Friday, February 29, 2008

Where Fabric Overflows

by Louise of THE HOLE THING

This week I took a long awaited trip to Zimman's Fabric Store in Lynn, MA. Soon to celebrate their 100th anniversary, I can easily see why they have been in business for so long. Awarded Best Of Boston several times, Zimman's is like an amusement park for any textile lover. The first floor is well stocked with rows upon rows of gorgeous bolts of most every kind of fabric that you can imagine, although, if you are a quilter looking for calico prints this is not the place for you to go.

They have an enormous selection of home decor fabrics as well as trims. The atmosphere reminds me of ABC carpet in NYC, with its opulence and high tin ceilings. The basement at Zimman's is just as wonderful with lots of remnants at greatly discounted prices. The store is a feast for the eyes whether you like fabric or not! The best surprise of all was the 2nd and 3rd floors that beautifully display fine antiques, rugs and other furnishings, some dating as far back as 1780, and many of them reupholstered with Zimman's fine fabrics. Don't miss out on this delightful store easily accessible by Rt 129 which is off of Rt. 128.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Welcome NEW Boston Handmade Members!

We are pleased to announce that two new members have joined Boston Handmade:
Joshua of Joshua Stone and Marla of Sea Glass Things

Joshua is a Boston based designer who's work gives aesthetic structure to the otherwise rugged and utilitarian medium of industrial felt.
Originally from Connecticut, Stone attended Massachusetts College of Art and worked in commercial photography for over ten years. Joshua's work has beauty, humor, and practicality in both his housewares and his wearables.
"Small ideas only grow with support. It used to be in the states we where all about handmade, now not so much. I am doing my part to bring back that balance."

Marla hails from Salem and has been designing sea glass and pottery shard jewelry for over thirteen years.
All of her designs are handmade, original works of art and true heirloom pieces representing a sliver of history that can be passed on to many generations. All pottery and glass pieces collected by Marla have been naturally tumbled by the surf and sand - no artificial means have been used to weather them.
"I have been scouring the beaches for years - picking up baubles and treasures that have washed ashore. I also kayak to islands around the New England coast for our bounty."

Visit these member shops and all Boston Handmade member Etsy shops by clicking on each image in the right-hand column of this blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Workspace Wednesday...

...with Angela of Paper Menagerie

I teach full time, and school vacation is a chance for my workspace to get messy. It's gotten so messy, in fact, that this is a folding table next to my usual (and very small) workspace. You can see my two latest card designs inspired by Jane Austen, along with postcards for my friend (and fellow Boston Handmade member) Kris' Etsy shop Relaxation works. Underneath are some envelopes containing gorgeous work from a Gocco swap I participated in. To the right is my experiment of Gocco printing on wood veneer stationery, which came out well. Underneath that is a sewing book I'm using for a personal project that's gone horribly wrong. To the left is an Altoid tin full of butterfly die cuts waiting to be recycled into stickers and some library cards that are part of an order waiting to be shipped out.

How do I sum this up? I'm never bored, that's for sure.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vacation Inspiration

by Betsy of Stonehouse Studio

There's nothing like a trip to the Yucatan if you want to explore texture, light and contrast. I ambled through the gardens of Hacienda Xcanatun taking pictures of the lush vegetation. I've always been particulary fascinated by the play of the green tropical foliage against the rich reds and yellows typical of Yucatecan structures. When I got back to cold and wintry Boston, I made up a few pendants to try to capture the feeling.

The pendants are done with my illustrated transfer technique on polymer clay, using pictures cut out of home decor catalogs. I then colored and altered the photos to capture the flavor of the Yucatan.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Mosaic - Snowy White

With the recent snowstorm we had everything in Boston is sparkling white and so is our Monday Mosaic! Here is work by:creatively anew
The Hole Thing
Fraske Designs
Stonehouse Studio
Reclaimed To You
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Amy Olson Jewelry
Glamourpuss Creations

Thanks to Mimi K for putting together this Mosaic and please check out the Boston Handmade Flickr group for all our pics!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Printing on the Thinnest of Papers

by, Chris of Christine Marie Art

I thought I'd share the technique I use to prepare very thin emulsion and japanese paper, onto which I print digital pieces. These either become prints in their own right, or become part of a larger collage.

As a base (and for something sturdy that will go through the manual feed on my printer) I use flexible cutting mats that come from the grocery store, and brush on a thin layer of Golden Soft Gel Gloss, spritzed with a bit of water.

Then I layer various thin papers and cover them with a light brushing of gel medium as well.

When this has completely dried, I brush on one or two thin coats of clear InkAid. This is a coating that allows ink from your inkjet printer to adhere nicely to the emulsion. Golden has a new line of digital mixed media products coming out which will work much in the same way InkAid does, so that is an option as well.

Once that has dried completely, I put it through the manual feed slot of my printer, and print my image. When finished, I very carefully peel the emulsion/paper off of the cutting mat. The result is a very thin, translucent piece ready to finish up, or incorporate into a collage.

Chris' art can be purchased through her Etsy shop

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Handy Dandy Wrist Pin Cushions

by, Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs

I had been selling handmade sewing kits and wanted to add another sewing-related item so I decided to make an updated wrist pin cushion. The wrist pin cushions I found had plastic wrist bands that dug into your skin, and were not very cute, so I wanted to make mine comfortable and fun. I never had much extra space at my work table, and I would always end up with pins all over the floor. Not to mention when I would sew on the sofa. I would forget that I had jabbed spare pins in the cushion and my husband would end up getting poked. Needless to say, I would be my own best customer.
I started designing and making them about a year ago. I love working with felt and had a bunch of colorful vinyl that I wanted to use so I incorporated them both into my designs.

I really enjoy sketching all the different ideas for the wrist pin cushions. I 've added velcro on the vinyl band so it can be adjustable and also added velcro on the felt cushion so you can remove it from the band and place it on a table or sofa. My plan was to make it functional wherever you find yourself sewing.

At first I thought I wouldn't be able to sell them . They're one of my most enjoyable items to make, but I am trying to sell them to other sewers who could just make their own. Wasn't I mistaken! They 're a hit at shows and have done well online. I think people are pleasantly surprised when they see them and realize they are pin cushions. My cupcake WPC has been mentioned on a number of blogs. Two of the more well - known ones are Softies Central and Craftzine

I presently am making wrist pin cushions featuring apples , owls , birds , strawberries , cupcakes , whales , boom box radios , little girls , bunnies , tulips , mod flowers , penguins , and skulls . Future WPC's I'm working on right now are ice cream cones and gumball machines . I also take custom orders.You can choose the color vinyl, felt, and I will create anything you want.

You can find my wrist pin cushions listed for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's All Their Fault, #2

by Katy of muchacha K

This is the second profile in a series, focusing on the most vital origins of our creative lives.

Dawn of creatively anew's creativity was ingrained by interactions with family and friends. "My parents were a huge influence in my life of creativity. My mom used to do all types of crafts and I was always underfoot, " says Dawn. "My dad was big into model trains. I remember him making a diorama at Christmas time for the trains complete with mountains and a tunnel. When I got older he would include me in the painting of the models and figuring out 'how to' create something by looking at it in detail. My mother's mom, Gram Kimer was always taking us to the five and ten store when we were little. She would always let us pick something out and I would always pick some project craft like making potholders out of the loops, or paint by numbers."

Dawn's work, inspired by the recycling of key materials, can be purchased through her Etsy shop, or seen on her web site or at her blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Local Appearance by Chip Kidd

announced to us by Alison of Fraske Designs

If you have ever judged a book by its cover, you might have possibly picked up a book with a jacket that was designed by graphic designer and author Chip Kidd. He has designed such notable book jackets as Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Dry by Augusten Burroughs, and Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Perhaps the most interesting is the layout of his is his own book, The Cheese Monkeys, which is a hilarious take on a young man’s experience as a graphic design student in the 1950’s. I read this book while I was a design student and it has become one of my favorite fiction books of all time.

TODAY, Tuesday, February 19, the long awaited sequel will be released. The Learners chronicles a recent grad’s entry level status as an art assistant. Chip Kidd will be appearing at Borders in Boston on Thursday, February 21. I personally have been anticipating this follow up book and am looking forward to meeting the interesting character that is Chip Kidd!
For more information, you can visit Kidd’s website.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Mosaic - Something Old, Something New

Today's mosaic has the theme of old/new interpreted by the members of Boston Handmade in various ways, many from the standpoint of what was once considered old is made new again through creativity!

Featured in this mosaic is work by:
Christine Marie Art
All Dunn Design
Amy Olson Jewelry
creatively anew
Glamourpuss Creations
Mimi K
Fraske Designs
The Hole Thing
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Reclaimed To You
muchacha K
Paper Menagerie
Designs By Lulubelle

Thank you to Mimi K. for putting it all together, and you can see these images and more in the Boston Handmade Flickr photo pool.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A New Line of Products – & a New Way of Working

by, Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations

After the craziness of the holiday season, it felt so good to sit back, take a short break from crafting, and reassess how I go about making things. Cozycottagecreations is about to pass it’s first year anniversary, and in that one year time period, I have learned so much about turning a hobby into a business.
It’s been an exciting process to explore this medium of wool and felt – to say “hmmm, I wonder if that can be out of wool” and then figuring out how to do it. After a year of experimentation, I’m ready for the next step: creating product lines.

Up until now, I had avoided an “assembly line” way of working. I like to ruminate over things, which leads to fretting a bit over them, too. I never wanted my items to look mass produced (HA! like making things 10 at a time could be called mass produced!), however I often found myself “paralyzed by possibilities”. In deciding to work differently, I never expected how freeing making several of one item at once could be! I’m always brimming with ideas, and now instead of having to pick which idea to pursue, I can pursue all 10 ideas for a product at the same time! Voila! Now I have product lines!

My goal is to introduce a new line of products each month, along with the occasional felted bowl, since those are my first love!

First up – the felted trinket box. I started with these for Valentines day, and everyone needs a cozy little box to house their jewelry treasures in!
I created the actual box form over several evenings, embellished them over several more, and then reserved a single morning for photographs. Within a week, I had 6 new items to list. Hooray for productivity!

Be on the lookout for more product lines brought to you by cozycottagecreations!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Our Valentine

by Amy of Amy Olson Jewelry

Today is Valentine's Day and we encourage you all to celebrate! Here are some of our latest creations that have been inspired by the holiday!

Jessica of Reclaimed To You has created a new blank journal for the occasion:"This pink journal is sweet for your sweetheart! It is made from all reclaimed paper and can be used as a place to hold your hopes, dreams, or shopping lists! Bound with metal rings this journal is durable and practical, while also being cure and environmentally friendly."

Angela of Paper Menagerie makes lovely cards.
Here is a special one for your sweetheart!

Liz of Lush Beads has created a unique and absolutely adorable series called "Spiders of Love".
Here is what she has to say about them, "I have a new 'Spiders of Love' series for Valentine's
Day. It's quirky and eye-catching. I collaborated with a local Lowell artist (Made In Lowell) and asked her to do the polymer clay beads for me. Some are plain, and others have a slight heart shape to them."

"I also did a bracelet called 'Beloved Girl', which is delicate and sweet and a perfect sweetheart gift"

Amy of Amy Olson Jewelry was inspired to make many pieces of jewelry for the holiday!

"The Perch Necklace is my favorite for Valentine's day. This simple piece consists of the sweetest little bird perched atop a gorgeous faceted rhodocrosite teardrop with a delicate heart chain swinging above."

Hope you all enjoy your holiday! May you all feel the love.....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

the thirteenth with thirteenthstory: zines

Zine (pronounced "zeen") is an abbreviated term for magazine. Simply put, a zine is an inexpensively produced underground publication.

But what does that mean?

If you are tired of the magazines found on your local newsstand, and are looking for a new and different perspective in a similar format, then zines might be right up your alley.
Zines exist that cover issues such as music, cooking, crafting, fashion, art, journaling, politics, comics, sports, and millions of personal experiences ranging from tenth grade history class, to
running away from home, to dealing with illness, to starting businesses, and so much more.

There is no set format, these days you select from ezines or paper zines. They come in black and white, or full color, or a mix. They come reproduced by copy machine, or by typewriter, or by hand. Some have staples holding together, many have threads holding them together, and still others have brads or barrettes, or an old piece of gum holding them together -- well, I imagined that last one, but it could be true.

There is a huge variety of distribution possibilities. Some zinesters pass them out on the street, or leave them in cafes and libraries and buses. Some post internet ads on craigslist or LiveJournal. Many sell them via Etsy. There are also "Distros" that purchase zines at a wholesale price, then resell them along with other zines. This is convenient for both zine creators and readers as it allows zines to be easily discovered and purchased.

The third issue of my art zine, thirteenthstory, will be available in March. For me, the format has always been quarter-size pages that I create with my printer and a copier. The cover is always in color, printed out on labels then applied to the blank front.

In each issue there is a spotlight on a famous artist, some creative writing, an illustrated verse, an art dvd review, a look at techniques, and of course it has drawings throughout. Issue two is
still available by clicking here.

Still want more info? Check out Stolen, Sharpie Revolution, or Whatcha Mean What's A Zine at your local library or bookstore.

-Jaye of thirteenthstory

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Process of Creating a Collage

by Linda of All Dunn Design

I print on fabric, using photos and drawings, then collage the piece to make cards and art. Here I began with an old photo, manipulated in Photoshop and printed on fabric:

I swapped the confused print of a flying bird out for a cleaner image, added a quote, then filled in the blanks with other hand-prints:

With the composition settled, I fused the pieces in place, then painted, stitched, and added fabric bits to smooth transitions. I backed and framed with fabric with fabric, like a small quilt. The final piece called “All Life.”

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Mosaic - Radient Red

We're feeling the love here at Boston Handmade just a few days before Valentine's day and seeing shades of red all around! Featured in this mosaic are:
Glamourpuss Creations
All Dunn Designs
Designs by Lulubelle
Cozy Cottage Creations
Reclaimed To You
Lush Beadsthirteenthstory
The Hole Thing
Fraske Designs
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Mimi K
muchacha k
Christine Marie Art
Amy Olson Jewelry

And click here to see all the photos in the Boston Handmade Flickr photo pool, and thanks to Mimi K for putting together our Mosaics every Monday!

Friday, February 8, 2008

THIS weekend with Boston Handmade

There are TWO events this weekend in Massachusetts featuring members of Boston Handmade
in Jamaica Plain and Lowell - check us out!

TODAY and tomorrow (February 8-9) Liz of Lush Beads is participating in Lowell’s Annual Winterfest Celebration

In conjunction with Lowell Winterfest, Liz is hosting a Valentine Gift-Giving Event at her shop, Lush Beads. There will be a raffle, sale of finished jewelry, and refreshments!

This is a perfect event for those last-minute shoppers. You can see the in-person debut of Liz's new "Spiders of Love" series as well as her "Retro, Baby!" bracelet series

Lush Beads is also part of the Winterfest Scavenger Hunt, which is from 6-9pm on Friday and 12-6pm on Saturday. Get at least 10 stamps from local businesses and you get a chance to win a Caribbean vacation/cruise! It's a great way to explore downtown.

& Love is in the air THIS SATURDAY, February 9th at...

Who says Valentines have to be flowers and chocolate? Buy the one you love (especially if it's yourself!) a one of a kind, hand made gift at The Boston Handmade Be Mine Valentines Show.

From 11am-3pm at The Alchemist Lounge in Jamaica Plain you can peruse some gorgeous wares such as Elizabeth Brennick Designs adorable baby doll tops and flirty A-line skirts and muchacha K's uber hip handmade purses.

Valentines Day isn't only about your sweetie, don't forget! Get Mom a lovely polymer clay necklace or colorful bangle bracelet from Stonehouse Studio or your little ones a snuggly hat or sweater from The Hole Thing.

Come by to shop and stay for brunch, enjoying The Alchemists hearty Irish Breakfast, delectable Eggs Florentine and out of this world Bloody Mary. See you there!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Photographing the Signs

by Alison of Fraske Designs

For as long as I can remember, I have been captivated by old signs. From simple hand painted window lettering to impressive neon signs and everything in between, there is something about an advertisement such as a storefront sign that has stood the test of time. My interest in and knowledge of signage increased after I graduated from college when I found myself working at a sign shop and learning all about the sign industry and how it has evolved over time, and signage has turned into one of my favorite things to photograph.

Once while I was researching car wash signs, I stumbled upon a picture of a car wash sign unlike any other… a huge pink elephant spraying itself with water and neon “Rancho Super Car Wash” letters. What a cool sign, and what a clever idea… an elephant advertising a car wash. Silly at first thought, but brilliant the more I considered it! From time to time, it would continue to pop up in my research, and it always put a smile on my face.

To my surprise and delight, a recent vacation brought me face to face with this sign! While visiting a friend in Palm Springs, CA, we were driving down one of the main roads, when suddenly this sign came into view. I was really excited to finally get a chance to photograph it. Here is one of the shots, and I am so happy to be able to add this to my collection!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Workspace Wednesday...

with Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations

First, I must tell you that my shop is aptly named. My cottage is indeed very cozy. It is for that reason that my studio doubles as a dining room, or vice versa. What may look like chaos to most, is actually a carefully crafted “creation station”. I’ll give you a tour...

Starting in the top left corner of the photo is Etsy Central (the computer)...
Moving clockwise, next is my sewing area. Since felting has taken over my creative brain, this corner doesn’t see much action. In fact, those too-large pajama bottoms have been there for some time – I’m waiting until they actually fit their owner next year...
Behind that, (under the window), is my shipping area. Boxes of any size can be found here...
To the right (off camera) is my Big Ol’ Pile of Roving. This is my favorite section...
Next to the dusty sewing machine is my needle felting pad - another favorite area of mine, where I can be found most evenings...
In front of me, and off camera is my rows and rows of yarn...
Behind that, in the second photo is the drying area for works right out of the felter (the washing machine).

My workspace is continually changing, so if you come by, it might look completely different, and if you’re coming for dinner, you wont even recognize it. I promise.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It’s All Their Fault: Profile # 1

The first in a series by Katy of muchacha K

Many creative people can trace their influences back
to family, friends, snapshots embedded in the mind,
left by defining moments of childhood. Others of us
can trace the path of our creativity back to a point
of encouragement, given in a particular time, at a
particular place, that for some reason mattered more
than all the others.

Boston Handmade member Jessica Burko, of Reclaimed To You, traces her biggest creative influence to a group and a place called Appel Farm Arts and Music Center. It is an overnight summer camp that she went to for two months every summer from from ages 10-15. Jessica explains, “This was the place where I first learned about photography, and where I also learned to work with my hands in a range of other mediums like beading, sewing, metalwork, and ceramics. It's an amazing place and I know I would not be the person I am today with the sense of community I have if it wasn't for all of the friends, teachers and mentors I knew over my five summers there.”

Jessica’s fine art works can be seen online today on her web site.

This profile is the first in a series, naming, thanking, and blaming (with much love) those who have influenced us the most!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Boston Handmade THIS Weekend!

Valentine’s Day Craft Show in Newton, MA

Come find something special for your sweetheart!

Please join us this Saturday,
February 2nd at Newton South High School for a Valentine’s Day Craft show from 10:30-2:00.

The high school is located at 140 Brandeis Road just off of Route 9 near the intersection of Route 128.

The show will feature three members of Boston Handmade who will be selling their art, jewelry and felted wool sweaters and accessories. They include Jaye of Thirteenthstory, Amy of Amy Olson Jewelry and Louise of THE HOLE THING.

Remember, Valentines Day is coming up and it's a great time to give a little something to all the people in your life that you care about - Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Friends, Teachers, Aunts, Uncles, Neighbors, Wives, Husbands, Girlfriends, Boyfriends - you get the idea!! Shop early at Newton South High School.

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