Monday, August 31, 2009

Join Boston Handmade at our SECOND FINAL 1st Thursdays of 2009!

by Jen Paulousky of Blue Alvarez Designs

Bet you had to read that subject line twice, right?

Turns out the good people at JP Centre/South have added a fourth date to the 1st Thursdays roster, and Boston Handmade has been invited to join them in saying goodbye to summer. Or hello to fall, as I prefer to think of it!

So Thursday, September 3rd from 6-8 pm will be the real last 1st Thursdays for the 2009 season! Come visit Boston Handmade on the Loring-Greenough House lawn, along with many other local crafters, plus music and refreshments!

The Loring-Greenough House is located directly next door to Curtis Hall where we were located previously in June, July, and August. And to make sure nothing stands between you and our handmade goodness, here's a map!

Every shop, gallery, and restaurant along Centre and South streets in Jamaica Plain stays open late too and hosts special exhibits and musicians. So there's something for everyone!

Hope to see you there!

Mosaic Monday- Green

by Mimi Kirchner

It has been a rainy summer here in Boston. Look around! Everything is lush and green!
Cristina Hurley
Kerry Hawkins Photography
Stonehouse Studio
83 West
Fraske Designs
Elizabeth Brennick Designs
Lucie Wicker Photography
White Sparrow Bindery
Chroma Lab
Sea Glass Things
Reclaimed To You
Lush Beads
Bumble Belly Designs
Christine Marie Art
Linda B. Dunn
Mimi Kirchner

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inspiration... Where Do You Get Yours?

by Marla of Sea Glass Things

Art... no matter what medium... is created through individual inspiration. Sometimes we capture it through looking inward... while other times... it comes from outside influences.

Where do we get our inspiration from? Does it come through the wisdom of those before us... or from hands that show years of hard work? Does it come from the innocent face of a child.... or through the playfulness of a new puppy? Do we see it in nature that has been untouched by man... or in landscapes well traveled? Do we harness it from places we have yet to go... or from beliefs that we hold close? Are we inspired by accomplishments once thought impossible to attain... from love that shows no limits... and glasses that are always half full... or from peace in the solitude we seek?

Where ever the inspiration comes from - we own it - we make it ours... and mold it into something new... something for someone else to love... to be inspired by.

In each inspiration there is a story to tell... what is yours?

~ All photos used were captured by the talent that resides on Flickr - thank you! ~

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fiber Revival 2009

by Jen Paulousky of Blue Alvarez Designs

Two weekends ago I was fortunate enough to hitch a ride with TheatreKnitter on Saturday, 8/15, up to Fiber Revival.

This event was held at the beautiful Spencer Pierce Little Farm in Newbury, MA, organized and underwritten by the fabulous Twist Collective.

It was an idyllic day of knitting and, in my case and the case of many others, spinning, in a pastoral setting complete with a fiddle-cello-light drum band under a tree. Total bliss.

As I went with one of the members of the South End Knitters group (and I am a sort of honorary member), we met them there and copped a squat on Beth's blanket under a beautiful tree.

Beth's lovely niece again:

And a very cool swatch for a shawl Beth is working on:

Obviously, some shopping - both window and actual - was done. Beth's niece was game for trying on a linen skirt sample at the Yarns In The Farms booth, which was adorable on her:

We tried to convince her to get the pattern, but to no avail. What, you don't need a see-through skirt? Perhaps I am the only one who thinks transparent clothing is completely acceptable. Moving on . . .

We were fortunate enough to meet the brilliant woman (whose name I totally forget now - Emily?) who is responsible for We Have Thumbs, a great new podcast that covers crafts and tech of all kinds - if you can make it, she'll chat you up about it! Definitely fiber heavy, absolutely worth adding to your regular iPod rotation.

CassieR bought a beautiful pattern for a Noro-sleeved raglan, seen here being held up by TheatreKnitter:

And some additional shots of the lovely Yarns In The Farms booth, including a wild, felted fair isle skirt the owner was wearing:

And although I failed to take a picture of him, Guido Stein was there as well, networking his ass off and stopping to show up some very cool super secret stuff.

A brilliant day in a beautiful place with wonderful people. For me, that's what fiber arts are all about!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Handmade Portrait: Mimi Kirchner

by Mimi Kirchner

Last March I was contacted by Etsy and asked if I'd be interested in being filmed for their Handmade Portrait series. Well, uh, YES! Tara Young came up to Arlington and spent one and a half days filming... and that works out to a 5 minute video! It was so interesting to see all that went into collecting what she needed. Now that I see the finished product, I am in awe of the amazing artistry that is editing.

I am doing a giveaway to help promote the film. If you'd like to enter, all the details are here (at the bottom of the article).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tailoring your Product Offerings at Shows

by Liz Stewart of Lush Beads

I recently participated in a focus group where the coordinator was interested in hearing how we targeted our marketing to attendees at a particular festival. It got me thinking about how I tailor my marketing based on the place or event where I am vending.

When I am deciding what to bring to a show, I consider several factors:

Location of the show: A beach or oceanside location means I bring more ocean-themed work. In my hometown of Lowell, MA, I always try to have some granite pieces with me, since granite plays a large part in the history of the city.

Time of year: If it is summertime, I am certain to take my anklet collection. In the winter, I bring my snowflakes. Near Halloween, I pack my spider collection.

Demographics of the attendees: In a more economically depressed area, I would be sure to bring items with lower price points. If the market attracts a traditional buyer, I pack my classically-themed work. For a more eclectic crowd, I bring my more experimental pieces.

There are a few things I always bring with me, no matter what:

Some of my quirky, signature items. They draw customer interest and lead to interesting conversations with people. Plus, if someone follows me online via Etsy, Twitter, or Facebook, they can easily spot my tent by looking for my signature items.

At least one high-end item. This way, customers can see the level of work to which I am capable.
"Loss leaders". These are less expensive items that have a low profit margin for me, and give folks something they can afford as an impulse buy.

It takes more thought to consider what to bring to a show using this method, but I find that doing it makes me more successful in my sales.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Sales

By: Jennifer Tang of MaJenta Designs

The summer months are great because of the warmer weather, no school, etc. but it is also known in the retail world to be some of the slowest months of the year in terms of sales... however what I've noticed is that some shops will offer great discounts and promotions in order to help stir up the lazy hazy days of summer and try to generate more sales, which definitely drew me in to take advantage of some of these great offers!

Here are some of my latest finds! I cant wait for them to arrive in the mail soon! :)

One way to offer a sale is to "Discount" your items. . . For those who've visited Boston's Quincy Market, you're likely to find one of those outdoor vendors selling these cool pieces of fabric that can be worn in a bunch of different ways! I've been wanting one for a long time, and then I found this fun dress by MyBaju that can be worn in 4 different ways! These were originally $50, but now are $38!

Another way to have a sale is to have a "Clearance" section in your shop. . . I've been looking for a handy simple bag to store all my knickknacks that I always need to transfer from purse to purse. This little pouch by OregonMaid seems like the perfect item to hold my mints, pens, keys, eye drops, pocket mirror, purse hook, etc. as I switch from using last night's evening purse to my work purse the next morning!

Another great promotion I like to offer is to have "Free Shipping" for your items! I'd love to offer a special deal just for Boston Handmade blog followers! After shopping at MaJenta Designs, during Checkout, simply type "Boston Handmade Free shipping" in the "message to seller", then complete your payment as normal. Afterwards, I will contact you directly to refund the shipping charges. Offer is good through Labor Day (September 7, 2009)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Concord, New Hampshire's Arts Market

by Louise of THE HOLE THING

Recently I made a trip to Concord,NH for the Concord Arts Market. Already in it's 2nd season, it was well attended by what I thought was a terrific selection of artists and artisans, all within a short hop and a skip from a wonderful farmer's market as well. There was also great live music, people watching, and even a trapeze artist!

Be sure to also stop into Madeleine's on North Main Street for an absolutely delicious dessert when you are there. With just an hour's drive from Boston, the Concord Arts Market is an easy day trip. The fall season opens September 12th and continues each Saturday all the way to Halloween.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This is Me

by Cristina of Cristina Hurley Jewelry

Hi this is me
Cristina Hurley

37 years old
married(somewhat happily) :)
Have 1 beautiful daughter.
I live in Canton, MA
For almost 7 years now.

This is my home studio.
It is all of the following:
not too clean
in my living room
loud at times.

It is also the following:
in my living room
jammy jewelry making at all hours.

Lots of good stuff

has come out of this cramped little space.

BH:How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?

cphurley: I have been making jewelry since I was 18 years old, so about 19 years now. WOW!

BH:What first made you want to become an artist?

cphurley: This is the honest truth and not very sexy or profound, but an ex-boyfriend suggested I try art classes when I was slacking and getting into trouble too much after high school.

BH:Who is your mentor if you have one?

cphurley: My mentor for a long time was Jeannette Fossas, an amazing jewelry designer from Puerto Rico, where I grew up. She taught me my first jewelry class, and made me her apprentice after liking my work. That was an amazing time for me, waking up to what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

BH: Please describe your creative process (how, when, materials, etc).

cphurley: I fabricate on the most part, out of sterling sheet and wire. I have started to make masters for some cast pieces as well. But those begin as fabrications too. I also use a lot of semiprecious stones and beads as accents, but the emphasis is always on the metal.

As you can see in the piece above, the Pyramid shape is fabricated, building up with wire one by one, then the pyramid shaped stone is set onto the top.

BH:What inspires you?

cphurley: Ancient Civilizations and their architecture. Egypt is the most obvious, but I found out over the years that there are pyramids all over the world in many different cultures. I'm also inspired by spiritual architecture, like cathedrals and Stonehenge, for example.

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

cphurley:I guess the one thing people always seem surprised about with me is that I'm Puertorican, I was born there and raised there most of my life. I have no accent because my mother is American, and I watched tons of cable while living there, so my English is really good. Great thing is, so is my Spanish! I'm 100% fluent.

The other thing that always surprises people about me is that my entire immediate family is musicians; my mom is an opera singer, my dad is an orchestra conductor, and my sister is a violinist. People are always surprised that I don't play an instrument. I know HOW to play lots of instruments, just not well.

BH:Where do you see yourself in 5 years with your art ?

My pipe dream(well, not really, it's gonna happen eventually)-is a store, a retail space selling my art and art by people I love and believe in. That would be the ultimate for me. Cherry on the cake would be if it were walking distance from my house(also working on this).

BH:In ten years I'd like to be...

cphurley: As Wesley said in The Princess Bride, in regards to the Real Dread Pirate Roberts: "Living like a King in Patagonia!" :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Exploring the Roots of Our Craft: Travels in Bookbinding

By Bexx of White Sparrow Bindery

This past spring, the students in the full time bookbinding program at the North Bennet Street School embarked on a journey to the United Kingdom to explore the roots of their craft. The current instruction is heavily rooted in the English binding tradition, and many of our suppliers are located in the UK, so our week was action packed – we had six days of planned events the included twelve visits to various conservation labs, bookbinders, suppliers, and libraries.
We raised money for the trip by selling handmade books in the North Bennet Street School Gallery, Mass Market, and The Boston Antiquarian Book fair. We also held regular bake sales, sponsored a waffle party, and held a raffle at the annual open house. Our efforts raised enough money to fund airfare for all 10 students that attended, a key element in making the trip possible.

Although we had support from the school, the trip was entirely student run. I led the planning efforts for the expedition, which included scheduling visits and coordinating traveling plans once in the UK. I had assistance from classmate Amelia Sorenson (’10), and our instructor Jeff Altepeter.

Here’s a quick look at the itinerary we followed during our trip:

British Library, Special Collections Department
Quick visit to the public exhibit at the British Library Centre for Conservation
Wellcome Library, Special Collections and Conservation Department


Early train to Brighton to visit P&S Engraving
(Optional)Visit to West Dean College Book and Paper Conservation Program in Chichester
(Optional) Visit to Royal Pavilion/hang out in Brighton center.

Early train to Northamptonshire to visit Harmatan and Oakridge Leathers Lunch in Northamptonshire, train back to London
Visit with bookbinder Bernard Middleton at his studio.

Shepherd’s Bindery, Rochester Row location to see conservation lab and fine
edition binding.
Travel to Wormsley Library, lunch at a pub on the way
Wormsley Library
Cocktails and showing of fine bindings owned my Lisa von Clemm at her London

Designer Bookbinders annual meeting

(Optional) Visit with Mark Cockram at Studio 5

Although planning the trip and coordinating fundraising efforts was time consuming and sometimes stressful, the trip proved to be a truly delightful and enriching experience which brought me closer to my classmates and my craft. My only regret? That we couldn’t stay longer!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Waste Not Want Not in Providence, RI

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You

A truly unique venue has opened in nearby Providence, Rhode Island. The concept and format is revolutionary, and incorporates aspects of a fine arts gallery with a craft work space, an artist supply depot, and a high-end thrift shop.

This venue, called Waste Not Want Not, is the brainchild of recent Rhode Island School of Design graduate Laura Shirreff who states, "In a city where dumpster diving is a prosperous public past time and unemployment rates are the second highest in the country, it is my mission to make use of these unwanted but useful commodities to benefit local charities and the Providence community at large. Waste Not Want Not is not your average thrift store or consignment shop. At the heart of downtown Providence it is dedicated to the local community and local organizations." And she means it.
Within WNWN's 3,600 square feet of prime real estate space on stylish Westminster Street, in newly gentrified Downtown Providence, Shirreff has created areas of gallery, boutique, and shop. On view in the gallery are pieces of original sculpture and fine art which utilize found objects and reclaimed materials.
The boutique features clothing designed by local artists who upcycle pre-worn items into new treasures. The shop has racks of donated wearables divided deliciously into color categories, and bosts an impressive amount of vintage treats. The space overall is beautifully designed and has a distinct loft feel. The high ceilings are emphasized with soft sculpture hanging from rafters, and two free standing dressing rooms suspended by high-tension wires.
Shirreff approached me in May at the RISD Alumni Sale about showing my artwork in her new space, and currently she is showing a few of my smaller photographic mixed media works (as seen above) and five larger pieces.

The aspect of WNWN that fascinates me the most is that Shirreff makes all donated items available to artists and designers to use, at no cost, to create new garments, jewelry, art, or objects. Artists and designers are then expected to bring their new creations to exhibit at WNWN, and they will be made available for sale. Fifty percent of sales go straight to the artist and fifty percent go to WNWN and supported local charities. Shirreff says, "In this way, artists and designers have easy access to raw materials as well as a convenient marketplace that will help to support and promote their own artwork. It also encourages not just recycling but upcycling of material goods and inspires people to be creative when regarding their own belongings before discarding them."
In addition to the showing, selling, artist support, and community involvement, Shirreff has also programmed regular craft nights where all are welcome to create, chat, meet, and mingle. I'm verey pleased to have my work represented in Waste Not Want Not, and I look forward to seeing how this new venture develops. WNWN is located at 232 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903 and the hours of operation are: Mondays through Thursdays 10am - 6pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10am - 8pm, and Sundays 12pm - 6pm.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ho Ho Holidays Are Coming!

by Amy of Bumble Belly Designs

I just spent a VERY HOT day at SOWA. Sitting perfectly still waiting for the slightest breeze, I started to wonder about the holidays and the first snow. Here is a COOL collection of goodies from the Boston Handmade team. Only 126 shopping days left until Christmas! I'm going to start early and actually enjoy the holidays this year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Filter Fun, Los Angeles

By Kerry from Khawkinsphoto

I had a bit of glowing fun with these. We were lucky to visit the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles not once but, twice on our trip. I love all the food stalls and open air atmosphere. The gorilla was just hanging out at Universal Studios. Kind of fun!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boston Handmade Members - Favorite Blogs to Follow (Part 1)

By Allison of Fraske Designs

A lot of us in Boston Handmade follow several different craft blogs. Sure we follow some of the big ones like Craft and Design Sponge, as well as the blogs of Boston handmade members, but we have found some hidden gems along the way, too. Following is the first in a series of posts featuring several of our favorite blogs. Check them out!
Jessica of Reclaimed to You enjoys Rebecca Danger and Yummy Goods. Rebecca Danger is a blogger who “believes that knitting and crafting are a lifestyle, not just a hobby” and Yummy Goods is where Melissa Averinos, owner of Yummy Goods on the Cape, shares inspiring photos and links as well as keeps us updated on what is going on in her life and career.

Chris of Christine Marie Art follows The Altered Page, a blog by Seth Apter that is about his own mixed media work as well as a showcase of other astists he admires.

Jen of Blue Alvarez has been keeping up with Dude Craft, Bite Plate, and The Uniform Project. Dude Craft seeks to make it acceptable for men to participate in all crafts, not just the "manly" ones. Bite Plate is a daily fashion blog that chronicles the outfits of the Beckerman sisters and their friends. The Uniform Project is one woman’s pledge to wear one dress for one year as an exercise in sustainable fashion.

Stay tuned for more… in the mean time, leave a comment with some of your favorite blogs!

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