Friday, September 28, 2007

JP Open Studios THIS Weekend

Four members of Boston Handmade will be showing their work this weekend at the Jamaica Plain Open Studios, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm both days.

Karalee Serra will be showing at the Central Congregational Church, Jessica Burko and Betsy Baker will be showing at the Brewer Street Carriage House, and Jennifer Hill will be showing her work at Fire Opal.

Over 200 artists and artisans will be showing and selling their work this weekend at the JP Open Studios - there will surely be something for everyone so check it out!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Where do you find good supplies??

There are “easy” places to find supplies for creative work...and then there are favorite places. Anyone who’s been creating for more than about a minute gets tired of cruising the same old spots for totally hot supplies, and starts looking elsewhere. Suddenly the least expected places become inspiration and the mind imagines masterpieces from stuff that never should have been an art supply. Or sometimes, you find a classic independent neighborhood shop that kicks some serious butt on the national cookie-cutter competition. It’s all fuel for the alchemy of art.

Boston Handmade members Mimi Kirchner, Allison Fraske, Beth Brennick, Lisa O’Neill, Jessica Burko and Katy Brown share their fave supply spots with you dear reader. Ready your glue guns for action:

Beth Brennick:
“I love shopping for fabric at Lorraine Fabrics located 593 Mineral Spring North Providence, RI. It has been family owned for fifty years. But the gem is the bargain loft located on the second floor. Picture a field of daises but put bolts of fabric in place of the daisies. You can spend the whole day there and it's all $1.99 a yard.”

Allison Fraske:
“First a little back tracking... I was a graphic design major at Emmanuel College which was a small school with a tiny but magical art department! The art department was a single floor in their four-floor administration building. In addition to graphic design courses, we also took many studio courses. Throughout those four years, one of my favorite places to draw inspiration from was a big storage closet on the art floor! The closet was filled with the most random props and gadgets from years past, and many of those props - from bones to dress forms to antique typewriters - became subjects for some great mixed media projects. My best friend even used the art floor as a central point in her photography thesis which ended up being one of the most talked about projects in our graduating class! Emmanuel is a rapidly expanding school and I know they are re-doing their administration building, but a big part of me hopes that the storage closet doesn't get demolished or even cleaned out because I am sure new students year after year will find artistic inspiration there as well!”

Mimi Kirchner:
“My favorite places - Salvation Army. 483 Broadway, Somerville MA..great prices, clean, light and mostly friendly staff. And parking. (For) art supplies- Playtime, 283 Broadway, Arlington MA 02474...this is an independent art/craft store that rivals any of the national chains like Michaels or AC Moore. Crammed with goodies. (Also) Artbeat- 212A Mass Ave, Arlington this art store has completely different stuff, more waldorf inspired and lots of Stampington publication supplies. Balich's 5 & 10 cent store- 1314 Mass Ave, Arlington...this is the store that time forgot. I swear they still have inventory from the early 80's. They have a decent amount of craft stuff including buttons, sewing notions, knitting, crochet and tatting (!) supplies. A real trip.”

Lisa O’Neill:
“Don't know how 'secret' this is, but I use ebay for almost all of my supplies. Also, a little more off the beaten track, is the thrift store/yard sale/flea market hunting. Many, many years of searching has given me an 'eye', so I can scan a whole store and hone right in on something I might like and be able to use. Oh, and here's a good one: now that friends now I'm making jewelry, they keep their eyes open everywhere they go and give me stuff!”

Jessica Burko:
"I found Scrapbook Clearance when I was looking for paper to use for our wedding invitations and programs, and wow it is awesome! If it is paper you are looking for, they have it. They also have an amazing selection of cardstock and a delightful random assortment of embellishments. And it is all so cheap that it is sometimes a challenge to meet their $10 minimum!"

Katy Brown:
“Two words: Dollar Store. I love the idea of creating beauty from America’s discards. I once made a prom dress from a plastic table cloth, a plastic shower curtain, and a ball of green plastic twine. (And I’m happy to report that it won second place in’s very first Craft Challenge. Whoopwhoop!) Walk into a dollar store with a $10 bill and you can walk out with a literal pile of glittery reusable goodness...”

written by, Katy Brown, aka Muchacha K

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Boston Handmade at the SEOM

This past Sunday was the Stitch n Bitch at the South End Open Market in Boston. We had the event planner Katy of Muchacha K, Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations, Angela of Ambient Designs Jewels, Mimi of MCK254 , and me Beth of Elizabeth Brennick. The two Betsy's were a stone throw away and one of the new members Charissa of Pogibabies Handmade stopped by to say hello. It was a great day of crocheting,knitting,sewing, and most important bitching! We promoted Etsy and Boston Handmade with a table filled with free goodies including businees cards, post cards, buttons, etc.. We also set up tables with our items to sell. This was an excellent idea and I want to thank Katy for putting on this event and giving us the opportunity to sell, stitch, and bitch at the SEOM.

Here's a couple of pictures from Sunday's show:

Angela and her dog Chesney.
A sellers child grabbed a free goodie package given by Dawn Wilson of Creativley ANew and made a patchwork petal flower card.
Written by Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Getting Published

There is nothing more exhilarating than going to a book store, moseying to the art/craft section, finding a book, opening it to see your artwork printed for the whole world to see!
How did it get there?

There are many opportunities to get your art/craft published. To start many magazines offer submission guidelines printed in their magazine. Find a magazine that you would like to get published in and see if they have guidelines printed. If not you can research that company online to find if they take outside articles, or develop ideas from outside sources.

Most companies are open to outside submissions. Stampington Company ( is a front-runner with many new publications being developed all the time. They have specific guidelines to submit work. Most publishers have a standard set of rules to follow. By making a checklist of these rules you can decide whether you want to submit your artwork to them. Some companies have contracts that they want you to sign. In this case reading the contract over carefully is vital to your rights as the creator of the artwork. In most cases when you create something you own the copyright of the item. YOU get to decide what happens. If the contract is not in your best interest, you have the right to negotiate that contract to make sure your rights as the artist aren’t being violated. If you are not savvy in this area you could consult a lawyer. Additionally, there is an organization called Volunteer Lawyers for The Arts, and they may also be able to help you out.

If you are interested in book publishing find some books that appeal to you. Check out the style and content to see if your work would be a good match. Then you should research the publisher of that book. Most of these companies have informative websites. If you are not finding the information you need there you can contact the company with your questions. You could also contact some of the artists in these books and ask them about their experience publishing with these companies. By just asking, most people are receptive to having a conversation with you, but don’t take it personally if they are not.

Lastly don’t give up. It might take some time to find the right fit. With a little research and a lot of determination you too can get published!

written by, Dawn Wilson of Creatively Anew

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Going Green

I can't be happier that America is waking up to the reality of all the harm we are doing to our planet. What do you think it is that has made us more aware? Is it the effects of global warming that we've all experienced to some degree or Al Gore's documentary "The Inconvenient Truth"? Maybe, but I think that more than anything it is suddenly very hip to be Green. Eco-friendly products are everywhere. We're building and decorating our homes with them, we're wearing them and as time goes on more of us are even driving them.

We began this decade with an awareness to "recycle, reuse and restore" and are now adapting to a new concept which is "Refuse". Do we really need one more plastic toy from Toys R Us or another pair of sneakers? People forget that it takes energy and creates pollution to manufacture all the things we think we need. The reality is that a lot of what we buy only gives us temporary happiness.

Having recently visited Costa Rica, I am impressed that this developing country has such an ecologically conscious attitude. Their commitment to save the rain forest is commendable. From hotel's suggestions not to change sheets and towels daily, to the use of bio-degradable soap, energy efficient light bulbs and environmental libraries- it was refreshing to experience up close how simple it is to make a difference. It is very clear there that it's not just our planet- that we share it with many, many species. Hopefully we can start doing a better job in all areas environmentally. Congratulations to Timberland, the clothing and shoe company based in Stratham, New Hampshire. They are the first US company to put a carbon index on their product labels. We will be seeing more monitoring of carbon imprinting by other companies soon I imagine.

written by, Louise Cady-Fernandes of The Hole Thing

Monday, September 17, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

the thirteenth with thirteenthstory : drawing tools

At the Boston Handmade Artisan Fair last Thursday, I was asked one
question above all others: How do you make these?

And though they are all drawn by hand, the technique is a little
different for each one. Some are simpler looking pieces in black and
white with one accent color, made with diluted ink or acrylic paint
applied with a brush. Some are very detailed black and white pieces,
created through hours of small pen strokes.

One common element they all share is that they are made with the
following tools, in other words, the art supplies I cannot live

First off is the triangle. There are a lot of precise right
angles in my drawings, and this is where they come from. I prop the
triangle against the edge of the border or a ruler to make repeated
lines look nice and uniform. I've owned a triangle ever since I was a
child in school, but only as an adult have I learned how to really use
one. My favorite are ones with "inking edges" so they don't drag and
smear the wet ink when moved.

For color, I often use acrylic paint (Liquitex heavy body is my
favorite). I enjoy mixing my own colors, so I only have ever bought
red, blue, yellow, black, and white tubes. This paint is always
applied with a flat-tipped brush for quality thick and even
strokes. My alternative to using paint is to make color by adding
water to a colored ink. The giraffe piece above was made with
watered-down magenta ink, also applied with a brush. The decision for
which type of color to use is based upon how much space the color uses
in relation to how much black and white is used on the page. Its no
scientific formula, just my gut feelings on the matter.

This ruler saves me a ton of time when determining the layout
for a drawing. It has a simple "center finding" feature that
eliminates all the calculating and double-checking if things are where
they are supposed to be.

My pencil of choice is a .05 Zebra mechanical pencil, I own so
many of them that one is always close at hand. I enjoy the Zebra's
thinner barrel, built-in grip, and smooth action compared to many
other mech pencils. However I never use the eraser that comes with
them, instead I rely on the unusually precise PaperMate Tuff Stuff
eraser stick. Its made of white plastic that picks up any line,
even dark ones, with no residue or shadow left behind. When selling
original art, its important the buyer does not end up with feint
mistakes ghosting all over the page, there is no need for them to see
what might have been!

Speaking of the white page, I always work on high quality Bristol
. When using the 400 or 500 Series, you can be sure that the
pressure of drawing/erasing/re-drawing will not be evident on the
final piece. If using multiple-plied board, its even more sturdy.
Personally I like the "smooth" finish, for I find it soaks up the ink
well while retaining the rich black color. People who use paint may
prefer a more toothy finish, on which the paint can better stick.
Bristol Board is also acid free, so you know it will hold your artwork
without discoloration for a mighty long time.

Lastly are the pens themselves, which are the most expensive of my
drawing tools. The only ones I ever use are Koh-i-Noor Rapidographs.
They are technical pens that you have to fill and clean on a
regular basis. They dispense such even and precise lines, I can use
them in low light situations and know that they are okay. They come in
a variety of sizes, my collection spans from tip size .000000 to tip
size 4. I find this range covers most of what I need, and anything
larger is applied with a brush.

So when people ask me how the drawings are made, this is as close as I
can get to an answer without you sitting beside me as I draw. I hope
this article was informative, and perhaps even helpful to those of you
learning to draw.

Thanks and be well.

- Jaye of thirteenthstory

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Welcome NEW Boston Handmade Members!

Boston Handmade is pleased to welcome three new members to our group: Marta Harvey,
Buddy System Productions, and Pogibabies.

Trees and moon pen and ink by, Marta Harvey

Marta Harvey is a Portuguese artist who came to the United States as a young adult and began her art education with pen and ink drawing while she was in college. For many years while she was raising her children she could not find time for her art, then three years ago she discovered an internet group dedicated to mixed media and this connection reinvigorated her creativity. Since then she has made her own printing blocks and uses them to play with different media and techniques.

Bicycle Hub Candle Holder by Buddy System Productions

Buddy System Productions is made up of two friends, Alison and Ann. Together they see the beauty in everyday things and are committed to working with materials rescued from the waste stream. With backgrounds in sculpture and filmmaking they blend a variety of technical skills with visual spontaneity as they collaborate. Currently Buddy System has pieces made from bike parts and paper, and they have plans to add housewares, fabric items and tinsmith sculptures to their inventory in the near future.

Funky-O Soft Shoes and Retr-O Hat by Pogibabies

The medium of choice for Pogibabies is fabric, and Charissa, the creator of Pogibabies is continuously inspired by fabulous prints. The Pogibabies line of handmade baby/toddler accessories was created to provide hip moms with modern baby items to fit their contemporary style. These are not clothing and accessory items that you will find in the average baby store.

Check out these new members and more by visiting our shops on

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


What was there is now gone.
Who was there now lives in our memories.
Where once there was a land of people separate
there is now a sense of unity.
Today we remember.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Thursday's Artisan Fair

Boston Handmade produced our 3rd Artisan Fair of in Jamaica Plain Last night - and a lovely evening was had by all! Held at the South Street Mall in central JP there were 12 vendors showcasing all handmade goods - jewelry, clothing, art, dolls, paper goods, bath and body products, housewares, and a wide variety of accessories.

See more photos of last night's artisan fair at:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Boston Handmade Artisan Fair

Artisan Fair Exhibitors Mimi K. and Stonehouse Studio

A Jamaica Plain First Thursdays Event
Sponsored by JP Centre/South Main Streets
Thursday, September 6th, 6-8pm

Handmade artwork, jewelry, clothing, accessories, paper goods, and more!

TWELVE artists and artisans will gather together at the South Street Outdoor Mall to share their work with the Jamaica Plain community as part of the JP First Thursdays Art Stroll.

Boston Handmade is a gathering of colleagues who support one another in the pursuit of creativity made by hand. All members of Boston Handmade are registered sellers on and all maintain independent arts businesses in Massachusetts. Members of Boston Handmade create a wide variety of handcrafted goods including: jewelry, soft sculpture, photography, bound books, note cards, collage art, clothing, accessories, dolls, and home d├ęcor. Boston Handmade was first formed in March 2007. The twenty-two artists within Boston Handmade collaborate regularly on group shows and support fellow group members’ creative pursuits by hosting workshops and gatherings geared towards learning and sharing arts and business skills.

Preview work from the September 6th Artisan Fair exhibitors:

Karalee Designs, beaded accessories

Thirteenthstory, art, prints, and zines

Elizabeth Brennick Designs, clothing and accessories

Mimi Kirchner, dolls and textile creations

Amy Olson, beaded jewelry

Zesty B, jewelry and accessories

Stonehouse Studio, polymer clay jewelry

Ambient Design, cards, prints, and jewelry

Jhill Design, notebooks, cards, and art

Relaxation Works, skin and spa products

Glamourpuss Creations, jewelry from vintage materials

SHIP by RLS, frames from recycled materials

Monday, September 3, 2007

Back to School Mosaic

This mosaic showcases nine works
by the artists and artisans of Boston Handmade.
Are you getting ready for school to begin??

Mosaic compiled by, Mimi K.
Images included: 1. Page One Weather, 2. Lessons, 2007, 3. postcard- woman reading, 4. Black pc 1, 5. Back to School Blazer, 6. handmemory, 7. kitty 9, 8. Library Pink Page, 9. new necklace
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