Monday, April 30, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Boston Handmade Artisan Fair at Jamaica Plain First Thursday May 3rd

by Leah of cricicis design

Next Thursday, May 3rd, five members of Boston Handmade will be exhibiting in a Boston Handmade Artisan Fair for Jamaica Plain First Thursdays held by JP Centre/South Main Streets Organization. This is our 6th year exhibiting as a group. You can find us at 633 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, in front of the First Baptist Church.

Jamaica Plain First Thursday is an evening where local businesses open their doors and the neighborhood is encouraged to shop locally and support local merchants. It's spring and on May 3rd, Jamaica Plain will be blooming with entertainment.

Come visit Boston Handmade to shop handmade items varying from photography, ceramics, note cards, jewelry & accessories, and plush toys. Exhibiting artists are:
Karen of City by the Sea Ceramics
Jen of MaJenta Designs
Anne-Claire of Hibou Designs
Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography
Leah of cricicis design

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Encaustic Art at Jameson and Thompson

Encaustic collage by Jessica Burko
seen here by the window as the wax cools

After taking a bit of a hiatus from making art while getting adjusted to life with a newborn and a toddler, I am very excited to be having a show of my work opening next week.

Jameson and Thompson Fine Art Services, located at 15 Greenview Avenue in Jamaica Plain, has an exhibition space within their large warehouse-style shop* and I will be exhibiting ten new pieces of encaustic collage there from May 3 - 31.

Please join me for the opening reception of this show on Thursday, May 3rd from 6-8pm during the Jamaica Plain monthly First Thursdays art stroll.

Major bonus: Boston Handmade will be right across the street at 633 Centre Street, next to the Jamaica Plain Post Office, having the first Artisan Fair of our 2012 season! It will be a very festive evening in the neighborhood so I hope you can come out to celebrate art with all of us.

*Please be aware this venue is on the 2nd floor and does not have an elevator.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creative Collaboration

By Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photo

Boston Handmade Member, Jen Tang models one of the Boston Handmade T-shirts

Detail of the educational tags that come with each Boston Handmade T-shirt
One of the wonderful things about the Boston Handmade T-shirts is the packaging and tags. When I ordered my t-shirt it came wrapped in tissue with a fabric ribbon, and it has these cool tags attached.

The t-shirt design and printing project is a fun collaboration between Boston Handmade and Boston Handmade member and Screen Printer Evan Webster Ink

The Boston Handmade informational card has a wonderful description about our group including our website and Evan's tag is very fun and has a great tagline, "This tag serves as proof of genuine Evan Webster Ink Product. All work guaranteed." Clever!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Printmaking exhibition at the Boston Public Library

Randy Garber, To My Surprise, detail
If you're a fan of printmaking, you probably already know about Mixit Print Studio in Somerville, MA, where for the past 25 years Boston-area artists have been congregating, working, teaching, and sharing resources. If you don't already know about Mixit, you should, and tonight is a great opportunity for you to find out all about it.

Currently on view through July 31st at the main branch of the Boston Public Library is an exhibition titled, reThink INK: 25 Years at Mixit Print Studio, which includes more than 150 works by 71 artists in three venues throughout the Copley Square library location. This collaborative exhibition, produced by the Boston Public Library and Mixit Print Studio, celebrates the studio’s 25th anniversary and the library’s deep and long-standing connection to the Boston printmaking community.

Tonight, Tuesday, April 24th, from 6–7pm, in the Rabb Lecture Hall, The BPL and Mixit Print Studio present a panel discussion with three distinguished scholars and experts to explore the role of printmaking in art today. Topics will include the impact of digital technology on the conception and execution of contemporary printmaking, current institutional collection and curatorial practices for prints, and the continuing influence of printmaking on other media. The panel will be moderated by Randy Garber, local Somerville artist and Partner at Mixit. The panel participants are:
Patricia Phillips / Critic, Associate Provost, Rhode Island School of Design
Andrew Raftery / Professor of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Susan Dackerman / Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Curator of Prints, Fogg Museum of Art

This event is free and open to the public and is sure to be a fascinating discussion. For directions and more information visit:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Celebrating Earth Day with Boston Handmade

Today is Earth Day. But ask yourself: Why celebrate the Earth with only one day of environmental awareness when it can be observed all year long?  
Unique hat recycled from a 1970s skirt, by Elephunks Trunk
At Boston Handmade we embrace the concept of Earth Day and carry the model through every day of every year. As independent creative business people the members of Boston Handmade produce and sell art and craft locally, and each member operates from a small working environment as opposed to pollution spewing factories. These environmentally friendly actions reduce both our carbon footprints, and those of our customers.
Collectible owl made from 20-year-old pants, vintage buttons, and eco-friendly wool, by Hibou Designs
Many of our members create their art and craft from recycled and upcycled elements. Found, rescued, or passed down through the generations, by not using new materials we reduce waste and save resources. Through our choices of materials and our creative methods, the mindset of, “reduce, reuse, recycle” means more to us than a slogan on a blue box. Conserving resources is something each one of us keeps in the forefront of our minds, and harnessing the power of our own hands propels us.
Paper quilt made from wallpaper scraps, damaged books, and found ephemera by Jessica Burko
Please celebrate Earth Day by recognizing and acting on the many things you can do to help the Earth, and by supporting artists and craftspeople who already do.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

2nd Annual Yarn Swap in Jamaica Plain

Beautiful array of yarns for sale at Sheep Skate in Dedham, MA
If you spend any time reading this blog, you know that we at Boston Handmade are big fans of knitting, crocheting, and all things yarn. And as folks who partake in such activities we can tell you that anyone who works with yarn (hobbyists and professionals alike) have a STASH.

Stash is not hipster for "mustache" nor does it refer to reefer. "Stash" where yarn is concerned is a bag, or box, or closet, or room, or basement or attic, or annex (depending on the depth of your addiction) FULL of yarn.

This yarn tends to be that skein that you just couldn't resist because it was sooooo soft, but didn't have a project planned for it, or that lace-weight lovely that you scooped up to finally practice the intricacies of the skill, or the crazy-on-sale merino that you thought would compliment that other almost-turquoise you have but doesn't just quite, or the various odds and ends of smallish balls of yarn that you over-bought to make sure you had enough to finish that full-size bed blanket. A yarn stash starts out small, and has a tendency to grow completely out of control. Yeah, you know all about this. Don't deny it.

Well here's some great news for you:
Saturday, May 5th, from 11am-1pm is the 2nd Annual Yarn Swap at the Jamaica Plain branch library located at 12 Sedgwick Street. This is a great opportunity to meet, greet, get some new inspiration, and share your abundant stash. Bring yarn, supplies, and projects in need of a new home, and what ever is left over at the end of the day will be donated to the Caps For Kids program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Questions about this event? Contact

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vintage knitting supplies

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics
I visited my family recently and raided my mom's knitting supplies. It's pretty interesting to see what someone who began knitting in the 60's has collected over the years. There's an awesome vintage needle bag, crochet hooks that have the cost of 25¢ stamped on it, and tons of old knitting magazines, some up to 50 years old. I thought I'd find all sorts of cool patterns in them, but they're mostly just ridiculous. I ended up flying home with a needle bag, project bag, lots of needles and hooks, and various notions. I'm very curious what my new 14" size 35 aluminum knitting needles looked like rolling through TSA security, I'm sure they look suspect on an x-ray.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yoga and Creativity

by An Li Liu
An Li Liu wearing one of her original silk screened designs
Alongside my life as a designer and maker, I practice and teach yoga here in the Boston area. There are obvious physical benefits to mindful movement after hours of sitting or hunching over a table. But what I find really interesting is the mental clarity and opening that can happen as a result of yoga. Shifts in perspective can occur, as well as a more fluid, easeful approach to daily life. Asanas, or postures, along with attention to breath can help to free up energy in the body, as well as in the mind. And this can translate to heightened creativity.

If you’ve never tried yoga before, maybe consider a beginner’s class in your neighborhood. But don’t expect quick results – it’s a long evolving process that can feel hard on so many levels, but it’s the process itself that holds the most potent learning. Just like in creative endeavors, you have an idea of a goal, but the richness is in the process. Move through each step along the way with attention and effort and the result will naturally follow.

You can find me at Karma Yoga in Cambridge. You can also peruse a brief bio here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Professional development with the Focusing Series

Burko Studio, 1
Studio view, Jessica Burko's studio, in Boston's SoWa neighborhood
For professional artists and crafters a perfect day is entirely spent producing one's handmade creations. However, as any creative professional knows, there's more to making a living from one's art than making the art itself. An artist today also must be business savvy, must be a marketing wiz, and must network with the best of the cocktail crowd.

It can become weary having to wear so many hats, but with local educational opportunities such as the Jamaica Plain based Focusing Series you can learn how to navigate the maze of self-promotion, showing your work, increasing sales, and many other skills necessary to reach your self-supporting goals.

The Focusing Series offers workshops throughout the year with two upcoming this month:

Time Management for Creative People, Instructor: Anna Koon. Ideal for just about anyone, this workshop will provide practical guidelines for how to structure your time while maintaining balance. Participants will walk away with a plan for how to organize the daily tasks required in leading a successful, progressive life. Please bring a journal or notebook for class exercises. 
Monday, April 16 6:30-8:30pm or Wednesday, April 18 1-3pm.

Writing For Artists, Instructor: Boston Handmade Director, Jessica Burko. This workshop reviews how to put together key pieces of written material that artists need for websites, grant submissions, and gallery packets such as an artist statement, an artist resume, a press release, plus appropriate titles for and descriptions of artwork. Participants will learn how to create strong writing to go along with their visually strong artwork. Monday, April 23 6:30-8:30pm.

Download the PDF for more information and to register:

The Focusing Series is sponsored by:
The Jamaica Plain Arts Council, Boston Handmade and Alternate Currents

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gallery talk at ArcWorks in Peabody

Boston Handmade, CREATE installation view, at ArcWorks Gallery
In conjunction with our current exhibition at ArcWorks Gallery in Peabody, MA, two members of Boston Handmade will be giving a gallery talk about their work and the recent popular resurgence of handmade art and craft.

Join Jessica Burko and Lynne Parrella on Friday, April 20th, at 6:30pm for a discussion and to view the Boston Handmade exhibition at ArcWorks before the closing date of May 6th.

For more information on the exhibition please visit:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dedham Square Artist Guild

From Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photo

Have you been to the Dedham Square Artist Guild in Dedham Square? 

This gallery opened in October of last year. This is the first Art Co-operative in Dedham. The collection of work at the Gallery encompasses a diverse style of art, including painting, photography, woodwork, pottery, jewelry, mono-type, textile and much more...

I wrote a post about the Dedham Guild Opening way back in September. We had a wonderful grand opening and has been thriving since the opening.

Since opening the Dedham Guild has had many art openings and participated in Dedham Square Events such as the Holiday Stroll, Dedham Square's First Thursdays, and For the Love of Chocolate Event.

The gallery also has roving galleries in different businesses around town including: Deli After dark, Mocha Java, Isabella's and Timothy's World Coffee in West Roxbury.

The gallery has a great group of artists who help the staff make things run. Often, the artists make  paint, bead, sew, draw while gallery sitting. It fun to watch them work at their art and craft.

The newest venture for the Gallery is art classes taught by our artists. The gallery is offering three new classes. Make a Bunny and Clay Tile class taught by Lisa W.B. Walker and iPhoneography workshop by photographer Dennis Stein. More classes to be announced soon.

Sign up soon before the classes fill up!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter and Passover

Needle Felted Chick and Egg by Lynn Parrella of Cozy Cottage Creations
We wish you a season of warmth and renewal, and a wonderful holiday weekend from all your friends at Boston Handmade.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Picks from Boston Handmade

From Kerry of Kerry Hawkins Photo

Some of my spring choices from Boston Handmade. I love all the flowers and leaves that start to bud this time of year. We have a few nice holidays coming up too. We have Easter, Passover, Mother's day, or just because it is spring.

Blue Monarch Butterly Organic T-Shirt by AnLiStudio

Hair Comb Purple Origami peace crane by ElephunksTrunk

Hot Bunny Brooch - Hot pink felt tulle and black sequins brooch - all hand sewn - OOAK by Hibou Designs

Aloha Pendant by NancyRosetta

These are just some picks. Have a fun spring season.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Birthstone: Diamond

by Allison of Fraske Designs

Happy birthday to those of you born in April!

April's birthstone is the Diamond. Most people equate diamonds with the colorless, sparking stunners in engagement rings, but diamonds come in a variety of colors, cuts, and shapes which makes this gemstone very versatile. Diamonds in hues of yellow, red, pink, blue, and green range in intensity from faint to vivid. The more saturated the color, the higher the value.

 Some ancient cultures associated diamonds with lighting bolts, believing they were formed when lightning struck the earth. They are a symbol of courage and true love.

Here is some handmade diamond jewelry available on Etsy:

Tiny 14k Gold Branch Necklace with natural Diamond

Diamond Engagement Ring - Rose Cut Diamond Slice - 14K Yellow Gold

pave diamond black rhodium pendant with white topaz and sapphire in 18k gold 

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