Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Recently I had the pleasure to get to know Jaye Thirteenth of thirteenth story, a member of Boston Handmade, a little better. By reading her 'profile' from her etsy site, I found out that she is not only an illustrator, but is also a tattoo artist and comic book writer as well! I was thrilled to find this out and intrigued to learn more, so I put together a few questions and set up an interview with Jaye. Now you can get to know her a little better too!
AMY: How old were you when you first start drawing and how old are you now?
JAYE: My earliest surviving drawing is a windmill done in magic marker on wood- the wood on my fathers desk to be specific. I learned that I couldn't draw on the walls, but nobody said anything about the furniture. From the style of it I'd guess I was six years old; and I just turned 34 in September.
AMY: How did you get into tattoo artistry? How did that lead you into what you create today?
JAYE: My first tattoo design was done in college. A guy in one of my classes saw me drawing all over my notebook, and asked if I could draw a skull with a beret. How could I pass that up? From there it was band logos, eagles, tribal cuffs, and even a
few for myself. Working with someone else on a design for their own skin is a fantastic process. Its a humble undertaking, one rarely about what I would like and always about what they want. Today, I can easily see the path I took from tattoos to my current art. I often use the word "iconic" to describe my style, because they are bold images with a clean use of color, much like tattoos.
AMY: How were you trained?
JAYE: Self taught. And I think I've improved quite a lot since that windmill.
AMY: What inspires you?
JAYE: The two biggest influences on my work are print advertisements and comic art. I've always been enthralled with a good poster, including ones from the Lautrec era, as well as present day concert fliers. Growing up I had magazine covers and ads taped to my walls. Graphic novels and comic books are a more obvious approach to marrying storytelling and drawing, and they have a lot to offer in terms of pacing, layouts, and use of black. Images that make a statement, tell a story, or create a quick sense of wonder are right up my alley, and teach me constantly about composition.
AMY: Where do you sell your work?
JAYE: On etsy.com there are originals, prints, and zines. My other major venue is craft fairs and art shows, which are always announced on my once-per month mailing list. Occasionally I pick up a tattoo design or music design gig from craigslist, and those have been a ton of fun.
AMY: So, you are taking a break from your full time job?
JAYE: Ooooh yeah. I am a property manager and I will always have over ten years experience in that field to rely upon, but now I am taking time off to focus on art. I've been working hard since I was fifteen years old, and I am more than ready to take the risk of making art full time. Of course, I am busier than ever now that I am doing something that I love. I've got lists and lists of projects I've never gotten the chance to sink my teeth into because of time constraints, but that is changing and I find myself getting up earlier in the mornings and enjoying every moment of the day.
AMY: How will you focus more on your art now that you have more time?
JAYE: Being extremely organized helps. I use a calendar to map out my entire day; there are blocks for eating and exercise in tandem with blocks for different creative projects and business needs. For example, a couple hours cartooning, an hour answering emails, a trip to the Post Office, another chunk of time for life-drawing sketches. I keep every day different and flexible enough to also handle appointments, marketing, grant or show applications, and housework.
AMY: Tell me more about your new cartoon and what compelled you to make this decision?
JAYE: FIN is my first cartoon series, and it truly embraces the art style that I've been developing for years. He is a ninja, born on the pages of my sketchbook. He's a bit of a menace, and a totally endearing addition to my creative process. As a fan of comic art, it was inevitable for me to meld my art and cartoons. There are a few other stories I have scripted, and will soon start drawing them as well.
AMY: Do you have an artist statement? If so, I'd love to hear it!
JAYE: Nope, not yet. its one of the first business related things I'll be doing in November, as many grant applications call for one.
AMY: From drawing to cartoons, to zines, to tattoos... do you have a favorite?
JAYE: All of them! To me, art is a fantastic tool for storytelling, and in every one of those mediums I get to play with stories. I invite everyone to check out my website, thirteenthstory.com and thank you for reading this interview.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I asked the Boston Handmade girls what types of music inspire them while working on their newest and greatest designs. Here is part one of the listening pleasures...
Katy of Muchacha K Handmade
"I always, ALWAYS listen to music while I'm working in the studio. I will listen to the same thing over and over too, until I get sick of it. Right now (for like 6 months) it's the sexy sounds of Spoon...yeah, sexy and sewing do go together, go figure. I have three Spoon albums that I keep repeating: Gimme Fiction, Girls Can Tell and GaGaGaGaGa. For a Spoon break I've been popping in Sam Cooke and the occasional Sweetback. But I get on a kick like that...good thing I have my own studio or I'd have a studio mate writing Dear Abby letters "Dear Abby, my sick studio mate has been listening to the same friggin' albums over and over and I hate her now, should I tell her or just move out?" I think I feel an Air Supply marathon coming on though...awwwwyeaaaaaah...maybe Air Supply and Barry Manilow....yes! Or an Air Supply, Manilow, JOURNEY trifecta...with a Megadeth chaser...oh wow..."
Jaye of thirteenthstory
"When I am drawing I love to listen to soundtracks. My favorite are the ones for The Accompanist and Guenevere."
Mimi of Mimi K
"For many years I have listened to audio books while I work. I used to listen to classics and great books, now mostly what I like to call audio fluff :-) I have recently discovered podcasts and I am tracking down all sorts of goodies to listen to. I recently listened to all the podcasts on Craftypod."
Karalee of Karalee Designs
"Rocking my ipod at the moment are a mix of my favs Erin McKeown (Boston - you just missed her), Ani Difranco, anything with Eddie Vedder (his new cd from the " Into the Wild" soundtrack is totally up to Vedder fan standards), Joshua Radin and The Weepies (cause everyone needs a little weepie in their life)."
Thanks for sharing ladies...more next month...
Monday, October 29, 2007
A spooky Monday Mosaic in honor of Halloween this Wednesday - thank you to Mimi K for putting it together!
Images included by and of:
Reclaimed to You
Cozy Cottage Creations
Friday, October 26, 2007
Often craftspeople and artists discover a new interest or mode of expression--- precisely what happened to me after I had heatherjeany from Etsy create handmade Gocco invitations for my wedding. Before I knew it, I was having a Gocco shipped from Japan (they're currently out of production) and was smeared with ink and covered with paper cuts. It was a great excuse to explore old books for vintage illustrations and play with words.
My Gocco cards and prints have been so well received that I am currently transitioning from jewelry to paper goods--- all items can be found at my new Etsy shop under the name Paper Menagerie.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Since organizing my studio space for Creatively Anew it has been so much easier to find things instead of rummaging through everything a million times looking for the item I want to use. Using clear plastic containers that are labeled and shelves I have finally organized my work space and get more artwork done.
So I asked my fellow Boston Handmade crafters, “How do you organize your studio?”
Jennifer Hill of JHill Design has some great ideas, "First a HUGE wall covered in chalkboard paint helps in the office. Then our desks are hollow wooden doors on file cabinets, cheap, long and lots of storage. We have two Ikea cubby shelves that are great for putting books, magazines and such away - but keeping it accessible."
Katy of Muchacha K Handmade says, " I can't claim to be an organizational genius, but I know a good idea when I see one. I totally stole the 'Jay McCarroll' method of fabric storage from Project Runway. You know the episode where they went to his house and he has all the cubbies of fabric with all the fabric organized by color? In my apartment in California I had an entire closet dedicated to fabric and sorted by color. And when I opened my studio last month here in New England that's exactly what I did again. It's not only visually satisfying, but it serves practical purposes as well. When clients want to pick fabrics they are usually brides and they always know what colors are either going to be in their wedding or are preferred by their bridesmaids. It's easier for them to see what I have if it's pre-sorted by color. It also makes my life easier when I'm trying to pair up certain color combinations."
Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You responded by saying, "After many years of having my studio/living room/dining room/bedroom in my home I now have a work space in Boston's South End neighborhood. The space allows me to make a mess and not clean it up right away, experiment with smelly and sloppy materials and not worry about living with it around the clock, and best of all - in this space I have been able to spread out."
"My general set-up is divided into three parts: work area, storage area, and display area. I work in the middle of the room on two large tables facing a wall where I hang finished work and work in progress - I find that while I am creating a new piece it is helpful to look up and see where I have come from and to be able to tack something vertically to step away from it for a different vantage point. The remaining three sides of the room are filled with supplies and storage of finished work.
The three best tips I can give for a useable and organized studio: shelves, shelves, shelves. I have all of my tools, equipment, supplies, framed art, and art fair gear on two metal shelving units. Shelving is a great way to utilize the ceiling height in the space, and lets me quickly see where things are when needed. When I have events in my studio I pull down 'curtains' made of dollar store bed sheets so that all my storage is concealed."
And Betsy from Stonehouse Studio says “My studio is a work in progress. It's not very stylish, but it's functional. I have four workstations, the first being my main table for polymer and metal work. My second workstation is for jewelry fabrication and stringing. The third is a general use area. This is where I polish my polymer work and organize and package my finished pieces. My fourth workstation is my business area. This is where I keep my laptop, phone, printer and filing cabinets. Finally, bookshelves and a couple of those nasty plastic drawer thingies for storage. And, last but not least, a comfy chair. Otherwise my muse simply doesn't show up!”
Hopefully all of these organizational methods will inspire you to try new things with your space.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Thank you to Mimi K for putting together this mosaic of Working Girls - So many shows, projects, products - so little time!
Seen in this mosaic are:
Muchacha K Handmade
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Amy Olson Jewelry
Ship by RLS
Reclaimed To You
Friday, October 19, 2007
But leave it to an artist to find other uses for polymer. By the late 80's, Pier Voulkus, Donna Kato, Kathleen Dustin, Ford/Forlano among others, were experimenting and developing new techniques in this fascinating medium. These artists were drawn to polymer primarily because of color. Polymer colors maintain their integrity and mix beautifully. Then, in the mid 90's, Judith Skinner came along, and her color blending technique revolutionized the polymer clay world. It's amazing how something so simple can have such an impact!
Here's an example of a two color Skinner Blend. Two triangles, one of zinc yellow and one of metallic silver are folded, matching like color to like color. Then run through a pasta machine, which is used to condition and sheet the clay (image 1) The colors begin to blend, forming stripes (image 2) As you continue to run the blend through the pasta machine, you'll eventually end up a graduated color blend (image 3 and 4)
A three color Skinner Blend of red, blue and yellow will result in a blend of the original primaries plus all secondary colors - green, orange and violet. It's like creating a rainbow with a pasta machine!
Here's one of my necklaces using a zinc yellow and silver Skinner Blend, then silk screened with iridescent acrylic paint.
Submitted by Betsy Baker – Stonehouse Studio
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Last year, when I first redesigned my studio, I didn't put up my bulletin board. Instead I painted one HUGE wall with chalkboard and this is where I was going to write all my notes. This worked for about 2 days before I felt a huge void, where was I going to post all my inspiration pieces? So I took down some artwork and up went my bulletin board. I loved Jessica's previous post, seeing what things are on her board so I thought I would share mine.
Some highlights include:
• My Girl Scout sash complete with badges
• Drawings from previous calendars that I want to revisit
• A new sea urchin pattern for a large rug
• A beautiful mailer showcasing artist Linda DeHart's paintings
• A post card for another favorite artist Lisa Houck
• Tickets to go see my boyfriend's favorite band Ween
• Stamps, I always collect cool stamps and never use them, no matter how dire the situation
• Lucky numbers! cleaning out some of my Grandmother's things I found her lucky megabucks numbers
I always rotate things on the board, sometimes going through the layers can be the equivalent of a small archaeological dig.
So... What is on YOUR inspiration wall?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I am constantly pipping images out of magazines, clipping how-to articles, keeping postcards I get in the mail, and experimenting with different art techniques. I put all these clippings and objects in a place where I see them every day - my Inspiration Wall. The "wall" is a piece of cork board painted white that I have installed in my home office. I currently have pinned up some of my own art experiments, a piece that was made by Dawn Wilson of Creatively Anew, photos I bought at a flea market, a how-to for making a photo album of photos with a glued spine, and a random assortment of other inspirational tidbits from magazines such as Art In America, Martha Stewart, Real Simple, Art New England, and the Globe Sunday magazine.
What's on YOUR inspiration wall?
by, Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You
Monday, October 15, 2007
Are you feeling orange yet?? It's almost Halloween!
Art and objects in this mosaic are created by:
Cozy Cottage Creations
Reclaimed To You
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
J. Hill Design
Saturday, October 13, 2007
collected to show a period of someone's life. Its similar to a
journal or diary in that it documents time, emotion, and events in
one's personal experience.
At the last moment of the day, I turn to mine and make an entry. Its
always in ink or paint; there is no erasing, no perfection, no limits,
and no witness. Its as raw as my art ever gets. It is swift and
This page was done in nailpolish:
I've found that keeping a pillow book not only helps me unwind from
each day, but helps my creative process stay loose. If you have any
questions, or want to share pages from your own pillow book, please do
so in the comments.
Thanks and be well.
- Jaye of
Friday, October 12, 2007
The Creative Bazaar
held at the Bass River Room of the Four Points Sheraton in Hyannis, MA
Saturday, October 13, 11am -6pm
There will be lots of great, creative, crafty people gathering for the good of Indie Businesses.
And next Friday...
Dawn Wilson of Creatively Anew will be showing at:
The Fifth Annual Women’s Night Out: Stress-Free Shopping with complimentary Chair Massages, Door Prizes, and Wine Tasting.
Friday Night, October 19th
7:00 – 10:00 PM
New Location: Grafton Municipal Center
30 Providence Road
Grafton, Massachusetts 01519
Admission is Free
Take advantage of this opportunity to relax,
do some early holiday shopping, and help out the Grafton Food Bank.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I’ve always been inspired by transformation. It’s amazing to me that something can start as one thing, and with a few tweaks and pulls, can become something completely and utterly different. Perhaps that’s why I am so fascinated with the endless possibilities that come from felting. To back up a bit, felting is the process of transforming wool (that’s where the sheep comes in) into a fabric. There are several ways to do this, and one of them is wet felting. When hot water and agitation come into contact with wool fibers, the fibers puff up, unroll themselves, send out tiny woolly tendrils that grab onto each other and bind together tightly. Synthetic fibers don’t do this, so I like to think that because the wool is from an animal, that is how it is able to transform itself. Almost magically, it gives life to another product.
As Summer transformed itself into Fall, I got thinking about pumpkins, and how could I make a felted one? Here’s how this one came to be:
First, I wanted my pumpkin to look as real as possible. Because pumpkins aren’t just orange, I found a solid colored pumpkin yarn and combined it with a variegated yarn that had oranges, orangy-reds and yellows. Next I needed to figure out the pattern. There were two features to pumpkins that were important to me to recreate: the vertical shading and the indentations. To do that, I could not knit this pumpkin in the round, the way I do many of my bowls, or the striping would go across. I knit 8 segments in stockinette stitch, adding stitches here and decreasing there so that it would curve. Each segment looks a bit like a banana cut in half from end to end. In piecing it, I sewed it so that the purl sides would be on the outside. If the knit sides were facing out, you would be able to see the knitted “v”s of the stitches, which isn’t very pumpkinny!
The stem is also two shades of yarn knit together. These are four pieces, sewn together half-way into a box. The half of the box that isn’t sewn together flares out over the pumpkin. I left a lot of loose yarn on the stem, which felted into a the few scraggly bits of dried stem a lot of pumpkins have.
After running the pumpkin through the washing machine a few times, I stuffed it with plastic grocery bags through the top of the stem. Many trips to the grocery store are stuffed inside that pumpkin! To get it nice and tight, I worked as many bags in as I could, stuffing them down with the dull end of a knitting needle. All it needed after that was a week to dry, and then: Voila! A pumpkin!
(Now if only I could turn this pumpkin into a coach – my daughter would be thrilled)
Project and article by Lynne Parella of Cozy Cottage Creations
You can see and purchase this pumpkin on directly from Lynne's Etsy shop
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Mimi Kirshner (Dolls by Mimi) shared a wonderful story about her art-filled childhood: I was the 4th out of 5 kids, so by the time I came along there were my brothers to emulate and they were very busy drawing... all the time! We were an "arty" family- ie best gift- a new box of crayons. Crafting was a bit later. The first thing that might be considered crafting was the
hours spent cutting out paper dolls. By around 9 years old I was trying to figure out knitting, crochet, embroidery, mostly from books. By High School, the crafting was something I did while figuring I'd go to Art School and do Real Art. Luckily, once in college I was able to see the scope of the serious craft world. I've been lucky- crafting all my life!
Much like my childhood filled with latch hook rugs and woven pot holder kits that paved a very winding road toward vintage jewelry design, Allison Fraske (Fraske Design) has been creating art through changing mediums since she was "old enough to hold a crayon": I always knew that I wasn't going to outgrow my creative streak as some children do. As I aged, my medias changed. Hotloops were where it was at for a while. Then once I started reading teen magazines, I would tear out the pages and make collages for me and my friends. I discovered photography in high school and fell further in love with it in college. All the while, I was honing my technological skills, and I think that is a brief history of why I LOVE mixed media!
Boston Handmade's seamstresses extraordinaire, Katy Brown (MuchachaK) and Elizabeth Brennick (Elizabeth Brennick Designs) share two very different stories about creating their gorgeous sewn wares:
Katy tell us: At age 6, for Christmas, I got a tiny sewing kit. (For the next 20 years I sewed only by hand hand...I even made flamenco costumes for myself by hand.) I just happened to have parents and grandparents who loved to feed my creative ambitions, so while growing up, I was always provided with creative tools: markers, pastels, fabric, a piano, paints galore. Grammy helped me create home-made patterns (and taught me good sewing habits). In college I discovered that there's nothing you can't do with needle-nose pliers, baling wire, duct tape, and a pile of beer cans (not for drinking, for making stuff, geez!). And after college, it was theater productions, and I was often that girl that was called backstage for the odd sewing job, despite the fact that I was actually there to participate in the show. Then one day...a magical arrival: a sewing machine. Again, my mother sending me a fabulous creative tool. Can't believe it took me 20 years to get my hands on one... but WOW... life-changing, and that's when the handbag creating began.
Looking back on all of this there's two things to point out: just because you haven't taken an art class (I never did) doesn't mean you should ever hesitate to create. And nothing beats the support of family and community. I know not every creative person has this and I really count myself lucky that my family never told me not to create.
Beth shares: I never sewed anything or had any ambition to learn. I was a later in life child so almost every Friday night my Nana would pick me up and take me to her apartment in Riverside, RI. We would hang out and I would watch her sew and make afghans for the grandchildren. Again she never taught me how to sew. She was a second mom to me and I adored her. When she past away from routine surgery, the family gave me her singer sewing machine in a desk with all of her notions, fabrics, basically everything sewing related. They said that it might inspire me to make something. Well it took another two years until I learned to sew and I have not touched her machine......yet. I feel that she is a part me when I sew and that she helps me. You have no idea when ever I make something that I think is pretty difficult and I'm basically self taught and I make it with no problems. It's a great feeling don't get me wrong! I think she knows how much I love to sew and maybe it was her dream to make a career with it and she helps me to make it mine.
Betsy Baker, our talented modern jewelry designer shares her tale of artistic discovery as an adult: "As a baby boomer, I grew up at a time when artistic talent wasn't nurtured unless it was patently obvious. Even though I never took any art classes, I always liked working with my hands and dabbled in all sorts of things. But it wasn't until I was in my forties that I realized that all these hobbies were just my creativity trying to tell me to slow down and smell the roses. My artistic talents finally found a home in polymer clay. The depth and versatility of this humble plastic constantly surprises me. Although I had my artistic epiphany later in life than most, I'm making the most of it, having left the corporate world to concentrate on polymer art and jewelry design."
Whatever the inspiration, it's clear that Boston Handmade's members are destined for greatness!
Written by, Lisa O'Neill of Glamourpuss Creations
Monday, October 8, 2007
What a fun evening- delicious food, great company, a studio tour, and then the main event! The cards were laid out on my dining room table. We then made the rounds, choosing one from each pile- it so hard to make a decision!
Members of Boston Handmade participating in this ATC swap were:
Reclaimed To You
Friday, October 5, 2007
This Saturday, October 6th Betsy of Stonehouse Studio and Angela of Ambient Designs will be sharing a booth at the Providence Open Market. With an abundance of colors, sounds, aromas, and a strong community spirit in the air, the Providence Open Market is a gathering of groups working together for a common community goal: to give Providence a unique center for art, healthy edibles, fragrant blooms, DIY crafts and designer wares from established and emerging artisans including. At the market you will find jewelry, handbags, accessories, sculpture, and clothing along with affordable mid-century modern furniture, antiques and collectibles.
Top: Glamourpuss Creations - Reclaimed To You
Bottom: Elizabeth Brennick Designs - Zesty Betsy
And on Sunday, October 7th there will be TWO Boston Handmade booths at the South End Open Market in Boston featuring work by Glamourpuss Creations, Reclaimed To You, Elizabeth Brennick Designs and Zesty B. The South End Open Market offers a shopping experience like no other in Boston. With an ever-changing group of artisans, a hip location and the chance to feel the sun on you face while you browse - it's a trip worth making. The Market offers the opportunity to meet the artists, vendors and farmers behind the work, and is fast becoming part of the South End's well-known artist's community. Every week offers shoppers something different and unique - check it out!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Since I painted the walls, the framing details around
the windows really pop out nicely. The building is circa 1874 and they haven't done a ton of modern remodeling up here--which is a serious bonus in my book. Don't know if I'll ever be done unpacking all of my fabric (or organizing storage space)! Note the awesomely huge futon that will serve as my naptimeSince I painted the walls, the framing details around the companion for those late work nights that I seem to be so fond of, especially around holiday market time.
Photos and text by Katy of Muchacha K
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Four members of Boston Handmade were showing and selling at the weekend event - Betsy Baker of Stonehouse Studio and Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You were exhibiting together in the Carriage House on Brewer Street along with seven other artists and artisans.
Of the experience Betsy said, "JPOS was the perfect show! An old carriage house showcased our work beautifully, the weather was gorgeous and the crowds appreciative. JP is truly artist heaven!"
Jen Hill of JHill Design exhibited her work at Fire Opal on Centre Street. She said, "It was great to meet a lot of new people and hear their feedback on my work. Since my art is all about imaginary vacations it was wonderful to hear stories of people's real vacations and also to talk about how my prints evoked a memory from past trips."
JHill Design's top selling items for the weekend were her 2008 wall calendar and the Wellfleet print.
Karalee Serra of Karalee Designs had her work at the group site in the Central Congregational Church and she was most impressed with a spoken word performance by the group 'Rhythm Fire' and she exclaimed, "The spoken word performance by Rhythm Fire was excellent!"
To learn more about open studios events in the Boston area check out the City Of Boston site.
Review compiled by Jessica Burko