Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
You may remember back in January I had posted about my resolution to learn to knit this year, beginning with a starter kit my mom had given me years ago. I am happy to report the first project is finished!
A week or so later I saw Lynne from Boston Handmade at West Medford Open Studios. She was working on a project and showed me how to knit and purl. Wow! Larger needles and nicer yarn really made all the difference!
Boy, did my tension issues get worked out between the front and back piece of the bag! The second was about 2" wider! I knew that when I did it, but decided to go with it, knowing that the piece was already plagued by other problems from learning. I didn't mind at all having a piece to say it was my first, to have something to look back at to see how far I've come. Clearly my kit issues didn't allow me to be a perfectionist as I learned, and I was okay with that.
I decided I was going to make some adjustments on the bag since I had lots of extra yarn to work with. I added a flap cover to the bag by knitting an extra series of stripes on the bag piece of the bag. Since I did that I decided to add a button closure as well. I adjusted the strap from the pattern, making it a bit wider and a bit longer.
There are many mistakes throughout, but I really like my bag and I'm proud of it. For as many things as I wasn't able to learn because I can't see the individual stitches, I learned just as many from working my way through the project. I'm going to head back to the scarf now that the beginner's bag is done, and that Diane helped me with the mistake when I saw her at the Bazaar Bizarre Union Made show. I'll keep you guys up to date on that project and other ones I plan to get started.
Monday, June 27, 2011
2. Bottle Opener , by MaJenta Design
3. "Soar" , by Nancyrosetta
4. "Sail" Hand Embroidery in 5 inch Hoop Pastel , by Merriweather Council
5. Pacific 220 yards of Peruvian Highland Wool , by Lady Dye Fiber Arts & Design
6. Felted Pencil Cup in Dijon Yellow with Teal polka dots , by Cozy Cottage Creations
7. Susan's Star in Silver and Diamond , by Cristina Hurley
8. Shino Bowl , by City by the Sea Ceramics
9. An Ancient Teardrop hammered steampunk pendant by Purpleshiny
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Recently, I have been getting more and more commissions, so I thought I would share a couple of recent ones with you all.
This commission was for 6 charms with the phrase 'sole sister' accross the bottom and the date of the '11 Boston Marathon on the back. On the front is also NYC over BOS. The significance, is that the runners 5 friends supported her at both the NYC marathon last year, and the Boston marathon this year. She wanted something that would combine both races, but focus mainly on the Boston marathon (why we used the date). I'm not usually a metal stamper, but I did have the appropriately sized letters and numbers, so I thought I'd give it a go. I thought they came out good, and the runner thought they came out wonderfully! :) The picture has 5 of the charms facing front and one facing back. They all have that date stamped on the back. It's really sweet that she wanted something special to present to her friends for their support.
During the Dedham Open Studios in May, a woman came to my table three separate times. She kept looking at my pendants and each time she came back, we talked about them, especially the ones that look like pictures. I gave her the scoop about how I make them. How all the little pieces are cut out, how I make my wire rivets, how I piece them together...it's always fun to talk about the process. Anyhoo...a week went by and she emailed me that she wanted to buy a Happy House pendant, but a much smaller version. I told her that since I would have to make that up special anyway, we should personalize it in any way that she wanted. She decided on having 11:11 on the back with a small heart above the colon. I don't know the significance of that, but I told her I could do it. So I did it, and she loves it!
This is smaller than a quarter. I loved making it.
Friday, June 24, 2011
I just wanted to take a minute and share some of my favorite items I have seen listed around etsy.
Ayumi Horie is to die for! I have one myself and I think a moth got to it and so it's gonna be time to replace it soon! Its a collaboration with fellow ceramic artist Mikey Walsh. See clay people don't just use clay to get their point across.
Hijacked Ceramics. I have wanted one of these for a long time now! I think they would look great hanging on any wall in my house and not to mention that I have a love affair with birds as well.
heysailor. I bought one of these greeting card last year for my Dad's birthday, and his reaction was priceless! SO many quality reactions to be had. I mean the Barbies from the early day when they first came out seen today have a little bit of a metrosexual or gay edge to them, something your gay best friend would love I'm sure!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I was in Claremont, California this past weekend to attend my father’s retirement party. On Sunday we decided to head into LA and while searching for museums around The Stinking Rose (a friend has been pestering me for years about going there while I am out visiting family), I came across the Craft and Folk Art Museum.
The exterior of the building does not look like a traditional museum, but then again, what museum does nowadays, anyway. When you enter the front door, to the right is the lovely gift shop, and to the left is the front desk. After we paid the $7 for my adult ticket, and $5 for each of my senior parents, we headed upstairs to the third floor for the Ann Weber exhibit.
Ann Weber makes amazing large-scale sculptures out of discarded cardboard and staples. From a distance they appear to be wicker or rattan, but upon closer inspection they are in fact cardboard cut into strips and then made into rounded almost alien-like forms. Some of the sculptures are the normal brown cardboard, but others feature patterns that were originally on boxes that she collected.
We then headed downstairs to the Jennifer Angus: All Creatures Great and Small Exhibit. WOW! This could be one of my all-time favorite exhibits (and I am a HUGE museum nerd). Je
nnifer creates installation pieces that incorporate insects used in traditional methods of decorating Victorian-era homes.
This is a great video of Jennifer talking about her work, but here is the description of the exhibit from the website: “Naturally electric blue, emerald green, pink, purple and red insects coalesce on the walls to create an immersive Victorian-era room that recalls an age of excitement, exploration and scientific discovery. Complementary small-scale dollhouses covered in beeswax are home to anthropomorphized insects that provoke viewers to revisit their own relationship with the eco-system.
For Angus, pattern is associated more with meaning than decoration. Her works call to mind themes of death, cultural association and ideas about collection.”
I was only able to take one photo on my phone, that really does not do her work justice, so I took to google and swiped some images from there:
My parents and I spent a good hour just walking around each piece saying “Wow! Did you see this beetle?” “Hey! Did you see this roach in front of the mirror?” “What about this bed-bug?!” That was my dad’s favorite—it was a bug lying in its own bed—he loves puns. The sheets on the bed even had ants woven in the pattern. She had beeswax flowers all around half-globes on the walls that had imaginary bugs (put together by the artist using different pieces from different insects to create fantastical creatures), all the while beetles were lining the walls as chair rail and some sort of grass-eating insect was used as wainscoting.
It was very obvious (in a good way) that the curators of this museum were cognizant of the Tim Burton Exhibition just up at LACMA. These two exhibits were totally inline, and complimentary of what was going on down the street without seeming to want to copy or cling on to the Burton show. I truly hope that at some point we in Boston are lucky enough to see some of Jennifer Angus’s work here!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Last Christmas, I asked for this saw frame from Knew Concepts, and I got it from Santa (ok, Scott) I have been using it ever since, and I thought I would write a review about it.
Firstly, here is a picture of the frames I have been using for years. Very generic, 5" throat and 3" throat.
I wanted to try the Knew Concept saw frame mostly because I do break a lot of blades and the company claims that by using their frames, you will break less blades. This claim is spot on.
This saw frame, at first, was a bit intimidating. It looks like something from outer space. I got a 5" frame which is much larger than the 5" frame I am used to using. The way I saw and pierce is very fluid, so it was inevitable that I would bump into bench related things as I was first getting used to using it, because it's so much bigger (if you can imagine a saw pumping up and down and turning constantly). I almost gave up and went back to my tried and true, but I persevered.
The Knew Concept saw frame is made of lightweight aluminum which resists bending and warping and is only a few ounces.The weight (or lack of) also took some getting used to. The way it first felt in my hand almost defied gravity. I was afraid I would break it! But much to the contrary, I have not yet broken a blade while using it, and I have been using it since January. It feels good to throw a saw blade away because it's dull (not because it broke) I also have less arm strain after a long sawing/piercing session...bonus!
Another reason this frame took so long to get used to using is the tension setting spring. Tension of the saw blade is of utmost importance if you don't want to constantly break blades. Traditional saw frames take brutal human force to achieve the ping of a high E guitar string. My new frame has a knob to tighten the tension (missing out on some exercise there). There is a trial and error period to figure out the right combination of tightening the knob and lowering the 'top of the blade' holder, which bizarrely are the same motion. But I've figured it out, so I'm happy.
The key to smooth sawing and piercing is letting the saw do the work while you guide it along. This saw frame is perfect if you can 'let go' like that. After an initial 'break in' period (mine was about 2 months) this could end up being your favorite saw frame. It is my favorite saw frame now. I really love it, and I also love the fact that it saves me hoards of broken saw blades.
If you are a jewelry maker and have a need for a new jewelers saw, I would recommend getting this one. It is more expensive than traditional saw frames, but you will save money in the long run (on blades). After getting used to it, you will love it!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I've been studying traditional Japanese embroidery for almost one year now. In another post I likened this system of formal study to Karate with specific skills required, although no actual belts are awarded. Sometime over the winter I completed Level 1 (white belt) and began a combined Level 2-3 piece which I worked on in a class setting in May. As someone who has done a fair amount of embroidery Level 1 seemed relatively easy but this piece represents a huge leap in the number and difficulty of the techniques to learn. What you see below is what I've managed to complete since February! I took the opportunity to use adaptations of some of these new techniques and materials (gold thread!) to create a few small "inspired by" pieces.
Monday, June 20, 2011
1. Summer Dreams 8x10 matted print , by Kerry Hawkins Photography
2. Skyline and Sailboat- Boston, MA- 5x7- Photo Print, by Lucie Wicker Photography
3. Large Reversible Bucket Sunhat in Lime Green, Olive and Yellow , by Elephunk's Trunk
4. Summer Patchwork Hoop Collection Set of 3 , by Merriweather Council
5. Swing Set skirt and reversible top , by Stray Notions
6. Black Sun Band Sterling Silver and Black CZs , by Cristina Hurley
7. North Woods Collection Sock Monkeys , by MonkeyShine Studios
8. Ceiling Fan Postcard , by cricicis design
9. Stamped Gear Post Earrings by PurpleShiny Creations
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
There are art and craft events all over Massachusetts this weekend including the 2011 South Shore Art Center Arts Festival in today and tomorrow on Historic Cohasset Common
(Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday, Noon – 5 pm).
The Arts Festival features over 80 juried craft and fine art exhibitors, artist demonstrations, music, art exhibitions, children's activities and more! Please take advantage of a free trolley shuttle (handicapped accessible) from Sohier Street lots in Cohasset.
Be sure to check out the Jazz Reception Saturday evening, June 18th at 5:30 at the Art Center. The evening will include a silent auction. Jazz reception tickets are $45. The silent auction will close on Sunday, June 19 at 3pm.
For full festival information visit: http://ssac.org/festival
Friday, June 17, 2011
Come join Boston Handmade members for the 2011 Boston Bazaar Bizarre Union Made Show at Union Square in Somerville. The fair is open to the public this Sunday, June 19th, from 12:00-6:00 pm. As the weather gets warm and school gets out next week, come join us for a showcase of crafts, music, demos and more.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
ElephunksTrunk: My name is Celeste and I currently live in Somerville with my husband, our brand new baby boy (born June 5!) and our two cats. Before moving to Massachusetts last year, I lived in Atlanta where I was working on a PhD in Women's Studies. About half way through the program I realized I didn't want to be an academic, so I left graduate school and moved up north. I grew up in Ohio, so I feel more at home up here. I tend to be interested in everything, which is one reason I didn't finish the PhD—I can't stay focused on one project long enough! I have a BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies and an MA in South Asian Studies. I used to speak Bengali halfway decently but I fear I have now forgotten most of it. I like to play board games and think five miles is within reasonable walking distance.
BH: How long have you been making hats?
ElephunksTrunk: I started making hats about three years ago when I was preparing for my wedding. I wanted a crazy cocktail hat and I couldn't find one that seemed just right, so I decided to make my own. I consider it a natural outgrowth of the years I spent making crazy hats out of plaster for Halloween (I love costuming) combined with my ridiculously tiny head. Finding store bought hats that fit me has always been a challenge, so learning to make my own seemed to be the best answer.
BH: Please describe your creative process.
ElephunksTrunk: I'm not sure that I have one creative process. Sometimes I get all technical with graph paper and math to make patterns and sometimes I'm much more organic with my work—draping and pinning and making things up as I go along. To be honest, that is my favorite way to work, but it does make pieces difficult to replicate. I like making one of a kind pieces, but I also recognize the importance of having a more everyday wear kind of line. I love working with bright colors, outrageous feathers, and taking about old clothes to turn them into fun new hats.
BH: Are there other mediums you are not working in that interest you?
ElephunksTrunk: Pretty much all of them! I'm interested in just about everything, remember? I used to do a lot of drawing and painting, and I'd love to find the time to get back into that. Whenever I see something handmade, my first thought is “I bet I could learn how to do that!” which might be true if I had unlimited time and resources. I've toyed around with spinning yarn and would love to get a spinning wheel. I'd like to learn how to make pottery and how to make sterling silver jewelry.
BH: Why should people buy handmade?
ElephunksTrunk: There are a million great reasons to buy handmade! For one thing, when you buy handmade you get something truly unique. Even when an artist makes multiples of an item or offers things in limited edition series, chances are none of your friends have one just like it. More importantly, buying handmade is one way to practice a more ethical consumerism—it cuts out the sweatshops, the waste inherent in factory production, and supports artists and crafts people making a living with their skills.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
As we all know, my favorite compositions happen in circles and so I've been working on a bunch of new necklaces in circle pendants to add to my collection of oval necklaces.
Lastly, I've also been brewing up some Halloween decorations in hoops!
Monday, June 13, 2011
1. Big Man Sterling Silver Band, by Nancyrosetta
2. Red Rover 1932 Poster ,by Evan Webster Ink
3. Lights Over Left Field 5x7 Photo Print , by Lucie Wicker Photography
4. Bookplates with Ford, by cricicis design
5. Happy Gnomes Boston 11x14 Matted Photo ,by Kerry Hawkins Photography
6. The Man The Legend by Reclaimed to You
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Boston Handmade: Tell us a bit about yourself
BH: What are your favorite materials?
BH: What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
BH: Describe your work.
CC: Handmade pet accessories with a bit of an edge.
BH: Are there other mediums you’re not working in that interest you?
BH: Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
Want to connect with Cody's Creations?
Follow on Facebook
Chat on Twitter
Saturday, June 11, 2011
What good are your photos if nobody ever sees them? Learn how to turn your favorites into treasured heirlooms or gifts for your loved ones! We’ll show you how easy it can be to transform your photographs into unique, thoughtful items for all occasions: ornaments, coasters, note cards, and more. You’ll learn how to work with different types of printing papers, adhesives, and sealants to create a variety of craft items. All materials will be provided.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Project Accessory, a new reality competition show spun off from Project Runway, will begin casting jewelry designers—along with handbag, shoe, and other fashion-accessory designers—in four cities this June.
According to Lifetime’s website, the show will follow enterprising artists competing for a cash grand prize by creating the newest and hottest trends in accessories. The grand prize is meant to help the winning designer launch a fashion accessory business.
Goodbye Pictures is hosting open calls for interested designers in New York City on June 18–19, in Miami on June 21, in Chicago on June 23, and Los Angeles on June 25–26.
For more information, visit the JCK website.