Saturday, May 31, 2008

Beacon Hill Art Walk

The Beacon Hill Art Walk is an annual event that takes place on the first Sunday every June, throughout the nooks and crannies of Beacon Hill. Residents open up their private gardens, alleyways, and courtyards and allow artists to display and sell their artwork. It is a chance for visitors to tour the private spaces of Beacon Hill (free of charge) while viewing original artwork. Thousands attend each year. It is a popular event in the neighborhood, with a festive atmosphere and musicians playing in various gardens throughout the day. Around 100 artists usually participate, with a variety of styles, media, and subject matter.

Jessica Burko will be showing her work at the Beacon Hill Art Walk this year for the first time. You can find her in Phillip's Court (#4 on the map) exhibiting her new Paper Quilts.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Shell Art

by Crystal of Vintage by Crystal

She sells seashells by the seashore…

Memorial Day has come and gone, and we’re all getting ready for summer. Even though there aren’t many major holidays coming up, that doesn’t mean we can’t be festive and seasonal when it comes to decorating our homes. We all try to bring a little bit of the outdoors in when those warm breezes come knocking. Natural displays of seashells and sand combined with intricate shell encrusted functional art create a beachy, but beautiful setting for the summer.

I’ve been making shell art for the last several years and while I take a hiatus from it during the cold months, things have been warming up around here and I’ll be pulling my boxes and bowls full of shells out of storage and onto my coffee table. I’ve spent the snowy season browsing thrift stores and flea markets to collect vintage wooden frames, mirrors, boxes and other interesting things that are in dire need of a creative treatment. Add some glue, creative forethought and nimble fingers and voila! Beautiful pieces are functional shell art, ready to inspire the beachcomber in everyone.

Shell art is actually a centuries old art form that varies depending on the culture and time period it comes from. My favorite style is Victorian shell art, when sailors would bring home to their girlfriends and wives intricate seashell Valentine’s bought from the island women they came across in their travels. None of the shells in the frames, boxes and other items they made were randomly placed. Instead, each design was intentional and precise and it certainly showed!

Much of the modern shell art you see today is reminiscent of that elaborate Victorian style, from cheap dollar store boxes to delicate handmade chandeliers. The natural shades of color seashells typically have lend to a soothing palette that makes for a calm and relaxing environment, perfect for long summer days. And best of all, most shell art is functional! Swap out harsh metal photo frames for a comforting shell encrusted one. Store summer keepsakes in a shell box or have a candlelit al fresco dinner complete with shell covered candlesticks. And of course you mustn’t forget to scatter some loose shells here and there to complete the summertime feeling!

In my house the shells are lined up, the adhesive is coming out, and I can’t wait to get started decorating and creating with these wonderful natural treasures!

To order your own original shell art piece, visit my website.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Make Your Own Headpins

by Nancy of Nancyrosetta

Headpins are a necessary supply for jewelry designers of all skill levels. With the rising cost of silver, they have become quite expensive. So why not make your own? It is easy, doesn't require too much equipment and they are a fraction of the cost of buying them. All you need is wire cutters, a small torch such as a butane creme brulee torch, a heat resistant surface, a glass jar or crockpot with a mild acid (warmed vinegar mixed with salt works well), and a pair of tweezers. Always wear eye protection and work in a nicely ventilated area.

Try them, you may never buy headpins again.

I am using 24 gauge sterling silver wire, but this method will work with any smaller gauge wire you want to use.

First, get yourself some wire and cut a bunch of lengths.

Hold the small piece of wire in a pair of tweezers just outside the blue cone and slightly above the flame until it balls up. You can adjust the size of the ball by how long you let the silver melt. Be careful though, the ball can easily fall off creating a splash which is dangerous. So hold the wire very close to the heat resistant surface.

The wire is so thin, that it is unnecessary to quench, they cool off very quickly, I just lay them out until I have a whole bunch.
Now scoop them all up and toss them in the mild acid bath. I use a crock pot so I don't have to keep warming the solution when I am working for a long time. A plastic container submerged in the pot with holes drilled in makes for easier removal.
Keep them in until they are all cleaned. Usually just a few minutes.

Rinse them off and voila! Headpins!
You can now sand them and polish them, or just leave them like this.
I tend to like the more organic look so I just tumble them for a little bit for strength. They look like tiny little silver pearls at the end of the wire.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Workspace Wednesday...

...with Mimi of MCK254

I work in my attic. I have a desk with my sewing machine on it and another table on my right. Yes, it is a mess. That means a lot is getting done. When it is neat and clean it means I am not working, or have no ideas, or between projects, or in a funk.

You can see more of Mimi's work in her Etsy Shop, in her Flickr Photo Pool, and on her Blog.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It’s All Their Fault Part 3: Hedy Lamarr

by Katy of muchacha K

This is part 3 in a series discussing our creative influences…

The way Great Aunt Cecile tells it, when she met my grandmother Irene, they all thought she looked “just like Hedy Lamarr” (or as she says “Hedy La-maaaaaa). But I knew my grandmother as a grandmother. Not quite like any other grandmother I ever met though. My early memories of her typically involve her, in a house coat, wooden spoon in one hand, Miller Lite in the other. Brisket in the oven, spaghetti with meatballs and sausage on the stove, and a bucket of clams about to exit this world under a blanket of steam. The path to her front door was paved with bits of shell from those same clams. Kittens lived under the porch. Loud opinions voiced between rooms, her and my grandfather competing to see who could mostly effectively drown out the squawk of the police scanner. They generally beat it to death with politics and baseball. The kitchen d├ęcor was a memorial to the 1940’s and when I was a small child, they still occasionally used an old fashioned woodstove in the kitchen (this was hardly normal in the 1980s). All of this was as impressive upon my creative self as the sewing skills I learned from grammy, but that’s another post for another time (and maybe another blog, lol).

My grandmother learned to sew because back in the 20’s and 30’s many girls did, and not through classes. She did remark once that as a child, she preferred to go to the day camp at the Methodist church, even though her family was Catholic, because the Methodists had way funner arts and crafts activities. Any Catholics or Methodists want to comment on this theory, feel free.

She made wonderful gifts for me. Handmade dolls and teddy bears; clothing. Clothing for the dolls and teddy bears too—every teddy bear needs at least a vest and bowtie. Her typical method was this: visualize the item to be made. Eyeball the person or doll to be dressed. Start cutting! She sometimes used patterns, but more often made her own. As a teenager, when I visited, I sometimes spent hours sitting and sewing under her guidance. I would think of a project and she’d helped me plan it out. She was very informal, yet very detailed. Patterns from newspapers or paper grocery bags. And whatever I made, no matter how imperfect, was absolutely perfect to her. Everyone should be so lucky, to have someone freely offer them the gift of that much confidence. And to this day that’s pretty much my sewing process. Who wants to cut out commercial patterns if you don’t have to—yech!

The two most important things I learned from Irene Tessier, aka Hedy Lamarr, about sewing:

1) YOUR IRON IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. Sorry for the caps, but it’s REALLY important. Iron before you start cutting, iron every single seam as you work, and iron when you are finished. Iron, iron, iron. It makes your work look finished and professional. It’s often the difference between work that does and doesn’t look finished.

2) Be fearless. There’s nothing you can’t make. It might not be perfect the first time, but by the 500th it will be.

Sidenote: just a few months ago, I went to her old house, where one of my cousins now lives, and went up to poke around in the attic. There isn’t much of hers left there anymore, but tucked in the furthest corner from the door, I found a big pink lamp that she and I had bought together at a garage sale. I’d seriously wondered, for years, where that lamp had gone so I picked it up to take it with me…and right next to it, I saw a book. The autobiography of Hedy Lamarr. So Hedy Lamarr and my grammy are my patron saints of sewing.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday Mosaic - Hooray for Orange!

Orange you glad it's a 3-day weekend? Here are some orange inspired items created by hand by members of Boston Handmade:
The Hole Thing
Stonehouse Studio
Vintage by Crystal
Lucie Wicker Photography
All Dunn
Amy Olson Jewelry
Reclaimed To You
Christine Marie Art
Sea Glass Things
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Lush Beads
Glamourpuss Creations
muchacha K
Twigs and Heather
Mimi K
and also thanks to Mimi K for putting together this mosaic! To see more of our images check out our Flickr photo pool. So, what are you creating this weekend????

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How to Make Sea Glass in a Bottle Wedding Favors

by Marla of Sea Glass Things

Summer is on it's way and notoriously the busiest wedding season of all. Couples flock to the surf and sand in hopes of creating that magical setting the shore seems to offer.

When I was in the process of planning my own wedding, we were on a very strict budget as most are. It was then my fiance and myself chose to do the invitations, favors and many other "wedding" items ourselves. This was a huge money saver... but not a time savor. Hand creations take time - but there is more love put into something you make than something you buy. People notice and appreciate this.

I was searching and searching for ides for favors... coming up with the same "done-to-death" idea after another. That is when I went rummaging around my storage room... and since we were having an "Ocean" themed wedding... this was perfect. I had collected so much sea glass over the years (because of my jewelry biz) that I decided it would be great to use the glass in favors.

I purchased glass bottles of different shapes and sizes and filled them with the shards I had collected. I had to return to the shores many times to collect smaller pieces as well... I had many bottles to fill - about 80 - so that meant many hours of beach combing. I enlisted my family in the hunt... and before I knew it, I had more than enough glass. Listed below are the materials and simple instructions on creating "Sea Glass in a Bottle" favors for your special day!

Glass bottles with cork stoppers: Can be purchased at a craft store for less than $1.00 per bottle.
2. Sea Glass: Beach comb for the glass if you are near the shore or you can purchase "faux" glass from craft stores, the Internet or Ebay, however, they should be small enough to fit in the opening of the bottles.
3. Glue: Any craft glue will do.
Raffia: You can choose the plain tan or there are different color variations as well to choose from.
4. Avery business cards or thick card stock and cutter: Purchase these at your local office supply store in ivory or white. If you choose not to hand write them you will need a computer with a printer and visit the Avery web site to get the specifications of your business cards to design them or you can use Microsoft word and create a template. Also - as seen in the picture - I used a heavy card stock, and a scrapbook paper cutter to make the tags.
5. Single Hole Punch: There are many designs to choose from

To begin, print your tags out using which ever format you have decided upon. If you choose to make your tags from (as shown in my picture example) you will need to cut your card stock down to the desired lengths - stamp them each with a decorative stamp of your choice and write them out as you wish. Take your hole punch and punch one hole in each of the tags in the upper left or right hand corner. You should also pre-cut your raffia into desired lengths - long enough to tie a bow around the bottle neck.

Next, you want to start filling the glass bottles with the sea glass. You might need to use a small funnel to make it easier if possible. Once all the bottles have been filled, place a ring of glue around the cork stoppers and place them back into the bottles. Now take your raffia and affix a tag to each bottle, finishing with a bow. You can even use recycled baskets or galvanized buckets to hold your favors in - also adding the the rustic seaside charm.

You have just created your very own beautiful "Sea Glass in a Bottle" favors that will be timeless keepsakes for all of your wedding guests!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Favorite Art Material

by Chris of Christine Marie Art

With so may options for a substrate on which to create -- canvas, paper, fabric, etc. -- I recently tried cradled gessobord and loved, loved, loved the sturdiness of it, the way the acrylic worked on it, and the nicely finished sides that make for a piece ready to hang. I purchased mine at All Art Supplies in Beverly, MA (an awesome art supply warehouse), but I've also seen these available through Dick Blick.

This piece was created on gessobord, along with another one that already sold on my etsy shop.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Artists and Fleas Etsy Weekend

The response that organizers Amy and Ronen received for an Artists and Fleas Etsy weekend was SO overwhelming, they decided to extend the deal!

This weekend, May 24th and 25th, 30+ Etsy sellers will show off their wares at a converted Williamsburg warehouse in one of Brooklyn's trendiest neighborhoods. I'll be selling my Glamourpuss Creations and looking forward to meeting so many other awesome Etsy sellers in the area!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

'Giving Back' Through Craft

by Nicole of Designs by Lulubelle

For quite a while, I've been trying to think of ways to "give back". I've been very fortunate in my life and would like to do my part no matter how small it may be. As a nurse, my favorite and most touching moments were always with my pediatric patients. I was always touched by them and their stories. Looking at my own children now, I realize how lucky I am.

I'd heard about Project Linus several years ago before I had picked up sewing again. I recently contacted one of the local chapters and am planning on getting more involved.

One of Project Linus' missions is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers."

As of December 2007, 2,293,340 blankets have been donated.

Visit for more details on how you can become more involved.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Workspace Wednesday...

...with Jessica of Reclaimed To You

For the past year I have been working on a series of Paper Quilts. They are combinations of my original photographs, found photos, and collected paper ephemera that has been discarded, previously used, or damaged. The pieces are stitched together using a traditional sewing machine in the same way that one would sew a 'crazy quilt' made with salvaged scraps of fabric.

Utilizing misplaced and fragmented elements from life in my art has always been important to me and central in my work. Each Paper Quilt reassembles once disparate parts into a new whole, creating a reinvigorated narrative.

I will be showing many of these quilts at the upcoming Beacon Hill Art Walk on Sunday, June 1st. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Small Works Show and Sale in Jamaica Plain - TONIGHT!

TONIGHT - May 20th, the Milky Way Lounge in Jamaica Plain will be hosting the Small Works Show and Sale featuring the work of 30+ local artists. This event is a fundraiser for the JP Open Studios and a great opportunity to celebrate local art! Each piece is 5x7" or smaller and costs $50 each with all proceeds going to JPOS.

*Event details*
Date: May 20, 2008
Time: 6 - 9 pmLocation: Milky Way Lounge
405 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, 02130
Suggested donation at the door: $10

Lucie Wicker Photography and Reclaimed to You have both donated artwork to this show!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Mosaic - A Taste of New England

Here we are in New England on a lovely Monday sharing some of our art with you! Enjoy this New England inspired mosaic and check out all of the shops from contributing members of Boston Handmade:
Fraske Designs
Twigs and Heather
Reclaimed To You
Sea Glass Things
muchacha K
The Hole Thing
Stonehouse Studio
Lucie Wicker Photography
Thanks to Mimi K for putting together this mosaic, and to see more images of our work check out our Flickr Photo Pool.

Friday, May 16, 2008


compiled by Katy of muchacha K handmade

The market/festival/fair selling season has begun, and Boston Handmade members are appearing all over. Here’s a list of our booked selling dates so far:

Boston Handmade Group Shows:

Jamaica Plain Artisan Fairs: Thursdays June 5, July 3, Aug 7, 6-8pm each evening, at Curtis Hall, 20 South Street in Jamaica Plain
• Boston Handmade Marketplace in Somerville's Union Square: June 28, 3-7pm, keep tuned to our web site for details

Christine Marie Art, mixed media, digital/fine art:
South End Open Market & Open Studios (540 Harrison St., Boston): June 1, June 8, September 13 & 14, September 28, and October 5
Wakefield Festival by the Lake: June 7

Jessica Burko, mixed media fine art:
South End Art Walk: May 17-18, 11am-6pm each day
Small Works Show and Sale, A benefit for the JP Open Studios, May 20 at Milky Way, in Jamaica Plain
Beacon Hill Art Walk: June 1, 12-6pm

All Dunn Design, textile arts:
• Linda is a member of Lowell Fiber Studios, at Western Avenue Studios which holds Open Studios every first Saturday of the month, from 12-5. She’s in Studio 512. Free cookies and lemonade! Not to mention some 100 other artists.

Lucie Wicker Photography:
Small Works Show and Sale, A benefit for the JP Open Studios, May 20 at Milky Way, in Jamaica Plain

Twigs and Heather, jewelry:
Worcester stART in the Park, June 1
Coolidge Corner Arts Festival, June 7
The Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn NY, June 13-14
Art Beat Somerville, July 19

The Hole Thing, unique wearables:
Crafts in the Park, Andover, MA. May 10th, (rain date May 11th)
South End Open Market May 17 & 18, June 1 & 22, September 20 & 21, Oct. 5th
Lexington Farmer's Market, Tuesdays: June 17, July 1, September 2 & 16,
Marion, MA Arts in the Park July 12th

Glamourpuss Creations, Jewelry:
Artists and Fleas Market in Brooklyn, NYC, May 24th/25th
Providence Open Market, Providence, RI, May 31st
Brooklyn Indie Market in Carroll Gardens, June 7
The Providence Rock & Roll Yard Sale, July 19th

Sea Glass Things, All things sea glass
Salem Jazz Soul Festival on August 16th at the Salem Willows, Salem, MA
• Memorial Day, May 26th, Trunk Show at OSKA Newport, RI

muchacha K handmade, handbags and accessories:
South End Open Market & Open Studios (540 Harrison St., Boston), every Sunday, May 17 through the end of October

Visit these shows to see us and shop handmade!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New To Us: Twigs and Heather

Hello everyone. Allow me to introduce ourselves. We are Twigs and Heather, Heather and Kerry Alice Collins. We are twin sisters, casters and silversmiths and new members of Boston Handmade. We design and cast one of a kind jewelry designs made from organic objects and hand carved wax models. We have two very different styles but they complement each other quite nicely. We usually cast waxes together and twigs together. Here are some pictures of our sprueing process, wax designs and raw castings.

Kerry has been working on new animals. We have rooster heads and whales. We also have a line of one of a kind sacred heart necklaces. We also have been working on some new flame designs. We always include some of our most popular pieces when we cast. The anchor and horseshoe are two of them.

These are just the first few steps of our process. It is dirty and labor intensive and we love it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Workspace Wednesday...

with Allison of Fraske Designs

My workspace varies based on what I am making. Usually it is just me and my computer, but I recently got my first Gocco printer, so my workspace ended up on my kitchen table for my first run.
Since I am new to this medium, I decided to start simple and made a master print of my favorite quote (“I feel good, I fee great, I feel wonderful”) from my favorite movie (What About Bob?). To make my master screen, I chose a font and laid out the text in Illustrator. Since the Gocco will only burn a screen from a carbon based image, I printed my image in gray and outlined it by hand with a black carbon pen. A photo copy would work, too.I followed the steps in the manual and then went crazy testing the image on a bunch of different card stock that I had. I chose to use the metallic gold ink that came with my Gocco printer kit and ended up with a variety of results. I think my favorites are the gold on robins egg blue stock with a coordinating chocolate brown envelope. You will see these soon in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Thirteenth With thirteenthstory: Letters

-by Jaye of thirteenthstory.

This is a new painting, just for fun. Its rare I work without ink, but
sometimes I enjoy layering on all the colors. Acrylic on canvas
board, measuring 9 x 12 inches.

Be well.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Mosaic - Think Pink!

The garden is pretty in pink for sure! Molly Ringwald eat your heart out! This fabulous pink mosaic features work by:
Reclaimed To You
Amy Olson Jewelry
The Hole Thing
Designs by Lulubelle
Sea Glass Things
muchacha K
Mimi K
Cozy Cottage Creations
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Lush Beads
Fraske Designs
and thanks to Mimi K for putting this together! To see images by all members of Boston Handmade check out our Flickr Photo Pool!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Art Event In Norwood TODAY

announced by Nancy of NancyrosettaMy jewelry is featured as 3-D works/wearable art. I will be doing a jewelry demo or two (with torch) on Saturday. If you are in the Norwood. MA area this weekend, please check out the festivities at Custom Art Framing and Gallery 9! There will be live painting all day on Saturday, along with talks and demo's of other mediums.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Andover Crafts in the Park

Due to inclement weather.

NEW DATE, Sunday, May 11th is the 33rd annual Crafts In The Park in Andover. It is a fundraising event for AFS (American Field Service) which is a student foreign exchange program. AFS is a group close to my heart as both my brother and sister traveled on AFS semesters abroad in high school (to Uruguay and Uganda). My family was also host to a student from the Netherlands who we are in close contact with almost 40 years later! My nephew also recently spent an AFS semester in Ghana and loved it.

The Andover Crafts In The Park is held from 10AM-4PM at the corner of Bartlet and Chestnut Street in Andover. Should it rain it will be in the Andover High School field house on Sunday the 11th. THE HOLE THING's felted sweaters and accessories ( made from recycled wool) will have corner booth #221. The show is just in time for Mother's Day gift purchases !

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It’s Show Time!

by Stonehouse Studio

Spring means sunny days, warm breezes, and the Open Markets!! I love outdoor shows, the stress of dealing with the elements notwithstanding. Our area is very lucky to have three weekly markets where local artists and craftspersons can sell their work: The Boston SOWA Open Market, the Providence Open Market and the Mashpee Open Market
Boston's market is in the SOWA district of the South End. Located in an urban art district, the market has an edgy, contemporary and sophisticated feel. The South End Open Market runs every Sunday from May to October.
Providence is a compact and dynamic city. This year, a block of Westminster Street in the heart of downtown Providence will close for the Market. And after the Market, stick around for Providence's famous WaterFire. The Providence Open Market runs every Saturday in June, September and October.
Mashpee is the new kid on the block. In it's second year, it sets up in the upscale Mashpee Commons shopping area. It attracts tourists and locals who are looking for quality crafts and art. Mashpee happens on Friday and opens at the end of June and runs until September.

If you're a craftsperson looking for a consistent venue to sell your work, be sure to sign up. And if you like one stop shopping for a wide variety of crafts and art from talented locals, be sure to stop by!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Workspace Wednesday...

with Marla of Sea Glass Things

I like to call my workspace "Organized Chaos" - however, I know exactly where everything is. It becomes a bit disorganised because my workspace is separate from my storage - and on two different levels. I store in my computer room and then work at the end of the dinning room table. The family doesn't like it much because a project could take weeks and the table is consumed with my stuff.
I create sea glass and sea pottery shard jewelry, art and home decor. The first picture is that of some insulator cover I believe. It looks black... but when you hold it up to the light it is a deep and vibrant purple! I scour the beaches all year to collect and have bins full of my bounty. I separate the glass by color and place them in their own bins. Generally common colors like emerald green, white and dark brown are tossed in together.

I have all my display items for shows in another bin - mail and marketing items in yet another bin... and lastly, my sterling components are in separate containers from other beads. Everything has a place... even though it may not look pretty at times. I work on a board my husband covered for me with this foam material. This board is really simple, yet is extremely useful... and yes, handmade! I have a dremel and diamond drill bits I use when drilling my glass and pottery - always keeping my surface wet... and wearing a mask and protective goggles.

It took me along time to perfect my methods when starting out. I didn't know how to drill through glass or what to use. There weren't a lot of people doing what I was doing then. However, through trial, error and a lot of research - I have found my grove and what works best for me!
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