Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gift ideas for Prince George

by Jessica Burko

What do you give the baby who has everything? Something 100% original and handmade of course! Here are a few suggestions for your visit to the royal nursery of Prince George of Cambridge (no, the other Cambridge)...

Airplane onesie by Very Kiki in Saugus, MA

Lemon-lime baby shoes by Green Line Kids in Mashpee, MA

Stuffed bunny toy by Greenwood Toys in Boston, MA

G is for Giraffe by Blue Green Blue Design in Weymouth, MA

 When you see the Prince tell him "Cheerio!" for me!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Mosaic: Speaking of weather

1. Public Garden Snow- 8x10 Print Lucie Wicker Photography
2. Blue Raindrops Strips Stella Clutch Strap, Abigail Leigh Handbags
3. Sterling Silver Rain Bangle with Cubic Zirconia Oxidized, Cristina Hurley
4. Fiber art Weather map - Tracking Nemo - climate change, Stray Notions
5. Snow Dyed Silk Scarf, Black Grey, Irregular Patter, Hand Dyed, Enchanted Hue
6. Drops, Boston 5x7 photoprint, Kerry Hawkins Photography

Friday, July 26, 2013

Why Handmade: Special Family Edition: Interview with Kerry Hawkins of K. Hawkins Photography

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella's Workshop

Our families and our upbringing can have great impact on who we are as artists as well as the future artists we may create and inspire. Every once in a while I plan to interview an artist regarding art in their family, both current and growing up, to shed light on the different places artists come from.

Recently I had the pleasure of cyber interviewing Kerry Hawkins of Kerry Hawkins Photography, one of our very own Boston Handmade members.  If you have had the pleasure of meeting Kerry, you know that she can always be seen with her camera and a warm smile on her face. In addition to being a part of Boston Handmade, a very talented graphic designer and photographer, Kerry is also the co-founder of the Dedham Square Artist Guild.

Pat Hawkins, presenting her daughter Kerry's work at Cristina Hurley Gallery; Photo by Kerry Hawkins

1. Would you describe your family to be creative/handmade/artistic? 

I think I would, my mom loves to paint glassware and make her own greeting cards; my dad was a carpenter and still dabbles in making things. My mom loves going to art museums, music, and performances like the ballet. My dad has always been into history.

2. Was there a particular family member who inspired you to pursue your craft based upon their craft? Was it the same craft? If there was more than one family member, feel free to elaborate 

My parents have always been supportive of my art career and encouraged me to go to art school. My parents bought my first camera when I was in grade school. My husband has been supportive as well. He is not an artist, but loves the arts and has supported my photography and artistic endeavors.

3. Was there someone outside your family who introduced you to crafting? If so, how? 

When I was attending the Art Institute of Boston, I took a photography class. The teacher of the class encouraged me to keep going with my photography. I have ramped up my photography since college. I had a dark room for years and eventually switched to digital photography.

Earlier work taken during the darkroom days; Photo by Kerry Hawkins

5. If your craft is the same or similar to the craft of a family member/outside influence, how do you feel their influence has affected your work? 

I have many creative friends and friends who support the arts. I think when you share ideas and experiences it is bound to influence your work. I feel lucky to have so many photographer and creative people as friends. We share ideas, information, technique, go on photo walks and talk about favorite photographers. It is funny; my family and friends are used to me always having my camera; they find things for me to photograph such as a beautiful flower or a quirky store window. It is a fun way to connect!

6. If your craft is different from that of a family member/outside influence, how did their craft influence what you do now? Or did it have no impact at all? 

I think being part of Boston Handmade and cofounder of the Dedham Square Artist Guild has really influenced how I think about my art, what I photograph, and how to present it to the world. There is a certain camaraderie knowing so many people trying to do their craft, balancing family life, and getting their work out into shows and galleries. 

These questions relate to the present:

1. Do you feel it is our responsibility as artists to pass along our skills and knowledge to future generations? If so, how? 

I do feel it is important to help young artists to think that they can show their work in galleries. Over the years, an artist gathers information about their craft, social media and marketing of their art. I think it is great to share that knowledge.

2. How do you pass along the love of what you do to other people? 
I think by just talking about my work and their work. Getting excited at the perfect shot or just going on a photo walk with fellow artists.

Recent work; Photo by Kerry Hawkins

3. Do you feel it is more important to pass along your specific skill set? Or a respect for craft/art in general? How can either be achieved?
You should respect a artist’s craft or art. It is years of expertise, creativity and knowledge an artist is sharing with you and the world around them through their art. It may look easy to you but, it has been years of practice and honing their skill. When you share your knowledge about your craft it is educating the viewer.

I have talked with many artists about their audience not always getting how much work that goes into their art or craft. I try to keep an open mind when talking about another's work and recognize the skill it took to achieve a work of art.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The 6th Annual Boston Handmade Marketplace: What a day it was!

The Boston Handmade booth at the 6th Annual Marketplace in Union Square, Somerville
The rain held off, the sun peeked out, the exhibitors were energetic, and the patrons were plentiful. It could not have been a better day for the 6th Annual Boston Handmade Marketplace in Union Square, Somerville! A large collection of photos from the day can be found HERE and we will be posting additional images as we gather them from friends and exhibitors. For a sweet taste before you delve into that main course, check out these selected morsels...

Our deepest gratitude goes to the Somerville Arts Council for sponsoring and hosting our Marketplace since 2008!

We were delighted to welcome several of Boston Handmade's newest group members to this year's Marketplace including Abagail Leigh Handbags and...

...graphic artist and print maker The Patterned Peacock.

We were also thrilled to have return exhibitors, and Boston Handmade Members, Lady Dye Fiber Arts and...

...Ceramic artist City By The Sea Ceramics and...

...artist and designer Lush Beads who was showing her new Lush Beads Industrial line.

Another treat was getting to know new Marketplace exhibitors including glass artist Aron Leaman and...

...textile artist Trope Pillows.

One of the many highlights of the day was the hands-on activity buzzing through the event! Many of the 2013 Marketplace exhibitors were doing craft demonstrations and several even devoted part of their exhibition space to interactive projects for Marketplace visitors of all ages such as this printmaking table coordinated by Muskat Studios and...

...Boston Handmade had several craft projects to choose from including making art and objects from recycled materials, and there were three different projects contributed from our friends at that were a big hit!

As if that wasn't enough to make the day amazing, we also had fantastic live music from two local bands including The Grownup Noise, who took a few moments to serenade one of our youngest Marketplace visitors, and...

...there was yarn bombing of a bench right in the center of all the action!

We couldn't have made the day happen without the efforts of our amazing handmade community, and our dedicated volunteers including Cristina Hurley who acted as the unofficial Mayor of the day's festivities.
If you missed this year's Marketplace you can still support the local artists and craftspeople who participated in the event by checking them out online, and be sure not to miss another Boston Handmade event by signing up for our email list. See you next time!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Why Handmade: Joining Boston Handmade

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’sWorkshop

It is that time again when Boston Handmade seeks out new members to join our group. We are accepting applicants through July 31, 2013, and if you feel this is a place where you should belong, I highly encourage you to apply.

Cristina Hurley at the 6th Annual Boston Handmade Marketplace; photo (detail) by Jessica Burko

Boston Handmade was founded in 2007, by our noble leader, Jessica Burko, who had a vision of seeing artists, artisans, and crafts people working collaboratively and not competitively towards the goal of sharing our skills with each other and the community. Boston Handmade is a juried group of local artists and crafts people at various points in their career who work in a multitude of different media, including, but not limited to fiber, clay, paint, metal, wax, gems, paper, and much, much, more. Our Members create, with their very own hands, works showing their exquisite skill and passion for our crafts. Jessica Burko states it best when she says “Boston Handmade sponsors creative and business opportunities for its members and strives to increase visibility for local handmade art and craft in the greater Boston area. We feel that it’s not enough to love what we do, and do what we love, we also strive to enrich the lives of those we meet by sharing our passion for everything handmade.”

Sterling silver ring with cabochon by Prunella's Workshop

I am a relatively new member to Boston Handmade, having joined at the beginning of 2013, and I have to say it has been a wonderful experience, thus far. I am in a group of people who care very much for the integrity of their own work, and are supportive of their team. Being an artist is lonely work. It is easy to lose touch with the rest of the world, and by nature we are self-doubters. Artists can also have a tendency, I have found, to work competitively instead of supportively, not sharing tips and techniques; however, a good friend shared information regarding Boston Handmade, and it has been nothing less than a wonderful experience.

Within the first hour of being a member, I learned that the monthly meet-up was that evening. The group strives to have one of these meet-ups at least once a month, and members are required to attend a minimum of 6 per year. While it was very clear that I was not expected to be able to attend that evening, I determined that it was entirely doable, and started the trek from Leominster to Jamaica Plain. When I arrived, I was greeted by Diane Ivey of Lady Dye Fiber Arts, and quickly set to work learning how to crochet. I had never picked up this skill, and I am not sure I did that evening either, but already could tell this was a group that worked together as a team.

Diane Ivey of Lady Dye Fiber Arts at the 6th Annual Boston Handmade Marketplace; photo (detail) by Jessica Burko

Each member takes on a special role in the group. Very quickly, I found myself writing a weekly blog post column for Boston Handmade, keeping our blog interesting and fresh. Everyone is required to contribute to the blog from time to time. Different members also set up various skill-share workshops, whether it be how to better utilize social media, take better product photographs, or another skill you may have to offer.

The group sponsors and runs a few craft shows through out the year. We just completed our 6th Annual Boston Handmade Marketplace in Union Square, Somerville, MA, which was a huge success. We are required to participate in 2 or more shows through out the year.

Beach stone jewelry by Linkouture

Another of our newest members of Boston Handmade, Bev Feldman of Linkouture describes joining Boston Handmade as “finding her tribe.” Bev, like me, has recently transitioned from working in an office setting with others, where team members laugh, joke, and support each other, to working for herself. There was no longer somebody right there to help her through a stressful day or a difficult situation. When she found Boston Handmade, that void was filled with like-minded people who understood the ups and downs of her current work life. You can find Bev’s personal blog where she discusses this further here.

Short Standoffs Pendant by Lush Beads Industrial

On the other end of the spectrum, Liz Stewart of Lush Beads has been a member off and on since the beginning. Liz was looking for a group of like-minded individuals who were able to discuss art as a business and not just art for art’s sake. She was looking to share ways to be successful and how to deal with both the successes and the failures of her venture.

Night at Fort Point (detail), photography by Lucie Wicker
Lucie Wicker of Lucie WickerPhotography and Kerry Hawkins of Kerry Hawkins Photography both first joined the group in Spring 2008. Lucie was looking for friends in the creative field and she found them. Kerry had recently transitioned to becoming a freelance graphic designer and photographer, as well as a caretaker to two teenagers. A friend and former member of Boston Handmade encouraged Kerry to join, and since then she has found herself creative people who have encouraged her in how to market her own work and give her new confidence in her skills as an art photographer.

Cowboy Boots in Chelsea, NYC by K. Hawkins Photography

I hope this group sounds like a place others want to join too!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Workspace Wednesday: Linkouture

"I don't have my own studio space (and when I work from home, my supplies are all over the will often find tiny jump rings and beads scattered on my kitchen and living room floor). However, once a week I have the luxury of being in the jewelry metalsmithing studio at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, where I work on the pendants for my beach stone jewelry. Here is where I do all the heavy-duty metal work I cannot do at home, such as sawing and soldering metal. In this picture I am working on cutting at the back of a bezel for what will be a beach stone ring, a new product I will be selling in the upcoming months."

To see and purchase work by Linkouture visit:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Mosaic: A tourist in Boston

Summer brings a lot of tourists to Boston and sometimes it's fun to play tourist at home. 

1. Fenway Stands- 8x10 Photo Print,
Lucie Wicker Photography
2. Dog Collar Boston (Blue) an Exclusive Design, Cody's Creations
3. Retro Cameras Art Print, The Patterned Peacock
4. Fiber Art Wall Hanging - the Zakim Bridge, Stray Notions

Friday, July 12, 2013

Why Handmade: 2013 BostonHandmade Marketplace in Union Square, Somerville, MA

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’sWorkshop

Are you still trying to decide what to do with your afternoon tomorrow? Bored from just another typical Saturday? Need a way to brush off those cobwebs and see the sunlight? Come to the 6th Annual Boston Handmade Marketplace in Union Square, Somerville, MA from 3 to 7. This exciting event will feature the members of Boston Handmade as well as other independent New England artists and crafts people, arts organizations, and local craft studios. All of the work exhibited is one-of-a-kind or limited edition handmade by local people.

Handmade items pictured above by Early Bird Designs, Linkouture, and Abigail Leigh Handbags

In a world where so much has become mass-produced exported from third world countries for meager wages or child labor, it is hard to miss the call to buy local, buy handmade. Here is your opportunity. There will be 20+ exhibitors showing and selling items such as ceramics, fine art, handspun yarn, jewelry, paper goods, textiles, and so much more.  Artisans will be performing craft demonstrations through out the event so you can actually see how a work of art is created. If you are more of a hands on kind of person, there will also be DIY activities that you can try yourself!

In case I have not convinced you yet that the only place to be tomorrow is the Boston Handmade Marketplace, let me tell you a little bit about some of our exhibitors!

Sashiko Pottery by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Our very own Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics will be unleashing new work with lovely sashiko embroidery pattern work, fresh out of her kiln direct to you.  Karen says “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.”

Tile Magnet by Kerry Hawkins Photography

Kerry Hawkins of Kerry Hawkins Photography, and also a Boston Handmade member has converted some of her exquisite photographs to tile magnets for your enjoyment. Kerry states “I love to photograph cities and all their diverse neighborhoods and buildings. I take long walks and often just wander and see what happens. My camera is always with me.”

Chevron canvas hand painted tote by Kristina Burkey of Crumple and Toss 

Kristina Burkey of Crumple and Toss will be exhibiting her fine paper goods including an array of unique and fun greeting cards. She is also adding tote bags to her exciting inventory of paper goods. She says “One day a nice boy asked if I wanted to get married and I thought that sounded fun so we made invitations and a switch flipped."

A Crown of Lilies Pendant by Prunella's Workshop
And of course I will be there with Prunella’s Workshop, showing my handmade metal jewelry and accessories. We have a love of the past, and a fascination with the many similarities ancient jewelry has to the current fashion in jewelry. Some of our work strives to be as authentic as possible to the period whence it originated, while other pieces are mere inspirations from the past with a modern flair.

And do not forget the live music. There is nothing more festive than live music wafting through the air to brighten your mood. The Grownup Noise and Nowhere Lights will be performing all day.

 So, you are coming, right? I knew you would!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

This Saturday : Union Square Somerville : This Summer's Hottest Handmade Extravaganza

We may not be the biggest, we may not be the loudest, but in our six years of producing the Boston Handmade Marketplace we have become the best place to find the foremost creative talent New England has to offer.

Yarn bowls, platters, buttons, mugs and more by City by the Sea Ceramics, as photographed at the 2012 Boston Handmade Marketplace

The Boston Handmade Marketplace is a curated collection of local, independent artists selected to provide handmade works in a range of styles, mediums, and techniques to explore, learn about, and purchase. The 2013 Marketplace will feature handcrafted, original, one-of-a-kind and limited edition works in addition to a wide range of DIY activities and craft demonstrations.

Hand dyed yarn by Lady Dye Fiber Arts, as photographed at the 2012 Boston Handmade Marketplace

This year our exhibitors will be showing and selling jewelry, ceramics, fine art, textiles, paper goods, handspun yarn, housewares and accessories, along with organizations and craft studios who teach and encourage creativity and craftsmanship representing a wide variety of media and neighborhoods.

The Boston Paper Collective will be making their Boston Handmade Marketplace debut at this Saturday's event.

The array hands-on activities and craft demonstrations will be presented by individual exhibitors and also by local arts businesses including clay art with Mudflat Studio, and printmaking with Muskat Studios, both hailing from Somerville, yarn happenings with The Stitch House of Dorchester and The Common Cod Fiber Guild, and explorations of paper and book binding with The Boston Paper Collective. Also on tap, live music by Somerville favorites, The Grownup Noise and Nowhere Lights.

It's all happening THIS SATURDAY, July 13 from 3-7pm in Union Square Somerville (rain date July 14). Visit our website for directions and additional event details: Be sure to stop by the Boston Handmade booth to say! We'd love to meet you.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Workspace Wednesday: Jessica Burko

"This is a very unusual view of my South End studio space. My studio, where I have worked for the past seven years, is currently arranged more like a gallery than the mess it usually is because it is way, way too hot in the summer to get much work done. I've most recently been creating encaustic collages (encaustic is a wax-based artist medium) and hovering over a 250 degree hot plate when the outside temps are teetering close to 90 is not my idea of an enjoyable workday. However, the summer is a great time for me to organize my space, update my inventory database, and show my work to collectors, curators, and friends. In this photo you can see large encaustic collages on the wall and framed paper quilts on the table."

Jessica Burko's mixed-media artwork can be found online and in-person at exhibitions around New England as well as in her South End studio.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Mosaic: Boston Handmade Marketplace Exhibitor Spotlight

The big day is almost here! The 6th Annual Boston Handmade Marketplace in Union Square Somerville will be held Saturday, July 13 from 3-7pm (rain date Sunday July 14). Here's a peek at some of the original, locally handmade items that our exhibitors will have available for you...

Pictured above (left to right, top to bottom):

Hand dyed yard and urban inspired fiber arts by Lady Dye Fiber Arts
Unisex jewelry made with new and repurposed hardware by Lush Beads
Pottery by Karen Mahoney, City by the Sea Ceramics
Custom art glass by Aron Leaman
Shibori and Handpainted Silk by Enchanted Hue
Paper goods by Crumple + Toss

See you this weekend in Somerville!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Why Handmade: Handmade vs. Mass-produced

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

The definitions of handmade and mass-produced are not as clear-cut as they may originally sound. Can something be handmade and mass-produced? When is the fact that an item is handmade special, and when is it just a process? These questions are not easily answered, and seem to have different answers depending on the medium of choice.

Little Pink Flowers Photo Print, 8x10 Matted photo, by K. Hawkins Photography

For example, take a photographer or a print artist. By their very nature, there is a suggestion that multiples of one piece may and probably do exist, as the task of reproduction is simple. However, an artist may do limited editions and guarantee they will not make more than a certain number, whereas a mass production outfit would make no such guarantee. While the cost of one from the individual artist may be defrayed across the cost of several, it may be more expensive than what one could purchase from a department store. The department store can sell limitless numbers of one print as long as the marketplace demands it, whereas regardless of demand, the artist has made a promise to you that there will be a limited number in existence regardless of demand.

There are companies that claim handmade status of mass-produced items. A designer creates a design and several people do their part in touching and creating the item, sometimes with and often times without the designer’s supervision. Technically, the item has been touched by multiple hands, and may have slight variations between each one. They are not one of a kind, nor are such companies sporting claims of such. Can they claim handmade status? This can be highly debatable. Does the artist have to be the one who actually made the item? What if there is an assistant? Or a team of assistants? It is an interesting question. Where do we draw the line?

There are artists, to be certain, who cannot not physically make every part of an item with their own two hands as it requires a team. For example, there are glass blowers who design very one of a kind work and supervise a team of assistants who do parts of the work. The artist’s hand is in every stage of the work. One only has to look at the Italian Renaissance to see how fine artists have utilized apprentices to complete a larger body of work than they may have been able to complete on their own. A painter would draw the design of a fresco painting, and apprentices would work on various parts. The most central part of the work would be completed by the artist himself. The work is credited to the artist, and no one questions it is handmade status as it is indeed one of a kind.

Copper Cuff Bracelet with Blue Stone, by Prunella's Workshop

On another note, there is the jewelry artist and casting. There are types of jewelry that are not effectively hand fabricated. An artist can carve a wax mold with dental tools and send it out to a caster. The caster can create as many copies of the wax as the artist pays them, at any level of finish. In other words, it can arrive back to the artist ready to be sold, some clean up may be required, or the artist may have further work to be completed such as stone setting. As the piece leaves the hands of the artist, one could argue this to be a mass-produced item with aspects that are handmade. However, some jewelry artists do the casting in-house. Prunella’s Workshop is one such business. Cast items still may not be one of a kind, unless only one is made; therefore mass production is still a possibility. However, every cast item from Prunella’s has two co-creators. One designs and carves the wax while the other does the casting. The process is seen by both creators.

Therefore, if it is acceptable for an artist to have a small team of assistants as long as the artist participates in the process, and multiples of one piece are acceptable in the art world in media where multiples are as simple as another sheet of paper, where do we draw the line and say, that is not handmade, that is mass-produced? Can something be mass-produced and hand made? Can something be handmade and mass-produced? Are they one and the same? There is no one answer.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy July 4th

Photo by Lucie Wicker taken at the 2013 Boston Marathon

Wishing you a wonderful celebration of independence wherever you are, from your local Boston independent artists and craftspeople at Boston Handmade.

Photo by K. Hawkins Photography taken at the 2013 Dedham, MA Flag Day parade

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Mosaic: Gearing up for Fireworks!

curated by Sharon Fischer/Stray Notions

A little red, white, and blue as we head into fireworks week!

1. Red Chevron Zigzag Navy Lining Pleated Audrey Handbag Purse,  Abigail Leigh Handbags
2. Schwinn Bike seat photo print, 8x10 matted, Kerry Hawkins Photography3. Wide Dog Collar in Star Spangled, Cody's Creations
4. Crochet Button Brooch, Lady Dye Fiber Arts 
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