversation around topics like mindfulness, relaxation, history, culture and landscape.
What sets your jewelry apart? It works for a living! I’m kidding, sort of. My jewelry doesn’t just decorate you, it tells a story, it reminds you of something you love, it draws you nearer to whatever it is that piece represents. It gives you an excuse to talk to strangers and maybe even become fast friends. It opens doors to both like-minded conversation and constructive debate.
How do you keep your products fresh and exciting? I stay open to what feels like needs to be made in the moment. I have ideas on the books going back years but it’s not always the right time to make that thing. There is no formula, it’s more like a gut feeling or listening to that still, small voice. Some ideas feel like money burning a hole in your pocket and they almost demand to be made immediately. Some just whisper to let you know they are there and when the time comes they’d be thankful to be made.
We cannot begin to express how fortunate and honored we are that our Come Together medallions got to be a part of Madeline’s story. Here’s a little glimpse into her thought process and how our medallions made her to-do list in 2017.
What were your first thoughts when you were contacted about designing a bracelet for Come Together with Kindness? I loved the idea, having a son who was about to start kindergarten it was a topic on my mind. I love how Come Together with Kindness is so proactive about starting the conversation with kids before it happens. What I didn't realize was how personal this would become, by the first week of kindergarten my son was already coming home with stories of bullying. I was so thankful to have this new resource for all of my questions at the exact time I needed it!
All your designs are so meaningful and heartfelt. Is there anything you'd like to tell us about this design? The logo is fun and the message is so important as a reminder but I didn't want a piece of jewelry to scream the message. If the child wants to wear courage facing out they can, if they want to have it face in and have the more abstract version of the logo face out they can choose that option. Then it's more like a personal reminder instead of a declaration. We all have days we don't want to stand on a soap box (or we do) the reversible option of this piece gives whoever wears it the choice.
After it leaves your hands, your shop, this design will be awarded to very special, brave kids who go above and beyond to be kind, inclusive and take a stand against bullying behaviors. Is there anything you would like to say to the kids who receive a medallion? It takes a lot of courage to stand up for people who aren't being treated right, especially when it doesn't seem like the cool thing to do. When you have that twinge in your stomach that tells you "this isn't right" and you take action to stop it, listening to that is a life skill, acting on it is a super power. Not everyone has the courage to do it. The more you stand up for those who can't the better you'll get at it. There will always be bullies all of your life, they won't look the same, they won't act the same but you'll know in yourself when you or someone is being treated right or wrong, keep, and grow that courage to stand up against it. And last but not least, don't forget, the bullying is coming from a person but they aren't a bully, it's a behavior, they are human too. Use the same compassion you have for the one being bullied and see if there isn't some help you can get for the bully, odds are that bullying behavior is really a cry for help.
You're doing good, hard work, keep it up!
Get a small glimpse into Madeline’s incredible, thoughtful heart here: https://vimeo.com/236007476
Warning: may cause tearing of eyes.
Clearly, we could go on for days about Madeline and the incredible inspiration she is to so many. We could discuss for months on end the meaningful art she creates with her hubby and her team in her small shop in Baton Rouge. We could share countless stories about the difference she makes, not only in her community, but also far beyond. We encourage you to go explore Mimosa Handcrafted. If you are looking for inspiration we guarantee you will find some there!
Madeline, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your willingness to give your precious time and talent to help us in our efforts to recognize amazing kids, encourage kindness and work towards creating a world where positive peer pressure is cool! We believe that the outstanding kids we recognize with your medallions will aspire to make a lasting, positive impact on the world around them just as you have done and continue to do. <3
To see our medallions please visit our new Come Together with Kindness Medallions Page!