Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Photographing Rouen, France

By Kerry Hawkins of Kerry Hawkins Photo

I have recently traveled to Normandy, France. We stayed in a small town near the city of Rouen. Rouen is the capital of upper Normandy and founded in 911. It is one of France's most ancient cities.

I was attracted to it's old and very beautiful cathedrals, streets and buildings. I did get a few shop window shots in. It is fun to see how people decorate their windows in other countries.

Rouen is compact and easy to walk around the old part of the city. There are many pedestrian ways to avoid traffic and explore the city. We found many good restaurants to eat and relax.

I loved to photograph this city. Every corner or street presented something new, unusual, quirky, beautiful and fun.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jewelry in Motion: Watch a Pendant Grow

by Cristina Hurley of Cristina Hurley Jewelry Design

I got a wonderful custom order from a client who is getting married... He wanted a pendant for his fiance to receive and wear on their wedding day. The client asked me to try to make a piece inspired by a bridge on a local bike path, which is where they met, and will be exchanging their vows. Pretty neat huh? What a special project, I knew I wanted to do my very best, because it was so special and he had put his faith in me to do something really awesome.

I documented the process, as I often do, in photographs. This is a fun way to have a record of the project and to be able to remember how it was made and show the client progress, in case they might want to make any changes or suggestions.

I have a great, simple program on my computer called Picasa which helps me to crop and fix photos, but you can do so many other things, you can make movies and slideshows, collages and so much more.

I experimented with the photos from this project and made a great slideshow which shows the pendant "growing". Really cool! I just added some fun music and Voila! Before I knew it it was up on you tube!
Here is the slideshow:

I sent the slideshow to the client and he really enjoyed it and even left a nice comment on the video. I thought it was a great way to show him the process and give him peace of mind that it was being made and coming out good.

Enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Member Spotlight: Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics has been a member of Boston Handmade since January 2010 and she is as hard working an artist as can be. Karen participates in craft fairs and art shows every month, and sometimes every week. She recently set-up a ceramics studio in her own home and is a full-time potter.

In this Spotlight we salute Karen for being a tireless cheerleader for Boston Handmade and an inspirational working artist. We asked her a few questions here and we hope you find the answers as interesting as we do...

BH: Karen, we know that you have a beautiful line of pots - - wheel thrown, hand built, and fired with Raku and sawdust techniques, but when and how did your interest in ceramics begin?
KM: I first worked with clay about ten years ago as a student and wanted to follow a career in pottery then but talked myself out of it. I wasn't around clay for a few years but got back into it when I moved to Massachusetts and began a job at a local studio. I loved it again and decided I did want to pursue it after all instead of getting a degree in art history, which was the plan when I moved here.

BH: You participate in many local craft fairs and sell your work online, but in this leaner economy when people are spending less on "luxury items" how do you sustain your business?
KM: It seems to me that people are finding the small pleasures and embracing them. Drinking from a cozy handmade mug filled with some really good coffee you made at home every morning is still a luxury and a bargain compared to dropping $3 every morning getting coffee out. At the same time I think there is an excitement right now for handmade items, people are buying things with more awareness of who made it and where it came from. Shoppers are being more mindful about their purchases and wanting to shop with people they can connect with.

BH: Have you ever explored other types or art making, other mediums besides clay?
KM: I really like painting with oils and drawing with charcoal and oil pastels but haven't done any of it in a long while. These days it's more knitting and random craftiness, like weaving a basket with the velcro strips that come around my heads of lettuce.

BH: You recently had a big life change in the form of a move and separation from your long-time studio, how is the new set-up working out for you? How is the new studio experience different from the old one?
KM: There are definitely challenges setting up a studio for the first time and doing without the large space and really nice equipment I had access to, but I still wouldn't trade it back. There were challenges at the old studio too, just very different ones. Having my own space allows me more freedom, sanity, and focus, three things I really need and get cranky if I don't have.

BH: Ok, admittedly this is kind of an annoying college essay/job application question, but we're dying to know: you've accomplished so much in recent years, exhibiting your work internationally, having your work included in well known publications, so where do you see your work in 5 years?
KM: I'm always getting better and see it in my work constantly. My style is also evolving over time, so I'm very excited to see where it is in 5, 10, even 20 years. While I notice this progression more, I sometimes have a hard time seeing how far I've come with accomplishments because I'm focused on how far I still want to go. Yes, I'm in books, magazines, and have exhibited abroad, but I've got my eyes on bigger books, magazines, and exhibits. So hopefully, in 5 years I will have progressed enough to get me to these greater goals and will be running down that path.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The First Piece of Jewelry I Ever Made

by Cristina Hurley

I have had this piece back for a while now, but had never had a chance to take pictures of it until now. It is the first piece of jewelry I made. I took a class with 5 other beginners many moons ago in Puerto Rico, with a jewelry designer and metalsmith named Jeannette Fossas. After the course was over, she gave me the opportunity to be her apprentice and that was the beginning of my jewelry career. That was in 1990.
 The piece is a bracelet. It is made out of copper tubing, silver wire, and malachite beads.
 After I made it, I gave it to my mom. She wore it and kept it for many years. she gave it back to me for good luck when I opened my retail shop and studio in Canton, MA.
 It has stayed in really excellent shape and has a nice patina, considering it's age! I can't remember if the holes you see on the left had a wire through them, and fell off, or if i made a mistake and drilled too many holes.
I keep the piece now on my desk in my shop, and I take it with me to shows and put it in my money box for good luck.
You can see this piece and all of my new designs at my shop:
Cristina Hurley Jewelry Design
3 Rockland Street
Canton, Ma 02021

Friday, August 3, 2012

An Artful Visit: deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

by Kerry Hawkins of Kerry Hawkins Photography

My friend and fellow Boston Handmade member, Lynne Parella and her two daughters met me at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA. We decided to explore the sculpture park and surrounding trails. They are many surprises in the Park and many sculptures to discover. It was a perfect day to be out in nature and see large scale sculptures.

A nice treat was the new program, Play in the Park. It is a program where children can make art outside near one of the sculptures. The Museum provides the materials and the children, the imagination. Lynne's girls had fun creating different works. The program this week was placed near a new sculpture that was huge and looked like a continuous ribbon made of metal. It is a hit with children and adults.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Birthstone: a jewelry shopping guide

by Allison of Fraske Designs

Happy birthday to those of you born in August!

August's birthstone is peridot. This gemstone comes in several color variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but most consumers are attracted to the bright lime greens and olive greens. Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.

Here is some fantastic peridot jewelry available on Etsy:

Rhinestone Brooch Vintage Jewelry Peridot Mint Green Art Glass Tiered Brooch, Free US Shipping
Vintage Peridot and Rhinestone Brooch by kiamichi7

August Birthstone Earrings - Peridot Earrings - Long Peridot drop earrings with gold vermeil leaf charms - Gold earrings
Peridot Drop Earrings by delezhen

10% Off - Pear Shape Peridot Ring - Bezel Ring  - Gemstone Ring- Gold Ring - August Birthstone Ring - Size  4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Pear Shaped Peridot Ring by delezhen

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