Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
I've recently become a fan of a new-to-me blog called La Tartine Gourmande. Written by a stunning food journalist with joie de vivre, it has inspired me to up my game both in the kitchen and on the web.
All this exposure to the good things in life got me thinking: How can we find time to both do what needs to be done and do it beautifully? Am I incorporating details into my life to make mundane tasks and routines as lovely as possible?
I think this is important not out of vanity but because joie de vivre can be so elusive. As an apparel designer who has seen both tiny studio crafting of garments and large scale, global production and distribution, I can say that bigger doesn't have to mean sad and ugly but it often does. Is there a way for me to take these lessons about making my own kitchen, my own life beautiful and bring it into my work?
As handcrafters, I think we do this everyday. Each thing we make is special, even if it is one of many of a similar pattern. But for those of us who still do not craft full-time, can we bring that sense of focus and beauty that comes so naturally when we craft, cook, and love into the jobs we do for others, on their time?
How do you bring joie de vivre to everything you do? How do you make life more beautiful for those around you?
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Do you ever find yourself intimidated by a project you started? Or are hesitant to start it due to intimidation?
2 years ago I started a painting in hopes that I could finish it in time for my parents swanky art party that a lot of art people would be at. That week I also broke my ankle playing roller derby. I only had 2 sessions on the painting but I haven't touched it since.
I feel like the size thing is intimidating. It just stares at me in my studio telling me I'm too chicken to pick it up again. So last night, I said "ENOUGH!" and put some more paint on it. The background is by far the hardest since I don't use large brushes. I am actually using a house painting brush to get in all the color at once (love that acrylics dry so fast, but in this case it's a bad thing!)
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
They came a bit early and caused a bit of difficulty with my business since I wasn't quite ready for them. To try and make it up to my customers, some of whom had to wait a bit for their purchases, I'm having a BOGO sale - Buy One Get One 50% off, to celebrate our double happiness!
Monday, July 26, 2010
1. Organic Vegan Shoulder Bag in Mandarin Orange and Lemon by Pansy Maiden Bags
2. Silver Clover Drop Earrings with Carnelian by Christina Hurley
3. Felted Geode Bowl in Orange and Pink by Cozy Cottage Creations
4. Creamsicle Spider Pin by Lush Beads
5. Orange Crush Pocket Jotter by White Sparrow Bindery
6. Orange Cow Print by Thirteenth Story
Sunday, July 25, 2010
"The High Line is a public park built on a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure running from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street on Manhattan's West Side."
The last time I visited New York the park was closed. I have always wanted to see the High Line. I think it is so cool that they have used this old rail line to make a public space. It is fun to be in a park and be a couple stories up and looking at all buildings and neighborhoods. There were places to sit and relax, hang out, and also there were artists showing their work.
The bottom photo is of my friends, Darren, Candace, Danielle and Jeff walking along the High Line.
Check out this site, Artessen. There are tons of artful blogs to discover. It is addicting!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The 3rd annual Boston Handmade Marketplace took place on July 11th and a wonderful day was had by all! The weather was beautiful, the music was festive, the craft demonstrations were inspiring, and all the hard work putting the event together felt well worth it.
I particularly enjoyed the show this year because it was the first art/craft fair I've done with my son Zachary in attendance (last year I was very pregnant with him at the Somerville Marketplace). As an event producer or as an exhibitor I usually don't have time to roam a show, but this year with my husband at my booth, my son in my arms, and with all the new exhibitors participating in the 2010 Marketplace I felt an extra strong urge to walk around and treat myself, mostly by getting things for Zachary.
The first purchases I made were from new Boston Handmade Member, Arthur Halvorsen, and from Lucky Monkey, a Rhode Island artist who returned to the Marketplace after having to miss it in 2009. Ceramics is a weakness of mine and I love using handmade functional pottery wherever I can at home. Arthur's little birdie dish (see above) now resides on our kitchen counter, and we are using Maddy Macedo's small cup (photo to the left) on our bathroom sink to hold Zachary's toothbrush.
I couldn't resist getting another figurine from veteran Boston Handmade Member Vintage By Crystal for our small but beloved collection. The dalmation on the right in the above photo is our newest acquisition from Crystal, and the small group of party goers (I always picture them at a party) is on a handmade woooden shelf in our son's bedroom.
In the fiber category, I made a special purchase and received a very generous gift. I purchased some beautiful blue merino hand-spun wool from KnittinK, a new invited guest to the Boston Handmade Marketplace, and I'll surely knit it into something cute for my son. The gift was a real unexpected surprise from Common Cod Fiber Guild Founder, and great friend of Boston Handmade, Guido Stein, who gave Zachary a beautiful hand-knit jacket.
Another surprise gift came my way in the form of a handmade key chain from Stitchy McYarnpants, new to the Marketplace, and a delight to work with. It was perfect timing too because my felted keychain just went to accessory heaven the day before.
Want to see more from these exhibitors and check out a full list of everyone who participated in the 2010 Boston Handmade Marketplace? Visit the Marketplace page for links to all the exhibitors, and to photos from the event.
I feel so lucky to be surrounded by creative people every day, and so happy to have a home filled with handmade goodness at every turn. Hooray for local artists and craftspeople!
Photos by Jessica Burko.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Among the 1000 other great things to see and do in MA, Massachusetts is home to the largest free folk festival in the country. I bet you did not know that!
The Lowell Folk Festival is now in its 24th year of providing 2 days and 3 nights of free music. You can see anything from Cajun to Blues to Polka to Western Swing and so much more. The musical diversity present at this festival is just amazing.
I can't even begin to tell you about the food! Cambodian, Filipino, Armenian, Greek, Thai, Polish....the list goes on and on. My favorites are the fried banana from the Filipino tent, and the Armenian burger.
Now in its 4th year, there is also Art in the Courtyard, which has become an integral part of the festival. A shade-lined courtyard located between two of the festival stages is where you will find the works of 20 artists - anything from glass to jewelry to pottery to paintings and more. This will be my 2nd year participating in the festival, and I am very excited!
I am currently finishing up a new line specifically for the Folk Festival - all the pieces in this line have granite incorporated somewhere. Granite plays a large part in the history of Lowell, because some of the canals are lined in granite that was taken from Westford and other neighboring towns. I'll be posting a sneak peek on my Facebook fan page, so stop by and check it out!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
As a fiber artist I'm lucky to get to spend a good part of the summer in Maine where there is a very active community of fiber artists and producers - over 134 fiber studios, farms, shops and learning centers, are listed on the Maine Fiberarts Tour Map.
In June of each year the Fiber Frolic is held at the Windsor Fair grounds ... somewhat in the style of a traditional agricultural fair (minus the midway). Rain or shine individuals involved in any aspect of fiber art turn out along with alpacas, sheep, goats and bunnies to sell, learn, demonstrate and in some instances compete. This year featured a sheep to shawl demonstration, and Make it in Maine with Fiber contest, hands-on workshops and limboing lamas. Vendors sold tools, fiber products and handmade goods (along with THE BEST FALAFEL ever!) Several years ago I was so taken with some (very expensive) yarn that I bought it even thought I DON'T (didn't) KNIT.
Fiber College takes place in Midcoast Maine -- back to back and overlapping workshops, demonstrations and guest artists all on the shores of the Penobscot Bay and outdoors, weather permitting. It's like camp for grown ups in the best way possible.
In between there is a weekend in August when all of the sites on the aforementioned map are open to the public.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The first Boston Handmade show I participated in after my mother's stroke was the South End Open Market Boston Handmade show on June 14, 2009. I was horribly unprepared for this show because I had been spending all of my time on vigil at Brigham and Women's Hospital since May 18th. I spent every day, morning until night with my mother and my sisters for that month, only able to produce crocheted/beaded jewelry as I sat in the hospital. Not exactly the inventory I wanted to produce for this show. My mind was barely into it but I felt that I needed to fulfill my commitment, and I didn't want to disappoint. It had been almost an entire month since my mothers stroke, and I really needed a break from my daily grind at the Hospital.
At this time, I had been a member of the group for about 15 months. I felt comfortable with the group, comfortable with my place within the group, and had already made many wonderful connections. Linda was actually one of our members who I knew little of, other than ogling her beautiful scarves and coveting a pocketbook or two of hers. We had been placed as neighbors for the day and I was so happy to be able to get to know her better.
The inside pain I felt during those days in my mother's recovery (or lack thereof) was an immense weight, and I had a lot of guilt for going through with the show while things were still so uncertain within my family's 'heartbeat'. SoWa that day started out with torrential downpours. The second I got my tent 'pitched' the rain started and was relentless all morning. Those of us who had walls for our tents hastily put them up to protect our products which made us invisible to each other. It was a solitary, soggy, windy set up with every tent shielded by the white or blue sidewalls that we ordinarily don't use. It was a scramble to stay dry.
I set up (with white walls attached) virtually cut off from the world, with a river running through my tent, fearing the day wouldn't get any better but plugging on and hoping for the best. I kept on wondering if it was all going to be worth it.
As the morning wind and rain started to subside, the tent walls slowly started coming down. The 'feel' of the market turned a bit more normal (although still very soggy) and then the sun came out. The outlook for the day was getting better, and just as I was removing the wall of fabric that shielded my booth from the rain and separated my booth from Linda's, I noticed a fabric collage. A collage that only faced me. A piece of artwork faced away from the crowd of shoppers, in the back corner of her booth where only I could admire it...directly in my line of vision...A message...
Within this beautiful fabric art was a quote perfectly stitched in, that I read over and over throughout the day. It gave me comfort as it stared at me and only me. A quote from Emily Dickinson.
"To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else." ~Emily Dickinson
I had never heard or read that quote before Linda introduced it to me in such a thoughtful and compassionate way. It has become a quote, that to me, defines my mother's existence now... more than anyone can imagine.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
This week I traveled out to the famous Brimfield Antique Show. Brimfield is a huge show of approximately 500 dealers, and takes up about a mile of space on both sides of Route 20. The show runs three times a year- May, July & September. If you love old things, love design history, or just want to be inspired by the colors & textures of an overflowing assortment of artifacts & treasures, I highly recommend checking out the last show of the year, September 6th through the 11th. Here are some photos of things that caught my attention:
Monday, July 19, 2010
1. Spun Cotton Gray Whale by Vintage By Crystal
2. Lobster Pillow by Bumble Belly Designs
3. Goldfish Note Cards by Thirteenth Story
4. Sardine and Anchovy Postcard by cricicis design
5. Lucky Koi Bottle Opener by MaJenta Designs
6. Orange you Glad I Didn't Say Banana Sea Glass Ring by Sea Glass Things
Saturday, July 17, 2010
It was a hot day at the Somerville show on Sunday, but the rain held off and we had a really nice time. I haven't done a show since February and even though I didn't have a ton of items to sell, it was so nice to see everyone and meet a lot of new people. :)
This cute photo of Ben and I in our booth was taken by Nathan Boucher. Thanks Nathan!
Then on Monday I procrastinated from doing more work by joining our friends for a little trek to Providence RI, which is only an hour away. It's such an adorable city and I loved all the little houses and stores. I brought home a really cool '50's umbrella rack and we ate some chewy handmade ravioli for dinner.
Then today I went to meet up with some crafty friends and afterward I had a leisurely stroll through the Public Gardens and Boston Commons and stopped into Anthropologie for some quick inspiration (and now I really want to make pillows). All in all...a great couple of days to clear the mind!