Monday, December 31, 2007

A Stitch On Tradition

Paper Quilts by Jessica of Reclaimed To You

After years of collecting and collaging, photographing, printing, and experimenting, learning, exploring, and blending techniques, I find myself surrounded by mounds of material waiting to be transformed into art.

In the past I have stitched paper as a means of adding a tactile element to my photography based mixed-media work, but with my new paper quilt series is the first time that I am using sewing as a primary component in my work. The machine stitching in this new series acts as both a physical method of construction and a compositional element as I piece together collected papers and original photographic prints.

Currently many of these works can be seen on my Flickr site and a few can be purchased from my Etsy shop, however there are two shows of this work in the planning process so please keep an eye on the announcement page of my web site for updates.

What I enjoy most about making these paper quilts is how the process has allowed me to combine so many art and craft techniques and cross boundaries between the two schools of creativity.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Start on the Street - A Review

Review of the Start on the Street - Holiday Arts Happening
DCU Center, Worcester, MA, December 9, 2007
by Liz of Lush Beads and Kris of Relaxation Works Skin & Spa Co.

Two artists, two views, one show.

Liz says: "stART on the Street hosted their first holiday show at the DCU Center in Worcester on December 9th. Lucky for them, the Boston Pops were playing a show that same day! I went in with high hopes for my last show of the season.

"The day started out promising, with a reasonable crowd in attendance by 11:30AM. Once the time for the Pops concert came around at 2PM, though, the crowd thinned to almost nothing. The hoped-for return of the crowd at the end of the show (around 4:15PM) didn't really materialize. The organizers let us pack up a half hour early.

"I can't say enough good things about stART on the Street and how organized and friendly everyone is. Load-in and load-out were quick and efficient. Volunteers came by to booth-sit when you needed to use the bathroom or stretch your legs. When the concessions thing started to fall apart, they stepped in and tried to do something about it.
"The facility space at the DCU Center was serviceable, and it was a joy to drive in to load and unload our items. There were issues with vendor parking, pre-show food availability and timely concession availability that would make me think twice about doing a show there again though.

"Overall, I am glad I attended. The Worcester crowds are friendly and knowledgeable about crafts, and that's always a pleasure."

Kris says: "I was at the Start on the Street Holiday Happening show and can I tell you how much fun and excitement was in the air.

"Not only was the Worcester DCUCenter bursting with artists but the center was also hosting a Boston Pops Show. I met this great duo (Rose Chang & Lisa Drabik ) of the Indie deign company POission. They traveled all the way from good ol’ Canada to come to the Holiday Happening show and just 24 hours prior they were at the Bust show in Manhattan. Now isn't that a crazy trip or what, eh?
"I got to witness the hysterical absurdity of Paper Menagerie’s Library card prints as we shared a booth and exchanged vegetarian recipes. As we were exchanged recipes I saw the faces of some of the passerby’s that took a gander at Angela's “Libraries make me poop” cards. Some laughed some turned their nose up in disgust and some just shook their head and kept walking."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What I Made for Christmas

by Allison of Fraske Designs

I decided to make some coasters out of some leftover cork that I had. I had enough to make about twelve. I have this pretty blue block printing paint that I’ve never used, so I decided to use that along with white, silver, and gold for a fun holiday color scheme.

Combined with a hand carved rubber stamp of a leaf I made a while ago and an intricate square block stamp I have in my collection, I experimented with the combination of paints, colors, and images and really like what I came up with. It took some trial and error (you can’t see the errors because I painted over them!) but the final coasters are a fairly uniform set of blue leaves on white backgrounds with gold and silver accents. The perfect little extra for some of my loved ones!

While I think they look lovely on my living room end table next to our framed picture of the Keaton Family, I think they will end up in someone else’s home after the holidays!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Workspace Wednesday...

...with Kris from Relaxation works Skin & Spa Co.

Relaxation Works Skin & Spa is currently working on new Labels for a new product, I’M A BIG FAT VEGAN Lip Balm. Very exited about this lip balm as they are 100% vegan and a BIG .5 ounces.

Things seen in this pic:
- My favorite picture of a sailor meeting up with his girl!!
- A Huge Mess. Holiday season brings the unorganized self out of me.
- Lots of candles!!! I light at least 5-8 at a time throughout my house.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

handmade card by Reclaimed To You

Wishing you joy and peace
today and throughout the year
from all of us at Boston Handmade

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hot Off The Press

We just came up with a new design at Buddysystem Productions.

Made from satin floss and steel bicycle chain spacers, the design was inspired by a the work of Anni Albers.

A Bauhaus textile artist, Anni and her husband Joseph (also an artist) escaped the Nazis and fled to the States in 1933. During the war when materials were scarce, she often used found objects in her art: buttons, washers, paperclips, etc. in her work.

I got the idea for this necklace design from a jewerly kit sold by the Anni and Joseph Albers Foundation. The kit used the same thread pattern, but was made with flat steel washers and ribbon.

Article by Ann of Buddysystem Productions

Friday, December 21, 2007

There's Still Time!

Believe it or not, there's still time to get those last minute handmade gifts for your friends and loved ones for Christmas - - but only if you act now and buy local.

If you're in Massachusetts visit shops of Boston Handmade members - - listed in the column to the right - - and if you live elsewhere you can utilize the newest feature from called Shop Local. Either way you will be getting those unique gifts you are looking for, and supporting hard working local artists and craftspeople.

Kris from Relaxation Works Skin & Spa Co. wishes everyone a Happy Handmade Holiday
"I found, participated and followed the concept of The Handmade Pledge. More than 10,000 people have pledged to buy handmade gifts or give their own creations this holiday season. I’ve gotten some really cool stuff for the holidays which were all from Etsy shops!!"

You can also purchase products made by Kris at her shop, Relaxation Works Skin & Spa Co.

Charity is Melting Hearts Every Where.

December in the time for giving. Relaxation Works Skin & Spa Co. is donating 20% of each sale from their Melt My Heart Solid Lotion to Children’s Friend and Services of RI. CFSRI supports families and helps them find the strength to overcome their hurdles. Visit for more information on how you can help.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Process of Creating

Clothesline Drawing

It always begins with sketches. Many color combinations and layouts
are practiced at thumbnail size, with color pencils and a regular pen.
This particular one included decisions about creating a composition
that would lead the eye around yet ultimately give it somewhere to
rest. This is why, in the last sketch, one shirt was chosen to be
hung upside-down.

Next, the Bristol board (series 500, two ply plate) is taped to a mat,
and the basic design is carefully measured and laid out in pencil.
Its important to me that the final work fits in standard sized mats
and frames, because custom stuff is often too expensive for me. This
one is 10 x 8 inches.

My favorite part is the inking. I use Koh-I-Noor Rapidographs of
various sizes, and slowly ink lines over the pencils.

Once the ink is dry, and all pencil marks are thoroughly erased, then
I tape up the clean edges of the work that will not be painted. This
allows me to be a little freer with my brush strokes and not so scared
that paint will obliterate the freshly inked lines. Its not an
exacting process, and touch-up comes later, but it does soothe my
nerves while painting.

Using red, blue, yellow, black, and white I always mix my own colors
with acrylic paints. For this piece, it was a lot of blue with some
white and black to mute the brightness a bit. I applied the paint
with a dry brush, which essentially means when I put paint on my
brush, I remove most of it on scrap paper before dragging the dry
bristles across the page. It gives it a very loose and ghosty effect,
which I've come to adore.

There were a few areas that needed to be touched-up, and I do that
with black ink and plain white acrylic ink (the only white-out for
me). The color used here worked out well, for it seems like a cloudy
sky backdrop for the expanse of clotheslines, but also resembles
denim... a familiar combo with t-shirts.

That's the process I've been most comfortable with, and the whole
thing took about one day from sketches to hanging.

A print of this drawing is available in my Etsy shop.
Please click here for more information.

Thanks so much,
Jaye /

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Workspace Wednesday...

...with Elizabeth Brennick Designs

"As many of you know we've been living in a trailer for almost a year while our house is under construction. Well, except for the 87 days in a hotel. I've taken over our dinette and my parents house with my stuff. The only way I keep sane in both work spaces is a lot of store bags. I've organized all of my notions, fabrics, stuffing, etc. into numerous bags. I hope my future Workspace Wednesdays will show my new studio which used to be our old bedroom.

I'm working on holiday gifts for family and friends and keeping my pledge to buy or make handmade goods. I'm making 50 stockings for both of my kids classroom schoolmates. I was looking for something simple and fast that I could sew on the machine instead of all of my
felt stuffed designs are sewn by hand. I hope they are a hit with the kids!

Family and friends will be getting a set of my felt stuffed bird ornaments. Some of you know them from our first show at Jessica's studio. I made them for our goodie bags and I know a few of you scored them for yourselves. Also for my close friends I'm making coffee cozies along with a gift certificate from Dunkin's. I used some left over heavy weight fabric in a chocolate brown with cool colors of different sized dots and the other fabric has spirograph shapes. The colors remind me of coffee. I had a left over cup and a cardboard sleeve that Dunkins/Starbucks gives you and I got my pattern from that. I added some velcro and you got yourself a stylish reversible coffee cozy."

To see what handmade fabric items Beth has for sale visit her Etsy shop, Elizabeth Brennick Designs

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Boston Handmade Members Are Everywhere

Heard about Trunkt? It's a wonderful showcase of independent art and design. Boston Handmade artists featured on Trunkt include Stonehouse Studio, J.Hill Design, Karalee Designs, ThirteethStory, and Paper Menagerie. is a very selective site and the jury parameters are strict. Even after being accepted, each and every photo uploaded has to be approved before it's published. Since it is not an e-commerce site, design and artistic merit are what counts. None of that monetary for profit stuff getting in the way!

Submitted by Betsy Baker of Stonehouse Studio

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Mosaic - 8 shopping days to go!

With such little time left until Santa arrives make sure to visit Boston Handmade shops to take advantage of last minute sales, shipping deals, and get those one-of-a-kind handmade wonders before they disappear!

Featured in this mosaic:
Reclaimed To You
creatively anew
Amy Olson Jewelry
Relaxation Works Skin & Spa
Fraske Designs
Glamourpuss Creations

Thank you to Mimi K. for putting together our Monday Mosaic!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Relax Into the Season...

...With Relaxation Works Skin & Spa Company

an article written by Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations
featuring the luxurious, delicious, healthy spa products made by Kris of Relaxation Works Skin & Spa

Ah, yes, my wishlist is long this year! As I explore every shop here at Boston Handmade, my virtual shopping cart aches to be filled. So much talent, and so many choices that are right for everyone on my list. I rub my chapped hands together – where to start?

How about with the one thing I can no longer live without – the one item I positively must have right now before I continue. The choice is easy – hooray! Relaxationworks to the rescue!

First stop – “Melt my Heart Solid Lotion”. These cute heart shaped lotions melt with the warmth of your hands into a smooth buttery oil which swirls around the sandalwood and vanilla powder to gently exfoliate and nourish your skin. And they’re easy to travel with, too. Just seal them in a plastic bag and they’re good to go. You get five, so I’m keeping one upstairs, downstairs, in my car, next to the kitchen sink and right beside my shopping cart (the computer, that is). Now that snow is upon us here in New England, couldn’t we all use a bit of pampering?

As an added bonus, Relaxationworks donates 20% of this sale to Children's Friend & Services, a great charity based in Rhode Island that supports families and helps them find the strength to overcome their hurdles. Now there’s two things to feel good about!

And Kris says, "Winter weather is here in New England and there is no getting around it (I've tried). To protect your skin from top to bottom pick up a body scrub from Relaxation Works Skin & Spa Co. Not only is the new Organic Chocolate line scrumptious but its jammed packed with good for your skin ingredients like Kukui nut oil, Mango butter and Shea butter. Try out the Crushed Brazilian Mocha Bean for a wakeup call for the senses. This scrub is filled with fair trade freshly ground coffee beans. Don't let the winter blues dull your skin…make it glow!!!"

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A little Advice... the form of a book review shared by Rebekah of SHIP by RLS

Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business (Paperback)
by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Essentially this book scared me. Every night I get into bed and read till I become sleepy. This book did not sooth me to sleep with dreams of happy crafting. Instead, I waited with baited breath for there to be a knock on my door in the middle of the night from either the IRS or Copyright Infringement authorities ready to confiscate my work and take me off to jail. They never came, but I took note.

Though Ilasco writes a good book with great advice, the first half is for someone who wants to quit their corporate job and find some hobby they can make into a day job. She starts off for a chapter or so helping the reader find a craft that they might actually enjoy doing, something that might have marketability. Then she takes your entrepreneurial mind into the serious world of corporate legitimacy – taxes, business plans, copyright infringement, lawyers, essentially things that make me cringe. There truly is great information in this book for those looking for legal advice and the how-to steps to making sure their business is completely legitimate. She also has some great suggestions for marketing and publicity. As a reference book, Ilasco packs it full!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Workspace Wednesday...

... with Amy of Amy Olson Jewelry

As a follow-up to her interview yesterday, we now get a glimpse into Amy's jewelry-making process by looking at her workspace in progress.

"I am working on a few custom orders and trying to meet holiday deadlines!"

Tune in next week for another Workspace Wednesday and remember to BUY HANDMADE for the holidays by visiting the shops of Boston Handmade members - click on the links in the right-hand column of this blog!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Interview with Amy Olson...

...of Amy Olson Jewelry
by Dawn of creatively anew

I had the pleasure of being in a show with Amy Olson. Being neighbors I thought it would be fun to interview her for the blog. We chatted about art and life, which evoked some questions about her artwork.

DW: How did you get started crafting?

AO: I got started crafting when I was very young. In order to keep me entertained when I was a child, my grandma would teach me how to do different crafts, which I'm sure could keep my attention for hours! I great pictures of me sitting with my grandma when I was around 3 years old and we would be crocheting together! I think that was the first craft that I learned. From there, I also learned how to knit and then I got into jewelry making. I started making
beads, first with paper, then with puffy paint (oh my!), and then polymer clay. I experimented with all different kinds of mediums for jewelry when I was in my teens, then I went to work for Mark and Viki Lareau, who own the Bead Factory in Tacoma, WA. That was where I began to perfect my skills in wire wrapping and experimenting with gemstones.

DW: What made you start a craft business and what were you doing before?

AO: I started doing trunk shows about 3 years ago back in Bellingham, WA and they would go really well. Then, when my husband and I decided to move to Boston so that he could go to grad school, he suggested that I make my art a full-time business. So, as of September of last year, I've been considering it my full-time job, though I don't always clock in full-time hours!
I also work at a little wine bar/bistro a few nights a week. It's good for me to get out of the house and be social.

DW: What was your inspiration for your Winter Collection?

AO: Well, honestly, I'm not really sure. What usually happens is I will make something using colors or materials that remind me of the season and if I like it, then voila, there's my inspiration for the rest of the collection! I try to do things a little differently, though. Like, for my last year's winter collection, I went with blue and white. This year, it's brass, pearls, and mixed metals.

DW: You have a distinct vintage look do you use vintage pieces or new?

AO: I use both! I've seen people use solely one or the other, but I want my look to be a combination of both. I like to take vintage components and incorporate them into a modern design for a fresh look!

DW: So the process for building your collections comes from the materials?

AO: Well, yes, I guess so. I really enjoy shopping for supplies and I tend to get inspiration from what I find. I'm also a magazine junkie, which is great for fueling my creativity. I also love antique and book stores and little boutiques. The boutiques are great because I can see what colors and trends are popular right now, but also because I would love to own one someday! Actually, what I'd like to have is a little studio boutique, where my studio would be in the back
and the front would house my work, as well as other artists', which would be for sale.

DW: What a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing your artwork. If you want to hear more about Amy Olson check out her blog.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Mosaic: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Today's Mosaic was created by our very own Mimi K and shows some of the wonderful and creative things that artists and craftspeople can do with recycled materials.

Items featured in this mosaic are made by:

Paper Menagerie
Mimi K
Reclaimed To You
Creatively Anew
Zesty Betsy

Visit these shops and BUY HANDMADE this holiday season!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Boston Handmade THIS Weekend!

Members of Boston Handmade will be all around Massachusetts this weekend at a variety of shows. Look through this list and visit the event that's closest to you or hop in the car and road trip to them all! Happy holiday shopping and remember to Buy Handmade!

272 Essex Street
in Salem, MA
hosts a Boston Handmade Holiday Trunk Show
as part of the Salem Open Studios
Saturday, 10am - 6pm
Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Boston Handmade Members included in this show are:
Amy Olson Jewelry
creatively anew
Fraske Designs
Reclaimed To You
thirteenth story

SoWa Holiday Market
74 Union Park Street
Boston, MA
Saturday, 10am - 8pm
Sunday, 10am - 6pm
Boston Handmade Members included in this show are:
Stonehouse Studio

Bazaar Bizarre
The Cyclorama/Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Sunday, 12 - 6pm
Admission fee $1
Boston Handmade Members included in this show are:
Glamourpuss Creations
Karalee Designs

stART On The Street
DCU Center
Worcester, MA
Sunday, 11am - 6pm
Boston Handmade Members included in this show are:
Paper Menagerie
Relaxation Works
Zesty Betsy

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hail in The Holidays with Boston Handmade!

This photo shows cards by Paper Menagerie and Jewelry by Zesty Betsy

On Sunday November 18th, 9 members of Boston Handmade welcomed the start of the holiday season with a spectacular gift showcase at Dalia's Bistro and Wine Bar in Brookline, MA.

This photo shows bags from Designs by Lulubelle

Organizers Amy of Amy Olson Jewelry and Betsy of Zesty Besty worked tirelessly to advertise, promote, and organize the show to its great success.

This photo shows cards, journals, and art by Reclaimed To You

From friends and family, to drop in shoppers enjoying the brisk autumn day, the show enjoyed a steady stream of buyers.

This photo shows polymer clay jewelry by Stonehouse Studio

Of all the skilled artisans that make up Boston Handmade, those in attendance were Jaye of thirteenth story, Betsy of Stonehouse Studio, Jessica of Reclaimed To You, Angela of Paper Menagerie, Nicole of Designs by Lulubelle, Dawn of creatively anew, Amy of Amy Olson Jewelry, Betsy of Zesty Besty, and myself Lisa of Glamourpuss Creations.

This photo shows jewelry made from vintage materials from Lisa of Glamourpuss Creations.

Success to all this shopping season!

Show review by Lisa photos by Jessica

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Workspace Wednesday...

...With Liz of Lush Beads

"I'm currently working on Christmas spiders to sell at my next holiday show. As you can see, my workspace gets cluttered quickly! I always have several projects going at once.

I have several "workspaces"...some at home on TV trays, and some at the shop, taking over my class table. Eventually I get annoyed with the mess and clean everything up, only for it to get messy again!"

Tune in next week for another Boston Handmade Workspace Wednesday

Monday, December 3, 2007

Monday Mosaic: Baby, it's cold outside!

Baby, it's cold outside! Originally uploaded by Mimi K

A chilly Mosaic this Monday morning as we awoke to a winter wonderland of snow covered cities and towns in the Boston area. Winter is here!

This mosaic features work by:

Mimi K.
Cozy Cottage Creations
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Reclaimed To You
Creatively Anew
Amy Olson Jewelry
Zesty Betsy

Remember to BUY HANDMADE this holiday shopping season! Many of the Boston Handmade member shops are having sales so check out our links in the right hand column of this blog. Thanks!
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