Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sowa Open Market Opens Tomorrow

It must be spring because Sowa Open Market opens tomorrow! Every Sunday from May 1 through the end of October, local vendors will be out selling their wares rain or shine. In addition to artists, jewelers, designers, and crafters of all kinds, Sowa also hosts a farmers market and a variety of different food trucks. Sowa is located at 460 Harrison Ave in the South End and will be open from 10am to 4pm. For more information, check out their website. Buy local, buy fresh!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Robert Frank, "The Americans"

by Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography

I've started collecting photography books and one of the top ones on my list to buy was Robert Frank's "The Americans." After getting a Guggenheim grant in 1955, the Swiss-born photographer set off across the country, capturing American life at its best, its worst, and just as it is. When he finished in 1956, he met Jack Kerouac who agreed to write the intro to the book. If you find yourself with a copy, you MUST read the intro first! Trust me, it sets the perfect tone.

Here is a small sample of some of my favorite Frank images:

What photographers inspire you?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Open Studios

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

The next three weekends will be keeping myself and other Boston Handmade'ers busy with Open Studio events in different towns around the Boston area. I encourage you to check out at least one of these events, but if you really want that gold star, you'd better get to all three. ;)

This weekend, April 30 and May 1, will be West Medford Open Studios. There will be four of us representing Boston Handmade at one location. Showing at 56 Bower Street will be myself, Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations, Allison of Fraske Designs, and Sharon of Stray Notions. The event runs noon to 5 each day. Come get mom that gift for Mother's Day. Mom's LOVE handmade!

The following weekend, I am participating in Needham Open Studios, the town I live and work in. May 7 the event runs from 10-4 and May 8 the event runs from 12-4. I will be showing out of The Potters Shop in Gorse Mill Studios. Gorse Mill is a major stop for Needham Open Studios, having 16 artists in one location. Come say hi!

On May 15 will be the very first Dedham Open Studios event. This event will also have a few of us Boston Handmade'ers showing together representing the group. Participating in DOS will be myself, Kerry Hawkins of Kerry Hawkins Photography, and Nancy MacCallum of Nancyrosetta. Come support the first ever Dedham Open Studios event to ensure that it continues in the future!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

That time of year again

Well it is that time of year again that the flowers start to awaken from their winter slumber. I am so delighted to tell you all that I got invited into a show at the Schaller Gallery in Michigan. The show is titled "For the Flowers" I am beyond thrilled! There are lot of the Major Hitters in the ceramics world that are shown in that gallery and I am THRILLED to have been asked to show along side them!

Back to the flowers... I love this time of year because the flowers in bloom are so incredible and beautiful! I get a lot of inspiration from then when I'm making flower bricks, and that's exactly what I;m thinking about when I'm working in the studio. I just wanted to share a few more photos I have taken of flowers.

This beauty was in P-town last summer.

I took this pic of an orchid at last years Boston Flower and Garden Show.

And last but not least my friend Liz from England sent me this pic of my platter with a long vase on top of it filled with flowers from her garden last summer.

**If you own a piece of mine I would LOVE a photo of it in use at the table, cats eating out of it or whatever! The funnier the better! I'm making a new page on my website of Arthur in Action Shots. THANKS!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coming Up.... West Medford Open Studios

Visit the following Boston Handmade Artisans at the West Medford Open Studios this coming weekend - April 30 and May 1st!

1. Dragonfly Brooch ,by straynotions
2. Brown and Blue Mugs , by City by the Sea Ceramics
3. Souvenirs Sign 5x7 Photographic Pring , by Fraske Designs
4. Needle Felted Strawberries by cozycottagecreations

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Springtime in New England

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

When I was a little girl
We didn't have the seasons
Raised in sunny Southern Cal
Was good for other reasons

When we came to Boston it
Was like a burst of color
Fall and winter were the bomb
But spring was like no other

A rebirth to the landscape
Flowers sprouting everywhere,
Blooms of tulips, daffodils
some to keep and some to share

At times the rain would disappoint
At times the sun would shine
Sometimes the rain and sun would share
A rainbow for a time

So get outside, seize the day
Keep your loved ones close at hand
There is no better season
Than springtime in New England

Check out these BH shops: CozyCottageCreations Fraskedesigns KHawkinsPhoto

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rainy Day in Boston

It's raining here in Boston today (April showers bring May flowers right?) so I'm pretty happy to be curled up at home with no reason to leave. If you enjoy taking photos outside, sometimes it's worth it to grab your camera and head out in the weather. One of the things about shooting in the rain is that while you may be wet/cold/miserable, you can also get some super dramatic, moody shots (which makes it all worth it). Here are some photos I took on a particularly wet day in Gloucester, MA:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pots for Earth Day

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

I try to be as conscious about waste as I can be with my business, and take small but meaningful steps where I can. I ship all my items with used packing materials and boxes. I try to collect people's email addresses for my mailing list rather than snail mail addresses. I had been reusing shopping bags for my sales until this winter, but I made the decision to buy new bags to sell my items in. I went with brown paper bags, and I carved a recycle stamp to put on each one, trying to encourage what hands it fell into once it left mine that they should recycle or reuse it.

I like to think that my pottery itself has a hand in keeping plastic cups, plates, and bowls out of landfills. I have many of each in my home that are sturdy enough to toss into a bag and without worry, go camping, road tripping, or just an average day. Having a cup with you is super handy to avoid those unfriendly containers that come along with spontaneous beverages.

Handmade pottery is far more durable than the stuff you can pick up at any giant chain. I have dropped mugs on the ground at shows to show people how sturdy they are. Am I crazy? No, I just know how strong they are. When potters have a piece that didn't come out of the kiln right and isn't fixable, some of them smash it. I do this, and have to hit pots numerous times with a hammer to chip it. If they can hold up to this, they can certainly hold up to an afternoon in your purse or backpack.

Here's a cup I cart around with me. Some tips on what to look for when shopping for travel-friendly pots:

The straighter the sides the better. The curves will have more weak points in the curve. Straight or shallow curves are best. You don't want it to be heavy, but it should feel sturdy.

A thicker lip is a good thing for this. Generally a lip should taper a bit more to prevent dribbling. In this case, you want a nice thick rounded lip.

The foot of the pot should be flat on the bottom and rounded edges on the perimeter. If there is a trimmed foot it is a weak point and more prone to chipping while getting tossed around. A trimmed foot could still be okay if it still had the same idea as the lip, rounded and thick, sturdy. The foot shown has a flower pattern carved on it, but is shallow enough not to compromise the piece.

I hope these tips are helpful. Let me know if you decide to buy sturdy pots in an effort to avoid plastic and styrofoam!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


By Diane of Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design

We all have something that we are passionate about but you have to find it deep within you. It’s easier said than done but what I will say is that you will be much happier doing what you love and will be more willing to take the risk needed in life to make you happier. Recently I decided to do a career change and focus on my fiber arts business while doing non-profit consulting and it has made me happier in my personal and professional life.

Therefore, I challenge all of you to spend time thinking about what motivates you each morning to get up and do what you love. If you are doing it…keep on keeping on. And if you are struggling, find it within you to take bold risk to do what you love. In the end, no matter what career field you are in, you will create and inner-peace that is beautiful.

Passion. Purpose. Pride.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring and Summer Classes at the BCAE

Our partnership with the Boston Center for Adult Education continues with a Spring/Summer series of Boston Handmade classes this May and June.

Small Paper Quilts: Creating Stitched Collage with Jessica Burko, May 23, 6-9pm
Basic Embroidery with Sharon Fischer, June 6, 6-9pm
Beyond the Album: Crafting with Photos with Lucie Wicker, June 15, 6-8pm

This is your latest opportunity to meet the members of Boston Handmade and learn skills from them that you have always been curious about.

For more information and to register for these classes please visit the BCAE web site:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Patch Interview

By Beth of Elizabeth Brennick Designs

I recently was contacted through my Etsy page by a writer from the Patch. The Patch is an online local news organization that was formed in March, 2010 to improve the quality of life in underserved communities across the globe through access to trusted local news and information. Leigh Medeiros, the writer who contacted me, was looking to do a story about a crafter/artist who lives in Seekonk and I guess I was a match.

This being my first interview other then doing short ones at craft shows, it was very cool and exciting. She came to the house where I had some of my item's laid out for her. She asked simple questions and I felt very calm which was NOT the case before hand. It took about an hour, she was awesome and me being a talker we totally got off subject and started a conversation about our Zumba classes. Well the article just came out and when reading it I was amazed with just those simple questions and answers she produced this wonderful article that I'm very proud of. It also made my mom cry! Here it is:

Monday, April 18, 2011

For the Table

Curated by Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations

1. Big and Little Spoon in Love,by Merriweather Council
2. Stamped Platter , by Arthur Halvorsen
3. 2 Leaf Mugs by City , by the Sea Ceramics
4. Embroidered linen table mats , by straynotions
5. Needle Felted Apples and Bowl by Cozy Cottage Creations
6. Vino 8x10 Matted Photograph by Kerry Hawkins Photography

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Passover

The Jewish holiday of Passover begins tomorrow evening and with it another chance to welcome rebirth and spring. Take a moment today to grab a sketch book, a canvas, a camera, your creativity, and celebrate the season like Kerry Hawkins in this beautiful photograph of Adams Farm in Walpole, MA.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Know your Ceramic Artist - a little contest

by Sharon Fischer Stray Notions

Looking for a pretty bowl for some berries recently turned up these two and have inspired a little game and giveaway here and on my own blog. I purchased these around 20 years ago from an up and coming young ceramic artist who in the intervening years has made his/her name in the ceramic world: whose work is in international collections and who is often listed as a mentor/teacher by others. In short, it is unlikely that I would be able to own any current work by this artist.

So the question is can you guess whose work this is? I will be posting hints on my own blog (at least 3 or until we have a winner). The prize will be $5 to use to purchase something useful from Karen Mahoney's (one of Boston Handmade's ceramics artists) shop, because I still want to support artists and "spread the pretty around" in whatever small ways I can afford.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Breitling photo contest: Win your pilot's license!

by Allison of Fraske Designs

Breitling, a luxury timepiece manufacturer, is holding a photo contest. The brand, who has shared the finest hours in aviation history, wants to share its passion for flight by launching a special Facebook contest. Submit a photo that best captures the spirit of aviation for a chance to win your pilot’s license or the ride of a lifetime with the Breitling Jet Team. Prepare for take off!

Submissions will be voted on by Breitling Facebook fans and by a panel of judges including actor and pilot John Travolta, professional air-to-air photographer Katsuhiko Tokunaga, and aviation pioneer Yves “Jetman” Rossy.

To enter and for more details visit Breitling on Facebook:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Show at the Parlor Gallery

by Danielle of the Merriweather Council

I've been doing a lot of these "word" hoops in the past few weeks and I am really enjoying them. They've brought be a bunch of custom orders as well! I was recently invited to contribute some work to a text and type show called "Blah Blah Blah" at the Parlor Gallery in New Jersey. The curator found my work on Etsy and wrote to me with the invite.

Here are the 9 pieces I sent for the show:

There are some other really awesome artists participating in the show as well, one of my favorites: Keetra Dean Dixon.

I won't be able to get the the gallery to see the work but the show goes up on April 23rd!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Custom Work: Wedding Gift Tin and Magnets

By: Jennifer T. of MaJenta Designs

Wedding season is just around the corner, and there is plenty of fun details to think about and plan. Here at MaJenta Designs we have a custom order service for hinged gift tin / pill box / mint tins that are created with our delicate and colorful Japanese papers! These tins are great for other special events, occasions, or party too!

These gift tins make fun favors for your guests, and look great displayed as part of the dinner reception table setting as well! Here is how they looked displayed for our own wedding:

The gift tins are perfect for including some tasty trinkets like mints, personalized m&m's, or other small candies! These are fun and functional and the guests can always reuse the tin later as a mint tin or pill box!

We are also excited to offer a brand NEW service which includes the option of purchasing 2 magnets to include inside each tin as well!

Please peruse our Etsy Shop for more details about how to set up your own custom order for your upcoming wedding or event!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Visit to DeCordova Sculpture Park

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

I took a recent trip to the DeCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA on one of these gorgeous days we've been having. If you have never been, go! Right now! It's one of my favorite museums in the area and it's so much fun to wander and discover what they have. It's a perfect art museum for kids, as they are allowed to touch the sculptures outdoors, though no climbing is allowed as tempting as it may be. There's also many visitors that bring their dogs along. It sure beats a walk through the neighborhood any day.

While walking one of the winding paths I came upon Daniel Ladd maintaining one of his tree sculptures. Watching him manipulate the branches, I figured he was the artist, as it didn't seem like a job for the general landscaping crew. I asked if he was, and he seemed happy that I had made that assumption. Many others had passed, simply looking and moving along. I'm so glad I began speaking with Daniel because he took a few moments to show me exactly what he was up to.

Daniel's sculpture began in 1990. It is 11 elm trees, each bending to a 90 degree angle at a similar height, and growing into the one before it. Daniel said that he comes out 3-5 times a year to maintain the shaping of the tree sculpture.

Daniel cuts through the outer layer of bark, exposing the inside of the branches. He then tightly wraps them together. This time of the year is when it is best to encourage the branch grafting, since the trees are in a heavy growth period the two branches are able to grow into each other and become one. He also uses nails and a putty like substance to help direct the growth.

It was so much fun to see the park and it was especially nice to talk with Daniel Ladd. I plan on taking many more trips to the park, and you can bet I'll be paying special attention to the growth progress of Daniel's work.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Have a Handmade Easter

Easter is right around the corner and what better way to decorate your home than with felted chicks and eggs handmade by our own Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations. These sweet objects are original in design and are each one-of-a-kind. They make very unique gifts and are available right now in Lynne's online Etsy shop. Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Save the Date, Dedham Open Studios

by Kerry Hawkins of K Hawkins Photography
Have you heard that Dedham, MA is having it's very first Open Studios on May 15th, 11-4pm? I'm a huge fan of Open Studios, having attended ones in Hyde Park, Waltham, South End, Four Point Channel. They are great community events that brings the public and artists together. Artists will be showing out of their home studios or group locations. There will be group locations at the Endicott Estate, Dedham Community House and Dedham Square businesses. This will be one of the many events part of Dedham 375th Birthday, but hopefully be the first of many to come.

Boston Handmaders taking part of this event will be Kerry Hawkins Photography, Nancy Rosetta Jewelry and Karen Mahoney of City By the Sea Ceramics

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Red Sox Print Sale for Opening Day!

by Allison of Fraske Designs

Today is Boston Red Sox Home Opening Day!

In honor of this yearly event, I am holding a sale on Red Sox prints through midnight tonight, April 8, 2011.

Enter code GOSOX2011 at check out in my online shop through midnight tonight and you will receive 15% off your entire order plus free domestic shipping!

visit to browse prints!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Improve your art career through Arts Marketing

The Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts is launching a new Arts Marketing series this month co-sponsored by Boston Handmade, the Jamaica Plain Arts Council/JP Open Studios, and the Jamaica Plain Artists Association.

Working artists have the natural inclination to spend as much time as possible creating their art. That's what artists do right? Well in today's modern marketplace and environment of information overload artists must do more than that. Contemporary artists of all genres will benefit from exercising their marketing muscles and getting savvy with social networking, photographing one's own work, and selling artwork online through the Eliot School's latest collection of adult ed courses.

The new vibrant arts marketing series is geared towards helping artists navigate the sometimes confusing world of self-promotion and come out shining on the other side. The series begins on April 28th with Selling In The Worldwide Marketplace taught by Boston Handmade's own Jessica Burko. In May there are two additional classes to dive into: Creating a Buzz, Social Media Marketing for Artists on May 1st, taught by Charles McEnerney, and Photographing Jewelry with Smart Phones and Dumb Cameras on May 22, taught by photographer Matt McKee.

Check out the Eliot School website for more information and to register for these classes:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The First 2011 Boston Handmade Show: West Medford Open Studios

by Sharon Fischer, Stray Notions

Show season is upon us again. Many handmade artisans take a little break from shows after the winter holiday season. And by break I mean we catch our breath a bit, check to see that our families and friends are still there and then start again with the planning and the making (Spring and summer show applications start showing up in February or so).

On Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1, from noon to 5 pm, four Boston Handmade members, Stray Notions, Fraske Designs, City by the Sea Ceramics and Cozy Cottage Creations, will participate as a group in the West Medford Open Studios along with more than 60 other visual and performing artists. You can check out all of the artists and download a PDF map to create you own walking tour - - be sure to look for Boston Handmade on the map at 56 Bower Street. Hope to see you there!
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