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!

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...