Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011


By Arthur of Arthur Halvorsen Ceramics

So I have embarked on this new project, what I am doing is taking a photo a day with my iPhone and using this app called Hipstamatic. What it does is it take photos and makes them look vintage. (You can get the app
here) I am posting the photos a week at a time on my blog, and you can see all the photos thus far here but I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos with you.

When I was in college I almost majored in photo, and I see this project as a way to keep my eye fresh and always looking for details. I love that in my ceramic work I have a lot of little details and I think this app does a great job of picking up on the small details that I love to feature in my ceramics. I encourage you all to become a follower of my blog and comment on the photos that I post and to comment on the ones you love and the ones you love to hate, and what it just plain BAD! I hope you enjoy this new project that I am starting and am looking forward to what's to come!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Boston ARTchives: A Local Art Library

We received some nice feedback from the blog post we published yesterday (thanks blog readers!), and so today we are sharing another interesting resource with you. Here is a statement from local artist Dan Nolan about his newly launched business in Jamaica Plain. It's quite unique, and we think you'll find the concept as thrilling as we do...

"Artists contribute greatly to their communities yet struggle to survive in those communities. People value having artists around, but don’t have affordable access to the art. The current model of selling/sharing art has failed both parties. Meanwhile, the art sits on studio shelves.

"Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs create mutually beneficial relationships between consumers and local farmers. Farmers sell “shares” at the beginning of the season; consumers receive fresh local veggies throughout the season. They meet each other, foster a sense of community, and share risk – the fate of the farmer’s crops becomes the fate of the community’s produce. Tens of thousands of families have signed up and CSA popularity continues to rise. Fishermen and bakers have adapted the model to their trades, with great success.

"The last decade also brought the evolution of product-sharing models. Entrepreneurs used the internet to turn old archetypes of libraries, video stores, and car rental agencies, into new enterprises large (Netflix, Zipcar) and small (local tool banks). Product-sharing models make expensive items affordable.

"Boston ARTchives is a local art library that applies these models to art. It’s not quite a CSA because art isn’t seasonal or consumable and each piece is produced individually. But Boston ARTchives begins with the spirit of CSA (supporting local industry, fostering sense of community, sharing risk), and incorporates the efficiency of product-sharing models to create new streams of revenue for artists and new avenues of access for art appreciators. Artists pool their art together and lend it out to Boston ARTchives' subscribers. Each artist puts ten pieces into the library, yielding a large, diverse collection of art. Each subscriber pays a yearly fee for membership, yielding a new stream of revenue for the artists to split. Each subscriber gets to choose art from the collection to bring home with them for four months. After the four month lending term, they return the art to the collection, and take home new art. Subscribers also have the opportunity to buy the art in the collection. Boston ARTchives creates three new revenue streams for the artists: subscription fees, sales of their work, and sales of other artists‘ work. Subscribers make supporting local art a reality and enjoy a rotating exhibit of that art on their very own walls."

For more information on Boston ARTchives visit their website:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Artists Approaching Art Galleries

At Boston Handmade we love discovering resources to share with our online community. We recently came across this helpful list for visual artists who are planning to approach fine art galleries, written by (and reprinted here with permission from) Xanadu Gallery owner Jason Horejs.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Six Most Common Mistakes Artists Make When Approaching Galleries

Mistake #1: Presenting an inconsistent body of work. Artists love their freedom. They want to experiment, and crave variety. All good things, except when you are presenting your work to a gallery. The work you present to a gallery needs to be unified. It doesn’t need to be repetitive or formulaic, but it must present you as a consistent artist with a clear vision. If you work in several media and a variety of styles, focus on just one for the next 6-12 months. Create a body of work that feels like a “series”. Once you have 20-25 pieces in this series, you will be ready to approach a gallery.

You can further create consistency by presenting the work in a cohesive way. Use similar frames for all of your paintings or photographs, similar bases for your sculptures, or similar settings for your artistic jewelry. Make it very clear all of the work is by the same artist. If you simply can’t rein your style in, consider creating multiple portfolios, one for each style.

Mistake #2: Producing insufficient work to sustain gallery sales. Successful artists are consistently in the studio creating artwork. Gallery owners need to feel confident you will replace sold art quickly and maintain high quality. They want to know that if you are successful you can replenish their inventory. Several suggestions to increase your productivity:

1. Dedicate time daily to your art. Treat your studio time as sacred. Train your family and friends to respect that time. You don’t interrupt them when they are at work; ask them the same courtesy when you are in the studio.

2. Set a production goal. Create 1 or 2 pieces per week. A common objection I hear to this suggestion is that quality will suffer if an artist works this quickly. In my experience, the opposite is true. A certain level of quality may only be obtained by putting miles on the paintbrush, spending hours in the darkroom, moving tons of clay or stone.

3. Remove distractions from the studio. Move your computer to another room. Unplug the telephone. Nothing kills an artist’s focus faster than the constant interruption of technology.

Mistake #3: Delivering a portfolio in a format inconvenient for gallery review. Often your portfolio is your only chance to show your work to a gallery owner. Poorly formatted portfolios are rarely viewed. Your portfolio should be concise, simple, informative and accessible. Things to keep in mind with your portfolio:

1. Your portfolio should contain no more than 20-25 of your most recent works. A gallery owner does not want to see your life’s work. They want to see your best, most current, most relevant work.

2. On each page you should include pertinent, relevant information about the art. Include the title, the medium, the size, and the price. Don’t include the date of artwork creation.

3. Place your bio, artist’s statement, and resume at the back of the portfolio, not the beginning. Your artwork is the most important feature of the portfolio, don’t bury it behind your info. Limit press clippings, and magazine articles to 2-3 pages.

4. Include 2-3 images of sold artwork. You should try to include at least one photo of your artwork installed. These images will establish your credibility more rapidly than any resume ever could.

Mistake #4: Lacking confidence and consistency in pricing. One of the greatest challenges facing you as an artist is knowing how to correctly value your work. Many artists price their work emotionally, and inconsistently. Galleries can’t sell wrongly priced art. Many artists mistakenly under-price their work. They do this because they feel they are not established, because their local art market won’t sustain higher prices, or because they lack confidence in their work.

Mistake #5: Approaching the wrong galleries. My gallery is located in an art market dominated by Southwest and Western subject matter. My gallery stands apart from most of the galleries in Arizona because I have chosen art outside the norms. Yet I am constantly contacted by Western and Southwestern artists. They seem surprised and hurt when I turn them away. They could have saved us both some discomfort by researching my gallery before approaching.

Mistake #6: Submitting art through the wrong channels. Conventional wisdom, and even some highly respected art marketing books will advise you to send your portfolio with a cover letter to the gallery. You may also hear it's best to call a gallery and try to make an appointment to meet the owner. You might visit a gallery's website to learn of their submission guidelines.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gallery owner Jason Horejs has written a book called, "Starving" To Success The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting into Galleries and Selling More Art in which he shares information "that will help you approach galleries in an organized, systematic and professional manner, build your brand as an artist, communicate effectively with your galleries, and much more." He also advises...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Get Organized! As you ramp up production and build more relationships with galleries, it is critical that you organize your work. If you can put a system in place to get organized and then stick to it then you can take the pain out of putting your studio in order.

1. Move your inventory record-keeping to the computer. Having a good, simple inventory program in place to organize your artwork is going to vastly simplify your record-keeping process.

2. Start using an inventory number with each piece of artwork. Having a numbering system in place will allow you to instantly identify work and tie it back to your inventory system.

3. Include all of the information about your artwork on the artwork.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Looking for additional information on the business of being an artist? Check out some book recommendations from artist Eliza Tobin, and consider taking an Arts Marketing class sponsored by Boston Handmade.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I am currently a full-time student at BU's Center for Digital Imaging Arts in professional photography (yay!). This was the first project we were assigned- 26 different photos representing each letter of the alphabet. Turns out there are "letters" around us everywhere, you just have to be looking for them. We then printed them on 13x19" matte paper and made a sweet poster. Fun!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Felt was Flying at the BCAE

by Sharon of Stray Notions

This past week, on Valentine's Day, I taught a workshop on making felted flowers to a full room at the BCAE. I love sharing techniques and ideas in this way and seeing even those who claim to have no creativity, "bloom" when given the time and space to do so. It's also enlightening to try to break down the technique part into a step by step process when so much of my own process is quite literally made up as I go along.

We were so busy that I didn't get as many photos of everyone and their creations as I would have liked, but I spread a buffet of materials including buttons, sequins, beads and pipe cleaners, in addition to a rainbow created from recycled wool clothing. Everyone left with some completed blossoms and materials to continue working on at home.

Next month I will be reprising my 15 (more like 8) minutes of fame teaching how to embroider and line a canvas tote bag using a drawing or inspiration photograph (it can be your own, a child's or one that I will make available). To join me sign up here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Paralysis of Possibilities

by Lynne of cozycottagecreations

Does this ever happen to you? You're chugging along getting things done and come to a point where there are so many things on your list you find it impossible to decide what to tackle next. So, like a deer in headlights, you stare at your list... then take a nap. I call this phenomenon (which, to me, is different than procrastination) the Paralysis of Possibilities. I'm at the point in my life where my To Do list, daily, has more things on it than I could possibly do in a day. There are definite "Must Dos", but there are also tons of other items that, although important, don't have the same urgency. I've had to devise a fun way to stay motivated and get those little things accomplished.

The Paralysis of Possibilities happens when you've already accomplished the "Must Do's", you have a finite amount of time (say an hour), and eight (or so) things on your list all of equal importance/urgency. I keep a bowl in the kitchen with little folded up pieces of paper numbered one through eight. So, instead of heading for the couch, I number my list 1-8 and pick a paper out of the bowl. That's right, I leave it up to randomness to decide what's going to get checked off my list next. It might sound silly, but there's something about that randomness that keeps me going. I stay more focused on what I need to accomplish so that I can cross something as of yet unknown off my list. This strategy also works well when you can't decide what item for the shop to make next. Sometimes I want to make 10 different things (well, that's all the time, actually). Instead of fret over the decision, I leave it up to randomness, and the funny thing is, it's usually the perfect choice.

So, in the spirit of random fun, I leave you with an item from one of our members, randomly selected of course: a really cool bookplate from cricicis

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Mosaic - Back In Black

1. Black Sheep - 252 Yard of Hand Spun and Hand Dyed Yarn by Lady Dye
2. Her Heart Almost Stopped Altered Book by Reclaimed to You
3. Oxidized Sterling Cuff with Cubic Zirconia by Cristina Hurley
4. 5 x 7 Black and White Print - Go Red Sox by Fraske Designs

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pottery Made By Kids

By Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs

I'm sharing some art projects my children have made from the past few years. I'm actually jealous because when I was a kid there wasn't a kiln in my art class.

Here are some photos of their pottery:
Abi short for Abigail. This piece above was given to my husband last year for father's day.

Below are shots of Noah's pottery. The last photo is how he uses it to hold marbles, silly bandz, and seas shells.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Accomplishment with a Lesson Learned

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

On March 1 Lark Books will be putting out a new book, 500 Raku. It's part of an ongoing series from them. Other titles have been 500 Cups, 500 Plates and Chargers, 500 Ceramic get the idea. Each book is a collection of 500 various types of ceramics, although there are other crafts who represented with books in the 500 series as well.

There was a call for entries for 500 Raku in the fall of 2009, and since I had some recent raku teabowls I was really happy with, I entered all three. The teabowls I made all had images of Hokusai prints I had painted on them. When I entered the pieces, I had titled them all "Hokusai Teabowl". This is where my lesson learned comes in.

Fast forward to Summer of 2010. After completely forgetting about the entry, I received an envelope from Lark. I opened it and found an acceptance letter! Woo hoo! One thing though. My letter read "Hokusai Teabowl, accepted, Hokusai Teabowl, declined, Hokusai Teabowl, declined". So which of the three was going to be published? I had no idea. I would have to wait until the book was out. And this is how I learned to ALWAYS give pieces distinguishing titles when entering them in something, even if they are similar or part of a set. Doh!

Last week I got my complimentary copy of 500 Raku for being a contributor, and this was when I learned for the first time which of the three pieces was in the book. It was Hokusai Teabowl! Kidding! It was the one with an image of "The Great Wave" painted on it. I had thought that may have been the chosen piece, as the image is much more common and familiar than "Hibiscus and Sparrow" or "Mount Fuji in Clear Weather".

I'm super excited to have this piece published, and I'm glad that Jim Romberg was the juror who chose my work. Though raku is a style of pottery I rarely do and certainly don't focus on, this teabowl is the second piece published in a book on the subject. This success has made me decide to make it more of a regular thing, so I made a New Years resolution to make 5 raku pieces and 5 sawdust fired pieces every month in addition to my work I would normally make. It's good it gave me a little kick in the butt to make more raku. It's also good that it taught me to properly distinguish my pieces, if for no one else then at least for myself. Has there been a time that YOU had a "doh!" moment submitting your work, teaching you a lesson? I can't be the only one!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Messy Bench

by Cristina Hurley of Cristina Hurley Jewelry Design

OK so this is really kind of embarrassing but here goes...

I was inspired by a project on a website where you had to take a picture of your workspace without cleaning it up or anything, it had to be as is...
I know it looks so messy...
But its an organized mess I swear!
I work on many projects at once so I don't idle, or get distracted too much. It helps me keep my flow. I feel like regardless of my self induced chaos, I get a lot more done.
Enjoy my mess.
And in my defense, I think it has gotten a lot better since I took these pictures.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

To over-dye or not to over-dye…that is the question

If it doesn’t work out the first time, try again! That is my motto. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have dyed yarn that it did not come out the way that I planned. This may happen to you as well when you work on a craft project that does not seem to go the way that you planned. I dyed this yarn and spun it up. After spinning it all up, I realize the color scheme was not what I had envisioned.

I didn't care too much for the color blend and the brightness of the yarn

So I decided to over-dye the yarn with sky blue food coloring. Remember, if it does not go the way that you planned you can always change it in the middle. When over-dyeing yarn please note that you can only go from a lighter color to a darker color. You cannot go from darker to light but the end result will be beautiful when you do over-dye it.

I just love the blue, purple and the hint of pink and green! Just lovely colors!

I had a wonderful individual, Judy, who purchased this yarn and she made the most amazing wristlets.

Absolutely lovely model!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


By Danielle of The Merriweather Council

It seems to come up over and over again that story telling is a great way to connect your buyers to your work. I wasn't really sold on it (no pun intended) until recently, and even then I was still trying to figure out what it all really meant. Don't people want their own stories? Don't people want to give their own meaning to objects?

Yeah, they do. But telling a story about your work gives people a way to relate themselves to it, and it gives them something to talk about when someone compliments them on what they bought from you. I think this is especially true for handmade things, which all at some point in time do have a story behind them. Figuring out what exactly that story is, and how to tell it is the hard part, sorry I can't really help you there.

But to get you started, and to further prove the point, you should check out this seller. Anya of Requiem Fine Art makes these really amazing and super unique necklaces out of antique spoons and suspends objects in epoxy in the cup of the spoon. They are awesome on their own, super interesting and well made, but there is a whole story behind them. At the SOWA Cabin Fever show, our booth was right next to hers, and when I wandered over to check it out, what was cool on it's own, became way cooler after I read the story behind the pieces.

I won't tell you the story, you will have to go read it, but I will tell you that all day long Anya pointed people's attention in the direction of the story, which she had posted in her display as well as on cards for people to take, and you could see that once people read the story they were so much more interested in the pieces. And she sold quite a few of them.

This is what really made me understand what story telling does, how it works, and why! Does your work have a story behind it? Are you telling your potential buyers that story? Is it working?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ANNOUNCING: An Arts Opportunities Newsletter from Boston Handmade

Starting March 1st Boston Handmade is launching a monthly newsletter to share professional opportunities for Boston area artists and craftspeople. The Boston Handmade Arts Opportunities Newsletter will post calls for work, grant offers, exhibitor opportunities, juried show announcements, arts job listings, and more.

It's easy to sign up to receive this monthly newsletter. Click HERE or click on the "get mail" link at the top of our blog, enter your email address, and follow the prompts.

If you have listings to be included in our newsletter, send them to:

We are delighted to begin offering this service to the local arts and craft community and we hope you join us!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Mosaic - In the Kitchen

1. 2 Brown Mugs by City by the Sea Ceramics
2. Set of 5 Needle Felted Strawberries by Cozy Cottage Creations
3. Big and Little Spoon in Love by The Merriweather Council
4. Apple Wrist Pin Cushion by Elizabeth Brennick Designs
5. Snap Pouch - Eat Up, Sleepyhead by Stitchy McYarnpants
6. Blue Dinner Plate by Arthur Halvorsen Ceramics

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Photographers Who Inspire Me

by Kerry Hawkins of Khawkinsphotography

Paul Strand - I love this shot. The shadows are terrific. His photography has the feel of someone observing life from afar in a very quiet way. Paul Strand photographed a variety of subjects over six decades. What I love most are his city scenes and portraits. He really captures the spirit of his subjects. I don't take portraits but his work may change my mind.

Vivian Maier - Vivian's work was recently discovered and I have fallen in love with it. I hope to someday to take street photography like this. It is hard to believe that her work hasn't been in the public eye until now. Her work was discovered at an auction, which included 100,000 images. I can't get enough of her photos.

Minor White - I discovered Minor White's work in college, so that is a bit ago. I love his eye for the simple and elegant. I really like his landscapes, they are very quiet and I almost feel like I am there with the photographer.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crafting with Photos at the BCAE

Last Monday I taught a workshop at the Boston Center for Adult Education (as part of the BH series) and I wanted to post some photos from the evening. We had two hours which was enough time to make some photography-inspired magnets, ornaments, cards, and even start some coasters-
I had such a good time, I hope everyone else did too. Thanks to the Boston Center for Adult Education and of course my lovely, creative students. Good news- I will be teaching the class again on June 15 so if you missed it this time around, I hope to see you there this summer!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Love List for your Creative Biz

by Eliza Lynn Tobin of Art Asana

I thought I'd put together a list of resources and books to give your creative business and inner artist some love this Valentine's day . This list is has been curated to include a bunch of books and online resources that have inspired me in the last year and have helped me as an artist and creative business owner. It's a Valentines Day Love List for artists and crafters in creative business!

  • Craft Inc., and Craft Inc, Business Planner
  • Scoutie Girl (Blog)
  • Kelly Rae Roberts e-book
  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
  • Blacksburg Belle (Blog)
  • Tribes by Seth Godin
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen
  • Blogging Your Way e-course by Holly Becker of decor8
  • The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam
  • In the Fish Bowl e-course by Marisa Haedike of Creative Thursday
  • Creative Thursday Podcasts
  • Own it, Sister Radio Show (podcasts)
  • Hyperbole and a Half (this blog doesn't have anything to do with being an artist or being in creative business, but it is highly creative and perhaps one of the funniest blogs I've ever read. Sometimes the best *love* I can give my inner artist and creative biz is laughter!)What about you?

    What are some of the creative business/inspirational books and resources that you love?

    (Please note: These links are NOT affiliate links, I just wanted to share the love!)

  • Thursday, February 10, 2011

    An Interview with Vicki Cook of VCMetalworks

    by Nancy of nancyrosetta

    Meet my friend Vicki.
    Vicki is a fellow metal worker who makes beautiful jewelry as well as other small useable works of art. I have been inspired to try a technique or two from following her progress over the years, and more recently, her blog, and I must say... she is inspiring!

    Vicki teaches classes at Krasl Art Center and the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and shows and sells her work at the Chartruese Gallery and her Etsy store...among other venues.

    I asked her a few questions...

    How did you get started In your field, or what made you want to become an artist?
    I was always making things, always; from grass, cardboard, paper, string, horse hair off the fence, extra fabric from cutoff jeans. Mom & Dad seemed to let me use any material I could get my hands on (if it was free) and just let me have at it, free reign, no directions needed.

    What is the first thing you remember making by hand?
    I remember making little carvings on sticks with a pocket knife that I borrowed from my brother, my mom was a little upset that I had a knife so I must have been pretty young.

    What inspires you. Where do your ideas come from?
    It's changed over time and I expect that it will change more in the future, but right now I feel very motivated by process; I'm excited about fold forming and synclastic forming so I'm playing around with that a great deal, seeing what I can do with it and how I can take it to the next step and the next...and then combining THAT technique with another technique like color on metal or mixed metal or enamels...

    What do you like most about your work?
    Struggling with a piece, whether it is the design or technique or material, then, bang! I get it! That's what makes me skip around the room.

    What is your background? (family background, education, former/current day job?)
    I recently told a friend about how my grandfather was a metallurgist and my father was a machinist then he became a metal cutting fluid engineer and she said it's like I was genetically predisposed to work in metal. I like that. I remember dinner table conversations about tensile strength, foundries, and ingots. It seems like the language of metal has always been part of my language. I studied ornamental blacksmithing for several years after high school, then about 15 years ago took up jewelry-scale metal work. I teach at Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, Michigan, sell my work through Chartreuse Art Gallery, St Joseph and make my work in my Benton Harbor studio.

    Describe your creative process.
    Usually I get an idea for a form and do a quick sketch, then try to fill it in with details, thinking about the steps I need to make it. Then I usually set the drawing aside and come back to it later, sometimes it's just a day but sometimes it is literally years later when I think OH, it just needed that little curve, or more doming. Then I let myself at the metal to make a prototype which may become a one of a kind or I might make a limited number or make it a regular item I produce.

    In five years, where would you like to be?
    Doing what I'm doing but more, in the last year I clocked an average of 18 studio (actual hands on metal) hours per week, and I have to drag myself out in the afternoon, I don't want to leave.

    If I had my way, Vicki would definitely clock in more hours at the studio. I love what she does, and I love how happy it makes her to do it! I am always excited to see her next finished piece, and even happier when it inspires me to try a new technique!

    Check out Vicki's page on Facebook! VCMetalworks
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...