Jasmine Ellis spreads positivity, creativity and light through her homemade accessories brand

C/O Wildflower Supply Co.

If you are a Disney fan, you may be familiar with the quote, “Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?” from Alice in Wonderland. Underneath the pretty, soft appearance, these flowers have a bold and unique character, growing brazenly and unapologetically almost everywhere in nature.

The resilience, beauty and fortitude that wildflowers represent inspired Jasmine Ellis to start Wildflower Supply Co., a handmade custom accessories brand.

Ellis is a McMaster alumna and previous Social Media Coordinator during Volume 87 of the Silhouette. She developed an interest in jewelry making while creating friendship bracelets for her and her friends. 

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In the spring of 2020, she wanted to pursue jewelry making more seriously by launching Wildflower Supply Co. on Instagram. The first pieces she sold were bracelets with her favourite quotes and custom messages.

Over the past year, she has slowly grown the brand with more custom orders and the addition of different types of bracelets, mask chains and collaboration projects with local poets and businesses.

Ellis credits the rapid success of her business to when she sold Black Lives Matter bracelets in June.

“At the time, I was just screaming into the void, it felt like, on Instagram in support of the Black Lives Matter movement . . . I know that speaking about it on social media is really important, but [I thought,] “How can I tangibly do something that feels important?”,” said Ellis.

In an effort to make meaningful, real contributions to the Black Lives Matter movement, Ellis ran a week-long fundraiser selling her Black Lives Matter bracelets. She received overwhelming support and sold over a hundred bracelets.

At the end of the week, she raised $1,870 which was donated to the Afro Canadian Caribbean Association of Hamilton and Gianna Floyd Fund.

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The idea of sharing quotes through jewelry came from her and her mom’s longtime love of warm and inspirational messages, which are displayed throughout her house. It was also prompted by her first collaboration with poet Rebecca Leighton. Leighton’s lovely words were stamped on a gold cuff.

Ellis’ most recent collaboration was with Oksana Legault, the owner of 30 Wolves Designs, an online jewelry shop for handmade contemporary Indigenousbeadwork earrings. They picked their favourite lines from Indigenous poets to stamp on Ellis’ bracelets and sold them in a bundle with a pair of beautifully beaded earrings by Legault.

“[Collaboration launches] are probably the most intimidating and simultaneously the most fun projects that I’ve worked on for Wildflower . . ."

"[Those projects] make me push myself in ways that I wouldn't have otherwise thought to do, and it’s so fun to hear the creative process of the people that I work with, their stories and the reasons why they opened their business and continue doing what they're doing,” explained Ellis.

Ellis enjoys supporting and working with people who have important messages to share, and these messages are an important aspect of how she decides who to collaborate with.

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Running Wildflower Supply Co. not only fulfills Ellis’ artistic endeavours, but it has also served as a coping mechanism during the current pandemic. As much as the pandemic has negatively impacted aspects of her life, she believes the brand wouldn’t have existed without it. Her jewelry brand is the real-life portrayal of a wildflower that has bloomed despite the harsh conditions, restraints and challenges. 

The response to her accessory brand has all been kind and positive. Interacting with her customers for custom orders is one of her favourite parts of running the business, and she is still blown away by the amount of support she has received since the launch.

“The support from the community is the only reason why Wildflower has a following at all . . . It's the supporters that keep inspiring me to create new things, and they keep giving me new ideas and pushing me beyond my creative boundaries."

"I think it comes from them being themselves, so I encourage people to keep just being the most unapologetic best version of themselves because whenever they do that, in collaboration with me, everything new that I create is my favourite thing that I've created, and that comes from them,” said Ellis.

In the coming months, Ellis will also wrap up her master of teaching at the University of Toronto, and she hopes to begin supply teaching. However, she promises that Wildflower Supply Co. will remain an important community and a priority for her.

Photo C/O @hamiltonwinterfest

By: Natalie Clark

Hamilton has been getting its fair share of the winter weather this season, so in what better way to embrace it than to explore all that Winterfest 2019 has to offer?

Winterfest is a two-week long affair that features winter events in and around the city. Beginning Feb. 1, there will be free and paid events held throughout Hamilton such as open skate, live music and various themed events. Take a break from studying and enjoy the winter weather while taking part in this timely Hamilton tradition.

 

Live Music by Matt Mays

Juno Award winner and Hamilton born indie rock singer/songwriter Matt Mays will be performing at Hamilton Central Public Library on Feb. 10. Mays is currently on his Dark Promises Tour and will be making a pit stop in his hometown for an intimate show. Head on down to Hamilton Central Public Library for some of the best music Hamilton has to offer. This is a paid event and tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtOnzxBH9xb/

 

Frost Bites Performance Festival

Frost Bites is a four-day event in partnership with Hamilton Fringe featuring some of Hamilton’s best theatre performers. Each night, artists will perform “bites” of theatre shows that are meant to last no longer than 20 minutes each. The festival will also be taking place on Feb. 14 to Feb. 17 at two community locations, the New Vision United Church and St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrA4yIDhYeN/

 

Celebrate Black History Month in Hamilton

On Feb. 13, Winterfest will be holding a lecture featuring guest speaker Kojo “Easy” Damptey, an afro-soul musician and scholar-practitioner. Born and raised in Ghana, he attempts to address societal issues and enact change in the world with his lyrics. He will be speaking on behalf of stories of existence, resilience and resistance. The event is free and will be held at the Historic Ancaster Old Town Hall. All are welcome to join the celebration and commemoration of Black History Month.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bnphw5bndIv/

 

Learn to Knit

Stressed? Bored? Dying to pick up a new hobby? If any of those resonate with you then this beginners knitting course may be up your alley. For $90 you’ll learn the basics of knitting over the course of three classes, running on Wednesdays from Feb. 13 to Feb. 27. Grab a group of friends and head down to the Art Aggregate in East Hamilton for all the tips and tricks you need to know about knitting.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrQ4E3yB8Ii/

 

Tai Chi Open House

In honour of the beginning of the Chinese New Year on Feb. 5, Barton Stone Church will be hosting a Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi Open House on Feb. 9. This event is free and includes a demonstration and class, as well as various hot drinks including tea and apple cider! There will be volunteer staff available to chat with you about their class schedule, as well as information about the benefits of Taoist Tai Chi. The event is sure to be a warm evening full of new learning experiences.

 

The Canteen

The Canteen is one of Hamilton Winterfest’s signature events. Featuring live music from a variety of artists, including Hamilton-based singer/songwriter Ellis, a cozy fire, winter marketplace and various other events, this event is worth the trip to the Battlefield House Museum & Park National Historic Site on 77 King Street West. The location is also known as one of Canada’s most significant monuments of the War of 1812. Aside from participating in the event’s attractions, you are also welcome to explore the museum and historic grounds on site. This is an all-day event taking place on Feb. 16 starting at 10 a.m.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsvgOQrnS0Z/

 

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Photos C/O Ariel Bader-Shamai

The music video for Ellis’ first single “The Drain” opens with less than a second of television static. That glimpse of static appears several more times throughout the course of the video but it’s more than just a motif for the video, it’s the overarching theme of her debut project, The Fuzz.

[spacer height="20px"]Ellis is the musical project of Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Linnea Siggelkow, who derived the name from her initials. Her sound was once described to her as emo dream pop and this is the label she assigns to it. It is beautiful, dramatic and sad music.

The Fuzz, which dropped on Nov. 9, is a collection of songs that Ellis wrote around the same time. She independently released the six-track project, which includes her first two singles “The Drain” and “What a Mess.” The EP gets it its name from the feelings that Ellis felt while writing the songs.

“[T]he fuzz is… this metaphorical place like the noise on a TV screen. It's just the lack of clarity… a feeling of being lost and a place I found myself in often and... where a lot of the songs came from was feeling sort of disoriented and confused and uncertain in this sort of metaphorical place,” Ellis explained.

On Nov. 28, Ellis will be playing at The Casbah for her EP release show. While performing makes her anxious, one thing she loves about performing in Hamilton is being able to see the familiar faces of her friends and collaborators in the audience.

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Not originally from Hamilton, Ellis loves the creative and caring community that she has found in the city. On The Fuzz, she collaborated only with the circle of talented individuals that she feels lucky to call her friends. Being able to trust her collaborators was important in creating this personal project.

In order to share some of the meaning behind her intimate tracks, Ellis created a zine with collaborative partner, Sean Richman. The zine features a spread for each song consisting of photographs, handwritten lyrics and GPS coordinates for significant places.

I'm trying to create a mood… and I think to me the project is moody. But I also want it to just be beautiful… I love having visual elements. I think it's a great way to connect the listener with music in a different way… I hope it's a way of, if people are interested, going a little bit deeper into the songs themselves,” Ellis explained.

While the personal nature of the project means that it’s hard for Ellis to discuss all the events that inspired the EP’s tracks, she wants listeners to be able to relate to and resonate with the music. For her, making music is a way of processing emotions and using them to create something productive and tangible.

She started playing piano as a child since her mother was a piano teacher. When she was 12 years old, she began playing guitar and writing songs. Song-writing is very much ingrained in who she is.

Her song-writing process begins solitarily, which lends itself to the intimacy of her music. She always begins with a lyric and then builds up the song as much as she can on her own before she brings in her collaborators.

[spacer height="20px"]Ellis was deeply involved in all aspects of The Fuzz. She co-directed the videos for “The Drain” and “NYE” with her friend Andy Friesen.

I think for this project it's been mostly DIY… I definitely like to have my hands on as many things as I can to do with the project. I feel a bit possessive of it,” Ellis explained.

This homespun approach has created a sound and visuals that feel attentively crafted and beautifully raw. In the new year, Ellis hopes to create a full-length album and tour, allowing her to share her stories of fuzz and freedom with more of the world.

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