Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Boston Handmade Trunk Show Series Continues with featured artist: City by the Sea Ceramics

City by the Sea Ceramics Trunk Show
Saturday, March 2, 12-5pm
At Lush Beads in Lowell, MA

Come visit ceramics artist Karen Mahoney this Saturday from 12-5PM at Lush Beads! Karen will be showing as part of First Saturday Open Studios at the Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, MA.

A little bit about Karen's work:
I enjoy traditional Asian pots and like to bring portions of their aesthetic to my work. I love teabowls and maebyongs, shino and tenmoku glazes, and surfaces with rope inlay and impression. The influences of various shapes, glazes, and techniques are blended with a comfortable, modern style, bringing the qualities I love into the homes of others and becoming part of their daily lives. Pots serve their purpose through interaction but they should also be an object of beauty and a joy to own. I want my work to be picked up and admired between uses, for someone to put it right in their face to see the beautiful and subtle variations in the glaze, to run their hand around it because it feels comfortable, and to always grab for their favorite piece when choosing from the cabinet.

You can find out more about Karen on her website, and see more of her work for sale in her Etsy shop.

Lush Beads is located at 122 Western Avenue, Studio A-313, in Lowell, MA.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Upcycling with kids: Valentine Bouquet

Chocolates, candies, roses, hearts of lace. All treats one may expect to give or receive on Valentine's Day. Seeking the unexpected? Try this everlasting bouquet of flowers made by upcycling an egg carton. Suitable for any age child who is able to craft without eating paint, this project is fast and fun. Watch out - - Valentine's Day just got a little green.

Materials needed: cardboard egg carton, pipe cleaners, paint, glue, pom-poms, scissors, paint brushes.

What to do:
1. Cut the cups out of the egg carton, trimming the edges so they are level around the top.
2. Snip towards the bottom of the cup all the way around 6-8 times, creating the petals.
3. Press down lightly to flatten the petals outward.
4. Paint the cardboard flowers any which way you like!
5. Put a dab of glue in the center of the cup and add a pom-pom.
6. After the paint dries, wrap one end of a pipe cleaner around the base of one of the petals, close to the pom-pom.
Once you've made your beautiful and unique upcycled bouquet, give it to your Valentine wrapped with a bow or arranged in a vase.

At our house, we make our art the way we cook - - we use what we have. Don't have pipe cleaners? Glue the back of the flower to the end of a take-out chop stick. Pom-pom shortage? Use buttons for the center of the flowers. All out of paint? Try markers, crayons, or even food coloring in a little water. Getting creative and having fun is what it's all about.

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Member Spotlight: Cristina Hurley Jewelry

Cristina Hurley in her studio
Cristina Hurley has been a member of Boston Handmade since 2009, and in the past several years she has worked tirelessly to help promote, support, and encourage all of her fellow members. In this spotlight we asked Cristina a few questions about her art, her inspirations, and her retail art and craft gallery. Read on to learn more about this dynamic local artist...

BH: How long have you been a professional jewelry artist and when did you first realize this was your true path?

CH: I have been making jewelry professionally since 1996. I started making jewelry years earlier though. I took a class in 1990 and knew then that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Right after the course, I began an apprenticeship with the teacher, Jeannette Fossas. She is a RISD alumna and suggested I apply to RISD. I did and got accepted into the Jewelry and Light Metals Department as a transfer student. It was a wonderful experience! Right before graduating in 1996, The head of the department at the time, Louis Mueller, got me a job in New York City as a Goldsmith, and I have been making jewelry for myself and others ever since.

BH: Where do you get your creative inspiration and how do you stay inspired?

CH: I get inspiration from my environment, what is around me at the time and what catches my eye. I am always looking at the bigger things, buildings, temples, trees, the sun, the moon, the things that produce a reaction and a sense of AWE in me. But the little things produce that feeling in me too. It can be flower or a pebble I pick up off the ground. Tiny objects fascinate me, and even if I am influenced by a big thing or a small thing, I make a little wearable sculpture that is my interpretation of it. I am also always influenced and inspired by the symbols that have been created by humans over time. The heart, the cross, the clover. People put a lot of meaning into something simple and it becomes something big and meaningful. that is why I am so fascinated with making pendants like the Universal Pattern Pendant, because there are so many symbols in the one image and it can mean many different thing to different people.

BH: When did you open your first gallery location and how did you make that decision?

CH: I opened my first studio/shop on Rockland Street in 2010. My business was taking over my entire place. My husband and daughter complained about the noise constantly. It was a nerve wracking idea to move out, and it took me almost a year to make the final decision. I looked at the space twice before making up my mind. I walked by it everyday and peeked in the window and would think, my bench can go there, my table can go there, etc. The third time I called to see it, the landlord was so nice and patient, but that time she said "You gotta decide Cristina!" So I took the plunge. You would not believe how happy I was to get my home back. The business had taken us over completely. We had so much room, and I was able to compartmentalize my life. You see, because my job was in my home, I worked all the time, day and night... I overworked. I felt guilty if I wasn't sitting at the bench while eating dinner with my family. It wasn't healthy. The new space gave a lot of my family life back to me.

BH: How has the new, larger gallery space been for you?

CH: Oh my, it has been so amazing. There were many wonderful things about the smaller space, but this new space is just perfect for my bigger picture of what I want the business to be. It also is so much more visible to the clients and customers, and it is a more inviting space. I am also allowed to do more events in the new location, and represent many more artists. As far as my studio space is concerned, it is a more comfortable work space and I already feel more organized and productive as a result.

BH: What advice would you give jewelry artists just starting out?

CH: I would say don't try to follow trends. Make jewelry you want to make, jewelry that is unique to you, what you think is beautiful and would want to wear yourself, even if it may not be what everybody wants at the moment. Chasing trends can make you crazy because they change so fast in jewelry. I don't look at jewelry magazines or other artist's work very much as far as jewelry is concerned. I don't want to be influenced by what every one else is doing. Be different and don't be afraid to be so. It will benefit you in the long run. It takes time to make it work, and for people to find out about you and buy your products. But as long as what you are producing makes YOU happy and brings you joy and you feel creative, it won't matter if people buy it or not. However, If you are true to your heart and what you love to make, it will be reflected in your work and as a result people WILL buy it at come back to you over and over. That is my experience as a studio jeweler.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Jewelry spotlight: Custom Order Engagement Ring

by Cristina Hurley of Cristina Hurley Jewelry

I do a lot of custom orders, but engagement rings are my favorites. The person who comes in for the special order is usually anxious and excited, and I want to do my absolute best to produce something they will both absolutely love!

Some of the orders are more unusual than others. The last engagement ring I made was probably the most unusual one I have ever made, and I wanted to share it with you. The groom came in with very little notice, wanting a ring made for Christmas. It was about two weeks before the holiday. Despite the tight deadline, I took the order on the spot, I could not resist. He and his fiance had found a lovely piece of sea glass one day on a walk together on the beach. He wanted the piece of glass to be the centerpiece, instead of a diamond! I could not believe it, but I absolutely loved the idea, and the story behind it was so meaningful and romantic.

The piece of glass was a great color, almost a deep teal. I used silver for the design and accentuated the "stone" with high quality diamonds. The piece of glass was very large so I hand cut it to a square shape. I had never done this before and was a little nervous, but it ended up being very easy.
Here are some images of the finished ring:

I was very happy with the results, and even more happy when the groom saw it and loved it too. Whew! I always get that same anxious and excited feeling a fiance does right before I show him the ring. Will they love it or not?! I get as nervous as they do on the special day they are going to propose. But it is an awesome feeling. I never get tired of it. I hope they are happy and in the blissful throws of planning an awesome wedding. If the wedding is anything like the ring, it will be a truly unique and romantic day for the two of them. ♥

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Featured Artist Sharon Fischer at the first Boston Handmade Trunk Show

by Sharon Fischer of Stray Notions

mixed media dragonfly brooches by Stray Notions

Yup, that's right - be kicking off the first in a series of monthly trunks shows at Cristina Hurley Gallery, in Canton, this Friday, February 8, from 4-7pm. I'm looking forward to returning to the gallery in person, and with some new and different work for this one evening event and hope you'll join in the fun.

I'm bringing a colorful array of items to decorate yourself or your home which will be for sale. You can enjoy some refreshments, bring in jewelry to be cleaned (by Cristina) and ask me those pressing questions you have about my work.

Note: I have a habit of not taking weatherfolk very seriously because in my youth they were simply NEVER right, but just in case they are this time and there is a major storm we will reschedule and post the details on the facebook page for the event.

Gallery location:
554 Washington Street
Canton, MA 02021

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Praise for Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

by Jessica Burko

Every Friday afternoon I pick-up my son early from preschool and we walk down the street to the Boston Public Library where we return the previous week's books and find a new stack of books to bring home. We don't have a TV at our house so we read a lot of books. Our weekly selection process can best be described as haphazard, with the exception of our attention to books about fire engines. A couple of weeks ago we happened across a book called Extra Yarn and without hesitation I added it to our pile. Little did I know what an amazing book we found and what an impact it's already had on the knitting community.

Published just this past year, Extra Yarn was written by Mac Barnett and Illustrated by Jon Klassen. The book tells the fanciful tale about a little girl who lives in a dull, monochromatic town, until one day when she finds a box of colorful never-ending yarn. At first she knits herself a sweater, then one for her dog, and as she continues to have "extra yarn" she knits sweaters for everyone she knows, all their pets, animals in the forest, and then "Annabelle made sweaters for things that didn't even wear sweaters." She starts yarn bombing! She knits for houses, trees, automobiles, everything! I won't go on so as not to spoil the ending, but suffice it to say this is a must read for knitters and yarn enthusiasts of all kinds.

After reading this book (many times) with my son I realized that knitting is represented in quite a few of the books we read. In fact, it seems that for generations, children's book authors have been subliminally advocating for knitting amongst our littlest readers, and hooray for that! Here are a few other books on our shelves portraying characters who knit:
Clockwise from top left is the classic Goodnight Moon in which a tiny bunny says goodnight to everything in his room including (as we read it in our family) "the bunny mama knitting". Next is a page from one of the many Babar books, this one is Babar's Busy Year where in winter Cornelius and The Old Lady keep warm by the fire. Of course the Sheep In A Jeep series must be included here as there is always a sheep knitting or cleaning up a toppled project bag in each one of those wacky books. Last in this short list is a page from Ann Tompert's Will You Come Back for Me? which is a sweet story about a little girl heading to school for the very first time.

Let the stories inspire you to grab some yarn and knit something!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Mosaic: Sunshine or Shadows

Curated by Sharon Fischer/Straynotions


A (loosely) groundhog's day inspired mosaic - clockwise from upper left

2. Quiet Porch, 5X7 Print - by Kerry Hawkins Photography
3. Sawdust vase - by City by the Sea Ceramics
4. Sterling Silver black sun ring - by Cristina Hurley Designs

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Artist Reception at the Dedham Square Artist Guild

Join the Dedham Square Artist Guild on Thursday February 7th from 5pm to 9pm, for an opening reception of the new Artist-of-the-Month show for February. Boston Handmade member and Guild Co-Founder, Kerry Hawkins will be the featured artist.

Her show will focus on her macro shots of nature. Kerry uses her macro lenses to explore the world of small things. Although, her first love are street shots she also really enjoys taking photos of nature and her surroundings. This show will be her recent work.

Dedham Square Artist Guild
553 High Street, Dedham MA, 02026

Friday, February 1, 2013

Be a member of Boston Handmade: Apply now!

Photo from our recent annual members meeting. Left to right: Sharon of Stray Notions, Diane of Lady Dye Fiber Arts, Lucie of Lucie Wicker Photography, Karen of City by the Sea Ceramics.
Seeking the camaraderie of fellow local artists and craftspeople? Want to network and learn professional tips for your creative business? Yearn to be connected with the group called a "Boston Area Notable" by the Boston Globe? (ok, that last one was just shameless promotion)

Boston Handmade is accepting membership applications, today through February 28th. Check out all the info on our website and email with any questions:

We've expanded our residency requirement to include all of Massachusetts so we hope to welcome new creative professionals into our collective from both near and far!
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