Crafting from the Heart

Explore the creative mind of a painter, leatherworker, and beard oil master

Summer Dean

Painter, Owner of The Bearded Gypsy

As her brush gently strokes the canvas leaving behind a vibrant swath of color, Summer Haynes thinks back to her beginnings as an artist. At the delicate age of three years old, her great grandmother, also a painter, began explaining the intricacies of brushstrokes. From that point, Summer was enamored. The silencing of outside problems, letting the real-world wash away for a bit, the calming act of organizing paints, readying the canvases, and letting the art flow through her mind was a calling. Summer spent a lot of time in Hawaii, but originally graduated from NCHS, and her artwork reflects quite an eclectic mix between vintage Hawaii and farmhouse vibes.  

Painting is an outlet for Summer's soul, and a way to keep herself mentally healthy and happy in the most creative way. Her cheerful, upbeat paintings are sure to bring similar waves of joy to everyone who views them. When asked what advice she would bestow on others, Summer simply stated “Do what makes your soul happy; if you don’t know [what that is] get out and try something new!” 

Tracy Parrish

Leatherworker, Owner of Dirt & Thread Co.

Amid the chaos of Covid-19, a woman’s staunch faith and strong desire to prove herself came together to create Dirt and Thread Co., a local leather-working company. Tracy, the owner and artisan behind the business, said that in the beginning, the unforgiving nature of leathercrafting presented difficulties that often ended in disappointment and frustration. She did not allow those setbacks to crumble her motivation. “Every tool impression, cut, and stitch had to be intentional. Mistakes were not easy to correct, and I had to learn to accept the consequence of those mistakes,” she reminisced.  

As she became more skilled and her business grew and flourished, the pride Tracy felt was undeniable. She has now sold her products across all 50 states and continues to grow. The drive to blaze a path and leave a legacy for her two daughters, coupled with the support of a loving husband, are strong motivators for Tracy. Faith is one of the staples of her life, and Tracy feels strongly that without it, she would not be where she is today.  “With God's love and my family's support, I am motivated to build a business that will not only benefit my children but will also serve as a testament to the blessings that come from above.” 

Jeff Ruddell

Oil Crafter & Owner of Dank Beards

Healthy, clean living. That phrase is what makes Jeff, owner and founder of Dank Beards, passionate. After a traumatic health scare a decade ago, he threw himself into fitness and living cleanly without processed foods or chemicals. He was particularly keen on the use of essential oils for their various health benefits, as well as CBD oil, which has become an increasingly common component in many wellness businesses.  

Aside from health, Jeff is also a passionate and proud member of the bearded community. He spent many years purchasing beard oils from other companies only to find they fell short of his expectations. From the confidence and encouragement from his wife, Jeff began concocting a serum. Using his extensive knowledge of aromatherapy and essential oils, creating a beard oil solution was the perfect end note to his currently thriving business.

“When I see people pick up an oil or soap, put it to their nose, and sigh with enjoyment…that’s the best,” said Jeff. He enjoys tinkering with different blends and finds satisfaction in creating something that both entices the nose and tames the beard.  

“Do what makes your soul happy; if you don’t know [what that is] get out and try something new!"

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