Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Wellesley Marketplace is happening this Saturday!

by Bev Feldman of Linkouture

The 38th Annual Wellesley Marketplace, featuring over 175 boutique vendors, including Boston Handmade members Liz Stewart of Lush Beads, Dana Garczewski of The Patterned Peacock, and Bev Feldman of Linkouture, is happening this Saturday!

In addition to buying fabulous handmade gifts for everyone on your list, there will be fabulous raffle prizes up for grabs, including tickets to see your favorite Boston sports teams in action, exercise passes, and an iPhone!

You can buy your tickets ahead of time online. Be sure to also review everything you need to know to make your handmade holiday shopping experience a huge success, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Warm and cozy

curated by Sharon, Stray Notions


1. Coffee Mug, Tea cup, Mug, porcelain, handmade mug, - Dandelion, Early Bird Designs
2. Felted Wool Coffee Press Cosy - stylized roses, Stray Notions
3. Handwoven Tea Towel in Raisin & Navy - 11 x 23" - 100% cotton, Loomination Studio
4. Cup of Tea Print, The Patterned Peacock

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boston Handmade at Jamaica Plain Crafts Fair

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

Are you ready?! Boston Handmade will once again be representing at the best holiday fair in Jamaica Plain!

This show is always full of talented artisans and we are super psyched to be a part of it this holiday season. The following Boston Handmade members will be up on the stage selling lots of holiday gifts and art:

See you there!

First Church in Jamaica Plain
6 Eliot Street
Jamaica Plain, MA
(click here for to see this location on Google Maps)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Bracelets Bangles Cuffs

curated by Susanne from enchantedhue

Hammer Textured Wide Brass Cuff Bracelet by PrunellasWorkshop
Hammered Silver Bracelet by Linkouture
Simplicity Bracelet by Lushbeads
Oxidized Sterling Silver Sparks Cuff Bracelet by CristinaHurley

Bracelets are my favorite pieces of jewelry. I wear them almost every day. From felt to brass, copper, silver, white gold, fabric, and gemstone; extra wide or narrow stacked; sleek modern or intricate vintage; tribal, ethnic, kitschy - I love them all!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

9 tips for holiday shopping at craft shows

by Bev Feldman of Linkouture

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Halloween costumes and candy have quickly been replaced with ornaments and menorahs. Shopping lists are being compiled and presents are being bought and tucked away.

Handmade products make some of the best holiday presents. They are unique and special, and they can often be specified to the recipient’s taste (with enough notice to the artist, of course!) Here are 9 tips to help make your handmade holiday shopping a success.

Gift image by The Patterned Peacock

1. Plan ahead
Time is a sneaky thing. You start out thinking you have months until the holidays, and before you know it’s a week before the holidays and you haven’t started your shopping. If you want a custom handmade piece for your spouse/friend/mom, you want to make sure to give the maker sufficient notice. Contact them early and check what his/her deadline is for custom orders. Even a few weeks before December 24 may not be enough time. 
2. See where your favorite artists will be selling
Most artists have a list of what upcoming shows they will be at on their websites or Facebook pages. If not, send them a quick e-mail. They will be happy to have your repeat (or first) business, and you can plan accordingly.

3. Check out what artists will be selling at the shows you will be attending
It can be really overwhelming sometimes to walk into a show and see booth after booth of handmade goodies. Where to even begin? If you know you are going to a specific show, check out to see what artists will be there so you have a sense of what to expect and you’re not quite as overwhelmed when you get there. 

Cranberry freshwater pearl and sterling silver gift set by Linkouture
4. Bring a list
Make a list of everyone for whom you want to buy presents and some ideas of what you would like to buy for them. Think about what their interests are, what colors they like. Do they love wearing jewelry? Have they mentioned to you that they broke their favorite mug or that they need a new case for their new computer? 

5. Check for entrance fees and discounts
At some shows you have to pay even before you have even bought anything. Before you go to the event, check online to see if there are any discounts. Some shows have a coupon you can print and bring with you which will save you a few dollars.

Ornaments by Happy Owl Glassworks, photo by Jessica Burko

6. Bring cash
Between entrance fees and snacks, it’s good to have at least $10 in cash on you. Of course, it’s also good to bring more cash to pay for your gifts, and it will help you to budget. Most artists accept credit cards, but we do lose a small percentage of our sales to pay for credit card fees so cash payments are often preferred.

7. Leave your coat in the car
Holiday craft shows can get really crowded and very hot. The last thing you want to do is lug around your giant winter coat. (Plus, you will want to keep your hands free for all those presents you will be buying!) If for some reason you aren't able to, check to see if the show has a coat check. 

8. Go with a friend or trusted shopping partner
Whenever buying gifts for my family members, I always like to check with my husband who can help me to decide if I come across something that I think one of them will like. Admittedly, going to craft fairs isn't his favorite activity, so I have friends that I also like to go with can give me their opinion. 

Teal & black cowl scarf by Loomination

9. If shopping with a gift recipient, find an excuse to sneak away
On several occasions I have had husbands return to my booth after their wives noted that they really liked a piece of my jewelry. It takes the guess work out for them and they don't have to worry about finding a present later. If you are shopping with someone for whom you want to buy a gift and they have shown an interest in something, find an excuse to return to that booth without them. Tell them you have to use the restroom or you have to make a phone call, and return to the maker's booth. Let them know you are on a secret mission, and we will make sure to get that item wrapped and paid for as inconspicuously as possible!

To see what upcoming holidays shows Boston Handmade members will be at, click here

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Around in Circles

curated by Sharon Fischer, Stray Notions

1. Sterling Silver Necklace with Mobius Spiral & Freshwater Pearl, Linkouture
2. Simplicity Bracelet - Silver - Lush Beads Industrial, Lush Beads
3. Hammered circle earrings ecofriendly recycled sterling silver, Beryllina
4. Boyfriend Ring Sterling Silver Wide Band set with CZs, Cristina Hurley Designs

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Mosaic: Happy Halloween!

curated by Susanne from enchantedhue

Spider Pendant #7 - Rust and Mint - by LushBeads
Original Mixed Media Art by JessicaBurko
Orange White Mini Chevron iPad Ereader Pillow Stand by abigailleigh
Pleated Linen Tote in Taupe and Orange by LidaBrookDesigns

Halloween! That spooky time of year! Spiders and skeletons and bats and ghosts. Orange and black and blinking lights and scary sounds.

I love it! I didn't grow up with Halloween (in Austria, my native country, it was not celebrated at the time), so I am more than compensating now. Not sure what I like more: the eery decorations or being allowed to scare children. Well, just a little bit of scaring...

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Meet Ava Chan of Sugin Textiles

by Ava of Sugin Textiles

Hello! My name is Ava Chan, and I make and sell felted goods for home and body under the name Sugin Textiles. I became a member of Boston Handmade earlier this year and I’m thrilled to be here.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: I grew up in New York City in the South Bronx, during that neighborhood’s bad ol’ days in the 1960s and 70s. My family lived on the top floor of a five-story walkup and outside time was confined to the fire escape and the building’s tar roof. Now I live with two greyhounds in a little ranch house in Brighton that has a small lawn and a back yard. Instead of white picket, the fence enclosing my house is chain-link, but it’s still a world away from what I grew up with. I went up to Boston for college (I studied mechanical engineering at Boston University) and stayed. I’m intrigued by different work environments and how one earns a living.  I’ve worked at general office jobs, as an ice cream scooper, a retail clerk, in a food coop, at a food pantry, as a software developer, as a technical writer, as an instructor of college freshman composition, and as a community organizer. Now I’m figuring out the components of owning a creative business. It is so delightful to be in the company of Boston Handmade members on this current adventure.

Q: What is the first thing you can remember making by hand?

A: I don’t remember the first things I made, but I do remember learning how to knit and crochet when I was about 7 or 8 years old – my mom taught me. I remember struggling with getting my rows to line up and to understand how you knew which way you were going when knitting up a row. I remember the thrill I felt when I figured it out. I still get that thrill now when I’m making something and get it to be what I want it to be.

Q : What are your favorite materials?

A: Generally speaking, natural fibers, wool first and foremost. Most feltmakers use merino fleece, which has a fine texture and felts readily.  I really appreciate it after working with fleece from other breeds of sheep, such as Shetland, Icelandic, and Coopworth. I love the way that linen and hemp become softer with use. Silk is delightful.  I also love clay, its malleability and how glazing and baking in a kiln seem to transform it into an entirely different substance.

Q: What do you love most about what you make?

A: I really love the textures that can be developed with felt. I think like clay, wool has an alchemical nature. It can be made into 2D or 3D objects, and the texture of the finished object is influenced by the type of wool, how much is used, how it is laid out and how you stretch and rub it as you make the felt. Felt can be smooth, soft, hard, or coarse. You can increase the texture of a piece by incorporating various fibers or even pieces of cloth or other objects. Stitching on felt, whether by machine or hand, creates a quilted effect. You can even incorporate solid objects into felt.  The more a piece moves away from a smooth surface, the more intriguing I find it.

Q: What is your biggest obstacle with what you make?

A: Feltmaking is slow! It takes a long time to get even merino fibers to mat together. I wish I worked faster.

Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?

A: I love cooking on Sunday mornings: waffles, biscuits, fried rice or noodles, and then eating them. I share with the dogs.

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