Saturday, July 26, 2014

Designer Fabrics and My Guitar Straps

Designer Fabrics and My Guitar Straps

Published On: 07-26-2014 04:47am
Comments: 0 - Hits: 0
If you've looked around my shop at, you can tell I try to use unusual, off-the-beaten-path materials for my guitar straps. Those materials tend to be ornate, highly detailed, and very stylized. What I have always had difficulty finding is a material design that has those qualities but is, at the same time, visually stark, pure, something with a kind of unvarnished clarity. I recently came upon a fabric design that does exactly what I want, that is just chocked full of subtlety and detail but still has that sharp intensity that has been so hard to find.


The fabric itself is absolutely exquisite-- a thick, soft, glossy crepe de chine sateen that is simultaneously both meaty and elegant.  But even more impressive is that it has captured the hand of the artist in such humanizing, intimate detail. 


When I first saw this design, it looked for all the world as if the fabric had actually been drawn on and colored, that what I was getting was not a print but actual original art. I could see the movement of the colored pencil tip back and forth; I could see where the artist's hand had applied more or less pressure to achieve a saturated or pastel shading; I could see how fine or blunt the edge of the pencil was against the side of the guide used for drawing the straight lines. I simply could not stop studying the detail of the artwork.


Because this is a limited edition fabric, I will not be able to make more than a few guitar straps with it. But, oh, what beautiful guitar straps they will be! My plan is that each one will have a back lining unique to the shades of blue, peach, and yellow on the front-- a guitar strap that is utterly original, truly one of a kind. Having made the first one, I am so completely thrilled with how it looks, I can't wait to make the others. You can see my listing for this guitar strap here: ( and I hope you fall as profoundly in love with it as I have. Thanks for reading! Terri

I've worked with a lot of guitarists who have a mental picture of what they want to look like onstage. They think that since they play a certain "type" of music, that they must sport a certain "type" of image, right down to their guitar straps. But, when they really go through my guitar straps, they'll often say, "Oh, I really like that one but I could never wear it. It's too (insert your own adjective here--pretty, classy, quiet, odd, weird, just too unexpected)."

A very successful musician who had bought one of my straps said to me, "I want the girls to like me. I want the guys to want to be like me. Part of why they want to be like me is that the girls like me." He then proceeded to buy a red satin and tulle guitar strap with one single hand embroidered and beaded long-stemmed rose on it. I asked him why he had chosen that particular strap since he was a heavy metal musician. He said, "Because it will confuse the girls. I'm dangerous and I'm somehow approachable all at the same time. They love that." I had not thought of that particular manipulation and, while I can’t say I endorse it, I can say it seems to work pretty well for him.

So, I am on a mission to try to teach musicians to try to think outside the

image box. One of the fun aspects of my guitar straps is that they are elegant, beautiful, attention-grabbing, but they are not conventional. That means you’re already thinking outside the image box just by looking at my guitar straps (Good for you! Gold star!) But, if you’re going to buy an unconventional strap, how do you choose it? First, of course, it has to complement your guitar. If you have a dominant color in your guitar, you can choose a strap that matches that dominant color; however, this is the fun part. If you have minor colors in your guitar, a neutral guitar strap with dominant imagery in those minor colors is just an awesome look! It shows that you really thought about it and didn’t just grab something off the rack. Let’s say you have a black guitar with a tortoise shell pick guard and abalone inlay in the fret board. This leopard print strap would be perfect— picks up the shades of brown and black in the tortoise shell and the cream white portion of the print picks up the abalone inlay. The other thing you have to give some thought to is how your strap coordinates with your stage wardrobe. One musician bought this Don’t Tread On Me guitar strap and always coordinates with it, wearing a black and yellow checked shirt or black shoes with yellow shoe laces. He’s even worn a black and yellow knitted indie stocking cap. But the strap has a particular dominance that he likes and he works with because it’s part of an overall stage persona. One musician bought four different straps from me all at the same time and each was vastly different in color and imagery from the other. When I asked him about it, he explained that he wants a more refined look for his acoustic sets and a more visually aggressive look for his amped sets. Same music, just a different feel and a different personal presentation. Another musician who bought one of my straps just said, “I want to look like I have some class, some taste.” That statement was a real honor to me, that I could produce something that made somebody feel cool like that.
Because my straps aren’t excruciatingly expensive I’m able to offer well made, fine looking straps at a price that gives you some real choices, and because my straps are pretty much one-of-a-kind, you truly are unique when you step out onto the stage. And, I bet those confused girls will love it! Thanks for reading! Terri Hearne

The Changing Face of the Music Industry

Because I have two sons who are struggling to be successful musicians, I do pay attention to the winds of change in their chosen profession. The music industry has been in a state of flux for decades but the advent of the digital download has turned it completely on its head.

When I was growing up in the '60's, full length vinyl albums were the musical currency of the era--usually 11 or 12 songs (half on Side A of the album, half on Side B). Singles (45 rpm vinyls) were available but you only bought them because you couldn't afford the whole album. Nobody actually wanted singles; they settled for them. There were only a few major record labels and the industry and radio gurus told you what to like by playing the same songs over and over and over during the course of the day. The radio was the place-- the only place-- you got your music.

The medium of music purchasing changed a bit with the advent of the 8-track tape player but the power of radio was still supreme. The major disadvantage of the 8-track was that, on occasion, a song cut off in the middle in order for the tape to switch over. No wonder 8-tracks didn't last long. They were exasperating.

Unique, Affordable Christmas Gifts--How About A Handmade Guitar Strap?

Christmas will be here soon and, like most of us, you're probably trying to figure out how to buy gifts that have quality and meaning without breaking your Christmas budget. It's tough times right now. Most of us understand that. Being immersed in the local and regional music scene, I am especially sensitive to the fact that there are fewer gigs out there, smaller draws, less money at the end of the night. What was once a struggle to move forward has become a battle just to survive.

When I started making handmade guitar straps in 1998, those musicians were exactly the ones I had in mind-- people who were getting started, didn't have much money, but needed and wanted to bring a distinctive persona to the stage. I've never abandoned that group of musicians because they have always been special to me, people with goals and hopes and the talent to make them real, and that's why I've tried to keep my guitar strap prices within their reach. So, here are links to a few of my guitar straps that are at or under $50, Maybe you'll see something that's perfect for the struggling musician in your life, maybe you won't. Don't just shop at my studio; look around Artfire (, where I sell my guitar straps. You'll see all kinds of really cool, well made, affordable creations.

When you visit Artfire, be sure to look for the Certified Handmade Artifact in the artisan studio you're visiting. Check their feedback by clicking the gold stars in the Seller Information box. Be especially sure to check their check in date just above the gold stars. If it's been a while since they checked in, unless they are on vacation and have a vacation message in their studio, move on to another studio. Some sellers conceal their check in date and I honestly don't know why. But, if you see something you just must have, check their sales numbers for some assurance that they're active, or message them before you buy to make sure they'll be responsive. Read the descriptions carefully to be sure you are getting what you think you are getting.