Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Exploring New Mediums

by, Lisa of Glamourpuss Creations

Sometimes I sit amongst the madness of my beads and chain and...nothing happens. That's when it's time to pick up another medium for renewed inspiration! In fitting with my obsession over 1960s color and pattern, I started picking up vintage ties at thrift stores and yard sales a few years ago. After experimenting with a few different designs, I've come up with a few easy and wearable ways to celebrate the 60s aesthetic. Comfy headbands with an elastic back for staying power and neat little wrist cuffs in a variety of sizes for both men and women. And working with the amazing color combinations found in these ties gave me all sorts of ideas - back to the jewelry!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall Colors

by, Linda of Linda B. Dunn

A slew of tiny bags got finished yesterday.
I love these little guys. They hold my essentials - change, credit card, lipstick -and attach them all to my keys, so I don't loose anything. I got this trio on Etsy this morning. More to come.

My fabric haul this summer has been a terrific inspiration. Such wonderful textures and colors! These are high-end fabrics, some costing hundreds of dollars a yard. Combined into wristlets, they are beautiful:
I like how the buttons look, even tho' they aren't functional. The bags are big enough to hold a cell phone, wallet, etc. Handy on their own. Travel light, enjoy the journey: that's my motto. And if you anticipate shopping, bring along one of my tote bags:

Saturday, September 27, 2008


by, Kerry of K Hawkins Photography

Details of a city Most of these photos were taken in the area called Bay Village in Boston. I had never really explored the area. I had some time before meeting a friend for lunch, so I decided to walk over there. I guess, it was uncharted territory for me. It is surprisingly, quiet neighborhood, given it is so close to the theatre district.
Ironing Hair, My Living room These are photos of my niece attempting to iron her hair with a household iron. She was trying this in the early morning before school. She claims it is better than an using a hair straightener. I think her expressions are great.

Fair Ride, Norwood Day This is my favorite mosaic in this group. I love the bright colors. I don't normally take out of focus, action shots. I shot this with my little sony Cyber-shot so it could never be in focus. But, I love the results. The photos capture the energy and vibrancy of this ride. Although, the ride looks a little worried.

I love doing these mosaics. Sometimes, photos may not be strong enough or interesting enough on their own. They can also give you an overall feel of a place or event.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Boston Handmade members will be around town this weekend showing and selling their creations!Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs will be showing in two places this weekend:

Saturday, Sept. 27, 11am-5pm
at the Providence Open Market

Sunday, Sept. 28, 10am-4pm at the South End Open Market

Liz of Lush Beads will be participating in Lowell Open Studios
Saturday and Sunday, 11am-5pm - both days!

Several Boston Handmade members will be at the Jamaica Plain Open Studios - rain or shine! - including Jessica of Reclaimed To You, Betsy of Stonehouse Studio and Jen of Blue Alvarez Designs.

Saturday and Sunday, 11am-6pm - both days!
Locations throughout Jamaica Plain

See you THIS weekend!

Interview with Kirsten Bassion...

BH - Tell us a bit about yourself...
KB - I grew up in Marblehead MA just north of Boston and continued on to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY where I was an art major and studied every medium I could get my hands on. From Skidmore I won a scholarship to SCUBA dive around the world for a year and spend more than a year and half diving in all corners of the world. I worked with film teams from National Geographic on documentaries from walrus in the Arctic to cave diving on the Florida panhandle. Four years later I made my way back to graduate school to do a MFA in ceramics at Rochester Institute of Technology's School for American Crafts. My mentor and teacher Julia Galloway teaches there. I finished my MFA in 2004 and moved back to Boston...finally. I married a great guy I met at RIT and we now live in Marblehead with our daughter Adelaide who is 1.

BH - About being an artist...
KB - I started in ceramics at Skidmore and that was in the early 90s and have bounced around in ceramic studios from coast to coast. The hardest thing being a ceramic artist is finding a way to keep working. It requires so much space and big, hot, dirty equipment that I can't just set up a work space in my living room. I used to find a local college studio where ever I was and become involved in their program but when I came back to Marblehead my options were limited. Eventually I opened my own studio and school with a friend of mine, The North Shore Clay Studio (NSCS).We have a huge wonderful space in an old factory building called the Lydia Pinkham Building in Lynn. We teach classes and have space for independent clay artists as well. NSCS has provided me with a studio space and community of clay artist to work among. We have been open for three years and going strong.

BH -Please describe your creative process....
KB - I wheel throw my work in porcelain as well as make pieces by hand building in stoneware. I make all my glazes from scratch and create texture by carving stamps out of rubber and plaster. Sometimes I will even make custom slump molds for large oval pieces. Color is important in my work and is a strong part of what makes the work come alive. The colors come from my diving, travelling, and quilting experiences. I used to be a quilter and still use the idea of the separation of fabrics and patterns as I decorate my work. But first and foremost the work is functional. I want my users to enjoy these pieces in their daily routines and lives.

BH - About the business side....
KB - The most exciting show I have ever been invited to was at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. They asked me to be a part of the gallery shop that was connected to their biggest fund raiser of the year, Art in Bloom 2008. It was a thrill to walk into the museum and see my work. I don't expect anything like that to happen again. I created nearly 70 pieces for that show.
I am a part of the Marblehead Arts Association and show in a variety of shows and galleries around the country. You can see my work at the Society of Art and Crafts Boston on Newbury Street and Mimi Gallery in Ipswich, MA. Outside of MA I have work in a bunch of galleries including the Clay Studio in Philadelphia and AKAR in Iowa City. I am now honored to be connected to Boston Handmade.

I am new to ETSY and still need some help and pointers for sure! SO any suggestions would be most welcomed!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Greetings from the West Coast!

by Member Emeritus, Amy of Amy Olson Jewelry

A big hello from Portland, OR! I am finally feeling settled after a whirlwind of visiting, packing, and moving. Scott and I reside in the cutest little apartment in the cutest little building in the cutest little neighborhood. I've even heard the neighbors say more then once how we live in the best place in town! My great great aunt owns the building, so I was lucky to know about it ahead of time. She's a really sweet lady and everyone here thinks of her as family. There is a gorgeous front yard with a garden, deluxe BBQ, and even a hammock! So, in the evenings, we
usually take our dinner outside and spent time with our neighbors, who are all wonderful. Our
neighborhood is vibrant and lively, but we live just off to the side of a busier street and near the more industrial part, which I like. It's a quick hop on the freeway to get anywhere, but there are two cafes and a food coop literally across the street!
We found a studio the day we moved in! It's just a ten minute drive away and over a gorgeous historic bridge near the river. We love it and it's huge! We spend every day there creating. We haven't had too many opportunities to just wander yet, but hope to do so soon. This weekend, we will be checking out a couple of potential venues for our work, Crafty Wonderland and The Saturday Market. Hopefully, we will be participating in their big holiday shows this year! We miss Boston, though, because it has been our home for the past two years.

We have been to the coast twice since we've been back, which is really great for inspiration.....
and I've been making a whole lot of jewelry!
I miss you all so much and wish you the best in your upcoming holiday season!
Please keep in touch,
Love, Amy

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Work...

by Vintage by Crystal andThe Hole Thing.
Compiled by Betsy of Stonehouse Studio

Vintage by Crystal is getting spooky for Halloween with these brand new spun cotton and needle felted figures!

And the cool, crisp days of autumn tend to kick in those cocooning instincts. Spiff up your nest with The Hole Thing's latest felted vases and pots.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photographing Small Things

by, Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photography

Every once in a while I will photograph small things with my macro lens. It is a different take on an everyday things such, as these beads. I love things in miniature. I think it is great you can capture so many details with this lens. I like the whimsical quality of some of these photos

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Recurring Themes, part 3

Allison of Fraske Designs has researched some recurring themes in some Boston Handmade members' work. This is the third of a series of posts on the topic.

Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography notes the presence of trees in her work: "I have always been attracted to trees- their roots, trunks, branches, leaves, blossoms, etc. I love the shapes bare branches make, they are so intricate and delicate at this same time. It was always a subconscious thing but in retrospect, they do pop up in my work more often then anything else."

This Sepia Weathervane photo on canvas is one of my favorites!

On the same note Linda B. Dunn also finds trees popping up in her work, among other things:
"For images, I keep coming back to trees and the human form. In my mind they echo each other, and both are evocative of our inner lives. For my commercial work, I use literal images - my drawings and photos - and explore how they fit in an imaginary, abstract landscape. Often I use text to illuminate the space and the meaning."

Lastly, Crystal of Vintage by Crystal identifies bunnies and cats as a fan favorite:
"I make little spun cotton figures for every holiday, occasion and for everyday display and I always find myself coming back to making bunny people and cat people. The reason? Popularity. I like to please the masses and the masses seem to love my bunny and cat people and I couldn't be happier making them!"

How adorable are these birthday bunnies?

We love to hear feedback from our readers: What recurring themes appear in your work?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Penguins on Etsy

By Allison of Fraske Designs

I really like penguins. I don't know quite what it is about penguins that makes my heart melt... they are just so lovable. The highlight of field trips to the New England Aquarium as a kid was always the penguins right at the front of the entrance. I know at least one other Boston Handmade member appreciates penguins, too... Penguin Love Press is a new addition to the group and features great journals and note cards.

There is so much penguin-themed merchandise on Etsy! Here are a few of my favorites:

Penguin Bank by Caseyjackdogs

This coin bank is a caricature of a king penguin. Made of speckled stoneware clay and glazed in black and white, he wears a pengrin which implies how enamoured he is with his lot in life.

Penguin Needle Felting Kit by Wooplets

I think this might give me the push I need to try needle felting. This kit has step by step instructions including photographs for each step. There is enough wool roving in the kit for one large or two small penguins!

Emperor Penguin and Chick by Sandra Healy

This one is my favorite... a precious hand carved wood figurine. This would be perfect to go with my marble penguin at home! Perhaps someday it can be added to my collection.

What themed items do you look for on Etsy?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Interview with Ashli McCarter...

...of Penguin Love Press

BH- Tell us a bit about yourself

PenguinLove Press- My name is Ashli and I just moved to Boston from Blacksburg, Virginia, where I attended Virginia Tech. I live with my lovely husband Ted and our two cats, Nera and Winks. Boston is a big change for us but I’m beginning to love living in a huge city. I currently work for a dentist and have found it to be much more creative work than I thought. I like to find some creative about everything I do, it make mundane things more interesting.

BH- What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

PenguinLove Press- The first thing I vividly remember making is my own coloring books and my soap opera novels. In kindergarten there was this mean girl Jessica and she’d always picked on me for coloring outside the lines. So I started to draw my own coloring books, that way I could make my own lines. Also in kindergarten/first grade my mom watched a lot of soaps so I wanted to make my own soap books. I wrote stories and fully illustrated them with scantly clad women. I called it “As my Children Turned”. Can you guess which soaps my mom watched?

BH- What are your favorite materials?

PenguinLove Press- My favorite material is vintage books. It’s like a hunt to find fun and interesting ones. For me “garage saleing” and thrift shopping is treasure hunting. I get this feeling of satisfaction when I find something wonderful!

BH- Describe your work.

PenguinLove Press- What I mainly do is take vintage books and give them new insides, creating unique and eco-friendly journals and sketchbooks. I then take the insides and use them to make light switch covers, envelopes and other things. I also make mini journals from card stock. I embellish the covers using hand cut lino stamps, my gocco printer and other image transfer techniques.

BH- Why should people buy handmade?

PenguinLove Press- Because handmade is awesome! Seriously though, buying handmade is good for everyone and for the soul. Not only do you know who made your item, it probably has a story behind it. Plus I’ve always loved having something unique.

BH- How long have you been involved with Etsy and what have your experiences been?

PenguinLove Press- I had my first Etsy shop back in NOV. 2005. It was awful, back then I just made bottle cap jewelry. My pictures were so bad I don’t know how I ever sold anything. In 2006 I switched my store to PenguinLove and started making journals which what I really love to do. I also splurged and bought a sweet camera. It was the best investment I made for my Etsy shop. I really believe that good pictures are very very important!

BH- What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

PenguinLove Press- Besides taking good pictures, you should have detailed descriptions. I hate when I see something I love and the description doesn’t say it’s size or anything else about it. Drives me crazy and many of Etsy shops have lost my business because of it.

BH- If you are a tree- what kind of tree are you?

PenguinLove Press- I would be a cherry blossom tree. Why? Because they are beautiful. I use them as inspiration in a lot of my work. I have at least 3 different cherry blossom designs for my mini journals.

BH- Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know?

PenguinLove Press- I have a varsity letter and several trophies in bowling. That always surprises people!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My new Favorite Yarn….

...by Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations

I love love love yarn. It’s one of those things – my fingers get itchy to sink themselves into it, and my heart races with excitement when I get within a mile of a yarn shop.

I especially love wool, which is interesting because I used to have a wool allergy. I could never wear wool, and being near it made me sneeze myself silly for 10 minutes. I’m a great believer in overcoming allergies through overexpose. Please Note: this is my own extremely non-medical opinion. I have no idea if there’s proof that this method is valid, but it worked once before for me with cats!

Anyway, I’m happy to say, since I’ve been surrounded by wool and have been working with wool daily for almost 2 years now, I’m confident that I’m over my allergy. I’ve also almost lost my sense of smell, but that could be completely unrelated.

So, aside from the wool addiction, the thing I love most about yarn is color. I am in awe of yarn dyers – they are able to come up with the most glorious and vibrant colors for yarn. Someday I’d love to try it. But first I have to make the 1,000+ items I have swirling around my head. My new favorite yarn is this

– hand spun and dyed by Kristie Haynes. It’s called Coral Reef, and it’s absolutely exquisite. Every stitch is so exciting as I watch the different color combinations come together. I spent the weekend knitting a bowl, then a bowl for myself, then another type of bowl – then I was out of yarn!

Thankfully, she’s dying me up another bunch of skeins. I’m on the lookout for a great sweater pattern to make for me!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Georgia's New Sweater Vest

Louise from THE HOLE THING

For about a year I have had it on my list to make a dog vest. How cute would it be for the dog's fur to be sticking out of my signature sweater holes like polka dots? Well then Georgia was born, my friend Jayne's adorable Boston Terrier. Cute as a button both inside and out & such an inspiration. Jayne envisioned a pink vest for her little girl with brown, white, and light pink dots. So I felted a few old pink sweaters and finally got on my way by first cutting out the pieces of the vest.
Next I whip stitched around the raw edges with a brown suede ribbon yarn. This will give the vest a more finished look.

My original idea was to punch holes in the felt and Georgia's brown shiny coat would show through them- with the light pink and white appliqued dots embroidered here and there to complete the design. The pink felt didn't felt as densely as I had hoped however which it needs to do in order for the die-cut holes to hold their shape. So I had to compromise and just add some brown appliqued dots as well.

Next I have to decide on how best to secure the vest to Georgia's body. The 2 long rectangle shaped pieces will connect down under her tummy and the U shaped ends will connect under her chin (a bit complicated I know). I am thinking of either using "D" rings, or velcro or maybe even those cool magnets that are used to close pocketbooks. Either way, when I take the vest over for Georgia's first fitting I'll be sure to take a picture to post later on for you all to see...

I hear she is very excited about her first modeling job.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


By Nancy of nancyrosetta

I recently commissioned local artist Ann Gorbett to interpret this photo into a painting using a palette knife and oil paints. This photo is of me and my sisters!
This print is a blowup of a Polaroid of my sisters and I (left to right: Me, Anna Kathy, Julie) from '71 or '72 that is hanging proudly at my Dad's house. Last August, my whole family converged at his house in Utah, to celebrate his 70th birthday party, and it was then that I noticed this photo. I had not seen it before, but once I did see it, I needed a copy. He most graciously complied, and the copy has been sitting in my "to frame" drawer patiently waiting for me to frame it.

I was not so pleased with the pixelly quality of the print, and so it remained in the drawer (for almost a year) until local artist Ann Gorbett brought these oil paintings in to hang at the gallery:
I enthusiastically asked her if she could do for me what she did with some old time photos from her own family. So she took her palette knife to board for me. The finished painting is a wonderful representation with awesome color and great texture. Sister approved and full of wonderful knife strokes. It has so much paint, there are places in the painting that literally come off the board, very chunky and colorful. Click the picture to enlarge to see all the wonderful texture!
I love to support local artists, and to get such a wonderful heirloom piece as this, is just icing on the cake. Ann Gorbett will be painting live at Custom Art Framing and Gallery 9 on Sept 19th from 3pm - 6pm. She is truly a genius with the palette knife, I hope you all get a chance to come and see her work.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Mosaic - Our Urban Landscape

Good morning class. Today we discuss Boston, the capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. With an estimated population of 599,351 our city was founded in 1630 and is the fourth most densely populated city in the country. We're old, we're big, we're crowded. We love it. Our urban landscape can be very inspirational in our work with it's unique colors, flavors, vistas, and textures. Enjoy this urban inspired mosaic by Boston Handmade members:
Yarn Obsession
K. Hawkins Photography
Vintage by Crystal
Majenta Designs
The Hole Thing
Mimi K
Linda B. Dunn
Lucie Wicker Photography
Fraske Designs
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Reclaimed To You
Stonehouse Studio
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grant Money Available


I am a board member on the Lexington Council for the Arts. Each year our council reviews grant applications from individual artists/performers, schools, and cultural organizations and awards Massachusetts Cultural Council funds to projects that provide a local public benefit.

These grants can support a variety of artistic projects including exhibits, festivals, installations, performances, workshops or lectures. In addition, funding for cultural field trips is also available through the PASS program, which subsidizes the cost of admission for students to attend performances, educational tours and exhibits.

If you are interested in applying for a grant visit the Mass Cultural Council's website or call Barbara Ciampa at 781-861-8433 or Zoe Perry-Wood at 617-803-4659. All application requests must be postmarked by October 15, 2008 to be eligible.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Thirteenth With thirteenthstory: Colors

by Jaye of Thirteenth Story

Most of my drawings are in black and white, but my inspiration board is covered with colorful clippings. This made me realize that I have been thinking a lot about color lately, specifically the variations within monochromatic artwork.
My latest sketches and designs seem to be breaking away from pure black and white, but they still maintain the simple, clean look which I have been developing for years.

There are a few places I have been getting inspiration and direction. They include DeGraeve's Color Generator, a site in which you point to an existing photo, and it generates a palette in list form, giving both vibrant and dull options. Or Peter Piper's Color Palette Picker: a site where you can choose colors and create a layout that gives a good visual sense of how to best weigh the colors within a composition. And lastly, photographs. Here is one that shows how much real-world variation there can be within just one color:

photo by Michelle Vachon

I hope these resources might help you in your own exploration of color.

Be well,
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