Sunday, May 30, 2010

National Stationery Show in New York City

by Melissa of Pressbound

On May 18th I had the fabulous opportunity to walk through the National Sationery Show at the Javits Center in New York City. Stationers from across the country displayed their products at this annual event in the hopes of getting lots of wholesale orders from shops and accounts like Paper Source or to add to their list of reps. Companies large and small participate, spending months planning and constructing booth spaces, and designing new lines of cards and other paper products to debut at the show.

I wanted to see what the show was all about and what it takes to exhibit in the hopes that in the next couple of years Pressbound may make its debut at the show. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet lots of other folks in the biz, especially those doing letterpress, or a combination of off-set and letterpress cards. Everyone I spoke with was incredibly nice and encouraging. Not only was it awesome meeting so many great people but I learned a ton too.

There was also a strong local presence at the show. My friend's and studio mates Albertine Press shared a booth space with Angela Liguori from Carta ink. Albertine debuted new packaging for their Letterpress Library note cards and Angela was selling her imported Italian ribbons as well as hand made cards and books.

Other locals who were at the show include the fabulous ladies at Two Trick Pony who make silk-screened cards and journals, Smudge Ink who do both letterpress and offset cards as well as a line of bags, and Vermont native Kelly from May Day Studios who exhibited with The Ladies of Letterpress.

If you're interested in reading more about the show I've written three round-up posts on the Pressbound blog.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Love your work Dottie Angel!

by Crista from Pink Sequin Designs

I recently came across the blog Dottie Angel. Oh boy how much do I love her work. How can you not feel like making, creating, and buying second hand?

Here are a few of my favorite photos from her site. She also has a Etsy shop (that sells out as soon as she lists) and make sure you look at the info on the retreat she is offering in Seattle.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bust Spring Craftacular

by Allison of Fraske Designs

I had the pleasure of attending the BUST Spring Craftacular in Brooklyn on May 23! I have wanted to go to one of these since what seems like the dawn of time but have never been able to coordinate my schedule. They have a big one during holiday season that is supposedly out of this world, but their spring one was still pretty great.
I bought a cool silver geometric pattern-type necklace from Birdhouse Jewelry. Sadly, she has no pictures of it on her website but you can see more of her collection here. I also got a cute pair of maple leaf earrings from Erica Weiner Jewelry. I don't normally spring for unique earrings, but there were one of the first things I saw and I just had to have them!

There were lots of great jewelry vendors, I could hardly contain myself. The rest of the vendors we equally as talented. I got a really great print of little men floating away on red balloons by Raw Toast Design. Sadly, I can not find an image of it on his website, but anyone who knows me well knows I love red balloons so I had to have this one. Here is a sample from his collection, probably would have been my second choice:

All in all, I had a great time and hope to be able to make the holiday Craftacular one of these days!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Landing on Plymouth Rock

by: Jennifer Tang of MaJenta Designs

The other weekend I was in Plymouth, MA doing some errands, and just had to wander over to find the historic site of Plymouth rock! Although I didnt have anytime to experience Plimouth Plantation , I did take a stroll to find a replica of the Mayflower and some other statues and memorials for the Pilgrim settlers and Wampanoag Native Americans.

If you look carefully you can see 2 little bears on his pipe!
Of course it wouldnt be a trip to a coastal New England town without a visit to one of the ubiquitous antique shops!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A New Endeavor...

By Marla Kunselman of Sea Glass Things

I am very excited to have been working on products for a new endeavor I will be taking part in. It is the launch of a new "Green" artist website - Eco 1st Art - located in California. They are planning a launch date of this June.

The purpose of the site it to act as art brokers for artists that produce high end Eco friendly products - thus putting them in touch with customers looking for environmentally conscious products. Lately I have been working on pictures of my products for submission and with the help of my good friend Jackie and lots of advice from other friends - this is what has been submitted thus far!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, MA

by Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photo

Recently, my friend, Tahli and I took a stroll around Forest Hills Cemetery. It is a beautiful spot with modern art and sculptures interspersed throughout the cemetery. It is well worth the visit. The older part of the cemetery has beautiful trees and older stones, many with classic statues on top. The cemetery was built in 1848, and one of the most historic burial grounds in United States.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Mosaic - May Flowers

It's May, and flowers are bloom all over Boston Handmade!
For a clickable version of the mosaic, please click here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

500 Sales

By Leah of cricicis design

To celebrate my 500th sale on Etsy, I am offering my wonderful customers free shipping an any purchase this Saturday and Sunday, the 22nd and 23rd of May. I feel honored to have reached this milestone. It's been a blast! Check out my shop this weekend for new spring-inspired cards and bookplates, featuring a new bird series I've been working on.

Thanks to all of my wonderful customers for helping me reach this goal!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Richard Avedon - A Lifetime of Fashion Photography

by Jen Paulousky of Blue Alvarez Designs

Last weekend my partner and I were in Florida at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. Jonathan, my partner, had been down there for business a few months earlier and was so blown away by the Richard Avedon show they had on exhibit that he insisted we return to see it. Okay, he also wanted me to meet his mom, but hey! Great photography is a great excuse for a visit.

Richard Avedon was best known for his work from around 1940 through the 1960s. His use of motion, context, and lines all created a unmistakable look which has made is photography iconic. And even though his mid-20th Century black and white work is best known, the show included much of his work through the 1970s until the early 21st Century, all of which remained consistent in his dedication to making his subjects seem extraordinarily alive.

Known best for his fashion photography, he also had a wide portfolio of work on other, diverse subjects. Regardless of the reason for the photo or the subject matter, his work carried an intensity that absolutely blew me away and made it so clear why he is a household name.

We were told that the exhibition that was at the Norton is now coming to Boston! It will be at the MFA starting in August. Check out the exhibit details page for more information.

And right now, to whet your appetite for the MFA show, the Peabody Essex Museum has a collection of portraits he did for the Kennedy family when they were in the White House, on view through July 18th.

If you love photography, fashion, drama, or all of the above, definitely check out one or both of these shows. As I discovered recently, Avedon's work is not to be missed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Handmade Book vs. the Machine Made Book

By Bexx of whitesparrowbindery

The Industrial Revolution drastically changed the world of books. Advances in both printing and papermaking methods meant that books could be produced faster and cheaper, and bookbinders struggled to keep up with demand. Mechanization was slowly introduced into book production, however many aspects of the trade continued to be carried out by hand into the early 20th century.

Today, nearly all commercially bound books are produced by machine. In order to make books affordable, they are produced quickly and cheaply. In many cases, quality, durability, and functionality have pushed aside in order to keep costs down and profits up.

Here’s an example of a modern machine made book. Like most modern books, the pages are simply glued together with little or no reinforcement. This type of biding is very weak. With use, the glue on the spine cracks, and the pages begin to fall out. The book shown above is only 6 years old, and the pages are already falling out.

By contrast, the pages of this book from 1803 were stitched together by hand. 207 years later, the binding is still completely sound!

There are many different ways of sewing a book, but the overriding principle is the same – a strong, durable means of keeping the pages together. The above examples illustrate why all of the books we make at White Sparrow Bindery are sewn by hand (yes, even the minis!). We use traditional binding methods and high quality materials, ensuring that our products are made to last.

To see some examples of our work, please check visit our etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go or Stay

by Amy of Bumble Belly Designs

Last year was my first full schedule of outdoor art shows. Wow, talk about a baptism of fire - or shall we say rain. Last June it rained at least a little at every show. I became frustrated but determined I would not let it bring me down. I never noticed a drop in sales and I'm happy to report that my most successful day last year was one that it rained all day long. Here's the thing, the rainy shopper is a spender more times than not.

Once again I am tuned into the weather reports as the season kicks off for me. I now have 2 pairs of wellies and have a few essentials when I prepare for a rainy show.

1. Seam seal my tent seams - I went to EMS and purchased seam seal for camping tents. It is really easy to apply. Set up your tent on a warm day and just brush it over the stitched seams and allow it to dry all day. This has saved me in down pours.

2. Pack plastic drop cloth and clear bags - You can get a drop cloth in the painting section at Home Depot. I like to use it under my tables where I store my soft sided bags. Most of my soft items I display in clear bags to protect them from soiling, but on a rainy day I will be sure everything that can be effected by the rain is in a clear bag.

3. Paper Towels - I can't tell you how muddy things get in a wet parking lot. Grass can be a bit better but things will get grassy bits on them. I use them to keep my hands clean and to wipe off things that may fall on the ground. Also, if it is a misty day, I can wipe the mist off my items that are packaged in clearbags.

4. My boots! - I spent one day with wet feet and that was it. It is difficult to keep up spirits with pruney, cold toes.

5. Layers of clothes - The funny thing about a rainy day is that it can feel muggy and humid one minute and then damp and cold the next. Setting up can build up quite a sweat and you may pull off your raincoat getting a bit damp in the process. It is nice to be able to put on a warm, dry shirt and other layers as you cool back down. I have actually zipped up my tent after setup to strip off my shirt and change. I may be part gypsy ;)

Well, those are some lessons I learned last year and will put to use this season - because we live in New England and that's life. What are some things that you do for a rainy show day?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


by Brooke Pickering, of Bancroft Studios

As some of you might remember, last fall my business went through some major changes. One of the biggest was a new home in a shared artist space at the Lydia Pinkham Building in Lynn. To date I have been joined by two painters – one abstract and one portrait – one fashion designer and a company called Coutureplanet who make the most adorable hand bags from 100% post consumer newspaper.

Their handbags bear headlines from the world of art and culture, food and dining, travel, sports, and haute couture. Coutureplanet was founded by Constance Carman and started as a recycling project. Connie, as the buyer for the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston, observed stacks of newspapers going into the recycling bin--or worse, trash can--and become involved with the hotel’s green team.

Here’s a peak at a few of their offerings-

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Needle Felting Skill Share Workshop

by Amy of Bumble Belly Designs

One of my favorite things about Boston Handmade, and there are many, are the skill share workshops offered by the talented members. Last Friday I got to try something I have always wanted to learn, needle felting! Lynne, from Cozy Cottage Creations, graciously opened her home to us and gave instructions on how to get started.

Here are Kerry from Kerry Hawkins Photography and Christa from Pink Sequin Designs working the wool. Lynne had a collection of childrens toys and animals to use as models for the shapes of our animals. I chose to do a bird in my favorite color blue.

Here it is taking shape.

The biggest impression I was left with was just how tricky it could be. It takes a real feel for the wool to get the shape the way you want it. It also takes a lot of time and concentration. No chatting in a "needle felting circle" unless you bring a first aid kit! We had a few finger pokes but I lost count after 6. I think we all left with a little left to finish on our projects. I still had to fine tune the shape and finish the eyes.

Kerry was really close to finishing her fish.
Christa was still working on her flamingo.
And Lynne was making the cutest elephant!
It was a great morning! Thank you, Lynne. I can't wait to start another creature!... and yes the first thing my daughter said was "oh, mommy, can I have it in my room?"

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sowa Opening Weekend

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

It's that time of year again! Sowa Open Market is gearing up for its 7th season and will kick off THIS weekend, May 15 + 16, from 10am to 5pm. This year Sowa will be in a NEW location (just a block away from the old one) at 460 Harrison Ave. So mark your calendars, set your GPSs, and we will see you there!

Reppin' Boston Handmade:
Bumble Belly Designs
Lucie Wicker Photography

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Using the Arts to Build Communities

by Katy Brown of muchacha K handmade

Regular readers may recall that I am the founder and producer of Concord Arts Market, NH's first weekly, outdoor artisan and fine art market.

And that means three things:

1) I'm totally CRAZED right now getting ready for our June 5th opening!
2) We're accepting applications from artists and artisans who are interested in participating!
3) Did I mention that I am totally crazed getting ready for our June 5th opening date?

Check out our website for more information about who we are, what we do: MARKET WEBSITE AHOY MATEYS

All self-promotion aside, for the past three years I have given space to community groups who want to reach the public...groups such as the Friends Program, who pair elders in the community with younger volunteer companions, and Riverbend, an organization that (among other services) offers vocational programs to people with mental health issues. The Riverbend group is actually comprised of artists who participate in the vocational services program, and thus their market participation is a therapeutic experience.

Last season we also began a series of community art projects that have proved fun, inspirational, AND beautiful. Lizz Van Saun, mosaic artist and owner of Kast Hill Studios has led several now...gorgeous mosaic pieces that community members have assisted in the production of. Susan Schwake, fine artists and owner of artstream gallery in Rochester, NH led the creation of a painted mural, a piece that we are planning to tour. More community projects are planned this summer, with the intent that they all show together when completed.

("sway" by Susan Schwake)

This year's twist: we are working to integrate recent immigrants into the fabric of the market. There are hundreds of refugees in our little city, from Nepal, from African nations, and more...and many of them have brought knowledge of their native handcrafts with them. They are also looking for ways to become a more active part of their new community and learn about their new "home". We have set some dates for them to start coming throughout...and it will be very exciting to see what comes out of it all!

There is value inherent in art and artisan handcrafted items...but when we build connections within the community, and demonstrate the power of our media to affect people's lives positively, we receive reciprocal benefits. We reap the benefit of an expanded audience for our work, as well as a greater number of witnesses who can testify to our value.

In this way, in difficult economic times, an entire community can benefit from the generation of these types of connections. We simultaneously feed the spirit and secure our own survival. It's a perfect union of art and business...of soul and bottom line. It is no coincidence that politicians, under similar circumstances, stoop to address the masses. However, when the subject is the sharing of our art, there is nothing cynical in the exchange. There is truly benefit to all.

I can't wait to see how this year's projects and connections develop!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Digital Mixed Media

By Chris of Christine Marie Art

People often ask if my work is encaustic, and the answer is no. The piece shown here, "Scenes from a Pond," is a digitally composed collage, created with layers and layers of photos I took at a local pond, scans of painted fabric, and other imagery. The digital collage is then printed on special film, and transferred to panels which have been painted with a metallic acrylic wash, and prepared to receive the ink from the film. Sometimes I will add collage or texture to the panels before transferring the digital image. Then I seal the image with a UV resistant polymer coating. I think because of all the layers it sometimes has the effect of encaustic, but is not. Maybe one day I will add that to the mix!

Because there are so many different ways to create digital mixed media, I have created a blog (Digital Mixed: the people, products and processes making news in digital mixed media) so that I could keep track all in one place. It is a new work in progress, but I have already added several classes and workshops offered this summer that look VERY interesting. My goal is to expose the many talented artists incorporating digital processes in creative ways -- across a variety of media -- and to discuss the people, products and processes involved in creating digital mixed media art. Take a look, and add to the mix!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sue and Steve Zafarana

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

Every first Friday of the month, Custom Art Framing and Gallery 9 in Norwood has an art opening for the featured artist of the month. This month it was a dual show with husband and wife artists Sue and Steve Zafarana. Both have hugely diferent styles, and both are amazing artists.

Here is a picture of Sue and Steve just as the evening got started. Soon, they would have no time to pose for a picture!

A couple of Sue's pieces. I love the trees!

Some of Steve's pieces. He definitely has quite an imagination! I love the one in the top left, it's creepy wonderful!

Julie made a wonderful display for the very small pieces with the shelves that usually house pottery, wood turnings, and jewelry. The early evening light was not my friend, but I still really like this picture.

The showing was well attended.

About 1 1/2 hours into the show, it was so crowded, people spilled outside! Beautiful night for it!

I really wanted to buy that painting of the trees, but by the time I got back to look at it again it had a 'red dot'. You've gotta be quick with that many art lovers in one room!
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