Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Gallery Salon

By Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs

I love spending a little of my time each day on Craigslist searching the artist and free section. I came across an ad to sell your handmade items in a Eco-friendly salon in Providence, RI. I've been making some new hair accessories and thought it would be a perfect fit.

I met with the owners Billy and Yvonne of the "Gallery Salon" and they were really nice and the salon was amazing. They gave me a perfect spot on a fireplace mantel to set up shop. I've had them in the salon for about two months and they have done really well. The hairdressers have even sold them right off their heads. Who would of known to sell your handmade items in a salon instead of a store.

The "Gallery Salon" is located at 91 Hope Street Providence, RI 02906. They're a natural Eco-friendly salon with friendly stylist in a cozy comfortable atmosphere.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sepia Desert City

Post by Kerry Hawkins Photography

We were in Albuquerque for my friend's wedding. As a favor and a wedding present I photographed their wedding. We also, got to tool around the city a bit. I also, took a few walks, and photographed the neighborhood near the hotel and city center. I think Sepia tone of these gives you desert like feel to the photos city.

Friday, May 29, 2009

May Flowers

by Lynne of cozycottagecreations

As spring has settled in and the warmer air is staying with us, I have been turning my creative attention towards that gift of April and May: flowers. Every year when they start poking their heads out of the ground, a sense of excitement and relief washes over me. I’m sure most people feel the same after the long winter!

Unfortunately, I must confess here – I do not have a green thumb. It’s about as far away from green as a thumb can get. I can keep a cat, a fish, children and a husband alive, but sadly not a plant. I’ve always thought it odd that I’m so horticulturally challenged because I come from a long line of gardeners. My grandmother was President of the Leominster Garden Club (and even President of the Past Presidents Club) – what would she think of my brown and empty lawn! That’s perhaps why I find it so satisfying to make these felted flowers. I could make nothing but these all year and be completely happy.

Of course, spring doesn't last long here in New England - but these flowers do!

I haven’t given up all hope for myself in the area of gardening, however. I’m planning to get out this weekend and do some weeding!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quilter's Connection Quilt Show

by Linda of Linda B. Dunn
To The Sea by Linda Dunn

The Quilters' Connection 32nd annual quilt show will be held Friday through Sunday May 2931, 2009 at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA.

Jigsaw by Cathy Granese

The exhibition displays over 200 quilts all by local artists and many of which are for sale. The quilts range from classic to cutting edge. Upstairs, the Boutique offers items made by guild members.

You can take a guided tour and watch demonstrations of quilting techniques. Talk to local artists about their work, or bring qu estions about yours.

A fabulous raffle quilt designed and made by guild members will be on display, and raffle tickets will be on sale for $1 each for the Sunday drawing. For more info e-mail:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We are all flowers, we just bloom at different times

By Chris of Christine Marie Art

Many times as artists we are asked to participate in student events...curating an exhibit, giving a workshop, making space for an internship. But for the first time, I have been asked to participate in a SENIOR event. In June, a local senior living facility is having an arts festival and I have been asked to exhibit alongside the residents.

As I chatted with the activities director, she explained the challenges that seniors face as they create. From diminishing eyesight to more serious physical disabilities, these seniors continue to push themselves and express themselves through art. I am honored to have been asked to participate in their festival.

In response to what I have learned about them, I am working on a new series, in which I have photographed roses which are past their prime, but in whom beauty can still be found -- unique textures, hidden bursts of color, a joy and a reflectiveness -- all of which remind me of these seniors.

Stay tuned...I will post again during or shortly after the exhibit so you can see their fantastic work.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Faces of Boston Handmade

Have you ever wondered about the faces behind the group Boston Handmade? Wonder no more! This collage features each member of our group.

From the top left, members include:
Kathy of Weller Wishes
Amy of Bumble Belly Designs
Jaye of Thirteenth Story
Betsy of Stonehouse Studio
Bexx of Books by Bexx
Jen of Blue Alvarez
Brooke of Bancroft Studios
Chris of Christine Marie Art
Allison of Fraske Designs
Colleen of Tactile Baby
Crystal of Vintage by Crystal
Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Jen of Majenta Designs
Jessica of Reclaimed to You
Alicia & Tony of Chroma Lab
Katy of Muchacha K
Marla of Sea Glass Things
Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography
Kiki of All the Numbers
Linda B. Dunn
Nicole of 83 West
Louise of The Hole Thing
Kirsten Bassion
Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations
Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photography
Mimi Kirchner
Nancy Rosetta
Liz of Lush Beads

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Study in Texture


Last month I visited Napa Valley for the first time. Well known for it's wine industry, it has risen in the last fifty years to the first rank of wine regions along with France, Italy, and Spain. Just as impressive though is the sheer beauty of the Napa area. We stayed in Calistoga where breathtaking views abound at every turn. The picturesque rolling hills, planted with colorful vineyard after vineyard, created unbelievably gorgeous textures. I could not put my camera down.

Heaven on earth.

Artichokes that I photographed at a local market.

We stayed Indian Springs and they had a gratitude tree. This was my contribution.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Meet Ceramics Artist Meredith Host

By Kirsten of Kirsten Bassion Ceramics

Where attraction and repulsion collide
A thin dark hair emerges into your sight from underneath the green beans. You notice a spot of residue on the dinner plate and a stain on the rim of a cup. A gut reaction of repulsion sets in. You start looking closer. The white on white dinnerware patterns of stripes and polka dots can subtly shift to barcodes and sink drains. Are you just being paranoid or is that a dirty fingerprint? What is really clean?

The dinner ritual is largely based on repetition. Small deviations from the norm can put a kink in the dining experience and heighten anxieties. Apprehension about cleanliness plays an enormous role in our culture's common anxieties.

Meredith has a healthy sense of humor and fantastic ceramics skills. Combine those two strengths and her love of horror movies and candy and you get work that draws you in just to make you question your own sanity.
I have highlighted Meredith today not only because she is fantastic but because we can all learn something from her success on ETSY. She seems to have found her production niche while also creating one of a kind gallery work for the rest of the ceramics community.

See and learn more about Meredith's work at her website see her successful ETSY shop at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Boston Handmade Represented at SOWA Opening Weekend

by Marla Kunselman of Sea Glass Things

The Spring show season has been going strong and as we head into summer... venues are booking and artists are in inventory production mode. This past weekend (May 16th and 17th) was Opening Weekend at the South End Open Market and even the fickle New England weather didn't stop people from coming out to shop!

Some vendors reported their best sales ever... while others barely made back their booth fee... however, despite the tough economic times and cold, windy wet Spring weekend spirits were high and the fun has begun.

Boston Handmade was well represented at SOWA this weekend and will be until the end of October. Boston Handmade will also have a unified presence at the June 14th show! The following BH members participated in Opening Weekend:

Chroma Lab

Elizabeth Brennick Designs

With the addition of the Antiques Market in the old brick building - the show was a major success bringing in hordes of people. Be sure to check out SOWA on Sundays this season as Boston Handmade will be represented!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You

Last weekend I went with my Husband and a few ladies from my Sunday knitting group to the annual New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival - and wow did I learn a lot! The photo above shows giant bushels of yarn above enormous bags of roving which is one stage of wool between the sheep and the knitting needles. Roving looks and feels kind of like thick cotton candy and people use it to spin their own yarn, which I saw a lot of at this sprawling festival.
The festival had a variety of displays and vendors that celebrated the sheep and wool industry such as live animals that were for show or for purchase, and wool at its many stages. We saw a sheep being sheered, a lama limbo contest, silk worms, angora rabbits, the displays were endless!

This second photo shows another way that wool was being sold at the festival, in it's raw form. People who purchase this wool need to card it to prepare the fiber for spinning, it's the stage before roving.

We also got to meet some live alpacas which was very exciting since I've never seen one in person. They were so soft, and friendly, and their giant eyes were mesmerizing. I purchased some alpaca yarn like in the photo below and have already made a little hat with it.

If you've never been to a sheep and wool festival I highly recommend checking one out. They happen all over the country and at different times during the year. It's fun for everyone!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wedding Bands

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

Anne Marie and Rob are going to be married on May 23rd. They commissioned me to make their wedding bands (an honor that I will not soon forget) and I decided to take some pictures of the process.

I started out with half round wire for the rings, 6ga for Robs, and 10ga for Anne Marie's. I cut a length that gives me a little play room in case I mess up with the stamping...which did happen on Anne Marie's (10ga is tiny to stamp on, especially wobbly half round wire).
For stamping and general manipulation of the metal, it needed to be annealed first. This process makes the silver molecules loose so that they will take a stamping much easier than if this step is skipped. I actually had to anneal these rings many more times throughout the process.
I stamped on a hockey puck (from my nephews bar mitzvah...don't tell him!) so I didn't mar the outside of the wire too much. The wire gets a little funky when you stamp it. This looks awful, but no worries, it all works out in the end.
After I got the insides of the rings stamped with the inscriptions, I use my ring mandrel to eyeball the length of wire I need for the size of ring I want, and saw it away. Then I formed the bands around the mandrel to get them sort of roundish so that I can solder them closed.
I shape the bands as much as I can turning the cut ends in to form somewhat of a straight edge to get ready to solder. The 10ga was easy, but the 6ga definitely needed some more annealing. I couldn't even move it anymore from the position it is in the photo above, even with leverage! So annealing I go again...
After the soldering, there are some solder spots/pools left on the metal, I have to file that off, inside and out. I also filed into the edges on the inside, making the rings very smooth, and comfortable for always and forever wear.
Here is my fancy ring mandrel, isn't she pretty? I use a rawhide hammer to make the ring a circle and then to size the ring, hammering the ring down, turning the mandrel all the time until it is at the correct size I desire.
Now it's time to sand, sand, sand...and then polish. My mandrel has sizing grooves that leave little marks on the inside of the rings, not to mention all the other accidental tool marks from the forming. I start with #80 sanding paper, and work my way down to #30 finishing paper. In sandpaper terms, that might be 320 grit to 600 grit.
It's a lot of work sanding the inside and outside by hand, but the results are wonderful. When the finish is desired, it's time to polish. I am using tripoli to polish these rings to a mirror shine, inside and out.

Here they are finished. These were really fun to make, I hope to be asked again!

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