Thursday, March 31, 2011

Japanese Handmade Relief Efforts

By: Jennifer T. of MaJenta Designs

It has been 2 weeks since the devastating tsunami struck Japan, claiming at least 10,000 lives and over 17,000 still missing, and there is still continued updates about radioactivity concerns from some of their nuclear power plants. However, out of tragedy comes hope and unity of the human spirit.

There have been overwhelming humanitarian efforts pouring out to help all those affected by this disaster. Even small business and handmade artisans are contributing all that they can to this cause. Simply searching on Etsy , one can find several artists and shops announcing a portion or even 100% of the purchases will go towards relief efforts in Japan.

Here at MaJenta Designs, all of our funky and fun functional gifts and accessories are all made using gorgeous handmade Japanese papers, so as our way of giving back, 50% of of the proceeds from the pocket mirror or keychain bottle opener purchases from now - April 30, 2011 will be donated towards the Japanese Disaster Relief efforts!

Sakura (cherry blossoms) symbolizes the beautiful but transient nature of life
50% proceeds will be donated to Japanese disaster relief efforts


More examples of just a small sampling of artists/shop owners who are donating a portion of their proceeds or profit from their sales include items such as listed below.

100% proceeds will be donated to Japanese Red Cross

100% proceeds will be donated to U.S. World Vision

The Ginko Tree is considered a ''bearer of hope'' and a symbol of resilience and peace
100% proceeds donated to tsunami relief

100% of the profit will go to Boots on the

50% of cost will be donated to Japan Tsunami Appeal

50% of sale will be donated to Mashiko Potters Fund

50% profit donated to UNICEF

$20 of each shirt donated to Red Cross

Please note that above are just a small selection of the Japanese-inspired items found, however, there is a HUGE range of several other interesting items as well throughout Etsy. Simply search key words like "Japanese donation" or "Japanese relief" can bring up a host of interesting items. For example try perusing some of these selections: Etsy search for "Japanese donation"

Not only will you be supporting handmade, but you'll be supporting worthy causes as well! :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday Stands for Inspiration

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed To You

A few days ago I had the pleasure of attending two back-to-back very inspirational artist meet-ups. In the morning I joined a fairly large group of artists, all working in the encaustic medium, for the first ever meeting of MassWax: the new Massachusetts chapter of the International Encaustic Artists.
Gross Misnderstanding, by April Clay

The new chapter has been founded by artists Barbara Cone and Suzanne Desrosiers. There was a wonderful display of encaustic art on view, and Barbara presented a slide show of work by local artists attending the meeting as well as national artist members of IEA. I was struck by the beauty and versatility of encaustic through the live and digital presentations, as there were many examples of techniques I have never seen before. Two local artists whose work really stood out for me were April Clay and Linda C. Widstrand.

MassWax has some wonderful plans for future group shows, workshops, time-trading, "mindful critiques", and benefits for group members such as discounts on encaustic supplies and classes on how to successfully photography encaustic art. For more information about MassWax and to connect with them, check out their Facebook page.
After the morning in Somerville I sped off to a Boston Handmade monthly meet-up at Lynne's house where Sharon of Stray Notions was leading an impromptu afternoon of quilting. She showed us how to hand-stitch embellishments and applique, and how to create a log cabin pattern. We spent a few hours catching up, chatting about our businesses, our art, and our lives, and I left wanting to combine my love for textile art and my work with photography and encaustic! Who knows what effect this day of inspiration will have on my artwork, but I'm sure it will be an exciting journey.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Gallery and a Perennial Favorite

Boston welcomes a new gallery to Jamaica Plain next month, and two members of Boston Handmade will have artwork included in the inaugural exhibition. UFORGE Gallery officially opens it's doors on April 3rd with the mission of being a non-traditional art gallery offering monthly assignments challenging artists with specific themes and mediums. Of the venture gallery co-founder/owner Brian Crete says, “We wanted a space that gives everyone a chance to display their work, and includes all types and levels of artists – not just well-known artists... an innovative destination and exhibition gallery where established artists can mentor new aspiring artists, and where lesser-known artists can build upon their media and grow artistically.” The gallery is located at 767 Centre Street on the same block as Jamaica Plain's Salmagundi, a small boutique selling hats and accessories from independent designers, and Vee Vee, an American bistro featuring seasonal, local ingredients and a selection of craft beers.

For the inaugural exhibition at UFORGE Gallery, artist and gallery co-founder/owner, Rob Festa has put together his third annual JP to Me show, with the theme this year of "Defined by Light". Forty artists have been invited to participate including Boston Handmade members Jessica Burko and Lucie Wicker. The exhibition will be on view from April 3rd to the 28th, with a public reception on Saturday, April 9 from 6 – 8pm. Festa describes the annual exhibit as “all about bringing our community together.” and last year’s show titled “From Emeralds to Jewels” showed strong community support with more than 300 attendees at the reception held at the Footlight Club, a community theater just around the corner from the gallery's new home. This year’s JP to Me artists will be able to have even more attention for their work as it is available to a broader audience at the new venue, which will allow more accessibility and additional viewing hours to the public.

For more information on JP to Me visit the exhibition website and Facebook page.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mashiko Potters Fund

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

As the days continue since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, many projects have grown to help the people affected. The images we have seen are devastating and touch us, urging us to help those who are experiencing what we cannot imagine. Many have helped Red Cross, auctions like Handmade for Japan have been organized, people have joined forces to help animals, even my favorite band, Phish, is releasing a show they played in Japan with all proceeds going towards relief. People are finding ways that are close to them to help, and I have found a cause close to me.

I came across the Mashiko Potters Fund, or MPF, through email from Pucker Gallery in Boston.

After reading the email I knew immediately I wanted to help the MPF, organized by potter Ken Matsuzaki and the Mayor of Mashiko. Before I had heard of the MPF I had seen images of magnificent kilns crumbled and amazing pots destroyed. As a potter who has been so influenced by Japanese potters, these pictures struck a chord with me. Mashiko in particular has been the home to two of my favorite potters and people who have directly influenced my work, Shoji Hamada and Tatsuzo Shimaoka, and has been the place that so many pots I love were made. The village is filled with so many potters and so much history. To think of it coming to and end, the potters losing their livelihoods, and the kilns not being rebuilt is terrible and sad. I want to help this village continue on with what they do so wonderfully.

Tatsuzo Shimaoka plate

How I am helping:
50% of all sales made in my online Etsy shop now through the end of April will be donated to the Mashiko Potters Fund. My goal is to be able to donate $500 on May 1. It's a very ambitious goal for myself, but that's how big things get done. Local pottery studio Mudflat is the fiscal sponsor for the MPF. Proceeds will be transfered to them directly. I will be posting regular updates on the progress to the goal of $500 on facebook and twitter.

How you can help:
-Purchase a piece from my Etsy shop. 50% of all sales will go towards helping Mashiko potters get their studios and kilns up and running again. Mother's Day is coming up not too far off. Show mom she raised you well buy getting her a gift that helps those in need.

-Help spread the word. The only way I will reach my goal of donating $500 to the MPF will be by word of mouth. Share on facebook, twitter, your blog, email, or any other avenue you can, and encourage others to do the same. You can use the links at the bottom of this post or use the ones on my website.

-Donate to MPF yourself. Follow this link to go to Mudflats donation page, where you can make a donation to the Mashiko Potters Fund

Please help me help these Japanese potters that have given the ceramics world so much.

Shoji Hamada plate

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Suggestions

by Kerry of K Hawkins Photography

Suggestions for you this spring from some friends of mine.
1. Pocket Books by To Boldly Fold 2. Earrings by Made in Lowell 3. City Tote by Red Staggerwing

The next three selections are by Boston Handmade members. 4. Necklace by Merriweather Council 5. Bottle Opener by Majenta Designs, 6. Postcards by Cricicis

One of the great things are being part of the creative community and my membership in Boston Handmade it exposes me to many other artists and crafts people. Over the years, I have gotten to know other artists through meetings, shows, and social gatherings. Some examples of the work of my fellow artisans above in this selection. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fifth Season Of The Providence Open Market

By Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs

I just got accepted into the fifth season of the Providence Open Market. A lot of changes have happened for this years show season. Instead of staying open for a few months in the beginning of the summer, closing down for a month, and then reopening in the fall, this year it will run all summer long from June 11 to September 24. The time also changed from 10am-2pm about an hour less from years past. Here's the big one, the show is still located at Lippitt Park but near the farmers market in the central area of the park. I love this change because we were always set-up away from the farmers market and customers had a hard time finding us. Now we are all together like a big happy family.

There's been some new exciting changes here at Elizabeth Brennick Designs too. New items and new designs from existing creations but you'll have to see when you come opening day June 11th 10am-2pm located at Lippitt Park, East Side, Providence, R.I. (corner of Hope Street and Blackstone Blvd).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Hoops for Spring

By Danielle of The Merriweather Council

I've been working on some new hoops for the spring and summer months! Lots of bright colors, and light, airy text and inspiring words!

Lots more coming to my shop soon!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Big Changes at Boston Handmade

Felted Earth by Lynne Parella of Cozy Cottage Creations

This year has gotten off to a roaring start for Boston Handmade. Since 2007 we have been connecting local artists and craftspeople; bringing together arts professionals in all stages of their careers, encouraging dialogue, and harnessing the power of many to strengthen the success of each creative individual. Starting this year, we will do even more.

With the enthusiasm of our membership and generous support from The Boston Foundation and the Boston Center for Adult Education, we are expanding our current mission to reach out beyond our membership to the wider arts community in Boston. As we strive to increase visibility for locally handmade art and craft, we endeavor to assist creative professionals in developing the tools they need to maintain successful arts businesses. Boston Handmade is in the process of becoming a 501c3 nonprofit arts organization; we are seeking storefront and office space, preparing to hire staff, writing developmental grants, creating new educational and outreach programming, and making exciting plans for the next several years.

Since our inception, the membership of Boston Handmade has been dedicated to working collaboratively for mutual inspirational and professional benefit. We regularly produce exhibition and educational opportunities for our members and we plan to continue with these efforts while developing new programs, sponsoring creative and business opportunities for our members and artists in the wider creative community. As a group of independent businesspeople in the arts we are in the unique position to focus on the specialized needs of this segment and act as supportive mentors. With the assistance of technical advisors and growth support, Boston Handmade has the potential to help those who might otherwise not find an appropriate resource pool, and by further partnering with existing organizations we will strengthen our offerings and increase demand for related industries. In 2011 we are broadening our sense of commitment to the arts within and outside of our membership base. Through this growth we will increase strength in the local creative sector and promote independence and self-reliance for countless artists and craftspeople.

Along with this exciting news, I’m pleased to announce that we are currently accepting applications for new group members in all media categories. For application information, and to apply online visit our website. Membership applications will be accepted until April 16th, with the next round of jurying to begin in summer.

At Boston Handmade we believe that with more local artists making a living making art there would be more art accessible to more people, improving everyone’s quality of living, one unique object at a time. Whether you are an artist, craftsperson, collector or handmade enthusiast, we hope to get to know you sometime soon, and we hope that you get to know us too. Making connections and working together will help us all reach our creative and professional goals.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Signs of Spring

curated by Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations

1. Sitting Pretty - original collage by Reclaimed to You
2. Layered Flower Pendant by Nancyrosetta
3. Plum Blossom Tray by City by the Sea Ceramics
4. Farmer's Market Photo Print by Kerry Hawkins Photography
5. Small Rectangle Gift Tins by MaJenta Designs
6. Felted Foxgloves by Cozy Cottage Creations
7. Large Lotus Necklace with Peridot by Cristina Hurley
8. Art nouveau belle bookplates by cricicis design
9. Chrysanthemum flower hair clip by Elizabeth Brennick Designs

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Celebrating our friend Crystal Hanehan

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed to You
with photography by Jessica & Kerry Hawkins of K. Hawkins Photography

If you didn't see the wedding proposal live on The Martha Stewart Show, and you didn't see our blog post, or our many tweets, let me be the "first" to tell you: Crystal Hanehan is getting married! That's the good news. The news that's sad for all of us here at Boston Handmade is that she is leaving us and moving to New York state this spring.

We will miss her terribly, but we are thrilled that her business, Vintage By Crystal, is skyrocketing into the stratosphere of success!

To celebrate our dear friend and wish her bon voyage, we threw a Boston Handmade-style party last weekend at my studio in the South End. Along with libations and tasty treats we had a table set up with craft supplies and together we made a paper garland for Crystal and her fiance Ben.

Laura Collins of Pansy Maiden and ceramic artist Arthur Halvorsen

Diane Ivey of Lady Dye Fiber Arts

Jessica Burko stitching a garland piece as a paper quilt

The paper garland coming together.

Jessica and Crystal folding up the garland as an accordion.

Making the gift was a fun group project. Using the doilies as individual canvases worked really well, and we tied each section together with reclaimed yarn.

Congratulations Crystal and Ben! We'll miss you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blast from the Past

By Diane of Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design

I attended a celebration party this past Friday and Jessica of Reclaimed to You so graciously let me look through her stack of vintage knitting books that Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs gave her. I have always been fascinated at vintage knitting patterns. Maybe it's because what they knitted back in the day, isn't so vintage at all but their modeling poses are very fun conversation pieces. While enjoying the fabulous atmosphere of the party and looking through the box of books, I stumbled across a rather interesting letter.

Yes! The President of Bernat Yarns replied back to someone directly in regards to a project that she knitted with the Bernat yarn. I think it's so fascinating as a knitter to find something like this. They actually had experts examine the garment and provide feedback! I love how customer service back in the late 70s was just as important as it is now.

I know there's still quality customer service today but I have found through conversations with other fellow knitters that yarn company and knitting magazines are not as responsive to questions or problems. I will definitely hold on to a copy of this letter as a reminder of the joys of knitting.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Handmade for Japan

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

In the wake of the horrendous natural disaster in Japan, a fantastic way to donate has been born. An auction of impeccable art and craft featuring many talented artists who make their art by hand. The Handmade for Japan Ebay auction will be online Thursday, March 24th at 8pm through Sunday, March 27th at 8pm.

stunning bowl by artist Kathy Erteman.

Handmade for Japan was started by ceramics artist Ayumi Horie, Ai Kanazawa Cheung and Kathryn Pombriant Manzella.

chopstick rests by artist Hiroe Bhanazono.

Their mission is to raise money for relief efforts to assist the victims of Japan's catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emissions.

beautiful stoneware tea pot by artist Naomi Dalglish

One hundred percent of all net proceeds will be donated to support relief efforts in Japan through the Global Giving non-profit organization. You can also donate $10 to Global Giving via your cell phone. Just text JAPAN to 50555.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Holiday Birthday

by Cristina Hurley of Cristina Hurley Jewelry Design

I have a holiday birthday. Yes, my birthday falls on that most lucky of holidays, St Patrick's Day. Although my name is not Patricia (which is a lovely name) and I'm not of Irish descent (I was born in Puerto Rico) I consider myself an honorary Irish woman. One reason I consider this, obviously, is my birthday.

I can't tell you how convenient it is to be born on this day, and when times were a bit wilder for me, how many free pints and shots I received just by showing people my driver's license... Although those happy go lucky, albeit fuzzy days are long gone(almost), It is so fun to reminisce about the Black Rose, and how many friends I always made... And how happy something so simple made people, and compel them to want to celebrate more, even if I was a stranger.

The other reeason is, I married an Irish American, second generation. His mom came over on a boat from Galway when she was just 18 years old, looking for a better life. When I told her my birthday, very soon after I met her, I think I sealed the deal as far as her accepting me for her oldest and most beloved of sons was concerned. I mean, I might as well have married him right then and there. It would have been fine with her.

I love Cornbeef and Cabbage, my mom made it for us when we were kids, every year, around my birthday. Now, my mom in law makes it for me, every year, ON my birthday, and it doesn't feel like my birthday happened at all, if we don't have it. That has never happened before though. She's IRISH people, she speaks Gaelic and everything! That boiled dinner is on the dinner table every year, no matter what.

I love clovers. See my plant above? I always have one, no matter what. I had one in college that lived forever, until I moved after graduating. I was very sad when it died. BUT, I always make sure I have one, and try to take good care of it. I can be supersticious, I need all the luck I can get. I take extra good care of my Shamrock plant. If you have never had one you should get one.

They are easy to take care of and as you can see, get these lovely white flowers on them. The shamrocks also close up at night, like they are sleeping. They are wonderful plants.
The clover is even seen in my work, even though it's not very literal... like in the cuff above. I have many other designs in my collection which have the clover motif. I always enjoy thinking of new ways to use it in my work.

All birthdays are special days, mine just happens to fall on a day that used to be just about parties, but now it has created a love in me for all things Irish. I could go on forever about the music, my family, the culture there, but it would be a very long post.

Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day festivities, wherever you may be, be sure to wear green, be safe, eat cornbeef, and above all have fun!!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Prettiest Bathroom You'll Ever See

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

I attended the Elusive Teabowl Workshop at Harvard that I had previously blogged a bit about, and I will tell you all about it, but that time must wait. Right now we need to talk about bathrooms. Gorgeous bathrooms. Harvard ceramics department bathrooms.

Next time you are even close to 219 Western Ave in Allston, go see it. It's right next to the ceramics department entrance, so you can quietly sneak in and check it out without anyone thinking you an odd duck sneaking around bathrooms. It's worth the stop. I love seeing it any time I'm at the studio for an event. The wall and floor tiles were created by Lucy Scanlon. According to her website, the project was created after she had won a juried competition for the job while she was teaching there.

This phone camera shot of a dimly lit corner doesn't do it justice, but hey, I left the tripod and lamps at home. You are still able to see the incredible waves of texture in the tiles, including the border tiles at the top. Even the toilet paper holder is awesome. It's not every day you say that, that's why it's so exciting!

The texture of the tiles is amazing, but I love the glaze as well. It's a gorgeous aqua shade with lots of variation in it, varying so much from tile to tile, and even from corner to corner on a single one. The color and forms give you so much to look at. It still has the classic "blue/water" theme that so many bathrooms have, but it is the most unique and beautiful interpretation of it I've ever seen.

219 Western Ave in Allston, entrance is in the back of the building, down a few steps. The bathroom is right around the corner from the display of work that is directly in front of you when you walk in. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yearly and Seasonal Trends and Utilizing Them

By Danielle, The Merriweather Council

Some people really like to ride the wave of trends and some people do not. No matter which kind of person you are, knowing the trends in the first step.

The easiest, most subtle way to leverage trends without being too trendy is to utilize color. Every season the fashion industry determines what colors are going to be “in” and then, because they said so, that color becomes very popular and we see it everywhere – home d├ęcor, high end fashion, ready to wear fashion, prop styling, make up, cupcake frosting… you know how it works.

The 2011 color of the year is honeysuckle, which is a very lovely shade of pinkish orange, or as I like to call it, coral.

honeysuckle embroidered pendant

Honeysuckle, aka, pantone 18-2120, is the color of the year but there are some other key colors that are predicted to be trendy or popular this spring.

This site breaks down not only the colors by useage and also elaborates on the features that will be popular (shiney, sheer, etc…)

You can use these colors in your own work and add these descriptive words to your listings and tags and marketing. You can also just use these images for inspiration.

Beyond colors, there are trendy elements and such that can be predicted. If you are into Etsy you might know about their merchandising trends report each month.

Things that Etsy predicts to be popular this spring include:

Whoopie Pies, chalkboards, sea creatures, bunnies, vintage cameras, and cast iron animals. Many more, see here.

It’s up to you if you want to apply these trends to your work, but im sure you can find at least one that fits your style and leverage it to work for you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mosaic Monday - Happy St. Pat's!

Curated by Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations

1. noteset with peony, - cricicis design
2. Green Monster 8x10 Photo Print, - Lucie Wicker Photography
3. Hand Emroidered Shamrock necklace, - Merriweather Council
4. St. Patty yarn, - Lady Dye Fiber Art & Design
5. Old Fence 5x7 Print, - Kerry Hawkins Photography
6. Flower Tray - City by the Sea Ceramics

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Work

By Arthur of Arthur Halvorsen

This is a shot of my new work that came out of the kiln this week with the dots that I have become neurotic over! I dreaded getting into something like this in my work but I really enjoy it. I have the belief that glazing should take just as long as the making process. Once the piece comes out of the bisque kiln it's only half done and a lot of people in ceramics dread the glazing. I look forward to it, I think of it as another time for layers of information and I love to layer my pieces with lots of information. It not only makes physical layers but also makes visual layers of depth. I see the dots and damask patterns as sort of a wall paper pattern that's falling off the walls and revealing the layers underneath. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Season Changes

By Kerry of KhawkinsPhoto

Now that the snow is gone, I am have been able to go out into my yard and take a few photos. I noticed that things are slowly coming back to life. There is also left over fall and winter foliage hoping to transform for the coming season. March isn't my favorite month but I am hopefully it will go out like a lamb and give us beautiful April.

I will have lots of yard clean-up to do in the coming months, raking leaves, planting, cleaning up after the hard winter that we have had. It is all worth it. Nothing is more thrilling seeing all my spring flowers start to grow and eventually bloom.
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