Friday, April 30, 2010

RISD Alumni Spring Art Sale


This is a wonderful, fun, outdoor sale presented every year in the spring. RISD alumni sell their crafts and creations in a fun casual setting. There is always food and good music, and if you want to see more great art, the RISD Museum is located adjacent to the sale.

The sale takes place on historic Benefit Street, which is lined with beautiful old houses.

Come for the day and shop, have lunch in one of the great restaurants around town, walk along the canals, whatever suits your fancy!

It makes for a fun day trip on your own or with loved ones.

As an alumnus, along with so many talented artists and also many friends, I will be selling my line of jewelry. I will be presenting many new designs I am very excited about! :)

Hope to see you all there!
Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sightseeing in Salem... Fort Pickering at Winter Island

by Marla Kunselman of Sea Glass Things

A couple of weeks ago on a warm Sunday we spent the day at Winter Island in Salem, MA. We packed a picnic lunch and soaked in the sun and scenery. Winter Island is rich in history and a great place to wander around with your camera. There is so much to see and Waikiki Beach is great for collecting sea glass.

Fort Pickering (prior to 1799 was Fort William dating back to 1634) was a working fort during the War of 1812, as well as the Spanish-American and Civil Wars. You can still see the bunkers and parts of the fort while walking the grounds. Prior to being active during the wars - Winter Island was at the heart of Salem's fishing industry. The "Essex" ship was also built by mater shipbuilder, Enos Briggs, and then the launch in 1799 was viewed by 12,000 townsfolk. Winter Island Light has been a guide for many ships into Salem Harbor. You can read more about the history of Winter Island at Salem Web.

There are many places to picnic and camp if you choose!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pansy Maiden Debuts Little Birds Collection

By Laura Collins of Pansy Maiden

I'm excited to announce here on the Boston Handmade blog that my Little Birds Collection debuted in my shop last week. This collection features two new bags for women as well as little versions for little girls. Now, moms and their young daughters can be stylish and eco-friendly together! I also made a mini version of my Weekender to add to the mix.

I'm really happy with how the two new bags, The Lady Day and The Vagabond Messenger, evolved during the designing process (aka "make-each-new-design-at-least-five-times-before-it-comes-close-to-being-finalized). With the Lady Day, I was going for a smaller, feminine look. And with the Vagabond, I wanted to make a more stylish than sporty messenger. And of course, with both of the new bags I wanted to retain that "urban, whimsical, simple, Pansy Maiden" look. I hope I pulled it off! What do you think?

If you'd like to see the little girl bags, check out this video my friend and I made during the Little Birds photo shoot (or check out my shop). Oh! And you might notice that the three blond cuties are wearing dresses from Boston Handmade member The Measure!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Inspired by Nature

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

I am gearing up for my yearly trek to Prince Edward Island, looking at old photos like this one from 2002. This is my sweetheart, Scott.

Our cottage is just above those steep stairs that you see on the right. It's such a beautiful place. There is no hustle and bustle. There is nothing to do but enjoy the nature, your loved ones, and life in general.

Riveted copper on sterling silver.

Tube riveted copper on sterling silver, front and bottom views.

I can't wait for my visit this year, just a few more months to go!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Mosaic - Arbor Day

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

Arbor Day is on April 30th. The holiday was founded in 1972 to promote the planting and care of trees. To find out more about the holiday and how you can celebrate, visit the Arbor Day Foundation Website.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Brainstorming DIY Wedding Ideas

By: Jennifer Tang of MaJenta Designs

As I go through my wedding checklists, I find myself most excited in daydreaming of all the fun things I can personally make to give our wedding some personal touches. I have been googling images of wedding reception decorations, gift favors, and more - to get inspiration of ideas of things I could make for my own wedding!

For example, since our wedding will be an outdoors, summertime wedding - I thought it'd be great to make something similar to these programs that double as fans to help cool down our guests during the ceremony!

If only I had the time - I think making some place cards similar to these would really make our reception stand out!

These funny strawberries were actually from a social gathering I went to, and think it'd be such a fun idea to serve such unique tasty treats at the wedding.

There are so many fun things to think and daydream about! Now if only I had the time to handmake it all!

And of course since MaJenta Designs, my handcrafted business, is such a large part of who I am now, I definitely want to incorporate those designs into our wedding somehow too! I'm thinking of making some sort of gift favors using these useful mint tins! :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why Handmade Gifts of the BEST!

By Crystal of Vintage by Crystal

Fellow BHer, Sharon Fischer of Stray Notions, surprised me the other day with this amazing embroidery congratulating me on my recent engagement! She must have spent hours creating this whimsical piece and it really shows! She knew my favorite color is teal/aqua and used it in the lettering...she also added sparkly thread here and there...and best of all? A tiny blue bead to represent my engagement ring! It's just perfect and will be something both Ben and I will treasure forever! Thank you soooooo much Sharon! :)

PS - Sharon makes beautiful custom embroidered bags, etc. and you can gift a special person (or yourself) with her amazing work...visit her Etsy shop for more info!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Needham Open Studios

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Needham Open Studios 2010 is Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2 with a Preview Gala Friday, April 30. The map includes 19 stops, many with multiple artists representing themselves. It's a great chance to get out for the day with your family and friends for some free fun. There's even an activity sheet for kids to fill out as they make their day visiting with artists and seeing what they do.

The Preview Gala will take place in the Jared Branfman Memorial Gallery inside Gorse Mill Studios at 31 Thorpe Road from 6-9 on April 30. The gallery will represent many of the artists of Needham, giving a glimpse of what you will see at their private studio. Work will not be for sale at the Preview Gala, but artists will be present to meet and discuss their art.

Once Saturday and Sunday get under way Gorse Mill Studios will be a major stop, creating a small bit of chaos for the weekend in our quiet residential area. The reason is because there are 3 floors with over 30 artists having a huge range of mediums. Pottery, paintings, jewelery, glass, story telling, encaustics, mosaics, tailors, photographers, illustrators, all in one stop! Who could resist?

I have a few favorites in GMS. The encaustics of Ruth Lague, studio 201, are fantastic. Her landscapes have amazing colors and an energy that sucks you right in. Everytime she hangs a new one in the halls of GMS I smile.

The pottery of John Dorsey, studio 106, is another favorite. His pots have an earthy warmness to them as well as a definite Asian influence, two qualitites I love in pottery.

Jeweler Todd Krieger in studio 203 makes pieces out of recycled bits of computers and other electronics. He uses the internal parts to create something truly unique to wear.

In addition to these and other artists who own spaces in the building, Gorse Mill Studios will be hosting other artists from Needham in vacant studios in the basement. I am included in that group and will have a studio L-111 filled with new work for the craft fair season as well as a few pieces inside the Potters Shop Gallery in studio 206. Stop by and say hi!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Handmade Green

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You

At Boston Handmade we celebrate the Earth all year long by creating our art locally and with our very own hands. We embrace the concept of Earth Day and carry the model through every day of the year by producing and selling art and craft locally, and operating from small working environments, as opposed to pollution spewing factories, which reduces our carbon footprints and those of our customers.

Through our choice of materials, methods, and mindset, “reduce, reuse, recycle” means more to us than a slogan on a blue box. Conserving resources is something each one of us keeps in the forefront of our minds, and harnessing the power of our own hands propels us.
Check out this online collection of green items available for sale, and support your local arts business today.

Chronicle is in the house!

by Liz Stewart of Lush Beads

Lush Beads being filmed. Photo by Adrien Bisson

A few weeks ago, Western Avenue Studios was all abuzz because Chronicle was in the building filming for an upcoming episode. For those who don't know, Chronicle is a Boston-based daily magazine program that is locally produced. It has quite a following in the area and is well regarded.

Chronicle interviews Executive Director Maxine Farkas. Photo by Adrien Bisson.

The deadline was short - we found out on a Friday that the film crew was arriving on the following Tuesday. Yikes! I have to say, though, that I was amazed at what was accomplished over the course of 3-4 days. The artists really made this place shine. Lots of brooms and dust rags and paint brushes and drop cloths. I myself spent 3-4 hours on a Monday reorganizing and cleaning my own studio. By Tuesday, the building was ready for its closeup.

Chronicle host Mary Richardson enjoys our artsy hallways.
Photo by Adrien Bisson.

Several of our photographers followed the video crew around as they filmed over the course of 5-6 hours. Chronicle posted a behind-the-scenes slideshow of some of the photos taken.

Chronicle films painter Ashlee Welz Smith. Photo by Adrien Bisson.

A mere 15 days later, the episode titled Art Colonies was on the air! Our segment was 5-6 minutes long, and is segment 3 of the 4 segments posted to the Chronicle website. I encourage you to watch the entire episode to discover hidden art gems all over the Commonwealth of MA.

Artists await the start of Chronicle! Photo by Liz Stewart.

In honor of our 15 minutes of fame, the artists in the building had a viewing party down in The Space, our neighboring cafe and recording studio space. It was great to watch the show with my fellow artists, and it was exciting to see what made it into the program and what did not. To my surprise, a 2-second shot of me in my studio was in the footage! I didn't even know they were taking shots of me...I thought they were taking video of the pretty colors on my wall!

All in all, a great experience. I hope it brings all the artists featured lots of visitors!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crafty Meet-up

By Kerry Hawkins Photography

Once a month fellow crafters meet-up to talk about Etsy, our art and craft, business, etc. This was started by Mimi Kirchner. This month's crafty meet-up in Davis Square, Somerville, was so lively and fun. The time just went so fast. This photo shows a gift by Sharon of Stray Notions gave to Crystal for her engagement. Sharon is a new and welcome member of Boston Handmade. Crystal was so thrilled to receive this gift. The gift was inspired by Crystal boyfriend, Ben proposing to Crystal on the Martha Stewart show.

I always learn new things, for example, I didn't know that Louise of The Hole Thing started a new blog called Lines of Beauty. I had not heard about about the websites and Statsy. So it is my goal to check those out. Also, Betsy of Stone House studios was wearing some of her new creations. Very interesting and beautiful.

Of course, we talked about Etsy, blogging, life and experiences.

In attentence were Sharon, Lisa, Betsy, Crystal, Linda, Louise, Mimi, and Trisha. The biggest group of artists and crafters so far.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Global Mamas: Fair Trade/Handmade in Ghana

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

I recently returned from a 10 day trip to Ghana where I was visiting a good friend who has been living there for the past year and a half. In the heart of Accra (the capital, where she lives) my friend introduced me to Global Mamas, a fair trade, handmade shop selling all kinds of lovely clothes, soaps, and home goods. Their mission statement is "assisting women in Africa to become economically independent by facilitating the production and export of fair trade products." Love it!

Although I was limited by the size of my suitcase, I did manage to find some small things. Here are some of the super cool items I picked up:

Vanilla shea butter in a dried gourd container.

Sturdy cloth basket, I love the sunflower print! The fabric is handmade batik.
A cookbook of Ghanaian food. The best one I found in all the stores I looked in AND proceeds go to the Global Mamas organization. Sweet.

Can't make it to Ghana yourself? Turns out they have a shop online!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Mosaic - Earth Day

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

Boston Handmade celebrates Earth Day with this selection of eco-friendly items.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

DeCordova Museum

by Crista from Pink Sequin

This time of the year is always great for a visit to the DeCordova museum in Lincoln. Not only is the drive there dreamy, but the museum itself has so much to offer. You can visit the Cafe, wonder around the gallery and sculpture park, and then go for a hike around the pond. After that , be sure to visit the store!

They really have a great collection of artist selling there. Not only will you find great jewelry, but you can also stock up on artist materials and buy great gifts for kids you know that like being creative. The staff is so friendly and always ready to help.

Be sure to look for my new spring scarfs and hats while you are there!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Record Store Day!

by Allison of Fraske Designs

April 17 is Record Store Day!

Today, "independently owned music outlets across the nation will band together in recognition of all things vinyl for the third annual Record Store Day. Conceived by a Bull Moose employee in 2007, the day is now observed at 700 stores throughout the US and hundreds more worldwide." Read more at The Boston Phoenix website.

In honor of today, here is a picture of the very first CD I designed for a band... it was for Sidewalk Driver, several years ago. The actual cd is basic black and white, and all the packages were handmade with a welded lug nut and spray painted logo (I did not participate in the official assembly but I assure you, each one was made with love!). This copy has faded and scratched a bit over the years, but it wears well!

The Power of Handmade

by Katy Brown of muchacha K handmade

This is why you should make yourself beautiful accessories for all of life's adventures...or get other people to make them for you. This is one of my favorite bags. It's pretty, and it's functional, and has big pockets on the inside. It has a zipper in the top and a nice long strap.

And every time I look at it I think of Barcelona. I think of sun, and walking around the city, and existing non-verbally for a week because I don't speak Spanish or Catalan, and not caring. I remember delicious food and dancing until 7am drinking amaretto and Spanish wine.

And it means even more because it's something I made with my own hands. I made it for that trip and made it with that perfect strap, and that pretty fabric, and the zipper and the big pockets. I made my own perfect souvenir. And every time I look at it I think of Spain...

Friday, April 16, 2010

An Interview with Sharon Fischer of Stray Notions

by Sharon of Stray Notions

BH: Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Sharon Fischer and I live in Medford, MA. Fiber and textiles run through my heritage. There is a process for testing the durability of fabric which bears a family name. Mom's dad and those before him were in a textile business that evolved from sail manufacturing in the Netherlands. The other side of her family was also in textiles in Alsace and I did my own fiber art and surface design tour of the region last year and can't wait to go back. On my dad's side, my grandmother was and a seamstress and a "glove maker to the stars" back when ladies wore gloves.

BH: Apart from creating things what do you do?
What else is there? But seriously I'm always creating something be it a craft item, a mess or a good time. I have worked in marketing communications, fundraising and pr - for corporations, museums and other non-profits.

BH: How long have you been doing your artwork/craft?
I have been making stuff for as long as I can remember. My first sales were crepe paper bouquets when I was about 10. I've sold clothing and wearable on and off for about 10 years. I opened my etsy shop with a more eclectic mix about a year and a half ago.

BH: What is the first thing you can remember making by hand?
I remember making a doll bed when I was in kindergarten. That was long enough ago that they didn't worry about letting 5 year olds loose with the hand tools.

BH: What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I my dad embroidered a blanket for that doll bed.

BH: Please describe your creative process (how, when, materials, etc). What are your favorite materials?
I work primarily with textiles and fiber, sewing, embellishing, embroidery painting etc. I use a lot of vintage and recycled supplies and often they will "suggest" what they'd like to be in the next life. I tend to make items that are both beautiful (at least I hope so) and useful. This according to some is what separates art from crafts.

BH: What's your favorite color?
I can't choose just one.

BH: Describe your work.
I make wearable or otherwise useful art using fabric, fibers, paints and other embellishments. I also do custom embroidery pieces of my own design or based on original art that has significance for my customers (drawings by children and adults, photographic pieces, writing and poetry).

BH: Read any good books lately?
My 11 year old nephew and I am doing the 100 book challenge. He is beating me badly.

BH: How long have you been involved with Etsy and what have your experiences been?
I have been on Etsy for a year and a half or so. I haven't sold a lot on etsy and most of it has been custom work. I find the lack of real customer contact to be both a blessing and a curse .. In that I have no idea who is buying my stuff or what they respond to and customers and potential customers don't get to see my work live and in person (especially since photography doesn't happen to be a craft at which I excel) but I also don't have to deal with rejection and critics in real time and all of my sales have been to people who heretofore were geographically beyond my reach.

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

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