Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Bloggin' Blues

By Marla Kunselman of Sea Glass Things

Lately - I have had a hard time blogging... not sure if it is a rut or the fact that summer is here and I don't really want to spend time on the computer anymore - but I haven't been consistent. I love consistency. My method probably is what most people use... I sit in front of the computer and stare at it until I get an idea. That works maybe 65% of the time for me. The other 35% of the time I actually attempt to come up with something ahead of time. I always was a procrastinator in school... so what makes this any different!

During the time I am not forced into a battle of the wits with my writers block - I am blogging about new work, trips, artist interviews and other tidbits pertaining to my work.

When I asked some others to share about things they do to keep blogging here is what they added:

"I just think about what I've done, seen, or read about creativity in the past few days and think if any of that can be written about for a blog post. For example, maybe I read about an artist who is doing something interesting and then I can blog about them, or I started a new project and I can blog about my progress, or I went to a show that was inspiring. The great thing about blogging is that it can be about anything at all!" Jessica Burko - Reclaimed To You

"I generally look for other artists to highlight. I'll either showcase their work or send them some interview questions. then it writes itself!" Lucie Wicker -
Lucie Wicker Photography

So... start thinking about different things you do on a daily basis to keep writing... blogging... and forging ahead into this literal cyberspace we all seem to be so entrenched in! Oh - and remember to have fun with it!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Here's to the Teachers

by Amy of Bumble Belly Designs

Every year at this time, as the school year ends, I reflect back on how important my children's teachers are in their lives and consequentially mine. Throughout the year, it is their task to instruct, but more importantly, to fire up that love of learning and nurture their instinct for discovery. My son's teacher sent this wonderful note home on his last day-

"Dear Parents, I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall. I give him back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than he was then. Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development. I give him back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other.

Ten years from now, if we met on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today. We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him back I must.

Take care of him, for he is precious. Remember that I shall always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes. His joys and sorrows I'll be happy to share. I shall always be his friend. - Author Unknown"

I want to send my best wishes to all the teachers out there that take our children under their wing and send them back to us a little bigger, more responsible and secure in the knowledge that they are loved.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Puzzles Handmade

by Colleen of Tactile Baby

I've been mulling around this idea in my head for a long time; photo puzzles.

My son loved the photo book we received as a baby gift (it seems to be a universal truth that babies are mesmerized by photos of faces).

Now that he's 2 he's more into games and doesn't pick up the book much anymore, but he still loves to look at photos - especially ones of himself!

After noticing a 5X7 plywood plaque at a local craft store I decided to start experimenting.

There were a few challenges on my way to the final product, primarily, sealing and affixing.

Here's my first try with the 1/4" thick plywood plaque. I quickly decided against using the store-bought backing, for a few reasons: the edges are rough, the plaques are not uniformly level (a big problem for puzzle-making) and somewhat flimsy.

I decided to cut my own plaques from 3/4" poplar wood - it alleviated all of the issues I had with the ply-wood; it was stronger and more durable and I could ensure it was level – I also increased the round-over for a more finished look, plus the larger, thicker pieces were easier for little hands to maneuver.

I also experimented with glues (needed to be extremely strong and non toxic), and sealers (should I use matte or semi-gloss, or gloss? how many coats?).

After I perfected those steps it was time to cut - should I do freehand or standard cuts? 4,6 or 8 pieces?

I decided on 6 pieces standard cuts. This way the consumer knows exactly what they are getting.

Here's the finished product!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dad's Collections

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

My father is not only an artist, but a collector of art and other fun things. It's always so much fun to visit his house in Utah. Here are a few photos I took while visiting with him last month.
He is an avid mask collector.

Tin motorcycles.
And tin cans.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Art Connection

By Kathy Weller of Wellerwishes

by Marjorie Kaye, this original work of art has been gifted
by the artist to the
Sherrill House Inc, Jamaica Plain, MA.

My sister Nancy of NancyRosetta Jewelry and I have been spending time looking at sub-acute short term rehab facilities for my mom, who recently suffered a stroke. One particular place had some unique features that other places did not have, such as art on the walls. I'm not talking about your typical overly soft, flourescent-light-bleached garden-scene prints. I'm talking about real original artwork. Original paintings. Beautiful, textured, inspiring, intricate, well-thought-out, fun-to-look-at-for-more-than-two-seconds artwork. (Fun to look at for ten-minutes-straight artwork!) We were blown away. This was an incredible thing! And, brilliant, too... what better place to house one of a kind, vibrant artwork on the walls than a place dedicated to rehabilitating people?

The organization that is responsible for this amazing program is called The Art Connection. They match and place original, donated-from-the-artist works of art into the hands of non-profit agencies. These range from homeless shelters to nursing facilities to temporary homes to offices serving community interests. It's a great way for an artists' work to be publicly enjoyed and appreciated, and it's an amazing opportunity to inspire creativity and positivity in places where people could really use the lift!

If I hadn't personally experienced first-hand the power of experiencing quality original works of art on the walls in front of me in the setting of the rehabilitation facility, I may never have really deeply understood the importance of this organization and connected to it in this way. But I did, and I do. I plan on donating to The Art Connection, and I hope others will consider donating, as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Organizing and inspiring your artistic life

By Katy of muchacha K handmade

There’s this really pervasive stereotype that creative people are not organized. In some ways, that may seem to be true, but at the same time, we manage to pull off some amazing completed artistic feats. Certainly, our work requires some kind of organized thinking…how do we channel that organized thinking and apply its magic to our workspace and work process?

One of the tricks with organizing is that different tricks work for different people. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about organizing myself and the first thing I did was look at what areas of my life were really organized, and which ones weren’t. My day job life, for example, is super organized because it needs to be. I work as a paralegal and the very definition of my job is to be meticulous and organized. Why was this not translating to my creative work space? Rather than even wasting time answering that question, I decided simply to look at what worked for me in that role, and translate it to my studio space. Here’s what I figured out:

1) Don’t feel self-conscious about using the system that works for you. If it keeps you organized, then it’s the right method. For me, it means that I need to have a giant (GIANT) sheet of paper on the wall that I write each order and its details on. I can see that sheet from every point in the room so if I forget what I’m doing, all I have to do is glance. A cool variation that a former BHer shared was having a “chalkboard” wall. Wicked. I use similar visual cues when I’m at the office so this was an easy thing to translate into my creative setting.

2) Clean your work space every day. Pretend that you have to share that space with other people. At the law office I share duties with another paralegal. Even when I was the only paralegal though, I still cleaned my space every day. It lets you clear the slate for the next day’s creations, and that clean space can be motivational. I leave a small, to-do pile so that when I come back, I know just where I left off.

3) At the office, we organize the office by alphabet but that didn’t translate to sewing. But I organize my fabrics by color. That way, my bridal customers can find “their color” with ease, and so can I. There may be many ways to organize your supplies but what makes life for you AND your customers easiest?

4) How do you keep track of your coolest ideas? Corkboards work well for me. They give me an obvious, visual reminder. A place to keep things for later. A place to put those great ideas so I can let go of them and come back to them later. A place to put those inspiring tidbits so they keep inspiring me. A place to put all my notes to self so that they don’t take over my work/creative space.

5) I also put thank you notes from customers in an obvious place so I can enjoy them. Sometimes even creative work is lonely, and it helps me stay motivated when I’m feeling appreciated!

6) I got a filing cabinet. I have all kinds of paperwork for my creative business that didn’t yet have a home. It seems logical of course now, but for so long it was so easy to avoid. Now that all the paper is finding a home, my mind and my creative space seem so much clearer and more ready for creating.

These methods have really helped me keep my creative space more functional, and more fun. When my space feels productive, I feel good about my creative work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quilts for Poppy and Olive

By Kiki from All the Numbers

I just love custom orders. They are often a chance for me to grow creatively, if the customer requests something I haven't thought of, or suggests a variation that turns out better than the original. I had the best experience recently with a woman that bought quilts for her soon-to-be-born twin girls. She had names all picked out, Poppy and Olive. She fell in love with my Poppy Quilt, but wanted a quilt for Olive as well. This is what I came up with.

This is for Poppy.

This is for Olive.

And this is the back of both of them. So what do you think?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mosaic Monday- Party!

by Mimi Kirchner

It's Party Time! June is a great time of year for partying- graduations, weddings, school's out, birthdays, what ever wonderful thing is going on in your life. Celebrate with Boston Handmade!

Lucie Wicker Photography
Kerry Hawkins Photography
Bumble Belly Designs
Majenta Designs
83 West
Stonehouse Studio
Mimi Kirchner
The Hole Thing
Elizabeth Brennick Designs

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Enjoy the day Fathers!
From your friends at Boston Handmade.

The encaustic art above is by Bumble Belly Designs

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The 3/50 Project

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

I discovered the 3/50 Project on the blog for Acquire, a home decor boutique in my neighborhood, the North End. It struck a cord with me because while as an artist I sell the majority of my work online and in local craft shows, as a consumer I flock to the little boutiques that have been popping up all over my neighborhood, making it a significantly cooler/more fun place to live. Of course I'd like to see them stick around which made this project all the more intriguing. Here's the basic idea:

Friday, June 19, 2009

New England Day Trip: Concord (NH) Arts Market

by Katy of muchacha K handmade

Concord Arts Market is NH's first outdoor, juried, weekly arts market and it also happens to be my pet project. I wanted to give Concord, NH a really cool, arts-centered destination event, and so the Arts Market was born.

We're located at 33 Capitol St. in downtown Concord, NH, just a block from our Farmers' Market and two blocks from our beautifully preserved Main St.
Great spot for a stop on your way North, or just a fun, relaxing day trip. These pics are from the first couple of weeks of our Summer Season which runs weekly until July 25th (except July 4th).
In addition to great artisans and fine artists, we also host acoustic music, and other interesting performers as well, including aerialist Sara Greene (pictured) of Ciel Rouge Moving Company.
You pretty much never know what you'll find each week...glass, paintings, yarn, pottery, t's, jewelry, handbags, woodwork and more all rotate through. Lots to discover!

(The stylish lady in the black sunglasses is Becky of Becky Oh! Handbags. The one in white glasses is me, muchacha K)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dogs of South End Open Market

by Kerry from Khawkinsphotography

The South End Open Market is a fun place for people to bring their children and of course, their dogs. There were many dogs visiting the market on Sunday. Some big, some small, some fuzzy, some not so much.

I decided to take some shots of the visiting dogs. I think their owners got a kick out of it and enjoyed having their pets photographed. Some of these dogs were so adorable, I wanted to take them home with me. I am not sure my kitties would like it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DSN 2009, Part III - Celebration!

by Liz Stewart of Lush Beads

(Part I and Part II of this series.)

It is finished!
The opening party has arrived, and it is time to celebrate all that is Dirty Smelly Noisy!

My piece is finished and hung in the exhibit, and I am very excited. My piece ended up hung to the left of to some fun and funny reflector jewelry done by jeweler Heather Wang and a lovely fused glass piece using wine bottles done by Tina Silverio (Studio 503).

I completed my piece using copper bead cones, and fashioned a handmade clasp with 18 gauge black wire. I'm pleased with the result!

Other great work included this piece from resident lampworker Peter Zimmerman. Glass flies and frogs on faux flypaper, genius!

There were also photo bricks done by Jack Holmes.

The exhibit is on display at the Western Avenue Studios until the end of June.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Small Works Show

The Small Works Show is a fundraiser held annually to benefit the amazing Jamaica Plain Open Studios. How does it work? Local artists donate "small works" which means they must be 5x7" or smaller. Each one is $50 with proceeds going straight to JPOS. This year BH's very own Jessica Burko is one of the donating artists.

Photo courtesy of the JPOS flickr page

This year the event is being held at the infamous Doyle's Cafe at 3484 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain from 6-9pm on June 23. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door and light refreshments will be served. Please come out to see wonderful art and support a worthy cause!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Neighborhood Marketing

By Betsy of Stonehouse Studio

Sometimes the best marketing is done right in your neighborhood! A great way to showcase your work is by organizing a trunk show at a local retail establishment. Scope out the gift shops in town. And don't forget restaurants, cafes and even flower shops! Many would welcome the increased foot traffic a trunk show brings. Approach them with your idea. If you have additional artisans lined up, even better. Expect to pay a fee - either a percentage of your sales or a flat fee. But sometimes even this is negotiable and may even be free!
I recently organized a trunk show at our neighborhood vintage and gift shop, the Joy of Old. The shop is charming - dating back to 1805, it has a ton of character and is just a block from Boston's Freedom Trail. The owner was super cool - she agreed to host a trunk show in exchange for cleaning up and organizing her badly cluttered back room. What a deal! I lined up Nancy Wovers of French Merchants, who sells soaps and linens from France made in traditional ways, and fellow artist and neighbor, Sophie Lowery. We spent a couple of hours setting up, and the back room of the Joy of Old never looked better.

We sent a press release about the event to the local Charlestown newspaper and to various community groups and associations, e-mailed our own clients and distributed posters around town. All in all, we had a pretty good turnout, made some sales, and the shop owner was thrilled with all the additional foot traffic, many who had never been to the shop before!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Artists That Leave

by Jaye of Thirteenth Story

I've lived in Boston my entire life, but as I write this entry, I am some 30,000 miles over Georgia on my way to Florida. The plane's cargo area holds my three 60-pound suitcases, full of shorts, tee-shirts, and a tremendous amount of art supplies. I am both terrified and thrilled. This is new. I have never seen a palm tree. I have never seen ocean water that is not dark blue. And I have never been to art school.

This is the first time in my life that I will be able to focus on nothing but art for 24 hours a day; but I am not the first artist to be able to do this. My girlfriend, a professional singer, has made this trip twice before. Anyone going to tour the museums, countryside, and cities far away for the sole purpose of being creatively inspired, has made this trip before. Anyone with a performance or exhibition far from home has made this trip before.

Part of the art-making process includes finding ourselves ready for the next level. It shows in the amount of work and the quality of work we are producing. We can just feel the rut, we can see the weaknesses, we can be pulled to grow now, because that growth is the only thing that will allow us to continue to breathe.

So we pack up our things, kiss our loved ones goodbye, and take off for grand adventure. We follow the poets, the musicians, and the painters before us to the land of something new.

For me, this comes in the form of studio art education. I was accepted into Illustration Academy, and will be spending the next two months learning new techniques and industry methods to be a professional illustrator. Expect to see some new things from me in the autumn, for I expect to making lots of new things from here on out.

My online shops are closed until August, but rest assured, even though I am now among the artists who leave to better their craft, I will be back.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Linen and Lace

I have armloads of beautiful linen and lace now. I dyed oodles last week, mixing turquoise, blue, two yellows and black.

This wheel of lace is hand-tatted and measures about 24 inches across. It is a stunner.

These two placemats are the first of eight. They are hand-appliqued cotton voile. Amazing work.

I also began, at last, to dye the mounds of linen napkins I've collected.

You can choose your favorite when Boston Handmade comes to the South End Open Market Sunday June 14.

One Lovely Blog Award

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed to You

Thanks to Karalee of Karalee Designs and blah. blah. ramblings from a design studio for giving the Boston Handmade blog the “One Lovely Blog Award.”

Now's get the chance to give the award to other blogs!
On behalf of Boston Handmade I give the “One Lovely Blog Award" to the following 10 blogs:
1.Amy Olson Jewelry
2. Paper Menagerie
3. Yummy Goods
4. All Things Girls Can Tell
5. Dame
6. Little Wishes
7. Rebecca Danger
8. The Obsessive Imagist
9. Zanti Miss Knit
10. Made In Lowell

What these award recipients need to now do is:

* Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of who granted the award with a blog link.
* Pass the award to 10 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

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