Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Crafting for Charity

by Sedruola of Yarn Obsession

I've often heard it said "tis better to give than to receive". I'm not sure who said it first, but if you've tested the theory I'm sure you've found it to be more than true. In building my knitting, crochet and designing business, I've committed myself to a few things and one is to donate when I can, as much as I can.

Before I made any commitments to donate, I thought it might be too much to add to my plate, after all, I do have a full-time job alongside all the other things I do each day and week. However, what I've learned in the past week is, when the decision is made, all things fall into place.

A few years ago I reclaimed yarn from a sweater I no longer felt looked wearable and stashed it away. When Beth posted on one of my team boards that her kids school needed some donations for an auction I pulled out this yarn and created two hats in four days! Imagine that? It take the commuter rail everyday and there isn't much to do but sleep, read or knit & crochet, so that's what I did. I even managed to start other projects along with these two hats.

It may be that I got lucky this time, but I'll keep that spirit and when an opportunity comes again, I'll see if it fits. There is a lot more yarn in my stash, reclaimed and not, that I know my hubby would love to see processed out.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Boston Handmade Marketplace

The date has arrived!!!! After only a few months of planning and preparations we are ready to gather together for our largest handmade show ever as part of the Somerville Arts Council ArtsUnion series!

work pictured here left to right, top row first: Made In Lowell, Little Wishes, Reclaimed To You, Stonehouse Studio, Lucky Monkey

Saturday, June 28th, 3-7pm in Union Square, Somerville, MA

Come out to support handmade and check out work by more than 25 exhibitors showing one-of-a-kind and limited edition art, clothing, jewelry, housewares, toys, paper goods, and more, all made by hand in small studio environments from all over New England. Also on tap during the show is live music by local bands The Grownup Noise and James Christensen.

work pictured here left to right: Pogibabies Handmade, Designs by Lulubelle, Mimi K

Purchasing work made by local artists, artisans, and craftspeople minimizes your carbon footprint and supports small business owners working to make their way in our world of factory goods. Shop local, buy handmade, and support your neighborhood economy!

See you at the show!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Renegade Craft Fair Report

by Twigs and Heather

This was our third year at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn NY. This show keeps getting better and better. The crafts are fantastic and there are crowds all weekend long. We saw some of our local crafting friends there too. Magpie Store was there and so was Fern Animals.

Some of our favorite twig necklaces found happy homes and a lot of seaglass did too. The Renegade is great also because we get repeat customers that come just to buy another piece from our collection each year. It still makes us so happy when someone tells us that they came just to see our work.

Even though thunderstorms ruined many tents, day two was just as successful. We were so relieved when we got there and our tent was still standing and the things we left behind were ok too.

Another reason we love this show so much is the sense of community there. We see many of these crafters show after show, year after year. Everyone is so helpful and friendly and it is really nice to have some friend around when you are away from home. But it's good to be back in good ol' Boston.

Our next few shows will be in our hood. The Boston Handmade Market on June 28th, a new one for us. And another favorite, ArtBeat on July 19th. Both are in Somerville. See you there.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An Interview with Kerry Hawkins...

...of Kerry Hawkins Photography

My name is Kerry Hawkins and I live in Dedham. I have been a freelance graphic designer for the past year and a half. Previously, I held a position as senior graphic designer at the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 7 years. I left my position to take care of my teenage niece and nephew who live with me. I attended Art Institute of Boston with a major in graphic design. I was required to take photography as part of my program. That is when I became interested in photography.

I started drawing and becoming interested in art in high school. I really can't remember the first thing I made by hand but it seemed like all I did in high school was draw. My parents and teachers encouraged me to attend art school. My photography teacher at the Art Institute of Boston encouraged me to keep going with the my photography.

Being a photographer that does digital work actually doesn't require much equipment or materials. I use a Nikon D70, Epson Photo Printer and photo paper. I tend to wander around neighborhoods that I think would be great to photograph. I love urban scenes with funky windows and architecture.

I would describe my work as a little edgy, sometimes comical and quirky. I have always loved photography. Maybe it is the instantaneous quality or the realism of photography or just capturing a moment in time.

My first fair was the JP Artisans walk, which, was a really good experience. I didn't sell any pieces but received some positive feedback on my work. I am just starting to promote my work more seriously. I think being part of the Boston Handmade group will help me do that. I also, I am interested in having more of a web presence with my work.

I think people should buy handmade because it is supporting local artists. Local artists contribute to the creative and cultural vibrancy of our community.

I joined Etsy in May of 2007. I have only sold one photograph on Etsy but I think it gives me a web presence and I was able to join Boston Handmade. I think I am going to try to update my shop in the next few months. I am looking for advice on how to best sell my work.

A book that I have just read was The Kite Runner. It was excellent, sad but very moving. I recently rented the movie Lars and the Real Girl. It was a pretty quirky movie but, I liked it.

Where do I see my self in 5 years? That is an interesting question. I think I will still be doing photography and graphic design, I hope. I want to have more exposure for my photos. Since leaving my job I have been trying to find a comfortable balance between freelance, photography and home life.

(That's me with my niece and nephew pictured above)

This is the first in a new series of Boston Handmade member interviews - keep tuned to this blog for more interviews with our diverse gathering of artists, artisans, and craftspeople.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cultivating Sea Glass & Shipwreck Pottery: Collecting Pieces of History

by Marla of Sea Glass Things

As an avid sea glass & shipwreck pottery collector - my passion for these fragments leads me on numerous coastal journeys. I have traveled all up and down the East Coast - hunting as I go along. Collecting has also taken me beyond the US as well. I love to explore places that can't be accessed by foot. To do so, we often kayak to islands offshore to collect.

The best times to collect usually are in the fall and spring at low tide because of all the storms that churn up the oceans floor. Full moons also bring forth many unexpected jewels... and always high & low tide lines are full of goodies. Just as a cop never reveals an informant - a sea glass collector never shares their "secret" collecting spots. Rocky inlets or beaches around a harbor usually yield the best results. Depending upon the tide, how rough the surf and/or rocky the beach is will produce different glass. I find glass that is thicker, more porous and frosted on a beach that has a rough surf with a lot of rocks. With calmer surf and a sandier beach you can find more translucent glass - yet still frosted it is not as thick.

Since I started collecting sea glass - I always wondered where they have been, what they were and who might have once possessed the item from which the piece was a part of. I love recycling, or "upcycling", these found objects into wearable art and true heirloom pieces that can be passed on through generations.

Said to be the next "semi-precious" stone of this time, sea glass is becoming increasingly more difficult to find due to environmental awareness and rising popularity. Such awareness promotes beach clean-ups, proper trash disposal, decreased "ocean dumping" and lastly, people aren't burning their trash on the beaches like they did years ago. Technology is also a reason for the decrease in sea glass. As the years passed we became smarter, thus improving on technology. Such improvements in the shipping industry lead to safer travel on the seas. That meant a sizable decrease in shipwrecks that were carrying personal items as well as trade cargo. Over the years, those pieces of history have washed upon the shores, carrying with them memories of distant lands, and have been transformed into tiny jewels that are sought from beachcombers around the world.

These pictures were from our latest travels on the North Shore - June 14th. My older daughter, Taylor and my brother Eric set out to a nearby island to collect. The last picture on the right is what we collected on shore and on the island that day. Not even half of what is pictured will be "usable" for jewelry.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday Mosaic - We Do SHOWS!

Oh so many shows!!! Some as a group, some on our own, LOTS this summer, and we are all gearing up for our biggest show yet, the Boston Handmade Marketplace in Union Square, Somerville on June 28th from 3-7pm.

The mosaic above features photos from our shows - from left to right, top to bottom the photos show booths of the following members of Boston Handmade:
Kerry Hawkins Photography and Amy Olson Jewelry
muchacha K
Stonehouse Studio
Pogibabies Handmade
Reclaimed To You
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
The Hole Thing
Mimi K
Glamourpuss Creations
Fraske Designs
The Hole Thing (far left in the pic), Amy Burhoe Designs (an Etsy seller joining us for the Marketplace), and Elizabeth Brennick Designs
muchacha K
Twigs and Heather
Fraske Designs
To see all of these photos close up - and more! - check out our Flickr photo pool and we'll see you at our upcoming shows!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Photographing in Boston

by Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photography

This mosaic is of photos I just took while in Boston. I decided to take photos within a mile of the Back Bay MBTA station. I walked around the Newbury Street area, did a little shopping, and then walked around the South End. There are so many different scenes and feels to the area from elegant windows to gritty alleys.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crafting Hope

by Nicole of Designs by Lulubelle

Fridays are typically reserved for weekend shows but this event could be considered equally important. Cancer has touched each and every one of us in one way or another. TODAY, June 20th, I will be participating in the Relay for Life.

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature activity. It offers everyone in a community an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams of people from all walks of life have fun while raising much-needed funds to fight cancer and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment.

It represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated.

To help raise funds, I have been donating a portion of the sale of my Hope bags to the fight.

Celebrate hope!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Finding Inspiration

by Katy of muchacha K

Every artist is influenced by many factors too minute to name, but all of us have key treasures too, locked in our conscious minds that drive our creative mode.

One of my enduring key treasures is flamenco. Flamenco is not just dance, although the flamenco dancer is the iconic visual symbol. It is also guitar, singing, percussion, each their own art form. If I had to correllate flamenco to an American genre I would say it aches like the blues. It also laughs like the blues, with joy that is so ecstatic it is painful. Like the blues, it is an art form born from oppression--the result of centuries of cultural clash in the South of Spain.

In flamenco, you sing of your home, your family, your lost love. The town you are from is the most amazing you have ever seen and the love that you lost was the most beautiful girl in the world. One of the most astounding flamenco songs anyone ever sang to me roughly translates in English to "I want to lock you up, behind bars of bronze, with one window, so you must see me and ache at the sight of my body...". This is no tame, or polite art is longing and longing and longing, and any human with half a soul can tell you, longing is never polite, whether you share it or not.

My flamenco shoes are one of my few prized possessions (yes, more prized than even my sewing machine). I have three pairs, one, black for practice, a red pair, very loved, for performance, and a shiny new green pair that I ordered in Spain. But what you should really know about flamenco that they are HANDMADE. When you buy a new pair, you have to try many pairs of the same size on because no pair is exactly alike. And each nail in the sole is driven in by hand--the nails, like taps, are the reason that a room of flamenco dancers sounds like an advancing army.

Recently, my love of flamenco has bled into my sewing life, as it does from time to time. Recent clutches are a celebration of the polka dot. Vive la polka dot!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Workspace Wednesday...

with Nancy of Nancyrosetta

I don't usually work in such chaos, but since I am writing about my workspace, I thought I would terrorize you all with the state of mine at the moment. In my frenzy for inventory, I am working on no less than 10 pieces at a time. I can't explain the method to my madness, but somehow it works. As you can see, I have filings and scraps everywhere since I can't take the time to straighten up before starting another project at the moment.

Jewelry is not the only crafty thing I am into. I also make altered art books with some far away friends of mine. We do a few pages, and send it off to the next person, it is so thrilling to get the book back after friends from all over America have worked on it, but that is for another post. These wire drawers contain all of my little bits and scraps of collected thingamagigs, and all stuff crafty. Just to the right is a box of mat scraps that I peel the interesting textures off to use in altered art. On top of the wire drawers are small storage containers for all my beads and gemstones.

Paint, glue, tools, catalogs, magazines, shipping supplies, and god only knows what else is stored in this tall shelving unit.
I hope you all enjoyed looking at my mess. I enjoy being immersed in it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Appliqued Onesie's

by Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs

I sew a variety of items and I have to say that's one thing I love about my craft business the possibilities to create are endless. One item I enjoy very much is my appliqued onesies. I get the chance to take out my sketch book and draw all different things to be then sewn onto these blank canvases. The process is simple and the end result is adorable.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Mosaic - Coffee Anyone?

Me? I survive each day only because of love and coffee. Check out these java inspired creations from members of Boston Handmade:
Stonehouse Studio
muchacha K
Twigs and Heather
Relaxation Works
The Hole Thing
Sea Glass Things
Vintage by Crystal
Kerry Hawkins Photography
Mimi K
Have a cup o' joe and say cheers to Mimi K for putting together this energizing mosaic!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What I Did On Memorial Day Weekend

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

For Memorial Weekend, I was lucky enough to be on Nantucket enjoying the amazing weather and wandering around town. I was also lucky enough to be there for the Artists Association of Nantucket Side Walk Sale. Set-up right in the middle of town overlooking the water, they had the perfect spot for the influx of weekend tourists.

I was there primarily to visit the mother of one of my good friends, Nancy Lindsay (of "Tanglz"), who does beautifully delicate crocheted silver jewelry. Surprisingly, she was one of the few jewelers participating in the show; most of the other artists consisted of all different kinds of painters as well as photographers.

Many of the items for sale were all very affordable, which was refreshing! The Association puts on shows throughout the year. For more information, check out their website.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Thirteenth With thirteenthstory: Repeat Customers

by Jaye of thirteenthstory

A couple years ago I found a commission job on craigslist; it was a
tattoo for a local student. She wanted something with simple colors
that included a female figure, a circle, and some Chinese kanji with a
meaning specific to her. She proved the Chinese characters, and I
drafted a few designs for her to edit for a second draft.

In the end, this is what we ended up with together:

I have to say again that I LOVE the tattoo and it's definitely something I know I'll be happy with for life. My friends also all really love it.
Thank you a million times!

But the coolest response of all was a year later when she asked me to design her second tattoo, a cuff design for her arm:

There is a profound joy in being able to create for someone, and doing it twice is extremely rewarding.

If anyone has a tattoo design in mind and would like to work with me on it, feel free to contact me through my website.

Thanks, and happy 13th. -Jaye

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Art of the "Staycation"

by Nicole of Designs by Lulubelle

With gas prices continuing to soar with no apparent end in sight, many people (including myself) are reorganizing their summer plans to include more day trips.

With this in mind, I've been trying to come up with some ideas other than the usual day trip to the beach and the zoo (although those will definitely be visited quite frequently). Our area has a wealth of things to do for people of all ages.

One place I am looking forward to visiting is the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.

Founded in part by Eric Carle, the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is a full-scale museum devoted to national and international picture book art, conceived and built with the aim of celebrating the art that we are first exposed to as children.

Some of their current exhibitions include:
• Seeking a State of Grace: The Art of Arnold Lobel
March 22, 2008 - June 15, 2008
• Selections from the Art of Eric Carle: Bears and Beyond
February 8, 2008 - August 31, 2008
• Dorothy Kunhardt's Pat the Bunny
May 16, 2008 - December 7, 2008

There is also a special event THIS SATURDAY June 14th...
FREE Summer Kick-Off Day @ The Carle
10:00 am to 5:00 pm - FREE
Join The Carle for a day of family fun in Celebration of Eric Carle's June Birthday. From 11:00 am and 2:00 pm rock into summer reading with The Cat's Pajamas. Their musical celebration of books will have you dancing in the aisles! Artist demonstrations and special storytimes throughout the day with Diane deGroat, David Milgrim and more.

So where are you planning on going this summer?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Workspace Wednesday...

with Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photography

Since I do all digital photography I don't have a darkroom. This is my crowded office with my printer and camera that I use.

I have to share my tiny workspace with my 17 year old nephew. He likes to play video games and edit videos. It is gets interesting sometimes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Casting Silver Jewelry

with Twigs and Heather

Ahhh spring. One of our four favorite seasons. We get really excited when the maple seeds start appearing on the trees around Boston.

We only have 1 or 2 weeks when the pickin' is good. These cast perfectly. We will be designing necklaces, and earrings from this batch.

You can see more work by Twigs and Heather in our Etsy shop.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Mosaic - All About Dad

This coming weekend is Father's Day - June 15th - and here are a few items created by members of Boston Handmade that would make great gifts for Dad...

Check out more work by these artists, artisans, and craftspeople:
Mimi K
Reclaimed To You
The Hole Thing
Stonehouse Studio
Christine Marie Art
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
and thanks to Mimi K for putting together this mosaic!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Boston Handmade members are active participants in art and craft shows throughout New England - and this is the height of the season! You can see Boston Handmade members and their handmade work every weekend from now into the autumn. Click here for a list of upcoming shows and this weekend you can see...

Chris of Christine Marie Art will be showing TODAY at The Festival by The Lake on the Wakefield Commons, along the shoreline of picturesque Lake Quannapowitt, and tomorrow you can see her and other members of Boston Handmade at the South End Open Market on Harrison Street in Boston .

Shop early, shop late, buy handmade!

Friday, June 6, 2008

What do you bring on vacation??

by Chris of Christine Marie Art

Summer is upon us...time to relax, enjoy, and play! But while some of us are at play, we are also hard at work on our craft. I asked the Boston Handmade members what they would bring with them while on vacation this summer, and it turns out we are a busy bunch even while taking time off. Here's what a "handmade" vacation entails:

Lucie from Lucie Wicker Photography, and Jessica Burko of Reclaimed to You both bring their cameras, sometimes more than one. "I always take a few cameras with me when I travel," says Jessica. "I use a variety of film and digital cameras, and always cart around at least three so I can have options when I find something I want to shoot. In my wanderings I am usually drawn to dilapidated and abandoned structures, peeling paint, and fractured glass."

Strange as it may sound, gallon plastic bags are a staple for Marla Kunselman from SeaGlass Things. "I am in constant contact with the shore in the summer and always looking for any glimmering pieces of sea glass or muted pottery shards to add to my collection. Gallon plastic bags are just perfect for the hunt.... not only are they sturdy & seal shut, they also pack flat!" says Marla.

Louise Cady-Fernandes from The Hole Thing brings pieces of felt, yarn, and a sewing needle. And Crystal, from Vintage by Crystal, brings the makings for her basic spun cotton figures - lengths of cotton, wire and pliers, all kept in a shopping bag (bags again!). She works in the car, or when it's dark, by camping headlight! She says, "By the time I get back home, I have a good supply of plain white figures that I can then dye, paint and embellish in my studio. It works great!"

"I would have to bring my credit card for all of the beads that I would buy!" says Amy Olson of Amy Olson Jewelry, and she's not alone. Mimi Kirchner of Mimi Kirchner Art and Lisa from Glamourpuss Creations share her shopping spirit. "For me it's not necessarily about what I bring on my trips but what I HUNT for," says Lisa. "Everywhere I go I hit up thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, anywhere that I might find cool vintage items and materials for my vintage jewelry. I have beads I've brought home from Denmark, Berlin, Canada and New Orleans. Customers really enjoy the 'story' behind my jewelry."

When she's not shopping, Mimi also carries a sketchbook.
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