Thursday, April 30, 2009
This May, I will graduate from the North Bennet Street School with a certificate in Bookbinding. During the course of this unique two year program, students learn a wide variety of both modern and historical book structures, fine binding techniques, and book and paper repair methods. Many students go on to work as technicians in book and paper conservation labs.
As graduation draws near, I've begun to worry about finding a job. Many libraries and museums have been hard hit by the recent economic turmoil, and finding a job in the field has become ultra-competitive.
In order to set myself apart from the pack, I decided to create a website to show off my portfolio. I decided to use my name as my domain name (www.bexxcaswell.com), so that potential employers or private clients could find me easily.
My html skills are limited, but I wanted to make the site professional. I decided to use a service called Homestead, allows its users to upload text and pictures into a customizable template. This solution was cost effective, and allowed me to create my beginnings of my website in only a few days.
I'm still in the process of photographing my work and fleshing out my portfolio, but a good portion of my student work, as well as my full resume, can now viewed online at www.bexxcaswell.com!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
A new season of art shows is upon us and the visual artists of Boston Handmade are ready to show you some new new artwork. From left to right, the pieces above are by:
Jessica Burko, who will be showing at:
Inside Out, at Gallery 1581
May 1 - June 27th, 2009
Opening Reception Friday May 1, 2009, 7-9pm
RISD Spring Art Sale
Saturday, May 2, 2009
10am - 4 pm, rain or shine.
Benefit Street, Providence, RI, on the RISD campus
SoWa Art Walk
May 16 - 17, 2009
11am - 6pm both days
Visit Jessica Burko's studio at 35 Wareham Street
between Harrison Ave. and Albany St., Boston, MA 02118
Beacon Hill Art Walk
Sunday, June 7, 2009
12-6pm rain or shine
"Being Green" at Custom Art Framing and Gallery 9 in Norwood, MA has Boston Handmade members participating, including:
Kathy Weller, "Polka Dalmatians"
Kerry Hawkins, "Being Green"
Show opening reception on Friday, April 24th from 5-7pm.
Christine O'Brien will be at the South End Open Market Opening Weekend on May 16 & 17, as well as several other weekends. She will also be exhibiting at the Beverly Arts Fest on June 20, and throughout the summer season at the Salem Arts Gallery on Artists Row in Salem, MA.
Lucie Wicker will be showing at several South End Open Market weekends, and will be at the the Squam Art Fair on June 6.
We hope to see you out and about this season!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
by Mimi Kirchner
Earth Day was last week, but here at Boston Handmade, we celebrate it everyday!
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Cozy Cottage Creations
The Hole Thing
Bumble Belly Designs
Sea Glass Things
Lucie Wicker Photography
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I wanted to share this Native American hand puppet that I made in 3rd or 4th grade.
This is the only artwork from Elementary school that I was able to keep over the years. My family moved from Los Angeles to Boston in 1978, and we literally packed a suitcase and moved to Grandmas house. We did not 'pack up the house' we were told to only take what was most important to us (if it fit into a suitcase). Somehow, this hand puppet was important to me.
I made her with my own hands, and I have kept her safe now for over 34 years. Her necklace has seen better days, her dress is a bit tattered, and she shows her age with her cracked face, but to me she is beautiful and I am proud that she hasn't fallen apart after all these years.
She is surely not my first art/craft, but she is the oldest one still in my possession. I hope you all enjoy her as I do.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Artists & art-lovers, please join us for the first Lexington Open Studios. Sixty-five Lexington-affiliated artists & artisans who live, work, teach, or create art in Lexington will open their collective or home studios to the public on May 2nd and 3rd from 11AM-5PM.
Lexington Open Studios provides a great chance to meet the artists in their midst, glean insight into their creative processes, and negotiate non-gallery prices.
For more information please visit Lexington Open Studios.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Tomorrow night, Saturday, April 25th art and jazz come together as Artists-at-Large, Inc. presents
their 7th Annual Art Auction, 6pm-10pm at The Hyde Restaurant (formerly Dotties), 5 Fairmount Ave., Hyde Park, MA, 02136.
Music by the JP Jazz Collective will begin at 7pm as part of Boston's Jazz Week performing original arrangements of classic jazz of the 1950’s and 60’s. There will be a Silent Auction for Artists-at-Large and light refreshments will be provided. A surprise live auction item will be announced at 8pm, and all bidding ends at 9pm.
The silent auction will feature very affordable artwork from many local and international artists. Join the fun and see how Hyde Park institutions are reinventing themselves to better serve Hyde Park and surrounding neighborhoods in the coming years.
Artists-at-Large opened on April 1st, 2002 in Hyde Park and has remained active in the neighborhood recently moving into an office at 1 Westinghouse Plaza. Artists-at-Large, under the leadership of Thomas Seggers, programs concerts, classes, trips to nearby museums and cultural events, and art exhibits hosted by the Riverside Theatre Works. Artists-at-Large is committed to its mission of bringing art, in all its forms, to Hyde Park and beyond.
JazzBoston was formed to bring together people who care about the present and future of jazz in Boston, and to share the challenge and the excitement of carrying Boston’s rich jazz legacy forward. the JazzBoston mission is to support the city’s jazz community in its broadest sense by building and serving audiences for jazz music, expanding performance opportunities for jazz musicians, and raising Boston’s profile as a jazz city. Jazz Week, from April 25 to May 3, is the third annual celebration of Jazz Week features more than 200 events, many of them free or low-cost, in over 75 venues all around the Greater Boston area.
See local art and hear local music TOMORROW in Hyde Park, and support local arts organizations by bidding on a piece of art in the auction by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed to You!
Often times we can get away from ourselves and let the daily stresses of life overshadow our inner calm. Sometimes, we can just suffer from a good old creative block for reasons unknown. A good way to help and get those creative juices flowing again is through Yoga and meditation. This is a good practice for total body, mind and spiritual health. It helps you get centered, balanced and just more grounded.
It is good to find at least five minutes in the morning - in a quiet space... away from any distractions. You can either sit on the floor or lay down. Try to take 1 short and 1 long deep breath in and 1 short and 1 long breath out. Do this many times... then start to slow your breathing down until you find your baseline breath. While doing this keep your eyes closed, but look as though you were looking above a horizon line to prevent falling asleep. Think of something in calming - blowing fields of wheat grass, or the rolling surf hitting a sun soaked beach. Doing this will give you the boost you need for the day, clearing your mind and getting you ready to tackle obstacles that may arise with more of a level head.
Yoga has been a source of total body wellness (flexibility, joints, organ health, strength and detoxification) for more than 5,000 years. Having your body and mind in a relaxed state allows for the creative energy to flow. There are many resources available on the Internet and through books that can teach basic practice. If you have a local YMCA or gym, most often you can find Yoga classes there as well. Remember - healthy mind and body can yield limitless creative results!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The 22nd Annual Sheep Shearing Festival takes place this coming Saturday at Gore Place in Waltham MA. It’s an event we mark on our calendar every year and look forward to with great anticipation! Even if you're not a fiber addict like me, this is a great way to spend the day.
One of my favorite suppliers, Bartlett Yarns from Harmony Maine, vends here ever year. I’ve used his wool for the felted items you see below. You can still smell and feel the lanolin in his products (before they've been felted, that is), which I find very inspiring.
The gates open at 10am, and that’s when plan to arrive. There is so much to do, you can spend the whole day. Besides the vast amounts of wool available, there’s also a large craft area (perhaps 150 booths) featuring beautiful selections of fiber-y items, a sheep herding demonstration, spinners spinning, a May Pole dance (here’s a tip: if you want to participate, join the first group that winds the ribbon around the pole – the second group gets to unwind it – a much harder task!), a super-duper magic show (the highlight for my daughter), and I could go on and on.
Last year we finished the day on the lawn, munching our freshly made fried dough and strawberries, while children frolicked to the tunes of a blue grass band. I couldn’t help but think, “It doesn’t get better than this”. As we were leaving the gates at closing time, my daughter lamented “Why do we have to wait a whole year to go to the sheep shearing festival again?” Why wait whole year, indeed!
So, if you’re in need of a fiber fix, or looking for a fun way to spend a weekend, here are a few fiber-y events happening in the New England area between now and October, 2009. Click on the links for more information.
Annual Sheep Shearing Festival, Waltham MA, April 25th
Fiber Frolic in Windsor, ME – June 6 and 7th
First Branch Farm and Fiber Tour, Vermont – July 18th
Fingerlakes Fiber Arts Festival – NY – Sept 19 and 20th
Franklin County Fiber Twist, Western MA – Sept. 26th
Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival – Champlain Valley, VT – Oct. 3 and 4th
I was looking at Charlotte Tollsten's wonderful blog when, I spotted her post on fake Polaroids. I thought her photos were really cool and decided to try it myself. I downloaded the program she used. It is called Poladroid. The program works like a polaroid camera on your desktop and even takes a minute or two to develop the photo. Oh, and it even makes the polaroid camera noise. fun!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Functional dinnerware by Bancroft Studios, Handcrafted books by Books by Bexx,
Clothing and accessories by Elizabeth Brennick Designs, Jewelry by Nancyrosetta
Boston Handmade embraces Earth Day every day of every year.
As independent creative business people the members of Boston Handmade produce and sell art and craft locally. Each one of us operates in a small working environment, not pollution spewing factories. These efforts reduce our carbon footprints and those of our customers.
Through our choice of materials, methods, and the mindset we keep, "reduce, reuse, recycle" means more to us than a slogan on a blue box. Conserving resources is something each one of us keeps in the forefront of our minds, and harnessing the power of our own hands propels us.
THE HOLE THING'S whimsical sweater, accessory, and houseware lines are 'green' because they are made solely from recycled sweaters that have been felted in hot water, and then cut up. The circles that come from the holes that are punched into all the sweaters & scarves get recycled again onto many other products. Frequently vintage buttons are also used in the designs, and the orders are shipped in recycled packaging.
Chroma Lab believes the greenest piece of furniture is one that already exists. We restore and redesign vintage furniture with vibrant, modern color and patterns, saving the pieces from landfills and making "new" furniture without using new materials. Chroma Lab uses low-VOC, water-based paints that are high quality but less harmful to the environment. We also try to keep our furniture sales as local as possible here in Boston, saving gas and oil and supporting our local economy.
Cozy Cottage Creations: I make all of my work with wool, some of which I get from sheep raised on farms right here in New England. I love working with this all natural, sustainable fiber - it is truly magical! I make several products for children and also teach a knitting class for kids, which are some of the ways I create a natural alternative to plastic toys and useless doo-dads. My hope is that when kids play with something handmade they have less of a desire to have the latest trendy throw-away gadget, and are more at peace by being engaged with the process of creating their heart's desires with their own two hands.
Reclaimed to You: Artwork by Jessica Burko is created by stitching together original photographs with found paper and discarded materials such as wallpaper and used sewing patterns. "I use discarded materials in my work as a way to connect with others - - to the people who touched the paper, read the books, valued what then lost its worth over time. My work also performs a dual purpose as it is created by upcycling/recycling I am exemplifying the 'waste not want not' way of life."
Mimi Kirchner: My dolls are made of recycled clothing and other textiles that would otherwise be discarded. When I make a robot, I also use vintage and antique clothing hardware- often salvaged from the clothing as I take it apart.
Sea Glass Things: My business is solely based on using items that were once discarded by man, whether by his own hand or with help from mother nature. I collect all my sea glass and shipwreck pottery from the beaches of the North Shore, MA and upcycle them into jewelry, clothing, art and home decor. Through my love for our earth, I help clean the beaches transforming trash into treasures for your wardrobe and home!
All The Numbers: My upcycled dresses are made using 100% repurposed materials like my husband's old dress shirts or used shirts from thrift shops. Sometimes wives send me their husbands shirts to reclaim for their daughters dress! That's always fun.
Celebrate Earth Day by supporting these Earth friendly artists, artisans, and crafters!
I have been sewing like mad for the spring crafts fair at the Rhode Island School of Design, Saturday, May 2, in Providence, Rhode Island.
As always, the process exhausts and amazes me. The more I work, the more ideas I have. The more trashed my studio becomes the more wonderful work appears. You'd think this would be familiar after 15 years, but every time surprises and delights me.
This year I want my functional art to reflect my fine art, so I am experimenting:
Here is a purse in progress. It starts as a collage, a study in color and texture.:
When I am content with the composition, I will figure out how to adhere the pieces, so that the buyer will get a strong purse with interior and exterior pockets, and lots of pizazz.
Regardless of the weather, I always enjoy this show. So much creativity per square foot, it makes me giddy. Can't wait to pack my car and go.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This past week I finally got around to reading my growing pile of fashion magazines and checking the web for current fashion trends. I used to love lolling about reading Vogue, but now it's like reading a trade journal. I do it at my desk, I take notes and I think about how my jewelry aesthetic will fit with current styles without compromising my creativity and voice. Sometimes it's easy - the bright colors popular this spring work beautifully with my new Maya Collection that incororates a technique I've been perfecting over the past year. But other trends, like voluminous harem pants, are ridiculous, so I'll just ignore them.
All of us in the artisan community should take popular fashion with a grain of salt, though. Pay some attention to it, particularly if you make a living selling your work. But remember that our niche demographic is not a slave to fashion. These ladies appreciate innovative design and craftsmanship. They understand the significance of buying local, thinking green and buying quality as opposed to quantity. And they certainly don't want to wear the same thing as a million other women.
Even though I keep an eye on fashion, my real gauge for current trends is what I see at high end shows like CraftBoston. I'm glad to report that the overriding feel to the show this year was flowing, organic and highly tactile, as you can see in the picture. My jewelry would look fabulous with any of these gorgeous items! That tells me I'm doing something right.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
A few months ago, Nicole of Designs by Lulubelle had a fantastic idea to decorate walls using fabric and embroidery hoops. So clever! I had an area on a wall that needed some TLC so I picked up a few embroidery hoops (1.39 ea at AC Moore!), gathered some fabric scraps that I already had, and heated up the glue gun.
I like how it has started but I think I might switch out some of them for brighter colors, as well as add some more pieces. It was fun and easy to do!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I often have work on display and for sale at Custom Art Framing and Gallery 9. Coming up on Friday, April 24 is the opening reception for their "Being Green" show. This is the piece I submitted to the show (hope it makes it in!) I call it "Polka Dalmatians". I figured, in this day and age, this was a creative interpretation of the word "green"-- I simply went literal!
I hope you can come check out the show!
Friday, April 17, 2009
BH: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Chroma Lab: We’re Alicia Cornwell and Tony Bevilacqua, aka Chroma Lab. We live in Jamaica Plain and spend most of our time restoring and redesigning furniture with bright colors. Alicia is a native Texan, and Tony is a native Bostonian.
BH: What is your background?
Chroma Lab: Alicia is an art historian and Tony is a fine artist and decorative painter. Both of us went to art school. Everything you’ve heard about art school is true, but we really liked it anyway.
BH: Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Chroma Lab: We spend a lot of time thinking about eating, preparing to eat, and then actually eating. We love running with our whippet/collie dog Cassie and playing with our two tortie cats Sophie and Maddie. Other than that, Alicia likes to read biographies of British aristocrats (sometimes French), and Tony likes woodworking (a lot).
BH: What first made you want to become an artist?
Chroma Lab: Tony remembers trying to draw Garfield as well as his friend did. Now he totally can.
BH: What's your favorite color?
Chroma Lab: ALL of them! We could never be forced to pick just one. In fact, we refuse.
BH: What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Chroma Lab: Alicia’s favorite is a reproduction of a Ucello portrait from the Gardner Museum that Tony painted for her. Tony’s favorite is a bench and table that was handmade by his great grandfather.
BH: Describe your work.
Chroma Lab: We find interesting furniture that needs help in the looks department, then we restore it and paint it with bright colors and specialty finishes. We also make and paint clocks, and we’re working on a new line of lamps. We do everything by hand as opposed to robotics, which would take a lot more time to figure out, quite frankly.
BH: What do you love most about what you make?
Chroma Lab: It’s really exciting to turn something around completely and give it a new lease on life, and it’s better for the environment to reuse things and make them last longer, too. Plus we can always use furniture, so it’s fun to keep things for our own house. Sometimes it’s a little too fun to do that.
BH: What’s your most interesting fair/show experience?
Chroma Lab: We exhibited at the Interior Design Show Toronto in February. The show was great, but it took 14 hours to drive each way to and from Boston with a clunking trailer full of furniture and supplies. It sounds more glamorous than it was.
BH: Why should people buy handmade?
Chroma Lab: When you buy a handmade item, you’re supporting someone’s livelihood and creativity, and the money stays in your community. Besides, handmade things are usually amazing and unique. It’s the way things were done in the past, and we’re telling you, they were onto something.
BH: What are your favorite books, movies, music, and ways to waste time on the internet?
Chroma Lab: We both love reading Harry Potter, watching 30Rock, and listening to Talking Heads. Also, have you read Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir by Graham Roumieu? Gut-busting.
BH: Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know?
Chroma Lab: Alicia’s great great great aunt Anna Jarvis began the tradition of Mother’s Day in the US. She is also a human jukebox. Tony does not play basketball. When you meet him, you will see why this is surprising.
BH: Where do you see yourself in 5 years with your art?
Chroma Lab: Hopefully in a studio with more natural light. That's all we really ask.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Recently my friend Mike informed me he was a member of the board at The Art Connection, an organization I was unfamiliar with. I immediately went to their website and fell in love with their mission: connecting artists and donors to community service organizations through the placement of original artwork.
As an artist, my house if full of original works of art: some from galleries, some gifts, and some from trades I've made with other artists. Of course my perspective is that an original offers more than does a framed poster. An original gives depth, vibrancy, and visual interest to a space.
When people visit our home they always comment on the artwork. We generally tour rooms in terms of the artwork, because each piece has a story.
On The Art Connection's "testimonial" page is this quote which spoke to me:
"When I walk into a room I've never ever been into, I look around and see what's in it. If there's lots of art I feel wanted. If there isn't, I feel lonely."
Fifth grade student, Paige Academy
This organization has already placed nearly 4,000 works of art. Think of the difference they are making for the community! I'm delightedly filling out my application to make a donation.
Perhaps if you're a visual artist, you'll consider doing the same as I know some members of Boston Handmade already have.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
<---This is the pattern, it's from 1972
This is my first attempt at it. I made it with baby Nate in mind, but his mama thought it was too girly with the gathers at the legs. Next time I will lengthen the legs and make short-alls instead, I guess, though I really do love the way it came out. What do you think?
Monday, April 13, 2009
As a child I used to read Price Valiant in every Sunday newspaper. Harold Foster's creation was beautifully drawn, with incredible detail, and really stood out from the other comic strips.
In my pocket sketchbook recently, I found myself remembering Val, and his incredible hair:
... and, trying out some new color pencils, here is another one I made as well:
It was a nice exercise, to visit an influence from my childhood and work with it. There are many comics these days that take a lot of shot cuts with the art, but Hal Foster never did, and I will always respect his epic body of comic work.
It is the season of pastels in the emerging garden. Hurray for color after the long winter! I present you with a bouquet of pastels from Boston Handmade!
Bumble Belly Designs
Lucie Wicker Photography
Sea Glass Things
The Hole Thing