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


  1. what a great article- I can't wait to check out all these suppliers!

  2. I thought these were great suggestions too mimi :) And finding new spots is always inspiring...

  3. Thanks for sharing guys!
    My 'secret' place for finds in ReStore in Montpelier VT. Its a recycle store, with a craft focus, and I tend to buy tons of stuff whenever I randomly pass through.

    ship by rls


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