Sunday, February 28, 2010

Check us out

We are creative. We are bold. We are local. We are unique. We are professionals. We are artists. We are individuals. We are a community. We are Boston Handmade. Check us out here, and on our web site. Thanks to Allison of Fraske Designs for putting together this group portrait!

Creatively yours,
Jessica of Reclaimed To You

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Ninja Easter cards are here!

by Jaye Frisina of Thirteenth Story.

FIN ninja Easter cards are now available from Thirteenth Story.
They are flat white note cards with purple envelopes.
Send them to your friends and family, make them wonder what you are thinking.

Click here to shop.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What do you like to collect?

Let me start out by saying that during my lifetime, I've had a few collections. However, since I have moved around so much during my life, and lost so many things along the way from my childhood, my experiences collecting have not been very good or rewarding.

I watch Antiques Roadshow a lot though, and started developing "collection envy". Therefore, now that I think I'm pretty much settled (keeping fingers crossed), I have begun a relatively new collecting venture which I have to say, brings me a lot of joy. I did always have fond memories of my collecting too (boy, I LOVED my sticker collection), even after my inevitable loss of interest or umpteenth move. I also really loved showing my collections off to other people.

Which brings me to the topic of this post: My beautiful bracelet collection!
Now you might be thinking, Why would a jeweler collect jewelry? Or it may just make perfect sense to you. It actually just kind of happened naturally over time. I noticed that I just kept buying them, and receiving them as gifts and it has developed into a pretty sweet and eclectic collection.

Antiques Roadshow, here I come!

This charm bracelet was actually one lucky survivor of my odyssey up and down the eastern seaboard. I bought this in Puerto Rico as a teenager with my allowance. It was such a big deal for me at the time.
A very good friend of mine just showed up at my house with this one day and said "You want this for your collection? I never wear it." NICE!

I think my mom gave me this one like a million years ago. Thanks mom!

Oh wait, she gave me this one too. Can you guess where she got it?
I'll give you a hint: Merci, Mom!
Oooooh mom gave me this one too. It's my favorite. It's a Taxco Silver reproduction designed for Frida Kahlo. Its fancy- it came with papers and everything. Wow my mom's really cool.
This hot mess is great. Its a mexican charm bracelet with a special charm called "milagros", which is spanish for miracles, and the mexican people use then to pray and make wishes.
This is a very special piece I had made for me by a very good friend and fellow jeweler, who is very talented. I had never had anything custom made for me before. Really awesome.

Collecting is cosidered clutter to some, and is an obsession for others. I'll let you know if I still have this one the next time I move. I really hope so!

I would love to see what some of you collect too!
Happy collecting!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Gorey-Inspired ATC Swap

edwardLove illustrator Edward Gorey? Me too! So when my friend and fellow BH member, Jaye of Thirteenth Story, suggested we do a Gorey-inspired ATC swap, I immediately started sketching. I love some of the ways Gorey draws women in various period clothing and also his book "The Doubtful Guest," which features an intrusive creature known as "it," so I knew I wanted to include similar characters in my drawing, as well as some interesting text (like in "The Glorious Nosebleed"):

atc illustration
As you can see below, Jaye really went all out with the crosshatching:
atc aceo illustration
beagle puppy dog pet animal
I love what she came up with for my ATC (my beagle, Apollo, does too). We already planned another swap round and I'm looking forward to it already!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mastering Raku: The Book and the Art Within, on view until March 19 at the Gorse Mill Studios

By Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Local potter Steven Branfman recently released his fourth book on pottery, Mastering Raku, published by Lark Books. As owner of the Gorse Mill Studios in Needham, MA Steve decided to take advantage of the gallery space in the building and develop an exhibit to compliment the book. Artists who are featured in the book, both internationally known and up-and-coming, were invited to show a few pieces and the result is a stunning and world class exhibit showing the wide range of styles in raku work. It is truly a show not to be missed. It is on view in the Jared Branfman Memorial Gallery inside the Gorse Mill Studios until March 19.

The show is a beautiful display of all that raku ceramics can be. Sculpture, from Gail Piepenburg's abstract wall pieces to Amber Aguirre's thin, frail figure of a man. Traditional pot shapes are represented in Steve Branfman's work, whose surface relies heavily on a balance between texture and color, and pieces by Charlie and Linda Riggs.

Their saggar piece, Nebula, is a beautiful swirl of bright reds with patches of pinks, purples, and metallic blues. Sizes range from the very small animal figure sculptures of Ruth Apter to the very large shapes of Richard Hirsch. Surfaces range from the rough, gritty texture of Don Ellis' pot to the smooth surface of glass melted into a coil around pieces of Nathan Anderson. Painterly approaches are shown in Kate and Will Jacobson's pot with turtles and Karen Mahoney's teabowls with images of Hokusai prints. Covering so many styles ensures that anyone can walk into the space and find something they really enjoy.

Take the opportunity to see this talent!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Interview with Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

By Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Q: Basics?

A: I currently live in Needham MA with my wonderful and supportive husband, Kevin, but we desperately want to move to Colorado or Alaska! I work for the Potters Shop here in Needham and in exchange I get my studio membership, clay, glaze, firings, and personal space which allows me to pursue being a potter until I am able to have my own studio. I recently quit a part time job at Newbury Comics (my other love, music) to allow me to focus on pottery alone.

Q: How long have you been doing your craft?
A: About five years all together. One and a half on, two and a half off, and have been back in it for about three and a half.

Q: Where do your ideas come from? What inspires you?
A: I love traditional Asian art so the majority of my work integrates that somehow, through techniques, imagery or glazes. I love warm and rich glazes, ones with beautiful variation in them that you appreciate most when the pot is right up in your face. I use earthy tones; browns, oranges, creams, greens.

Q: What do you love most about what you make?
A: The comfort and beauty that pots bring to everyday life. Eating and drinking are so much more enjoyable and contemplative when served from a beautiful piece. It's a joy not enough people have.

Q: How do you promote your work?
A: This is something I'm still figuring out. I use the internet (facebook, myspace, twitter, etc) but it only seems to do so much good. I think pots are something that you really need to see and touch to know how you feel about them. I try to make the most of my pieces in the studio gallery where I work. Open studios and gallery openings seem to be the best opportunities to create a buzz.

Q: How long have you been involved with Etsy and what have your experiences been?
A: I've had an Etsy shop for almost 2 years. I'm pretty happy with it, at least compared to other sites I've sold on. It seems like the shoppers are fairly well educated with the crafts that they are looking at and also that they have something specific in mind when looking, for better or worse.

Q: Name your top five musical groups:
A: phish, jay-z, led zeppelin, bjork, minor threat

Q: In ten years I'd like to be....
A: Selling and making pots out of my studio in the barn next to my house at the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains, looking out the window at my llama pen, and sending off photos of pots for books and magazines to publish.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Mosaic - Pretty Pastels

*You must have Flash enabled to see the mosaic. For a free download, please click here.

This time of year, I find myself yearning for spring. After months of a snowy, bare garden, I'm ready to see some color! While we're probably still a few months away from seeing some green, this week's mosaic will have to tide me over!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Interview with New Member Pink Sequin Designs

by Crista of Pink Sequin
BH:Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Crista Jaeckel and I live with my family in Roslindale,MA. I share my house with two lovely, happy,wild kids and a husband. I will not tell you that I will be a certain age this year, but I can tell you that I have only been in the USA for ten years.
BH:Apart from creating things what do you do?
I do love to cook, love gardening and thrift stores. Come to think of it I am always creating . I just started a fencing class and that is a lot of fun!
BH:How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?
I have been making hats for the last 6 years. I have really expanded to scarfs and pins only in the last 2 years. This has been great to have a more diverse price range and I love making the scarfs.
BH:What is the first thing you can remember making by hand?
I think the first thing I can remember is working with my Grandfather in his workshop and making chairs for my barbies from scraps of wood. Also sewing for the barbies must be the first sewing I did. All by hand and all very tight outfits!
BH:What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a down comforter my great grandmother made . I will never be able to let that out of my site and also a granny square blanket my Grandma made me when I was little.
BH:What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
I get totally carried away by fabric vintage flowers, a button a piece of lace a color. I have a large collection and never stop buying and looking and collecting.
For ideas I love to browse books and magazines. You never know when a dress colour combination will turn up in a hat or scarf design. A lot of my ideas come from just working and creating.
BH: Describe your work.
I make one of a kinds accessories. Hats has always been my biggest seller, but last year the scarfs did really well. I make felt and fabric hats , and wool and velvet scarfs in winter . And fabric hats and chiffon scarfs in summer. I make one of a kind pins using a lot of detail and this year more hair accessories.I use a lot of vintage elements in my pieces. I sew, glue, embroider, fray,embellish,serge and sometimes paint or print.
BH: Read any good books lately?
Reading now: The Sweet life in Paris by David Lebovitz, Its a boy by Michael Thompson and Zakka Sewing by Therese Laskey and Chika Mori
BH: How long have you been involved with Etsy and what have your experiences been?
I have been on Etsy for a while but have made a lot of sales. It has been so valuable though as a marketing tool. And I have had a number of custom orders.
BH:In ten years I'd like to be...
Living in a big old house with my own garden and big yard and sewing and creating with my family around me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Photowalk, North End

Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photography

On Monday, I went for a photowalk with my friend and fellow artist, Lily. We had been planning this for quite some time and finally the day arrived to explore the North End together. With cameras in hand, we wandered just about all over this historic area. We stopped for pizza at Ernesto's and later for dessert at Caffe Vittoria. What I love about exploring and photographing with someone else is you get to see what they are drawn too.

We made a stop at The old North Church. Lily's grandfather told her that some of her relatives have been buried in the North End. We thought we might get some answers to where they were buried at the church. After a few questions asked of the guide at the Old North Church we headed up to Copp's Hill Burying Ground. We didn't locate her relatives but we had a fun time photographing and checking out the old gravestones. It was a successful day of picture taking. I picked the North End, next time, Lily will be picking the location.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DAME: A boutique in Jamaica Plain

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You

Since January 2009 there has been a go-to source for vintage clothing, accessories, and handmade design in central Jamaica Plain. DAME: Fine Vintage and Independent Design is located at 68 South Street in JP and showcases a rotating selection of fine hand-picked vintage items dating from the 1930s-1980s for men, women, and children. They also exhibit artwork on occasion and I am delighted that they are now showing my mini art quilts. The quilts are made from found materials and incorporate photo transfers on fabric. Five of the ten quilts on display can be seen in the photo above.

In addition to their keen vintage-wears, DAME has a growing selection of handmade items, including fine silver work, hand knits, clothing, and refashioned/upcycled clothing and jewelry. Along with my art quilts, the shop now carries knitted scarves that I make from reclaimed yarns.
DAME has become an established entity in JP during the past year, and an oasis for the stylish lover of uncommon fashion. As if carrying swanky threads and exhibiting work by local artists isn't enough, DAME also stages events on occasion. This Saturday night, February 20th, the shop will be host to a night of alternative country music for a speakeasy style party. Two bands will be performing: The Tom Foolers, and Humble Tripe who is celebrating the release of their new CD called 'Counting Stars'. The party starts at 7pm, when the store will be closed, so if you want to partake in the fun, be there BEFORE 7.

Check out DAME's web site for hours and directions to the shop and follow their vibrant blog to see debuts of new vintage items, cool photos from days of yore, and more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interview With New BH Member Cricicis Design

By Leah of cricicis design

- Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Leah Ammerman, and my business is cricicis design (pronounced CRICK-a-sis.)
I produce illustration and paper-goods out of Boston, specializing in note cards, boxes, hand-bound journals, and custom bookplates. These items feature clean, bright illustrations
which are drawn by hand or digitally in Illustrator. My work is generally minimal, with a big attention to detail.

- What is your background?

I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art with a bfa in graphic design. Since then I’ve been trying to learn how to bind books, and print with a letterpress.
I also work for a small event design and invitation business in Chestnut Hill, where I manage projects, take a lot of pictures, and make a lot of illustrations.

- Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I have really gotten interested in hiking and backpacking over the past two years. I have recently hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, the White Mountains, and a few places in-between.
I really enjoy going out to listen to my friends' bands play.
I've been trying to take more film pictures, but I'm pretty sure the roll in my Canon has been in there for years at this point.
I love learning about food. Last summer my boyfriend took me on a trip to a neat organic farm in Sudbury where we helped out and picked beans. I would love to spend more time learning how to grow food.

- What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I spent a ton of time drawing on paper when I was growing up. The name cricicis actually comes from a drawing I made when I was about four. The drawing is of my backyard and the surrounding woods. At the top I tried to write “I like to listen to the crickets” but I couldn’t spell well. The above pronunciation is my best interpretation of the word cricicis, which was how I spelled 'cricket'.
- About your artistic process:
My creative process starts with naturally having lots of paper laying around everywhere I look. Many of my illustrations are of actual objects you might find in my workspace, like cats and airport chairs. A lot of my note card, bookplate and notebook illustrations are often leftover sketches from other jobs that I couldn’t bear to toss. I’m glad that sometimes other people also find them charming enough to want to stick them in all their books, or carry them around in their pocket in the form of a notebook.
- What's your favorite color?
Red is my favorite.
- What are your favorite materials?
Micron pens, especially red ones.
- Are there other mediums you’re not working in that interest you?
I would love to have more practice with etching, and letterpress. I also really enjoy drawing with oil pastels- I really should pull them out more often.
- How do you promote your work?
Mostly I hope that good customers will come back for more. I make business cards, which are actually little envelopes filled with stickers, to pass out. I tend to stick mostly to flickr ( for posting photos of what I'm working on.

- Read any good books lately?
Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Sea Glass Ornament

by Marla Kunselman of Sea Glass Things

I was fortunate enough to have Diane Colvin Reitz, Author of The Sea Glass Ornament, to contact me in early January of this year. Diane offered to send me a copy of her recently published book for review. Due to my love for sea glass and the coast.... of course I said yes! Not only is a sea glass ornament a focal point in her story - but it takes place on the coast of Georgia with memories of Round Pond, Maine scattered throughout. The story is about love, loss and finding beauty and love where you least expect it. Below I have included bits and pieces of my conversation with Diane over the past couple of months.

SGT: I wanted to let you know that both my mother and I have read your book. We LOVED it!!! I was so sad to reach the final page as the story of Ollie and Hike's journey left me wanting more. It was so beautifully written and the words easily painted pictures in my mind as if I were living Ollie's life through her eyes. I was wondering if Cora was related to you and/or a real person from your life... as I noticed you both have the same name of Colvin - or if that was just the name you decided to give the character. It was such a bittersweet story.... to remind us that we are never alone in this life... in the afterlife... and love is never out of reach.

DCR: Cora Code Colvin was my grandmother. The sea glass image for me is very important in the story because sea glass is formed from the constant churning and upheaval of the sea - and this process, produces great beauty. Yes, I wish the book was longer too, but it kinda finished itself.
SGT: I loved the fact that the story left you wanting more... superb! So... the question I have wanted to ask... was this book based on a true story?

DCR: The book is fiction. However, Cora Code Colvin is my grandmother's real name and Round Pond, Maine is my favorite real place in the whole world. I have found great sea glass when the tide goes way out along the coastline. I am really a poet and this book was my first published prose. The story is to convey the beauty of humanity - and that is truly real.

I have enjoyed this opportunity to get to know this amazing author and read this truly beautiful book. Pick it up... grab a cup of coffee and totally immerse yourself in the characters... it won't take long and you won't want to put it down until you finish!

The Sea Glass Ornament can be found at Goose River Press (scroll to the bottom of the main page) and

Sea Glass Ornaments by Sea Glass Things

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Mosaic - On the Road

Since the tool I normally use to create the mosaic isn't working at the moment, this week's Mosaic is kickin' it old school! Click on the image above to see the full version on Flickr, complete with links to each item.

This week, Boston Handmade salutes the open road (and sky) with these items featuring modes of transportation.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

An Interview with Laura Collins of Pansy Maiden

By Laura of Pansy Maiden, a girl who really loves Say Anything.

I. A Brief Introduction

Diane Court: Nobody knew me before tonight.

Lloyd Dobler: They knew of you. Now they know you.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Laura Collins and I design and construct cruelty-free, earth friendly bags out of my home studio in Medford, MA. I live with my husband and our 3 1/2 year-old golden girl, Clementine. We’re literally two blocks away from Somerville, which can make food delivery very frustrating. I have been a vegetarian for 9 years and ever since October, I have been making the transition to becoming a vegan. Oh, and Pansy Maiden was my grandma's name.

What is your "artistic" background?

I grew up in Indiana and attended Indiana University as a TV Production/Film Studies major. I’ve been involved with the creative arts as far back as I can remember. I've participated in everything from scrapbooking, acting, photography,creative writing, screen writing and video production. Now I’m on to sewing. It seems to be sticking. I really think sewing and designing my own patterns is the creative outlet I’ve been searching for all these years. There’s so much gratification that comes with seeing a design in my head, figuring out how to break it apart, and then putting it all back together again so that I have a tangible item. My vision come to life!

II. Career

Lloyd Dobler: I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

Before Pansy Maiden, what sort of jobs did you work?

As far as work-work goes, I’ve run the gamut there as well. I have been a Sandwich Artist, a Production Assistant, an intern on the Warner Brother's lot, an Assistant Director of a residential summer camp for girls, and most recently, an Executive Assistant at a science publishing company in Cambridge. This past Spring, however, Pansy Maiden began to grow in a way that allowed me to leave my full-time job which I had held for three whole years (longest job ever). I still work in an office two days a week as an Editorial Assistant for a doctor who edits medical text books. I know next to nothing about science or grammar. Go figure.

What first made you want to become an artist?

There was never any sort of “Ah-ha” moment. As a child, I never dreamed of being a lawyer, teacher, police lady or anything like that. I always dreamed of being an actor or singer and in later years, a documentarian. I had the dreams but not necessarily the ambition. After working 2 years in an office performing tasks that lacked both a creative stimulus and a feeling of satisfaction, my creative drive just about ran me over. Once I turned 30, I decided it was high time to dedicate myself to some self-discovery and exploration. Around the same time my mom gifted me a sewing machine. I then discovered Etsy, thought back to two bags I had hand sewed back in college and Pansy Maiden was born. I'm not sure I really think of myself as an "artist" though. I guess I think of myself as a Designer/Maker. But it all just syntax... Anyway, Etsy was huge for me. Etsy made me understand the marriage between "creative" and "business." So, I guess my story is not your typical, “I-am-terrific-at-this-art-how-can-I-make-a-living-doing-it?” stories. I sort of arrived at it walking backwards. Two years later though, it’s all about moving forward.

Why cruelty-free, earth friendly?

Pansy Maiden is me and I am Pansy Maiden so I want my bags to be a reflection of my own personal values. Social responsibility is huge with me. I believe that all things connect—the way we treat animals, the way we treat our Earth, the way we treat each other—it all connects. And if we are considerate and make efforts to treat animals, the Earth, and each other with the upmost respect, our world will be healthier and an all-around better place to live. This is why I do not use animal-derived fabrics (leather, wool, silk) or products tested on animals (dyes, fabric detergent) and why I try to use organic or reclaimed materials whenever I can.

III. Freetime

DIANE: I just can't have any social life right now.

LLOYD: Dont worry about it. We're just having coffee. We'll be anti-social.

What’s your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?

Laying in and then sitting on the couch with my husband watching a movie. We are homebodies.

Name five recent_____ you have enjoyed (I can't do Top 5 lists. I'm noncommittal like that):

Movies: Avatar (of course), Food, Inc (A must see), Annie Hall (All-time fav), Say Anything (High School Laura will always have a soft spot for this flick), and I also really liked Moon. Fun fact: Moon was directed by David Bowie's son.

TV: LOST!, True Blood, America's Next Top Model (can't help it), American Idol, Mad Men

Musicians in Concert: M.Ward, My Morning Jacket, Of Montreal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (Ok, I haven't seem them yet but I *really* want to.)

Web sites (besides Etsy): Modcloth (Shopping), Modish (Fav Blog), The Kind Life (Vegan Community), VRBO (for dreaming), Kiva (for do-gooding).

IV. The Future

Diane Court: Nobody thinks it will work, do they?

Lloyd Dobler: No. You just described every great success story.

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

I would like to be at a point where I can hire a couple of people to help me out on a full-time basis (I plan to keep Pansy Maiden a handmade operation, always and forever). And I’d like to have my studio on our property, but not in, our home. Perhaps build a workshop in our backyard, you know, after my husband and I actually own our own home. Or in a (heated) basement? I am also working towards one day opening my own retail space. Just a small shop in a cute neighborhood. Not too much to ask for, right?

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

I married my very own Lloyd Dobler.

Thanks so much for reading and I’m so excited to be a member of this creative, active, welcoming group!

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