Saturday, January 31, 2009

Painting inspiration

By Kim Morin Weineck of Breton Bleu Studio

Excuses can prevent artists from painting. It can be very easy to come up with an excuse to not paint. An obvious one is a lack of time, of course. Another excuse is lack of inspiration. Not having a subject to paint can be problematic.Carol Marine, an artist who paints daily and is represented by I think six galleries, doesn't seem to suffer from any lack of inspiration. She paints everything and paints it well.Here's a small assortment of some of her flowers.She and her work inspire me. Paint everything and make no excuses!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Upcoming Show: JP to ME

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

This show will be very special to me because its all about what Jamaica Plain (my hometown) means to each artist and their different takes on it. There are 11 of us participating so that should present a lot of cool and unique angles. Details below!

JP to Me...

Displaying the richness of Jamaica Plain through the work of eleven local artists, the public art exhibit "JP to Me" will be hosted at the historic Footlight Club. With subjects spanning architecture, street scenes, nature, and abstract shapes, the artists' visions are as diverse as the neighborhood they derive from. If home is where the heart is, there's no place like this exhibit to witness the variety of Jamaica Plain.

The Parker Room at the Footlight Club
7 Eliot St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

6:00 to 8:00pm on:
January 30 and 31
February 6 and 7
February 13 and 14

February 7
6:00 to 8:00pm

The contributing artists are Robert Festa, Kristin Mallery, Edward Gault, Amy Hitchcock, Kate Moss, Keith Supko, Matt McKee, Ted Cormier, Erik Gehring, Lucie Wicker, and Bill Shamlian.


Welcome New Boston Handmade Members

by, Jessica of Reclaimed To You

Boston Handmade is a juried artist group made up of Massachusetts based artists, artisans and craftspeople who all have active shops on We get together as often as schedules allow to have group shows and events, lead skill-share workshops for each other, hang out socially and lend a hand to each other in a wide variety of ways. Boston Handmade is a very special kind of artist group full of supportive and talented creatives - and I for one am thrilled to be a part of it!

One of the most exciting things that happens every month (or two, or three) is that new members are invited to join the group after a lengthy review process of applications. It's the new Boston Handmade members that keep us fresh and we are so delighted to have lots of "newbies" to welcome from the past few months...

Kiki of All The Numbers makes childrens clothing and quilts from upcycled materials.

Brooke of Bancroft Studios creates hand painted, hand poured, nautically inspired functional dinnerware.

Jen of Blue Alvarez Designs knits and designs unique woman's wear.

Bexx of Books by Bexx makes handcrafted books, journals and albums from 100% vegan materials.

Kim of Breton Bleu Studio paints mini-landscapes in oils and acrylics.

Amy of Bumble Belly Designs creates vintage inspired wall art, pillows and dog leash racks.

Deshawn of Deshawn Marie makes vegan friendly, handmade soap.

Erica of Edesse Designs makes paper goods with original photos and graphics.

Kirsten of Kirsten Bassion makes porcelain pieces that are wheel thrown and stamped with hand-carved stamps.

Jessica of Nervous System creates unique, modern jewelry combining rapid prototyping methods with industrial materials.

Kathy of Weller Wishes is an illustrator, designer and pet portrait artist.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Project Runway's Winner Jay McCarroll Introduces Two fabric Lines

By Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs

Jay McCarroll the winner of season one Project Runaway creates two fabric lines for FreeSpirit fabrics. I'm a huge fan of Project Runway all of the seasons and of Jay's. The two lines are called "Garden friends" and "Woodland Wonderland". Both collections are fun, vibrant, and out of the ordinary! For a small business women who creates her items with fabric I crave for out of the ordinary.

The lines should hit the fabric stores and online sometime this February.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Artist's Passing

By Kim Morin Weineck of Breton Bleu Studio

A lot has been written of the death this month of Andrew Wyeth and I'm going to add to it.I've been a follower of Wyeth's work since I was little. I'm not sure which painting it was that spurred the admiration, but it was probably the spontaneous realization of these two very well-known works.Christina's World and Master Bedroom were both pieces we sold nearly daily at the frame shop I first worked at around 15 years ago. (This is the same place I met my husband. We'd reconnect and be married around 12 years later.) The egg tempera medium of Christina's World was captivating to me.In the artistic world of Wyeth, Master Bedroom seemed so easy, calm and peaceful unlike so many others of his haunting works.
Tim and I have been to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine a few times together. It's something else entirely to see Wyeth's work in person rather than in a reproduction. The last time we traveled north, Tim and I were driving around and saw a sign for the Olson House. We ended up taking 40 minute detour but found the location of Christina's World.That's me in the field. We were trying so hard to recall her placement--and got it wrong.

We took photos of the house. This is one of my favorites. It looks just like a Wyeth painting, doesn't it?
I also like this shot, with Tim's reflection. What fun!
Karin Jurick, an artist I admire, posted this recent painting of hers on her blog. It's of Chadds Ford, PA where Wyeth lived. I love this homage to a great painter. It's got me thinking of creating an homage of my own. More on this to follow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Birdwatching with Boston Handmade

by Bexx, of Books by Bexx

Maybe it’s the cat in me, but I find birds fascinating. I hang feeders in my yard year round, and me and my kitties love to gaze out the window at our winged friends (albeit, with different motives).

This month, I thought I’d do a little bird watching with Boston Handmade.
The first bird I spotted is this unbelievably adorable wool children's jacket with a gray linen bird appliqué from allthenumbers.

A few minutes later, a group of sparrows flew in, landing in this wintery print from Lucie Wicker Photography. I sure hope their wings aren't too cold!

If those sparrows get too chilly, they can fly on over to this needle felted nest from Vintage By Crystal and get snuggly.

Next, two bluebirds appeared on the horizon of this beautiful polymer clay necklace from Stonehouse Studio.

This wooden duck toy from Tactile Baby rolled up next, full of color and ready for playtime!

After a long day of bird watching, I was ready for a bed. The robin perched on this pillow from

Bumble Belly Designs sang me a lullaby as I fell asleep.

There are lots more birds to see with Boston Handmade as your guide! Just search for handmade bird to find more feathered friends. Don't forget your binoculars!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Lunar New Year!

by Jennifer Tang of MaJenta Designs

(photo of decorations for sale in Singapore)

Most of us celebrate the new year on January 1st, counting down until midnight, singing auld lang syne, and making resolutions to lose weight, particularly all the pounds gained from all the holiday feasts with family and friends.

Well tomorrow is the Lunar New Year, which as you can guess, is based off of the lunar calander; therefore the date changes year to year, but this year, it will be on January 26, 2009. In Mandarin Chinese, you will often hear people greeting each other with "Xin Nian Kuai Le, Gong Xi Fa Cai!" which translate to "happy new year" and "wishes that you be prosperous"!

Its a time to wish each other a happy new year that will be filled with good fortune and blessings! Wikipedia lists out many of the exciting traditions in details, but one of my favorite traditions of the holiday is when elders give the younger children lucky red envelopes "hong bao" with money inside! I find it a great concept, to wish that prosperity would come to your loved ones, and literally to give them some money to kick start the year! In addition to the envelopes, you are sure to see everything decorated with red and gold, including lanterns, auspicious sayings postings on doorways, etc. because Chinese view red as symbolic of good luck and ward off evil, and gold of course to symbolize fortune.
Another thing you might see during this holiday is the Chinese character 福 ("fu") meaning "good fortune", sometimes you might even see it upside down! The reason for it being upside down, is Chinese love play on words! The Chinese word "dao" (3rd tone) for "upside down" (倒) sounds similar to the word for "arrived" (also "dao" but 4th tone: 到). Therefore, the word upside down is also symbolic to mean "fortuen has arrived"!

This a great holiday that brings generations of families together and eat traditional foods that are also symbolic of good fortune for the new year, like fish, oranges, noodles, sweet sticky cakes, and much more!
cow1Also, it being the new year, brings on a change in the zodiac as well! This year will be the Year of the Ox/Cow! The ox is symbolic of being hardworking, patient, with a logical mind. I am trying to put out new pendants in my Etsy shop that you can purchase to give to all your friends who's Zodiac symbol is the cow! (i.e., anyone who will be turning 12, 24, 36, etc. multiples of 12. )

~Best wishes to all of you in the new year, and that despite the state of our economy, I hope you all will be blessed with good fortunes to come!~

(Glass magnets with 4 Chinese blessings of long life, health, good fortune, and peace)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Patent, Copyright and Trademark Resources: Free!

by Katy Brown of muchacha K handmade

It is important for creative people to know where to find the resources they may need to protect their intellectual property. Intellectual whaaaaa? Intellectual property. Our ideas, processes, and creations are all examples of intellectual property and that is the name of the area of law that deals with those types of issues. Most of us cannot afford to pay an intellectual property attorney to help us protect any protectable work though--so it’s important for us to know how to find the basic information we might need to get our brains wrapped around the options that may be available to us. Fortunately, the government provides a lot of free information, online, about these issues.

The three main types of Intellectual Property we are used to hearing about, and that would be most likely to affect our art and handcrafts are Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents. There is a LOT of outdated information that circulates about what these are and what they mean. It is important not to just assume that what someone told you is correct. One example is the rumor that if you “mail something to yourself” it’s protected under copyright law. That may not necessarily be true—and the only way to find out, is to do the research to get the correct information. There may be some good books out there but my focus here is the free information that is available, because there's a lot of good self-education material available from these sources. You may also try using some of the government resources below, formulating questions, and then seeing if you can find an IP attorney that is willing to give a free short consultation so you can determine if you need more help and clarify some simple questions. Always make sure however, when communicating with a law office, to determine up front if there are any fees involved in any consultation.

Here is the link to the US Government’s Patent and Trademark Office (, which oversees trademarks, patents, and copyrights. The federal government and its processes are the origin of these laws, so why not go to the source.

When you go to that page, you will see on the left hand side, links to many specific titles including:

There is basic and FAQ information for each of these sections if you explore the links, in addition to more specific legal information, forms, and filing fee information.

And here is the link to the US Copyright Office, which also has a handy FAQ section you should explore: US Copyright Office

Some types of ideas and creations are simply not protectable, but you won’t know if yours are, unless you look into it and it’s better to find out now, than be sorry you didn’t find out later.

(In addition to making and selling handbags through muchacha K handmade, Katy Brown is a graduate student in Library and Information Science, with her focus in law librarianship. In other words…she’s wicked good at finding information, and is happy to help point you in the right direction if you’re trying to find information about pretty much anything, but especially legal issues...)

Friday, January 23, 2009

All Art All The Time

by, Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You

photo above: Good Neighbors, mixed media paper quilt

People frequently ask me what I do when I am not making art. My quick answer is, make art. But this answer is actually pretty accurate when you consider how I make a living and that all the various things I "do" are either directly making art or connected to the making of art.

My fine art work consists of creating photographic mixed media, which loosely translated means that I combine photographs with other materials such as found paper, vintage photos, wood, thread, wax, wall paper, and other elements. The work I do of this type is rooted in the photographic aspects - the photos drive the rest of the combined parts. Most recently I have been working on a series of Paper Quilts which distinguish themselves from other collage-type work by their lack of adhesive and their construction only with thread. The parts are stitched as one would stitch a fabric quilt. I exhibit and sell my fine art work regularly at art fairs, Open Studios events, and in galleries.

photo above: Make Them Rustle, mixed media paper quilt

When not in the studio I can often be found working in textiles - knitting and sewing. I've been sewing pillows for many years and this past summer learned more about the craft and began making tote bags from reclaimed materials - fabric remnants, samples, old clothes, discards. In March 2008 I learned how to knit from Boston Handmade members Louise and Lynne and I took off like a rocket! I just can't stop. I've been knitting hats and scarves obsessively since then, and recently began a cardigan sweater and some small items for Valentine's Day that I've made into broaches. Most of the knitting I do is also with reclaimed materials - yarn from thrift shops, tag sales, remnants from projects, samples from textile companies. I was thrilled to begin selling my textile work This past winter at Design Hive and the Boston Handmade Downtown Gallery and now I have an Etsy shop for these items called Usable Goods.

photo above: Cranberry Scarf, wool, cotton and acrylic sideways scarf

The other type of work in the arts that occupies my time falls into the categories of Arts Marketing and Independent Curating within my business, Burko Design. I began curating exhibitions in 1997 while managing the photography gallery at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I continued this work as Director of The Cushing-Martin Gallery at Stonehill College.
photo above: announcement card from On Drawing

After leaving Stonehill in 2006 I continued curating and was honored last year to have a show that I worked on accepted into the Curatorial Opportunities Program at the New Art Center in Newton. The show, On Drawing, debuted in April 2008 and was very well received. Other exhibitions that are in process are called STITCH and Art as Medicine.

The other part of my work through Burko Design involves working closely with independent artists and arts organizations on projects large and small. I help artists and groups reach their creative and professional goals through brainstorming, networking, getting organized, reaching out to the press, and creating a plan of action tailored to their needs. Sometimes this involves speaking engagements such as the presentations I have given at MassArt and through the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, and sometimes it means working one-on-one in an artist's studio helping creatives achieve individualized goals. The clients I am working with most closely right now include weaver Claudia Mills, jewelry designer Karina Mattei, and printmaker Randy Garber.

photo above: A Block Weave Runner by Claudia Mills (photo by Jessica Burko)

In one way or another what I do is all art all the time, and I love it. It's this feeling that has propelled me to pursue other arts related activities such as coordinating Boston Handmade, participating in a weekly knitting circle, and volunterring with non-profit groups such as The Art Connection. Hooray for art!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Artist Chris Radant

by, Louise of THE HOLE THING

Former Boston area artist and writer Chris Radant is returning to Boston after living on the west coast for several years. I am so excited to see more of her wonderful artwork again. Chris is a writer by trade, and wrote the original story for the movie Home For The Holidays which was directed by Jodie Foster. Her artwork has continued to blossom over the years. Known for its rich, vibrant color interaction, and texture, there is a real sensuousness to her paintings, and drawings, .
Not all of Chris's work includes bead collage. I chose to share these because I especially like them.
Chris is also trained as a classical artist.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inspiration from Within

by Marla Kunselman of Sea Glass Things

When I am out collecting sea glass I am at my most peaceful state. This is the time I can just let go and block everything out - it is my therapy. I also use this time to come up with new ideas and designs. Most often, when I pick up a piece of glass I know exactly how it will be transformed to best showcase its beauty. I would say most of my inspiration comes from within. I love to feel the energy of each piece of glass and the creative process starts at that point.

My passion leans towards creating more luxury pieces and I am always thinking of a new design or "out of the box" idea that hasn't been done before.

Keep a watch out in my store as my Sea Glass Flip Flop line will soon be launching!
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